Thursday, October 3, 2013

Declan Turns One - What a Year it Has Been!!

It was not that long ago - it seems- that I was woken from a fevered sleep (I had the FLU!!) to a phone call from our son's biological grandmother. She was calling us to let us know that our birth mother was at the hospital and things were moving along quickly. I ran downstairs to tell Gary and we both were immediately full of so many emotions. I was so excited and very upset at the same time that I was sick. We were told we would hear something again as soon as the doctor let them know.

Even with the flu, I got up and threw some things together in our suitcases. I had a feeling I should be prepared so a friend of mine had come over earlier in the week to help me get things packed for Declan. (You were a lifesaver, Carrie!!) I was so glad I listened to my gut feelings. I did as much as I could while feeling so sick and then went back to bed. Gary handled getting the flights and hotel rooms booked. The next day, we were on a plane flying to see our son!!

Fast forward to today and it has been almost a year. It has flown by so fast. Declan had actually outgrown some of his newborn clothes by the time we came back home with him. The growing hasn't stopped and neither has the curiosity.

I began planning his party early on like most moms do I suppose. I thought of a theme and put everything on paper. It became larger than it needed to be. So, at the advice of a friend who plans meals for large numbers of people on weekly basis, I cut the party down to size. (Thank you, Mandy). We now have mainly family who will be invited and a few close friends. Gary's parents are actually going to be in the states for this special day. We are more than excited about that.

So here is the plan in a nutshell:

Theme: Curious George Goes to the Circus (who knew this book was in print in 1984 and is nearly impossible to find?) I just thought Curious George and Vintage Carnival theme went together and Declan loves George.

Book Signing:When Gary and I were married, we had a frame with a photo of us that people could sign. When I threw a baby shower for a friend of mine, I purchased one for her to have her guest sign. When I thought of Declan's party and I found this idea on Apartment Therapy's website {Book Signing}, I loved it!! 

Invitations:Created by me ( I will post photos when they are complete} Printer ran out of ink. Argh!! My inspiration for the invitation came from here {Invite}

Main Food: Since it will be in November, fall food for cooler temperatures are a must. With a carnival theme, that tends to be a little harder. But, we do live in an area where fairs and craft shows are plentiful this time of year. So, I planned to have food that related to the season as well as carnival type foods. (And, of course foods with a banana theme)

-Hot Dogs: Everyone loves a basic hot dog, but different regions of the States dress theirs differently. I decided on two areas to have fixings for - the South to represent Gary and I and where we have lived (Mississippi and Georgia) and Chicago dogs to represent our little man's home state. {Hot Dog Styles Across America} {How to Build A Chicago Hot Dog}

-Chili: Chili may not be a carnival food, but it goes with hot dogs and with the cooler weather, it will be a good addition.

Drinks: This time of year, apple cider is plentiful as is anything pumpkin spiced. So, with a good many adults at the party, there will be coffee and hot cider as well as water and other drinks for the kids. (with fun straws in bright colors)

Straws: $3.00 at Target for 20 (I purchased these using some leftover Gift Cards from his baby shower) This was a little steep, but aren't they pretty?

Dessert: The go all out planner in me wanted a hot chocolate bar and perhaps a make your own banana pop to go with the Curious George theme, but who needs that many sweets along with cake? Okay - you may, but that would be enough to put some people in a sugar coma - me for example. So, dessert will consist of a Curious George themed cake, cupcakes with banana candy on top (maybe) and maybe some banana/chocolate cake style pops (maybe- I am still debating this) or Apple Nachos (ie simplified caramel apples) {Recipe}

We did recently purchase a mini popsicle maker to help Declan with his teething. You can find it here {Mini Pops}. They are called Zoku Slow Pops: Mini Pops Molds. I didn't realize you could use them to make chocolate banana style pops until I received it in the mail - I was happily surprised!

Frozen Mini Pops 

Other foods:We will also have other munchy type foods like chips if people want nachos and/or veggies. 

Party Favors: Popcorn in gift boxes for older guests and animal crackers for younger guests with a label created by me with a thank you message

Oriental Trading Company
Party City
The best price I found for popcorn bags was the Dollar Store at $1.00 for 10. Other places I looked included Party City. $0.99 for a pack of 5. Of course, when I went shopping they had every color except red/white. They were even out of red/white online. So, I turned to Oriental Trading Company. They were $6.00 for 24 of the popcorn holders. The Dollar Store won.

Party Hats: $1.99 for 8 at Target (I purchased these using some leftover Gift Cards from his baby shower)

Utensils and Plates: I purchased plates at IKEA one day when they were having a sale. I couldn't find them on their website anymore with a price. I am pretty sure it was a seasonal thing for a summer luau. They are called the Sommarfint plate. I purchased the white and yellow ones. The top photo shows the accessories ( I posted this for you Holly since you LOVE flamingos). I also bought the small ones in solid yellow for the cake. And, yellow utensils came from the Dollar Tree at $1.00 for a mixed pack of 48 (16 sets of fork/spoon/knife each)

Napkins: Found on sale at Wal-mart in the Clearance bin - $1.00 each (two different patterns- large dots of blue and green and stripes with lots of colors) {See my upcoming post on wrapping silverware in the decor post}

Happy Birthday Banner: Made by me {Birthday Banner}

A Year in the Life of Banner: Made by me {A Year in the Life of Banner} COMING SOON!!

Lessons Learned

What is really important is family and friends getting together to celebrate the life of one very special little boy. 

What else did I learn?  A lot more about Photoshop and Dreamweaver and taking photos. 

How did I stay on budget? By shopping at the Dollar Tree. Also, reuse what you already have when you are planning a theme. Coming up with a plan ahead of time may seem like a lot of work and stress, but it does help with time management and saving money. If I had not thought of the theme early, I would not have been on the lookout for Clearance items that would go with the theme. And, I had time to shop around for the best prices. 

Also, if you are planning for a Mickey Mouse themed party, shop now for black streamers, utensils and cups. Halloween things will go on sale right after Halloween and black and orange are key colors out right now. The same goes for Easter and other holidays. If you want to plan a Princess party, shop for items after Easter in pastel colors. After Christmas, shop for red decor and supplies if you want to plan a Mickey Mouse or Superhero party. Planning ahead can save you lots of time and lots of money. 

Stay tuned for photos of the final set up and shots of the party!! COMING SOON!!

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