Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Birthday parties

As you all know, I don't like a lot of fuss and bother.

D and I debated for AGES on whether to even have a party for the babies but then I figured - WE deserve a party to celebrate surviving the first year, or at very least, the newborn stage :)

We went to one of the party shops to have a look (totally by accident, on the way to buying paint for the bedroom!) and I actually got excited because they make things so easy these days.

The themes are all beautiful so the party planning is easy because you get tablecloths, serviettes (napkins), paper plates, etc. but what do one-year-old kids know about themes or parties?

Is there a point to having a theme when they're so young?

Also, there's the not-so-small matter of having a girl and a boy, so nothing can be too girly or boyish.

What do you feed the kids considering most are babies?

(My children are banned from sugar until they're two... yip, I'm that kind of mother)

I do like the idea of a party venue so MY house doesn't get messed up but I do feel it's overkill for 1-year-olds?

Also I have that annoying bill from the City of Jhb for R9 881 so don't feel like I want to spend much on a party - it just feels irresponsible.

I do know I want
  • two cakes - any ideas???
  • two sets of singing Happy Birthday
  • a Happy Birthday banner
  • balloons

that's all I'm sure of!

I love the idea of party packs but....... again, they're 1. Do you just do for older kids who have a clue???

What ideas do you have for me? What do you feed them and what am I not thinking about?

P.S. I see invitations are a big thing in the blog world. Here we send a text message :) or an email! What do you do?


  1. How ironic. I've just written a blog posting about this very topic that is being published on my blog. But given that we have very different mothering styles and I'm the mother of a singleton, I don't think you'll like any of my OTT idea's.
    Ava is 6 months old and I've got the invites and the cake is ordered, I've even ordered her the most OTT party dress!

  2. I see what you are saying, BUT.... I'm throwing the boys a huge bash. Of course it's mainly for us... Celebrating that we FINALLY got pregnant, that we made it through all the tears, craziness, and diapers of the first year... I know they won't remember it, but we will! I'm doing two small cakes for them to smash and play with (this will be the only time they get sugar for a while, too!). For the other folks, I'm doing cupcakes. As far as theme is concerned, I don't think it's necessarily important. We are doing one because I found one that was perfect and matched their colors (we color coded everything in the beginning), but I was leaning toward no theme too.

  3. Yes, Sharon, we do have very different styles but will check tomorrow :)

    You are a planner of note though! Wow, I can't believe she's 6 months already.

    Shelby, to each his own. I like the idea of two small cakes! Thanks.

  4. P.S. Heeheee, if you guys think I am plain and simple, you should meet my colleague.

    One party for her 3 boys - ages 7, 10 and 13. Absolutely no fuss and bother :)

    What I most love? She doesn't defend her choices at all - it is what it is, take it or leave it. LOL

  5. Ok. twin birthday parties apparently should have 2 cakes and 2 times singing - you also swap - this year C get sung to first, next year K etc. Some twin authors even suggest two parties - but maybe when they are like 6 years old? We had a very small family celebration for the boys with no 1 cake s- really easy to make - check here:

    Now if you really want to see one of the best ones I have ever been to - check here - unique for 1 year olds with stuff they could eat - very cute:

    As to party packs - I make for everyone, even 3 month old babies. Their parents think it is adorable and eat it in any event themselves.

  6. We sent invitations.

    We had three cakes...two "smash cakes" for the kids and one regular cake for everyone else who didn't want drool and boogies in their cake. They actually gave us the smash cakes for free.

    We did gift bags, but I wish I hadn't...stupid IMO.

  7. We did an "open house" party when our girls turned one in January. From 1:00 - 3:00, we invited our friends and family to stop by for finger foods and cake. We gave the girls their cakes at 2:00. Some people had already come and gone, and others weren't there yet, but our primary family and friends were there for the event.

    I didn't fuss about any kind of kid theme or kid-friendly activities. I figure I'll have enough of that to do when the girls are older. I decorated their cakes with polka dots and swirls (pink for A, purple for B). As others have noted, we had a cake for our guests, and a small one each for A and B.

    Although the girls were definitely the center of attention, I kind of functioned like this party was for us - or at least for our entire - to celebrate, as you said, making it through the first year. :)

    Good luck! I look forward to hearing about all the party details!

  8. Oh how I am debating!!

    We are losely doing an Eric Carle theme as the girls have lots of caterpillars for some reason. They will each have a small cake, and not a super sugary one. I think I am going to bake their cakes from one of these recipes

    I am planning on making a happy birthday banner that I can use for the next couple years out of foam pieces. Luckily I have girls so we don't have to worry much about clashing themes for a few years. Ours is definitely an adult party, aside from maybe 2 or 3 other kids. DH and I have semi-large families so we are going to do a cook-out for everyone and then we are going away as a family the week before to celebrate everything that we have overcome/accomplished/been blessed with in the last 5 years. I can believe I am going to a.) host an event or b.) that I am inviting over 20 people! Luckily we've rented a pavilion in a park so I'll just collect trash and out we'll be. I did decide on cupcakes for guests as it easier than cutting and I can pick up some small boxes for people to take the extras home with.

    I'm also firmly setting time limits, 2 hours tops. I don't want to be dealing with fussy babies and guests. Especially since it is the peak of summer here and I know it will be very hot, even in the morning/early afternoon. I'm also having someone take pictures for me and my family is helping with the food.

  9. For the first birthday, we didn't have a theme. For food, I made the girls' favourite baby foods; most of their guests were accustomed to baby food out of a jar, so the mums were intrigued by homemade food. We also had teething biscuits and fresh fruit for the older children and adults.

    I don't usually do invitations, unless I have a really good idea. Evite makes life far easier, plus people tend to RSVP.

    My daughters' first exposure to processed sugar was at the first birthday party. We went with cupcakes, so each child would have their own.

    This year was the first year each child didn't have a cake, and that was only because they were so aligned on their party theme! We always sing Happy Birthday separately to each of them, and they get to pick who goes first.

    My nod to simplicity is to request either no gifts, or nonperishable food items for our local food pantry in lieu of gifts. The real gift is our guests' presence and the lesson in generosity and charity.

  10. Are you going to let them have some cake for their birthday? It's a huge part of the tradition here, to let the kids smash and enjoy their own cakes.

    You've seen my birthday post...but as far as food, we basically planned the food around for the adults, but made it things kids could eat too. (Kids there aged from 6 mo.-3 years) We had hot dogs that could be cut up for the little ones, fruit, veggies and dip, etc. Then I had little containers of puffs and other baby finger foods for them to snack on.

    I know it will turn out great, whatever you choose to do!!

  11. You should have the party in a park, to avoid mess, and to save cost on a party venue. There is a nice park in Kensington. JUst cant think of the name right now!!! Maybe get a jumping castle, and some plastic chairs and tables for the adults.

  12. Ok, You know me... I'm going ALL out! Well, "all" in a reasonable way, but i'm putting a lot of work into it. I know that you like things simple, though. So if I were going to plan your party for you, I'd tell you that:

    1)Themes are only necessary to give you a purpose in the tablecloths, napkins, centerpieces, or other decor you buy. Even if you don't have a real "theme", I always ask people for specific colors when throwing a party. The colors alone can be your theme. You could also have a theme as simple as polka dots rather than worrying about what cartoon characters to you. The point of the theme at 1 year old isn't for them. Some babies do have certain shows they love perhaps, but they won't remember the party later. So I say to pick a theme that you like- that you'd be proud of doing (just like how you decorate their nursery- based on your personal preference, not on their likings).

    2) If most kids are going to be the age of your kids or younger, why don't you serve some foods that your kids would eat; maybe like fruit slices or something (which also allows it to be healthy). You could have finger sandwiches or goldfish crackers for the kids that can eat them. And adults could eat all of that too, or you could incorporate a few choices just for adults.

    3) If you picked just a couple of colors, you could select tablecloths, balloons, plates, napkins, and banners all in those colors. And, at least here, it is pretty inexpensive for all of that. I would say that I could serve 20 people for $15-20. It'd probably only cost about $10 more to serve 20 more guests because many of the plate packs and napkin packs have 50 in them, so you only need to buy one. You could also make your own banner. I've seen a little of your work- you're crafty enough I think. Just use scrapbooking paper or print out the letters from your computer program and hang with ribbon or string. I'll post pictures of my party ideas soon. Maybe that'll help.

    4) As far as party packs, I'm assuming you're talking about favors. It's my opinion that it's not necessary. The kid won't walk away talking about what a stingy host you were. They probably won't even think about it. There are inexpensive ways to do it, though, especially if you are only having a small amount of guests. Little toys from the $1 Store work, in a decorated paper sack. Or you could give bags of candy or goldfish or some other snack (without sugar, if you prefer). I've been to parties where only the older kids got them, and I was fine with Josiah not getting one. I've also been to parties where the host made him a special bag that included items for his age (like a rattle and ball).

    5) Lastly, invitations are probably most important to me at their first birthday- only because I am customizing mine to have pictures of Josiah's first year. It is also another way to incorporate your theme in a creative way. I think Facebook and text messages and phone calls are just as popular here, but sometimes having a tangible invitation that can hang on your refrigerator is helpful. I think it's a matter of preference. There are also those card packs that you just fill in the information, so it's quick and easy. And you could also always print something from your computer.

  13. I made my invites online and emailed them LOL
    Or invited people via facebook
    Anyone that wasn't online (great grandparents) will get an invitation in the mail, just had the 1 hour photo place print like five of the ones I made.

    As for cakes, I'm just doing cupcakes. Each baby can have his own, and each guest too- less paper plates/silverware to worry about LOL

  14. Backyard BBQ, Evite invitations, cupcakes and ONE song. As a multiple myself I really have no problem with one song - that's what the three of us got and I was totally fine with it growing up. It's nice sharing a birthday and I've always loved it - why not play that up with one song?

    It was a stressful party and I sort of wish we had someone else manning the grill so my husband didn't have to. It also rained so we were stuck inside with lots of kids of varying ages - and unfortunately we don't have an open layout. This year I will probably also do a BBQ but earlier in the day.

  15. We're at the 'oh gosh it's rocking around quickly' phase too.

    I'll post invites out. Partly because I love mail and partly because this is a "big" birthday. I wouldn't post invites out normally AT ALL (don't tell work that). I'm not that kinda girl.

    Let's be honest. Our kids won't remember this party. It's about, like you say, celebrating their day and our survival :p and getting some great memories for a scrapbook.

    The actual day. If it was my perfect world it'd be a party of maybe 10. But apparently it's rude to exclude family. Sigh. So I intend to just scoop the princess up when she needs a sleep and bring her back out when she's ready.

    Food? Baby sandwiches, cookies, little sausages with ketchup, cupcakes, some token fruit. D 'chose' chocolate cake for her flavor. She has had a few varieties to sample along the way (I'm going with the 'if you get my stuffed pancreas gene you may as well have a little bit of sweetness in your life now', but not candy etc etc).

    For some reason the idea of a boy and girl elephant or mouse popped into my head. They'd be really cute on a board together, in totally stereotypical colors.

    No banners. No gift bags. No custom made cupcake wrappers. Likely no balloons. Just the basics.

    I have full confidence that you'll create a day that is special and low stress :)

  16. PS: Wine for the adults!!! :)

  17. Anonymous9:03 am

    Hey my darling M, i am so thrilled you are planning this memorable moment for my babies. well my personal feeling a party venue especially if you not only having babies, 2 cakes (just like c had this weekend) themes well so many to choose from they are a pigeion pair so you could do Barney, WInnie the pooh, under water theme, bugs, etc so much but obviously easier to choose one that you can easily get the party goodies from the shop. i would not even bother with Party packs they too tiny and most mommies dislike them now cause kiddies eat sweets at a party and then they still take them home,YUK!!! i would maybe even not do 2 cakes but 2 sets of cup cakes and 2 seperate stands etc and hey then you don't need a knife and so on, come on lets do things the easy way. Just arrange platters for the tables for the adults and 1 platter for the older kiddes if yo have with mini burgers and hotdogs and hey there you go. And believe me you can make it gorgeous. chat later love Robz

  18. I don't usually comment so soon, but I LOVE doing parties. But I'm all about not spending money. For LaRue this year, we'll invite mostly people she knows. I've got an Amazon wish list for IDEAS. Great way to showcase favorite colors and styles that you like, and with the new ADD a WISH button, you can stick stuff on from all over, like an Etsy store.

    We'll just have one cake. I don't like seeing parents smash their little one year old (who is already tired and freaked out by all the people) into a cake. Just me though, as it is very common here in the USA. :( Some kids WILL happily jump in and make the desired mess, others will touch that greasy icing and be horrified.

    I'm all about the FUN without the money and as simple and reusable as possible.

    But for a first party, go with either a neutral color for both or a pink/ blue and two smaller cakes of different flavors (guests can choose.) Don't get wrapped up in the character themes.

    OUTSIDE is great, especially if you don't like cleaning up spilt drinks and cake.

    KEEP IT SHORT - like an hour, right after a normal nap when the kids are very active. Keep it moving, Song, Cake, Gifts, Goodbye.

    Gift Bags are a waste of money. However, I've found some great ways to send home gifts without spending a lot of money, and adding to the fun. At Joel and Matthew's first party, we did a fishing theme. My FIL made bamboo fishing poles for all the guests, pole - line - bobber. They LOVED them! Write the kids names on them, they will sit them down and fight over whose is whose, especially if a child breaks their own. It happens.

    I don't have twins, but my best friend and I had our sons within weeks of each other. We TWIN their party at the halfway point. The boys each have a cake - they share a theme - and we sing ONCE.

    We tell people up front - NO GIFTS REQUIRED ... but if you insist, here are their sizes, favorite colors, one or two ideas .... and for more ideas, visit their Amazon Wish List. We also remind them that home made and hand me downs are perfectly fine for us. We've gotten some GREAT second hand toys.

    Some great FIRST YEAR toys - for the one year to 18 Month stage (then you have Christmas).

    Blocks (simple wooden ones with alphabet and numbers) - small wagon or other pull/push toy - a ride on toy (my favorite is a flat wooden one with a simple handle bar - kind of looks like a skate board with bike handle and 4 large wheels) - small stacking toy - large knob puzzle (tons of themes, 4 pieces best, practice lift and replace) - special blanket or stuffie - items to explore sound and texture (Peek A Boo blocks were great for this) - A BALL - pretty container with a lid for each (to store their own toys). I also like Memory books (already finished - not one for me to write in) and CD's (music).

    Don't be shy about asking for diapers! or wipes and ointments.

    Gift cards are great - you can use them to pick up diapers and stuff you REALLY NEED!

    As the kids get older, if I have time, we have a big theme party. We've done pirates and treasure hunts, horses, princess, tea party ... and home make as much as we can.

    My goal - to create a memory. Not get stuff. My 3 oldest are all extroverts (I'm not). They LOVE their parties - it's the best gift I can give them.

    Mom to 4 Blessings

  19. Anonymous6:32 pm

    I think this is such an interesting topic!

    Just last night we received an invite from my SIL to have tea at her house next Sunday with the boring aunt/uncle. Okay, so first off you know I only do the things I want to anyway, but I was amazed that Keith finds it so difficult to say No, without having a valid reason.

    Why do you need a valid reason?

    Isn’t an invitee (not sure such a word exists) asking, knowing the answer is yes or no? Am I the only one who feels this way – or am I just especially rude? So he said nicely – “Thanks, but perhaps not this time”.



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