Posts Tagged ‘first birthday’

Planning the First Birthday Party

Monday, September 14th, 2015

I don’t know what makes the first birthday party the huge deal it’s become. Maybe Pinterest or Etsy are to blame. Maybe it’s just a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ sort of thing, I don’t know.

I’m certain I don’t remember my first birthday (I’ve seen pictures of baby me up to my eyeballs in blue cookie monster frosting so I know it was celebrated), so why do so many of us make such a big deal out it?

To me, the first birthday (and associated party, if you throw one) is more of a celebration for the parents. Like, holy cow, we survived! We have a living, thriving one-year-old! WE DID IT!

The first year of both my children’s lives is somewhat of a blur. They didn’t sleep, one of them didn’t eat, my husband and I were learning cloth diapering and I was pumping at work; but for all of the hurdles thrown at us, we all survived as our newly created family unit. For me, that is something worth celebrating.

Just like baby showers, with first birthdays some people throw huge events, some prefer to have small family gatherings, and some folks fit somewhere in between. With my firstborn in particular, I found the peer pressure of throwing a big, pinteresting baby birthday to be too exciting to pass up. A friend from my online baby club was throwing a sock monkey-themed party and offered up the printables that her graphic designer-friend had drawn up for her, so sock monkeys it was.

If you’re throwing a party, finding a theme can be an easy way to organize any decorations, favors, or cakes you may be planning. Some people order packs of supplies from birthday stores online, others shop etsy or scour pinterest for DIY ideas. Older siblings may be interested in helping plan the party, too.

Finally, like with any gathering (big or small) it can be too easy to fall out of the moment. I’m usually hiding behind a camera, trying to capture everything for posterity (mostly so my kids will know, like me, that mom didn’t forget their birthday even when they were too young to remember it). I have lots of digital memories, but not as many real time memories as I would like to have. This is something I’ve been personally working on (and let me tell you, it’s a hard habit to break!). Enlisting a friend or family member to help with photography or other day-of chores can help keep you free to enjoy spending time with the birthday boy or girl.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Planning Baby’s First Birthday

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Planning Baby's First BirthdayBalloons. Invitations. Cake. Overwhelming. Celebrating your child’s first birthday is a joyous, exciting occasion, but it can be a stressful, expensive event if you don’t plan smart. My daughter Johanna turned one last August. Months before her birthday arrived, I found myself searching websites like Etsy and Pinterest daily trying to find the cutest things for the best party. Here are some tips I would share if asked on how to make planning a baby’s 1st birthday party easy and successful.

Plan Ahead

Start early. Planning early gives you time to get all your supplies and mail out invitations. Use a checklist to help you cover all of your bases. Talk with your spouse about any ideas he has. Make the planning process a group effort.

Be Smart

Focus on the important things. Obviously, you want your baby’s party to be fun and cute for the guests. Ultimately, baby won’t remember the party but your guests will. Choose a location that will accommodate your guests but not break the bank. Remember that you can’t plan the weather, so have a back-up plan or be prepared if you decide to do the party outside. Remember to not plan a party during a time when you know baby will need to nap or be especially fussy.

Save Money

You don’t have to buy a lot of decorations to make a cute party. Streamers, balloons, and your own designs work well. Personal touches, such as monthly photos of baby, fun facts about baby, and personal party favors are always a hit. Enlist the help of friends and family to make and serve food if needed. Start saving and budgeting for baby’s party in advance so that you don’t feel overwhelmed as the date approaches. Websites like Etsy have adorable invitations that you can purchase and then print at home or in a store.


Remember that your child’s first birthday is a celebration of the milestone of turning 1. Use the party time to celebrate with family and friends, not stress over the decorations, cake, or anything silly. Take lots of pictures. Have guests write a note as a keepsake for baby to read someday. Ultimately, have fun and shower your baby with love!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. She loves birthdays, especially birthday cake.


Fun Collage for Baby!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Do you have a baby that wiggles during diaper changes to the point that you break into a sweat while trying to wrestle him/her into a clean diaper? Or perhaps you have a wee one who enjoy screeching incredibly loud during car rides making it near impossible to focus on driving? My friend Amanda has an awesome solution to occupy baby during the difficult times/activities. Her idea engages baby’s brain, provides visual stimulation, and best of all is FREE! With each of her three kidlets she has made collage boards for them when they are around a year old. She uses them to keep baby happy during challenging times/tasks. What a wonderful idea!

The materials and tools needed to create a collage for your baby are simple:

  • sturdy piece of cardboard
  • contact paper
  • old magazines
  • scissors
  • glue

Cut and paste pictures from the magazine onto the cardboard and cover with contact paper. Voila! Now you have a fun collage board to entertain your baby during those wiggly diaper changes or restless car rides. One important recommendation is to group pictures in categories. For example one side of the collage could be pictures of babies (babies like looking at babies!) and the other side could be pictures of animals. By grouping pictures in categories you are actually helping baby develop fundamental math concepts such as categorizing and sorting. When you look at collage with baby and label the various pictures you are supporting his/her language and vocabulary development.

If you have older children you can have them join in the fun by encouraging them to create the collage. They can sift through magazines looking for interesting pictures to cut and paste. In fact the collage that Izzy is playing with in the picture above was made by Amanda’s six year old daughter for Izzy’s first birthday. What a special handmade gift to receive! Izzy enjoys looking at his collage…as well as stomping on it, banging on it and smashing things with it so the sturdy cardboard and contact paper are important elements to keep the collage intact. 🙂

Hope you and your baby have fun with this idea!


PS. Be sure to check back tomorrow to learn about the Top 10 Signs Your Baby has Transitioned to a Toddler!

The perfect gift for a one year old!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

When invited to a first birthday party are you often stumped about what to bring as a gift? Even for my own son’s first birthday I didn’t know what to say when people asked me what to get him? Most one-year-olds are pretty happy to play with just about anything…a bowl and spoon, a brush, a tissue box. I know my one year old finds the things he can’t play with the most interesting (ie-the toilet plunger, marbles, electrical cords, etc).  And I’m sure you’ve had the experience of your children preferring to play with the box an expensive toy came in, rather than the expensive toy itself (see example photo above). Short of arriving at a party with a cardboard box or roll of toliet paper, what do we gift to the one-year-olds in our life? Here’s an idea too good not to share!

My sweet friend Julie made an awesome “sensory bag” for Izzy’s first birthday. It seriously is a perfect gift for a one year old! We have had so much fun exploring the goodies in the bag over the past several days. In addition to the fun factor, it’s also a rather inexpensive gift AND it’s handmade! Handmade gifts are always extra special to me knowing they were made with great love and attention. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be a super duper crafty mama to make this sensory bag. And many (if not all) of the materials needed could be found at your local dollar or discount store. 🙂

First of all she “wrapped” the toys in a brightly colored, easy to wash reusable bag that has several little pockets on it. Pockets are always a hit with little ones. The pockets were stuffed with all kinds of fun creations!


Inside the bag there was a container full of colorful, soft pom-poms. My son loves to put things in and out of containers so this is a perfect game for him. What a surprise when he pulled out the pom poms and they were strung together! Very clever way to enjoy pom-poms without them going everywhere. There were 3 strands with about 20 pom-poms each.

Also included in the bag were these adorable handmade bean bags. The green heart is filled with beans and has a bell/ball velcroed to it. The purple circle is filled with rice and has little ladybug buttons attached to it. The blue rectangle has bells in it, pom-poms attached to it, and a little ribbon handle on it.







Another fun toy included in the bag are these homemade tambourines. They are two circles of foam, filled with poker chips, and laced together with a shoe string. So simple to make and what fun to play with! My son likes to shake them and chew them.

You know how kids like to play with tags and key chains? Well this nifty little creations combines the best of both! It’s rectangles of foam, hole-punched at the top, and held together with a key ring. She snipped the bottom of the foam rectangles for those busy, curious little hands to explore.

I think this next little set of toys is one of my favorites of them all! It’s these little bell/balls that are actually cat toys, although they are the perfect size and shape for baby to hold and shake! She included a set of 3 ramekins to put the bell/balls in. Something as simple as putting them in the bowls and dumping them out brings such joy to my son!

This last game is hands-down my son’s favorite of them all! It’s a small square tupperware container with a slot cut into the top. The slot is cut to fit poker chips through it. Izzy will play with this for a long time. He will actually persist until all the chips are in and hand it to me to open it up so he can do it again!

Many of the ideas here would also work well for a slightly younger or older child, or could be adapted accordingly. Sensory play is fun and important for all ages of children and stages of development!

What I love most about this gift is once we are done playing we put it all back in the bag and it’s ready to go for next time or bring with us anywhere! This present has definitely left me feeling inspired to be more creative in my own gift giving.