Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Annnnnnnnnnd we're one...almost...

Sorry I've been MIA for a bit.  Had so much to do to get ready for little man's 1st b-day party!
His actual b-day is tomorrow but we've been rocking out the parties for a few days already.  Yeah, birthdays are treated sorta like Hanukkah around here...we celebrate all week...sometimes even longer.

For those of you following me on twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/21stcentgoddess), you already know I promised a post RE decorating and planning for a 1st bday party...without breaking the bank.  Sort of a follow up to my rant about moms who blow their load on baby's parties.  So here it is, in all it's photo heavy glory (what else would you expect from me?)!

1st Bday banners are hokie.  Yes I had one, but it was passed down and I totally would not have spent the money on them.  My idea (well sort of my idea...it was borrowed from someone else who borrowed it from someone else who ... you get the point)
Hang photos!  What says "let's celebrate my child's life" more than images of said child?  NOTHING!  That question was rhetorical.  
 I chose to go with a polaroid look.  I freakin LOVE how it turned out!
So check out how I did it:

Achieving 'Polaroid Look' Photographs:
1.  In Photoshop (or another photo editing program) open a new 4x6 inch 300 dpi (or smaller but no smaller than 100 dpi for best image quality) file.  
2.  Use the ruler option to mark in 1/2 inch from each side and from the bottom.  
3.  Use the ruler option to mark up from the bottom 2 1/2 inches (this should create a square within the 4x6 with a heavy white area under it)
4.  Choose the images you want, copy & paste it into this 4x6 file (your file MAY need to be sized down to fit within the square)
5.  Using the Marquee tool, highlight any areas outside of the square and delete them (make sure you don't delete any important parts of the photo...like a face...DUH!)
6.  Save the file with whatever name you choose.  
7.  Repeat 

I did this with 3 images for each month that Moose has been alive. 

Obtaining Prints:
Admittedly I used Walgreens because I was in a rush.  I will NOT make that mistake again.  The color was all over the place...I  literally had some images where the white frame was pink...and a number of images were too dark to even use.  Live and learn.
Normally I use mpix.com but I didn't have time to order them and didn't want to pay for rush shipping.  You can also upload your images to other local photo shops like Wolf & Ritz Camera, etc.  
Once you have your prints:
To make it look like a true polaroid you will need to cut 1 inch off the bottom of each image.  I would suggest using an art cutter of some sort to get a straight edge, but if you don't have one scissors will suffice.

Stringing The Images:
It's not rocket science.
1.  Use a single hole punch to make holes
2.  Choose a fabric ribbon so it moves freely and does not make the swag too stiff
3.  Tie ribbons in corners
4.  I used tape to hang them up...I'm lazy.
*note:  I chose to use 2 prints from each month.  I used the extra prints in another project that you will see further down the post.  
TOTAL COST OF PROJECT (including all 39 prints, tape, & ribbon):  $10

When I was a baby, my  mother purchased these solid silver circus animal candle holders.  She handed then down to me for Moose.  I love them!  

Who needs expensive decorations when ribbon is so freakin cheap?  Yeah it's the holidays and yes the lights were up as Christmas decor, but strings of lights can add quite a bit of cheer to a party and lets face it, babies love fun things to look at light lights.  

I chose Black & Orange because they are Harley Davidson colors and threw in blue because well...I didn't want the place to look like a Halloween celebration.  
I made loose easy floppy bows because Moose is a boy and doesn't need foofy decorations.  
Total cost of ribbon to make 10 big bows:  $4

Behind the table you can see the 1st b-day banner that was passed down to us.  I will be passing it along to another friend.  I never would have thought of recycling party decor but it was a great idea.
For table decorations, buffet and server decorations, etc I used his toys.  Since the party was themed "motors", we used motorcycles, trucks, cars, tractors, and machines.  

Total cost of table/server decortations:  $0

 These photos were the 3rd set of monthly images that I had printed.  The banner would have been too long with all the images included so I used the remaining photos to hang around the room on furniture and walls.
The cost of these photos and ribbon is $0, they were figured into the above costs.

Ribbons do not have to be made into fancy bows.  Use the ends of the ribbons as laid out decorations to add color to your tables!  Sit your plates and serve-ware right on top of them.

Outdoor decor was also handed down from my friend.  Cost:  $0
Even if you have no one to hand stuff like this down to you, printing a few big #1's off your computer and using ribbon to decorate your entry way won't run you more than $5 between paper, ink and ribbon or streamers!

Moose's moosey cake was brought  by my mother in law, Liz.  Most amazing cake ever!  I love it!  The cake is from Jarosch Bakery in Elk Grove Village, IL.  They're amazing!  Since I didn't buy the cake I don't know the exact price.  What I DO know is you can get a cake big enough to serve 40 people at most local grocers for about $30...if you don't like the basic designs they do, buy some of this stuff:  and decorate it yourself!  That's what I did for his smash cake.  The icing in 2 colors cost me less than $6.
So lets say you're pinching pennies and buying the cake but decorating it yourself...Cake Cost:  $40

Want a smash cake???   Easy Peasy.  I bought Duncan Hines mix at the store for $1 and done.  Check with your local bakery.  A lot of them give a free smash cake with purchase of a cake for guests!
Cake Smash cost:  $10 including all ingredients and decorating frosting

Last but not least was the issue of food.
We had about 30 people over the course of the evening...some wanderers and stragglers came late...some people were here early...a few stayed most of the evening.
I didn't serve dinner because the party was planned for 3-6pm
We provided a handful of 2 liters of pop (99 cents each)
Other people brought other drinks to share.
I made appetizers.  My little guy LOVES Mexican food...so that's what I went with.

My Menu:

Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Cake ($7)
2 large flour tortillas
2 T butter
2 8oz bricks of cream cheese
1-5 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (drained and chopped finely) (I used 2 and should have used more for more flavor, I recommend going with 5)
3 eggs lightly beaten
Brown tortillas in oven on a baking sheet (aprox 10 mintues on 350)
Run them through food processor to create crumbs
Mix 2 cups of crumbs with 2 T butter and press into a pre-greased 9" springform pan
Mix softened cream cheese and peppers and eggs and press into pan.
Bake on 350 for 1 hour or until center is set
Remove from oven, allow to cool for 1 hour, loosen sides with a spatula
Allow to cool the rest of the way (I made this the day before)
Place in fridge for 4 hours to cool completely 
remove 1 hour prior to serving and allow to come to room temp
Excellent if served with fresh cilantro and sour cream

Olive Salsa ($5)
3 14oz jars of Italian style diced tomatoes
1/2 cup black olived (finely chopped)
1/2 cup green olived (finely chopped)
1/2 c fresh stemmed cilantro
1 T basil or balsamic vinegar
Mix well, chill, serve with tortilla chips

Enchilada Hot Dip ($4)
One small package enchilada seasoning
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups Mexican or Taco style shredded cheese
Mix seasoning, cream cheese and sour cream well
Coat 9x13 glass pan with spray or oil.
Dump mix into pan
Top with shredded cheese
Warm in oven on 350 degrees aprox 15-20 minutes or until cheese is barely starting to brown
Serve with tortilla chips

Cost of chips to go with recipes above, and chips/dip for non-mexican food fans:  $12
My other mother in law brought spinach puffs and bagel dogs (cost of those pre-packaged is aprox $15)

Total food & drink cost:  $50

The total cost for our 1st bday party for Moose:  $115.00 (plus presents for him from us)

I seriously see no reason to spend a fortune.  Did we have our entire house decorated to the nines with matching everything and rented tables and chairs, no.  Did we have a clown/pony rides/dunk tank, no.  Did we have an amazing evening with loved ones and a time that we will never forget?  Hell yes!  Oh and one last thing:

Party's over?  Clean up crew needed?  I will rent mine out to you for $10/hr...trust me she's quick!

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