Party planning

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

So… my baby’s turning ONE next weekend. How in the heck did that happen? While I’m over here pondering the existential nature of time and my place in the universe, do you guys mind planning a birthday party for me? I seriously lack the party planning gene.  We’ve got both sets of grandparents coming in as well as 1-3 aunts/uncles and 2-5 cousins (all 7 and under).  Here’s what I think I need:

  • Cake (big brother says Sam wants a blueberry cake)
  • Decorations (I have a leftover “Happy birthday” banner from J’s party, some paper lanterns, and a fabric scrap garland — that’s festive, right?)
  • Lunch (preferably something easy to make for a crowd)
  • Birthday activity – I’m thinking I may just gather up all our outdoor toys and let the bigger kids loose outdoors… or maybe go to the pool?
  • Something else?  What am I forgetting?  (oh yeah… we’re also baptizing Sam this weekend.  He probably needs something to wear other than his standard Carter’s romper.  Argh.)

Have you hosted a party recently where you fed a crowd some delicious food?  Do you make a killer blueberry cake?  Hit me up with recipes, party planning ideas, etc.  (I refuse to look at Pinterest at this point — it will give me a panic attack.)

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39 thoughts on “Party planning

  1. i do cupcakes (easier to hand out) and i’ve been to parties in the past where it’s a huge picnic and we bbq some burgers/dogs; people bring salads and fruit etc.

    will this be at your house? the adults can entertain themselves and for the kids – whip out the xbox for some dance nation or whatever those games are 🙂
    kathy@vodka and soda recently posted…random updateMy Profile

  2. When my nephews were little we always did birthdays in the park. The kids could play and the adults could take turns watching them and chatting. Easy clean up too. Usually it was just cake an ice cream, but you can grill if you want too.

  3. OMG! I have hosted a myriad of big parties and holidays for years in this life with my 2nd husband and my previous life. My 2nd husband is one of 6 and so am I,so never just a few people. Plus our kids’ big events. Very joyful. We are in a hiatus right now! My Stephanie is very good at it, too. Usually people bring something, as do we, when we are invited to events. I make lists and plan my baking and cooking. Bag ice, shop and assemble things ahead of time. Have a great celebration!!! First birthday parties are adorable.
    Love SMD’s momma

  4. After this weekend celebrating 2 birthdays at once with just the family, I’ve come to realize that if we host one at home, low-key is better (though it took my several nights to make cookies, a banner, and thank-you cards). Next year, I want to have it somewhere else so someone else can handle the set-up and tear-down. That said, for a large group, burgers and hot dogs on the grill are easy peasy. Let the kids go wild outside by themselves. You should kick your feet up and enjoy the first birthday milestone. Time is just flying!
    lisacng @ recently posted…In preparation of 2 birthdaysMy Profile

  5. After hosting a bevy of birthday parties for my daughter, I find that she remembers the low-key celebrations the most (something to keep in mind when your children are older). As far as your plans are concerned, the pool is always a great option, with a picnic motif. You could do sandwiches, watermelon and snow cones.

    Happy Birthday!
    Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri recently posted…Right NowMy Profile

  6. The park or the pool would be the best, total entertainment right there and very little clean up like Pamela said. Also I think it would be cool to do a potluck and you provide the cake or cupcakes (single servings are awesome). Don’t forget the good old watermelon to cut up, that was always a huge part of the party in the summer for our gatherings. It really isn’t about the fancy stuff that parents do these days, it’s about making memories and watching the little ones play. Take plenty of pictures (maybe have a friend that might be willing to do them so you don’t have to worry about it) and just enjoy. Gosh this is making me miss outdoor gatherings at the park and things like fireflies for summer. Enjoy and happy birthday!!!
    Jenn Speer recently posted…#30dayeatinghealthyMy Profile

    • We are really close to the park and pool at out new house, so I think we’ll definitely be heading over there to play. And YES to watermelon! Such a classic summer food. Thanks for the reminder about getting some great photos, I think we’ll have all the cousins together so it’s a great time to snap those photos that we’ll look back on in 20 years. =)

      (do you not have fireflies in the desert?)

  7. Tacos are easy & cheap & even kids like them. Or a tray of lunch meat/cheese & some buns. Having the party away from home is so easy! Our easiest party was at a pizza place.

    I can’t believe your little guy is going to be one either!! You sure you don’t have the date wrong? 🙂
    jan recently posted…Race-Ride-RunMy Profile

    • Tacos! That’s a great idea. We are only having family for the party but they’ll be around all weekend, so I figure we might as well be comfortable at home since they’ll see my messy house regardless. =)

    • Thank you! I am going to sit down today and make a realistic list of food, toys etc that I need to put together for the party. I think I’m making this harder than it needs to be.

    • No kidding! I had no idea so many people would have OPINIONS about kids birthday parties! I have gotten a ton of great ideas though. I feel pretty tempted to go all out for my older son, but for a baby who won’t remember? Nah. I mostly just want some cute party decorations to make my new house feel more festive!

    • Party planning is DEFINITELY not my thing. But just for family we always end up doing a little something for birthdays. Someone else left a great suggestion that you do an “experience” with the birthday kid, then something really low key, like going for froyo on a weeknight, with a few school friends.

  8. HAHA! I love how you’re refusing to look at Pinterest! Good idea! Happy Birthday to the little guy! I’m going to keep Soph’s low key for her 1st as well…sounds a lot like yours minus all the kids since she only has 1 cousin. 🙂 Ordering pizza is always good for a large crowd. We often do pulled pork in the crock pot, throw out some buns, cole slaw, potato salad and chips and it’s super easy where guest serve themselves and you really only have to put the meat in the crockpot if that’s all you want to do! You could cut up a watermelon if people will be eating outside and having the kids all play outside sounds awesome! A pinata might be fun for them if you have anywhere to hang it but don’t put chocolate in it if it’s warm out (made that mistake for my husband’s 30th). You can put temporary tatoos, fake mustaches, sunglasses, bouncy balls…stuff like that instead of just candy and then they have something to wear/take home! The most important thing to remember is enjoying your family and celebrating your wonderful little man. That’s all you need. <3
    Shelly recently posted…So what’s aperture do again?My Profile

    • Good tip about the chocolate in the heat! It’s the little things like that that I would never have thought of. Thanks! And just you wait… your little one will be having a birthday in no time!

  9. I have thoughts on cake, of course 🙂 — Smitten Kitchen’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake is easy and tasty with blueberries (I used frozen blueberries and doubled the recipe a while back to fit a 9×13 pyrex pan for the post-service coffee hour). But it doesn’t look particularly like a festive cake (her Blueberry Boy Bait is also delicious, as it should be with the massive amount of butter it calls for; oh and there is a promising looking triple berry bundt on her site too). But really my first thought was to do something akin to strawberry shortcake: Bake a box cake mix (or go all out and make a homemade cake), and layer it with blueberries and homemade whipped cream. Alternately I have a simple cupcake recipe that has a raspberry frosting variation – basically it is cheater’s buttercream (whipped butter+powdered sugar) with some jam mixed in for color and flavor. Of course the frosting would probably turn out magenta/purple instead of blue…

    • I’m so happy you weighed in on the cake! I looked at all the recipes you suggested (I love SK!) and I’m going to make the triple berry bundt with all blueberries. Thanks for the suggestion!

  10. Cupcakes. Who doesn’t like cupcakes? Oh but that doesn’t help you solve your blueberry cake issue. Catering from Panera’s? I don’t cook so I think I’ll stop offering you advice. Lol. I bet that the party will be fantastic no matter what. Because it’s you & it’s all about family, friends & celebrating. xo
    Danielle recently posted…A Paper Craft With Eeny – Picture Frame CardMy Profile

    • Oh catering for Panera — my older son would love that! But we’re doing the party at our new house and it’s a verrrry small town. No Panera for 60 miles! I think we’ll plan some simple meals and take turns cooking (my parents and my husband’s parents will be there all weekend).

  11. Awww! I think that the first birthday can be the hardest. The kid is too young to have ANY sort of opinion on the subject, and because it’s the first birthday there’s this feeling that it has to be super special. If I’ve learned anything it’s that the easiest parties to host are the ones that have very few structured activities. If you have water toys and can let the kids loose with them, DO IT. Also, don’t worry about cooking anything special. Just make what you’re good at-or order a bunch of sandwiches. Sounds like you’ve got some great decorations already. The most important part is just to spend time enjoying your soon-to-be one year old!
    Leslie recently posted…Our Monster Vacation…Part 3My Profile

    • I think you’re absolutely right — I’m going to pick up some water guns and turn on the sprinkler, and let the older kids run around for a while so the grown-ups can visit and take turns playing with/holding the birthday boy.
      Thanks for stopping by, Leslie!

    • This will just be a family party, so I’m basically just having a lunch + cake at home. The crazy part is they’re all out of town guests so I am actually hosting them all weekend. (Eek!) I love your approach to birthdays – I may have to try to implement that next year for my kids. Sometimes I feel like all this birthday stuff is just way over the top.

  12. Happy Birthday to your little man! And I second all the opinions to keep it simple! Every time I decide to ‘go big’ with parties, my girls are totally overwhelmed and have a bad time. I know your family will have a blast just being together- have fun!!
    Stacey recently posted…A Backyard Photo WalkMy Profile

    • Thank you! We’re definitely not “going big,” but with family visiting for the whole weekend, I just feel a little daunted by all the planning I have to do. I just heard the weather report for the weekend (Sunny and 100 degrees – ugh) and now I’m wondering what we’re going to do all day when it’s so dang hot.

  13. That’s definitely not my area of expertise probably due to lack of patience. I’m one to cater affairs and just buy balloons and call it a wrap – My son has tons of birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese and we’re perfectly fine with that. Lol. 🙂 Cake + Food, there plus a cute little crown for the little man! 🙂 Time flies doesn’t it? Jeez my son is now 7 and it still trips me out. Have fun planning though and I’m sure it’ll be great! Happy Friday Sarah! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…Nothing but Alpha WavesMy Profile

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