Monday, September 9, 2013

Hunter's First

While planning Hunter's first birthday party, I had three S's in mind: I wanted it to be simple, stress-free, and special.

Simple because, well, we're simple folks. One of the things I'm really adamant about is for Hunter to learn to appreciate the simple things in life. I don't want him to be the kind of person for whom happiness is defined by possessions or price tags. I want him to distinguish between needs and wants, to choose to live below his means.

In that case, why throw him a party at all, right? Well, because it's not so much a party as a thanksgiving. We, his parents and grandparents and immediate family, are the ones primarily responsible for filling his needs and bringing him up, but we would have had a harder time of it without the help, support and encouragement of other people. The party was really our [simple] way of saying "thank you for being part of Hunter's life."

With that in mind, we decided to just hold the party in our backyard (it's really more of a sideyard). We have trees there, and if you sort of squint, and tilt your head just so, and (most important) really stretch your imagination, you can almost believe you're in the woods, so we decided on "woodland picnic" for our theme.

Hunter and Tatay mingling with the early guests

Hunter's guests included cousins, neighbors, and Nanay and Tatay's friends

The invitation card was quite easy to make; I didn't need to be a Photoshop expert. Basically, all I did was do a Google search for a nice woodland-ish image, erase a few things in Photoshop, and add the text. As awesome as it would have been to distribute printed copies of this cute [if I may say so myself] little invite, the necessity just didn't come up. In the spirit of "simple" and "ato-ato lang," I did a lot of inviting through text and Facebook. And, hey, less carbon footprint and all that, right?

Stress-free. I wanted the party to be enjoyable for all, including the ones preparing for it. That pretty much ruled out our cooking the food ourselves -- think of the prep time before the party, and all the dishes to wash after. Calling in the caterers can be costly but, I think, worth it. I've always loved the food at Maria Lina, so we booked them, and they were great. In addition to the catered food, Aivan and Manang Dita prepared hotdogs-on-sticks, and we ordered cupcakes from Bebong's.

For our party favors, I actually wanted to make a customized loot bag: maybe a bag that can be reused as a small baby bag for going out with the little tyke, or, at the very least, a muslin tote bag with "Hunter" iron-transferred onto the side. However, I wasn't able to start (or actually think of) this project early enough, and while I could conceivably still have made it, cramming would have made the last few days before the party super-stressful, so I opted out.

Instead, I paid a visit to the ever-reliable Manalili area and found bags that were on sale for P10. They were available in all sorts of colors; I went with navy blue. In keeping with my original idea to hand out reusable loot bags, I added a "please reuse" plea to the bottom of the tags, which I created from patterns I found at (It's a site you can get happily lost in for hours.)

As to the loot bag's contents, I tried to put in a mix of arts/crafts materials, toys, and edible treats. I did make the mistake of seriously underestimating the number of kids who would be attending and had to improvise on the contents for some of the loot bags.

Finally, I wanted the party to be special. A grand gesture -- like, oh, taking a hundred kids and their families to Disneyland Paris -- was out of the question, so I made sure I put in the little touches. I went for a DIY approach: made my own bunting from assorted wrapping paper that I'd collected over the years, created cupcake toppers out of clipart and popsicle sticks, even printed out labels for the water bottles. While these took time and weren't even necessary, making them was, for me, a labor of love. (And, also, I just really enjoy that stuff.)

Cupcakes from Bebong's are a good deal at P250 a dozen.

Mini-bottles of mineral water jazzed up with homemade labels

Children only turn 1 once, and I'm happy we were able to mark this milestone in Hunter's life with family and friends.


weng said...

ny picture unsay suLod sa Loot bags? ^-^

Ligaya said...

Hehe...lapis and chocolate and stuff... ^_^