First of all, I can’t believe my baby is two!! I swear the second year went faster than his first. Ahhh! Now that I’m done sobbing, I just planned the easiest and one of the most fun parties ever for his second birthday. We spent his actual birthday in Disneyworld, so between coming back from a week away and spending plenty of money along the way, I needed something simple. Now you know I LOVE to host parties with lots of custom, DIY details, but honestly with everything going on and a more limited budget than I was planning initially, I decided I needed to simplify. I learned some good tips along the way, so I thought I would share!!
Go Off Site
This may seem counter intuitive since many think it would be easier to have a party at home. Picking an off site location can often simplify your party because you don’t have to clean, come up with tons of activities, do as much (if anything) to decorate, and then clean again. Sometimes the price tag of various activity places can be prohibitive if that’s a factor, but from as cheap as local parks to expensive as amusement parks, going for off site entertainment can make coordinating a fun kids party simpler. For me, I was able to get fun and inexpensive. I picked Discovery Gateway which is a children’s museum we have a membership to so we were free. We chose a Sunday since admission was cheaper and since it was my son’s second birthday, most of his little friends are under 2, and therefore were free so we just covered the adults. Look for discounted admission and free admission for kids and it may not be as expensive as you’d think!
Choose Snack Time
When setting your time, you may consider naptime as a factor, but otherwise select a time that generally doesn’t align with a full meal. Breakfast, lunch or dinner for a whole group is a lot more to manage off site, where if you pick a time like 11am or 3pm, you can serve snacks and cake and call it good. We picked 3pm since it steered clear of most naptimes and was a perfect time to just eat cupcakes and drinks before we played! Easy Birthday
Depending on the cost of your location and scope of activities, you could skip favors all together. To be honest, most parties I go to, people forget to take favors altogether, so if you’re going to do something, pick something good and hand it out at the beginning. For me I wanted to have favors just since they are fun for the kids, and of course I could count on Target’s dollar section for these adorable pop up books! I grabbed some cello bags and a few other goodies the kids would have fun with (glow bracelets 15/$1, noise makers 12/$1, and a pack of fruit snacks).
Order A Special Treat
Now I do love to bake, but ordering out you cake or cupcakes is a great way to simplify your to do list. My dear friend Haley of White Barn Bakery makes scrumptious cupcakes, and since I wasn’t doing any other food really so I was definitely in budget, it was absolutely worth paying to have them made.
My baby is one! Where did the time go? I’m sure this is what every mother says, but it’s amazing how much he has changed this first year. It has simultaneously been the longest and shortest year of my life. Becoming a mother has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences I’ve gone through and I’m so blessed to be Zachary’s mommy.
Enough of the mushy stuff now. Because I wanted to celebrate this sweet boy’s first year in a fun way, I decided on the theme “1 year old in a flash!” I have taken (and shared) at least one photo of him every day of his first year so I thought incorporating those photos would be fun for everyone to see.
I created a slideshow of my Flickr feed under his hashtag #zacharygram using my Apple TV an had it playing throughout the party on the big screen.
What’s a party without a photo booth?! I used crate paper to create a colorful background that looked great in photos. Easy and cheap! Just added in the props and instant entertainment.
I made these cameras that matched the ones I designed on the invites to label the food.
I cut out some poster board, printed a bunch of my favorite photos from Costco, and glued them on to show off more of his first year pics. Again, super cute, easy, and cheap. I like! And Zach loved looking at the photos and pointed saying “Zach!” over and over. Too cute.
I made some banners easy peasy by cutting out some scrapbook paper (that I have entirely too much of) and lacing it on. I love the impact the rainbow colors have to give it that classic birthday feel. And I’m sure I’ll use these again for other parties. Good for the stash.
Finally I outsourced the cake to Nate’s sweet cousin who baked up a surprise three layer cake with photos. I made the little topper with mini photos hanging by making a 5×7 collage using picmonkey.com with some white space around. Then just cut them out, punched holes and laced them on some twine with decorative straws as stakes. Then she also made a personal sized cupcake for him to smash.
Then, surprise, my mom invited her musician friend to come play some songs for us! Zach loved it since he loves listening to Daddy play guitar too. He spouted off some songs, including the one year old blues, happy birthday, and Old Macdonald.
And then we sang happy birthday, watched Zach not cake smash his cake since apparently my child doesn’t like cake OR frosting, and I welled up with tears a bit. It’s an emotional roller coaster this first birthday stuff! Does this look like a bewildered face of a mom? Because yes, it in fact is. But it was a wonderful day with all of our loved ones.Read More
My dear friend, Megan, is having a baby any day now, and I keep meaning to share the adorableness of her baby shower. I teamed up with our two friends who, as her bridesmaids, also planned her bridal shower a couple years ago. Let’s just say as make quite the team. Ashley is a rockstar papercrafter and maker of all things cute and Jessica works as an event planner professionally. So all three of us together make some pretty adorable things happen! Check it out!Read More