Baby First 1yr
Elizabeth in Beaverton, OR USA
BABY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY Unique Invitation: For my son's first birthday, I used baby food jars as invitations. This is a long description, but these were so original and beautiful that people told me I ought to call Gerber and make a deal with them to market it. I cleaned the jars and filled them with curling ribbon, then using the yellow and blue Gerber labels as a model, I created new labels on my computer. Instead of the Gerber Baby, I added a photo of my son in which he had a similar expression and his name replaced "Gerber". Instead of "peas and carrots" it read "Baby's First Birthday". I replaced the picture of peas and carrots with a drawing of a birthday cake with one candle on it. Where the Gerber label had a number (such as "2nd Foods") I added "1 Year Old." To replace "nutrition facts" I chose "Celebration Facts" and added "Serving Size: One Party." The date, time and location replaced nutritional info., and where the ingredients were listed I wrote, "Ingredients: lunch, birthday cake, games, pinata, bubbles and backyard fun." Underneath that, I replace the copyright with the copyright symbol, 2004 Roger and Elizabeth M____, followed by, "Comments? Call us at (###)###-####. Decorations: I made most of them, sticking to a color scheme of red, blue and teal (but any color combo would work). People arrived to find our home and yard full of helium balloons and hand-made paper chains. A sign on the front door read "Happy Birthday Alex" in paper letters cut using a local craft store's die-cut machine. Once inside, guests placed their gifts in our portable crib that had balloons tied to it. We had a "Baby Mozart" CD gently playing in the background for the duration of the party. My son was dressed in a turn-of-the-century sailor suit, a gift from Gramma. His high chair was placed at the head of the dining table, with 18 chairs around it for the children. (Adults ate standing or sitting in other places.) I used a coordinating tablecloth with a centerpiece I made using old-fashioned baby toys. On the back of each chair was a placecard made of 1/2 a piece of red, blue or teal construction paper with a die cut shape (teddy bear, train, rattle, bib, etc.) glued on it and the child's name stamped below on white paper, bordered in color. I used the same paper and die-cuts to make a large poster that looked like a patchwork baby quilt. The center square said "Happy Birthday". I hung the poster behind Alex's high chair which made a great background for the "smash cake" photos. Food: Draped in a teal tablecloth, the buffet table was decorated with large building blocks I made out of gift boxes and die-cut shapes and letters that spelled out "Alex." I served sandwiches on a tierd plate stand and platters of bite-sized (or baby-sized) foods: fruit-kabobs, baby carrots, baby corn, chocolate covered straberries etc. I used white china to serve from but white paper plates for our guests. Soda, juice and bottled water filled a white galvanized tub of ice. (No mixing, pouring or spilling!) The cake was store-bought, decorated with a photo of Alex and his name spelled out in frosting building blocks. Cupcakes with sprinkles rounded out dessert and a package of baby wipes stod by for cleaning sticky fingers. Entertainment and Favors: Upon arrival, children were invited to make edible necklaces (Froot Loops and yarn) or play outside. Our backyard has a swingset and clubhouse and we brought out riding toys, balls, a rocking horse, bubbles and other things to play with. The kids had so much fun playing, we hardly did any of the games I had planned. But it's always best to have more activities planned than you think you'll need, just in case. Ring-Around-the-Rosie, London Brindge, Mommy Polo (like Marco Polo)... We planned a memory game (a tray of items from our son's first year was uncovered for a minute, then taken away. Guests then had to write down as many items they remembered. Most correct memories wins.) I also had a trivia contest called "How Well Do You Know The Birthday Boy" which was funny. Prizes for the kids were classic Little GOlden Books. My husband and 4 year-old son are amateur magicians and did a short magic show with theme-appropriate tricks like a coloring book trick. They were a hit! Towards the end of the party, we broke a blue and teal doggie pinata that had been sitting on the buffet table. I gave each child a goodie bag with balloons printed on it to fill with Curious George and Sesame Street fruit snakcs, mini boxes or raisins, candy and small toys from the pinata. They each also took home colored sugar cookies in baby-toy shapes and the shape of their first initial, a giant bubble wand and a nice Clifford the Big Red Dog or Care Bears coloring book that I'd found at the Dollar Store. Adults received a cellophane bag of Hershey's Kisses with a note I adapted from this web-site that read, "I'm no longer a baby, now that I'm one. Glad you came to my party, hope you had fun. I'll be waving bye-bye, now that it's through, and giving out kisses from me to you!" This was a fun party for a mixed crowd of kids and adults and our little one had plenty of laps to sit on and helpers for opening gifts. Thank you notes were made from white card stock and the same die-cut shapes. Love that die-cut machine! I'll use it again when I scrapbook the photos.
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