She Says… Party Prep

I know, I know, Owen turned 1 way back on July 24th. That feels like forever ago. We had planned a party for him the weekend of his actual birthday, but it turned out that all of our friends and family were traveling that weekend. So we rescheduled. And I put all of my party planning on hold since September 10th seemed so far away.

Fast forward to today. The party is in 2 weeks and I am 1 week away from another crazy work week running a training for 50 new hires at my company. Which means that the 1 week leading up to the party — the one where I had planned to do all of the planning and prepping — is going to essentially be nonexistant. I’m going to be rushing to work super early in the mornings and staying late at dinners and events at night. I will miss bedtimes. And I will be working my butt off. Benjamin will be eating frozen food. It’s just the way it goes.

Why we decided to put the party the day after my longest week of the year, I’ll never know. Oh wait, yes I do… it was our only free weekend until the middle of October. Already. How does that happen so far in advance?!

Anyway, now I’m trying to get some of the planning done early so that I’m not stressed about the party after that long week of being stressed about work. The most important part of this process is letting go of my visions of perfection and handmade everything and just BUYING THINGS. Even if they are not perfect.

Owen will not ever know the difference.

Benjamin is out of town again this week (sigh), so my plan is to make these:

and this:

And figure out a menu. The “theme”, if you can call it that, is Happy Hour. Remember our invitation?

Bottles + Snacks = Happy Hour. So my idea is to have everything labeled as either bottles or snacks, and have appropriate things for the adults and the kids.

And rainbow cake. Lots of rainbow cake.

More inspiration on my Pinterest page.

What’s the best theme party you’ve ever been to? Any great “do ahead” ideas to make my party go smoothly after a long, hard week?


14 responses to “She Says… Party Prep

  1. Can you ship me some rainbow cake please?

    Also, I tried to make those same stupid poofy things (Martha Stewart, right?) and ended up tossing them all. Stupid things. 🙂

    I got take out for Faith’s party. Best decision ever and everyone was happy with the food. All I did for her party was buy paper plates and clean. 😛

  2. The pom poms are SO easy & the garland will be a great first sewing project for you!! I just made both of these!

  3. Bake the cake ahead. Freeze the layers. Once each one is frozen, wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap and slide it in a freezer bag. It is easier to ice the frozen cake anyway, plus you can have it baked before life gets so busy! Pull it out the night before the party to ice it and allow it to thaw. Oh, you may know this, but to make purple cake, don’t try to mix red and blue food coloring. It will be gray, be sure to just go ahead and buy purple food coloring.

    Have fun!

  4. @Kristy, AWESOME, awesome advice. I hadn’t even thought of that. Here I was thinking I would be staying up all night baking a cake on Friday night. You are a genius.

  5. Set the table a day (or even 2 days) in advance. That way you have one less thing to do the day of…

  6. I can’t wait to see how that rainbow cake comes out! @Kristy is a smart lady with the freezing advice! I would’ve been up all night baking too.

  7. I was running around like a crazy person for my daughter’s first birthday party in July. Best advice – ask for help. 🙂 Lots of it.
    Second best – try to place out all of your serving dishes so you aren’t running around at the last minute figuring out what goes where. Also I did the crafty projects at night and did all of the food/cleaning/etc items the day before. Good luck! I am sure it will be great!

  8. Give me a task to do! That’s what Grandma’s are for!

  9. Hi Kate!
    ITA, w/GRANDMA 🙂

    I used this recipe–> ( for our Son’s 1st, however, since your little buddy has allergies, you can always subsitute or just make this for all of your guests & make a diff. one for your little O. It was time consuming, but I had a great time making it & Everyone Loved it!
    Another idea, is to make Happy Birthday Icecream Cupcakes(where you bake cake batter in cake cones & you ice them to where they look like icecream on top)!! They’re fun & inventive & if you’re expecting/having a LOT of kids at the celebration, then this is right up your alley!

    Again, you can find a ton of ideas on constantchatterdotcom -in the family threads!

  10. I also plan to do the pompoms and garland for Bennett’s party. I’ve heard with the pompoms to wait to “poof” them because if you put them down anywhere they will flatten. However, if you poof them and then hang them right up they will likely be fine.

  11. I did the pompoms for my bean’s 1st party….they are so super easy. I made a couple at a time on the nights I wasn’t busy leading up to the party. Loved the look. Definitely ask for help…I had house guests, was running around like crazy trying to do it all….finally put them to work the morning of….best decision ever! Have fun!

  12. In my book, decorations + lots of prep = stress. We do birthdays (at least while they are young and we can get away with it!) by following this equation: buy beer, grill burgers, and open a few bags of chips. And make a kick-a$$ cake. Not Martha Stewart worthy, but also very easy and stress free. The focus is the on the friends instead of the food, which works for us! Good luck!

  13. Looks like you have some great ideas! 9/10/11 is a big day for me as well–that is th due date for our little girl!

  14. FYI you can buy those Martha pom pom things at Michael’s too! And a tip for any birthday decorations you make – don’t make them age/year-specific, so you can use them year after year. As a kid we had this cheap cardboard “happy birthday” garland printed with foil letters, and I became so attached to it. It’s like it wasn’t anyone’s birthday unless this ratty old thing was hanging in the kitchen! I think we even had it out for my birthdays in high school. It was a really nice tradition, and it marked the years passing for me to go up to the attic and bring it down each time. I plan to sew one for us out of fabric so it will last longer 🙂

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