Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birthday Party Planning

So I’m trying to plan Cayden’s first birthday party. I don’t know where the past 12 months have gone but it’s been a blur. I’ve decided to keep going with the safari theme. It was the theme for my shower, the theme for his crib bedding, it will be the theme for his room when he moves to a regular bed. I just love it. I got a catalog in the mail from 1st Wishes and it was so timely because it got me thinking about what I need to get. I set a budget of $150...which still really seems like a lot to me for a 1st birthday party…and so far it looks like decorations and the cake are going to eat up most of that. I was tempted to get a birthday decoration pack from 1st Wishes but I honestly think that for $60, the pack should include a birthday banner. Plus, there were quite a few things in the pack, like the invitations, that I knew I wouldn’t use and I did not like the fact that all the napkins had the giraffe on it.  I would much prefer lion napkins or even a mix of animals. Love the lion though.

So, I’m currently trying to order a few things a la carte and will probably go to the dollar store to get some coordinating items like napkins, cups, and dessert plates. So, my order subtotal is currently $26.75 for a personalized birthday banner, 16 dinner plates, and 6 balloons with “1st” on them and a #1 candle. This is still a little steep for me. Most of the total is the banner and I keep trying to rationalize it by saying my baby will only be 1 once. But, is that any reason to spend money all willy nilly. Especially when he won’t remember it?

Another issue I have is the cake. As tasty as Publix cakes are, they are loaded with crappy ingredients. I just do not want to feed that to my baby, so I’ve looked into making his birthday cake. I’ve been testing out a few cakes on him to see which one he’ll like. So far, I’ve tried a buttermilk cake with cream cheese icing. I have made this cake in the past for potlucks at work and for Christmas dinner and it has gotten raves. What did my baby think? He took one bite, chewed it for about two seconds and then crawled away. Next, I tried a plain cheesecake, same thing. One bite and he was done. Then I tried chocolate cake with chocolate icing. This one got three bites so he liked this a little bit more than the other one but it still didn’t thrill him. I’m going to try carrot cake next and I’m hoping that this one’s a winner. I’d hate to give him a birthday cake that he won’t enjoy.

Using this cake as my inspiration, I went to Michael’s this past weekend to price the things I would need to decorate the cake. At last tally, I was near $30 just for the decorations and cupcake cups. This is without even factoring in the cost of making the cake.  The sugar animals stuck on the side are $5.99 for a pack of 8, I think.  I would need at least 2 packs.  The fact that the decorations alone will cost more than if I just went to the store and bought a cake is a pretty big deterrent.  But, I am committed to making this a special day for my boy.  I'm currently trying to think of a few ways to cut down the cost some.  I know nixing the cupcakes is one way.  That's $7 I've saved right there not having to buy the cute cupcake holders. I also think I'd prefer to bake the cake in a #1 pan instead of having a round cake.  That would eliminate the need for the #1 candle.  But how would I write "Happy Birthday" on such a narrow space?

So, for now, my decorating budget of $30, has ballooned to more like $45 and my cake budget seems to be increasing the more I look around because everything is so cute.  Although I've set a budget of $150, I'm challenging myself to do the whole thing for $100 or less....food, decorations, cake, everything.  The only thing that's certain at this point is that the picture cake topper is a must have.  I absolutely love it.

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