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Emma Joyce

I'm a new mom who likes to share her secrets and tricks. In my free time, I read books and write for Smooth Decorator blog.

Awesome Ideas for Your Baby’s First Birthday Party

Congratulations! – you’ve survived the first year of what was probably the longest time in your life, and now you want to celebrate. The first birthday party is the most important party in your child’s life, and you should make it the most memorable one too. Your little one is growing, and so is your family, and there’s no better reason to gather all your friends and family and celebrate everything you’ve gone through. Any new parent will agree that bringing their little bundle of joy back from the hospital feels like it was yesterday. After all the sleep you’ve lost, long nights, spilled milk and washed clothes, it’s time to relax and plan that birthday bash. There are a lot of things you need to pay attention to, but don’t stress and don’t waste too much energy. This checklist will guide you through the most important things and help you get everything done.
 
The theme
Of course, the most obvious themes are princesses and cartoon characters for girls and boys respectively. Sure, these are great choices and there are plenty of things you could do with them, but maybe you should be more creative. Try to think of a theme that will be a sum of the previous year – maybe your little one likes dancing, watching sports, spending time outdoors or even dressing up. Based on that, try to think of a theme that will center on that activity and it’ll be the perfect option.
If you like to plan ahead, think of a few connected themes which you can use in the upcoming years – recreating different chapters from your favorite childhood book, such as The Little Prince, for example. It will be great to reminisce all those memories once your child grows into a teenager.
 
The outfit
Although it’s cute to see a little boy dressed up in a shirt and a bow tie and a little girl in a princess dress, maybe you should think about different options. When it comes to boys, dress them up as their favorite cartoon character or let them pick some interesting costume. For the girls, take them shopping and let them pick a few combinations themselves, and see which one will be right for the party.
Parents often pay too much attention to making their children look adorable, but they’ll look happier dressed in something they chose than in something they’re not comfortable wearing. It’ll definitely be great to look at those photos when your kid is all grown up.
 
The food
When it comes to food, there are two food groups you have to pay attention to – the adults and the kids. When it comes to the children, talk to the parents just to make sure there are no allergies or different diets. Any parent will be thrilled with this thoughtful gesture and maybe you’ll start a trend among your group of friends.
Picking food for the grown-ups is much easier because they’ll probably eat whatever is on the table. Don’t settle for finger food, but opt for something unusual like a barbecue, and you can even make it fancier by trying out some different barbecue styles by regions to make it more interesting. Everyone will love your idea and enjoy the amazing food.
 
The cake
Needless to say that you’ll need the best birthday cake in the world to make your kid’s first birthday party even more special. Unlike your wedding cake where you make the design clean and elegant, here it’s time to go all out and include as much as you can. One way is to create a cake replicating your child’s favorite cartoon or book character. You can even make a 3D cake which the kids will surely find interesting.
Other creative ideas you can explore include making a Lego cake, a cupcake cake the children can help you decorate, a cake that replicates your kid’s first doodles or an interactive cake teaching the children some new things.
 
The decorations
This is optional, of course, and it all depends on your time and budget. If you have enough time, you can make some DIY decorations in accordance with the party theme. A great way to really celebrate the first year is to hang your family pictures all across the venue and let the people write down birthday wishes for your youngster. You can even use some items from the nursery and display them. You can create space for your children and make it suitable for birthdays.
Be sure to include some party games to keep the kids entertained – make a creative area, a gaming or even a reading spot. You’ll be amazed by how little it takes to keep the children busy!
 
The invitations
Store-bought invitations are perfectly fine and these can be the quickest way to finish this part, but you should think about creating your own ones as well. One of the options is to include your child in the design with a little personalized photo of the birthday boy or a girl. Who won’t melt down after seeing a doodle in different colors and keeping it on their fridge after the party?
Apart from that, you can play with the design yourself and add different pictures from different periods of your child’s first year and leave the last part blank. Simply add a message like “Me and you at my first birthday party” so that everyone can fill in this last blank space with a photo taken at the party. This will be a true showstopper!
 
All you have left to do is prepare yourself for the next period of your life and enjoy the new things that come along. Organize a photoshoot before the party starts and think of it as a first family celebration where you’ll start creating new memories. You can even make it interesting and recreate some of your favorite first photos and make it into a family tradition – just imagine a pile of the same photos twenty years from now! Parents always enjoy this special day, but they can’t help but feel a little bit sad because they realize that their baby is growing fast. However, that also brings new benefits and new things to learn.

How to Style a Nursery: Dos and Don’ts

Expecting a child is undoubtedly the biggest joy for loving couples. Therefore, even though you may still feel excited and a bit scared in a good way, you should definitely start thinking about prepping your home for the arrival of the new family member. The most important thing you need to tend to is the nursery. Your baby will need personal space to rest properly, but at the same time, you need to create a cozy space you can use when you’re taking care of your baby. In that respect, you may find the following tips very useful.
Start preparing in time
You don’t really have to start designing the nursery as soon as you find out you’re expecting, but it would still be very practical and responsible to start with the organization and design as soon as possible. In general, the nursery has to be completely finished at least a month before the baby is born, so that there is no toxic residue lingering around from the paint or wallpaper, and the whole room is fully equipped for the baby’s comfort. Not to mention that this will be an enormous task off of your baby prep list during the final month of pregnancy when you need to relax and rest as much as possible.
Nursery furniture
The most important thing about the furniture you need for the nursery is that it’s sturdy and durable. Make sure that the coating and paint of the furniture don’t contain any toxic ingredients. Then you can make your search more specific and look into different possibilities.
For instance, a crib is definitely not something that will last your child for long, but it is a necessity and it can be multifunctional if you opt for a crib that can be transformed into a toddler’s bed. There’s absolutely no compromise with a changing table though since one of these will be a lifesaver, especially if it has proper storage available underneath the table surface. On the other hand, when it comes to the wardrobe and chair, you can choose pieces that can be useable by your child even when they’re a teenager. Look for wardrobes that have plenty of storage room. Also, you will need a comfy chair for sitting when breastfeeding or cuddling with your child.
Make the nursery comfy
You don’t want the nursery to feel empty or cold in any way. In that respect, even though you should never clutter this space up with trinkets, you can still make it cozy and warm. With that in mind, the first thing you can do is enriching the room with textures. Breezy and light yet cute and interesting curtains as well as a nice armchair throw will do the trick. Not to mention the possibilities you have when it comes to comfy and soft round rugs for the center of the room. Furthermore, you can get a CD player that will play soothing music for both you and your child. Also, don’t forget about hanging baby crib toys and soothers. In case you want to install a floating shelf, you can arrange some stuffed toys as well, but don’t go overboard since these are dust collectors and may cause allergies.
Other essentials
The child needs natural as well as proper artificial light. This is why your curtains need to be light and breezy, so that the light can freely get into the room through the windows. On the other hand, bright lighting solutions are not the best choice for artificial lighting in a nursery. However, the brightness will be necessary from time to time, so it would be best to install a dimmer switch for the nursery. Also, make sure that the heating system works properly but the crib is not too close to the heat source.
When it comes to painting, make sure that you choose non-toxic paint. In general, pastel and monochromatic tones are perfect for a nursery. You also have the freedom to add wallpaper with an interesting pattern so that you make the whole space livelier without actually having to hang too much wall art or adding other decorative bits that will only make the room look messy.
Don’t forget that your nursery has to be clean, with plenty of floor space for you and your child to move freely. So make sure you analyze the designated nursery room for the best furniture layout so that you don’t have any trouble with placement and organization later on.