by Jennifer Kirkpatrick
The day has arrived, quicker than you could ever imagine, your baby's first birthday! You want to make this first celebration of life fun, significant and memorable for both your little one and your guests, but how? We suspect you still find it challenging to shower and dress by noon, let alone plan an elaborate complicated party.
Your baby's first birthday should be a day more about fun and celebration and less about stress for Mom, so we're going to give you a few ideas to create affordable, unique, once-in-a-lifetime party memories in a snap -- and free-up more time to clean-up the mountainous piles of diapers, wipes tubs, toys, and peas splattered on the wall next to the high chair before your guests arrive!
Chances are you went and purchased a digital camera sometime 'round week 13. Admit it. You have a ton of pictures on your camera that you haven't yet uploaded, right? Now is the time!
If you want to get really ambitious use some cute font from your word processing software, insert your favorite picture, and print out "CD covers" to create additional CDs or DVD's for your guests to take home. If you need help a quick Google search will give you some great pointers.
Let your guests write "guest book" entries on a canvas and create a piece of art your baby can keep for a lifetime. Any craft store will sell art canvases (those for acrylic paints work best) you can use for this project. The same store will usually have open wooden frames (no glass) that fit the canvas size you choose.
Decide on your color scheme: dark blue and silver, dark red and gold, or light pink and purple, for example.
For the background, choose any of the multitude of acrylic paints (hint: The most expensive isn't necessarily the best; you shouldn't pay more than $5 per tube for this project, and one larger tube will paint a large canvas).
After the party, use the wooden wedges provided with the canvas, place the canvas in the frame, and with a few whacks with a hammer you have professional looking framed art!
At the same craft store, go to the scrap booking section. Before you do this however remember that you could seriously go nuts, so unless you want to spend a chunk of Junior's college fund we suggest picking a theme and keeping it to a couple items.
After the party, glue the notes into the scrapbook. It will be a blast to go back and read the notes 17 years later!
A final idea is to ask each of your guests to bring one inexpensive item to add to a time capsule to be opened on baby's 18th birthday. Allow them to choose anything they want and only place the restriction that it can fit in a sandwich-sized Ziploc baggie -- you'll be happily surprised at what they come up with! Use some of the leftover card stock and label each of the items, seal them up and place them in a sealed box.