Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A First Birthday Tea Party - The Food

I love to cook. One of the most exciting parts of throwing a party is deciding on the menu. Once I settled on having a tea party I started brainstorming what food I was going to serve.

I wanted a mix of savoury and sweet, and I wanted it to be single serve food. I often make food single serving for parties as I find it is less messy. There is nothing worse than being the person that is left with the scrapings at the bottom of a bowl. With single serve food you know everyong gets a serving, and it is all of the same quality. It is also great to pack away at the end of the party. I don't like being left with a lot of leftover food at the end of a party so I always send people home with a little 'doggie bag'.

I tend to over cater on sweets because that is what I love to eat. However my Mum and Sister convinced me to serve more than just sandwiches for savoury food. I am lucky I did because all the savoury food when very quickly.

The Menu I decided on was

  • Finger Sandwiches - Chicken and herb, Cucumber and cream cheese, Creamy Egg
  • Mini Quiche - Spinach, Lorraine and Roast Vegetable
  • Meatballs - Served with a tomato sauce
  • Scones, Jam and Cream
  • Berry Cheesecake
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Lemon Tarts

I bought the mini quiche and the meatballs so I could focus on the other food. My sister made the sandwiches, and my Mum made the scones. The desserts I made myself. I looked arond and different recipes and found ones that were simple, and that did not have to be cooked. They were all mix and chill type recipes. This was great as I was able to prep them all very quickly and have them in the fridge ready to serve.

Setting up the food table was lots of fun. I was able to put all of my own cake stands, crystal bowls and platters to good use. Everything I used I already owned except for the pink spotted towers. Those I bought on sale for $2 each. I also had a beverage table where I set out a urn of boiled water, tea cups and tea/coffee. We also had some iced tea and soft drinks. It ended u being quite a hot day so we were glad we brought the cold drinks.

I decorated the table with some pretty tea pots I owned filled with flowers. They were really simple, but added some colour to the table.

I also had a table with some treats for the kids on them. I was making sure that I had healthy options for the kids and babies. For the kids and babies I served

Banana and Blueberry muffins - Sugar free
Fruit cut into flower shapes - Rockmelon, Watermelon anf Honeydew melon
Jelly cups - Natural colours and no preservatives (From Aldi)
Fairy Bread
Cookie Pops - Chocolate Chip cookies with smarties on a stick

The best part about the food was that it was all made ahead of time and was set up just as guests started to arrive. This way there was food that was ready to eat as soon as they arrived, and I was also able to enjoy the party.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A First Birthday Tea Party - The decorations

My daughter turned 1 at the end of March. I am one of those people that loves to throw a party. I love to cook the food, plan the decorations and make as much as possible myself. I had been planning what kind of party I would have from the moment Abigail was born. My love of all things party has only been exasperated by the discovery of Pinterest!

I knew that I wanted a very girly theme. I decided on an afternoon tea party. This would be a good way to work around the little lady's nap time, as well as keeping it casual and simple. I figured that all the food could be made ahead of time so that I would not spend the whole party prepping and serving food. I wanted something that allowed me to enjoy the day with family, friends, and of course, the Birthday Girl.

Having a tea party would also mean I was able to put my collection of tea cups and crystal ware to good use. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on decorations. I wanted to be able to use what I had as much as possible.

For invitations I had grand plans to design and print my own invites.  I did design them, however my laptop 'died' before I was able to get them printed. By the time I reordered Adobe Photoshop and redesigned them I was running out of time to get them printed and sent out. Instead I ended up making an event page on Facebook. We were lucky that everyone except great grandparents had Facebook accounts, and used them often. While this is not what I had planned, it worked well. I made the event page graphic the invite I had designed and had all the information on the event page. It actually was a very efficient way to get the information for the party out, and also keep track of who was coming. I kept it private so only those invited could see the event. Even better was the cost involved $0!

I kept the decoration fairly simple. I had my Mum make me a bunch of tissue paper pom poms that I had been coveting on Pinterest. Each pom pom used a packet of $1 tissue paper. All up I think we spent about $15 on tissue paper to make the pom poms. I also hung paper lanterns that I had left over from another party a few years ago. The 'backdrop' for the food table was an old lace curtain that I had kept from when we moved into our home. I was also lucky enough to have white plastic tablecloths with a lace design leftover from my baby shower.

We hired some white plastic chairs so we had enough seating scattered around our (small) backyard. This cost about $30 to hire, but it was worth it knowing that we had enough seating for people if they wished to sit down. We also set up our playpen with toys for the babies, and kids tables with games for the older kids.

I made party bags for all the kids at the party. I found cheap white 'popcorn cups' at a local discount shop. They were $2 for 8. I also had purchased the number 1 cards from there ($2). I had planned on using them in a banner, but found they looked really good on the front of the party bags.

I had different items for the babies and for the older kids. For the older kids I had a balloon, a container of bubbles ($3 for 6) , a little pot of playdough ($3 for 8). I also added in a decorated sugar cookie. For the babies I had a balloon, a sugar cookies (for Mum) and a pop up book ($2).  All up I only spent about $3 per party bag. The older kids really loved playing with their bubbles through the day. I liked being able to give something useful to the kids and the babies.

I also had the obligatory photograph timeline celebrating my Daughter's first year. I used left over white boxes and attached photos to the front. I then put a glass into each with some water and put a flower into each. It was really simple but added a nice personal touch. The photos I printed myself on the home printer.

When everything was set it it looked really lovely. Everyone commented on how pretty it all looked when they entered.

Using what you already have and checking local discount stores can help you achieve a great looking party for very little cost. Do you have any cost saving decoration tips?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mother's Group

When I fell pregnant I pondered whether I would join a Mother's group.  I delved briefly into a very popular baby and parenting forum. What I saw there I did not like. There were so many women attacking each other over their parenting choices. Full blown arguments would be sparked over what age you should switch your child from rearward facing carseat to forward facing. The attacks were at times deeply personal and scathing.

The experience left me wondering if I would want to join a real life mother's group. Would it be the same? I find women can be so brutal to one another when it comes to mothering. Everything you do is judged, and often the information is conflicting. I certainly did not want to join some clicky, judgemental group. I felt I had enough women around me to give me any support or guidance I needed, so did I really need a mothers group? I decided that no, I would not need one.

However fate would play it's own card. When my Husband and I attended our Pre natal class we found most of the couples there lovely and engaging. A few of them we really clicked with. We had a great time in class with our brilliant, informative midwife. At the end of our last class we set a date to get together once all the babies were born and meet again. And meet again we did.

Four of us enjoyed the catch up so much that we have caught up (almost) fortnightly ever since.

This group of women have been wonderful. We have shared the first year of our child's life with each other. It has been a pleasure to watch each other's child grow. Together we have swapped tip while commiserating over sleepless nights and teething issues. We have laughed over stories of vomit, poop and baths (some stories have involved all three!). Most of all we have supported each other through this amazing time.

There have been no attacks on each other, no arguments over the 'best' way to mother. We have all made different choices to each other. Our motto has been ' Do what you think is right for you and your baby'. In doing this we have accepted each other's choices, even if they were not the same as our own.

In the end it has shown me that mothers groups can be empowering and valuable. You just need to find the right group of mothers and leave judgement at the door!

Monday, May 21, 2012


When I last posted I was 35 weeks pregnant. I now have a nearly 14 month old, Abigail. Clearly I did not continue to write. Instead I became swept up in the beauty of Motherhood.

I used to be very doubtful of my ability to be a Mother. I questioned if I would be any good at it. Would I know what to do? How to comfort a child when crying, get them to sleep. Would I know what to feed them?

What I have discovered is a life far richer than I could have imagined.

Neither my Husband or I were expecting the intense fierce love that would sweep through us the moment our Daughter was born. She came into the world with her eyes open. She gazed so intently at us both. She was our Daughter, and we were her Parents.

She was a determined little thing from the get go. As she has grown older I have delighted in watching her personality develop. Now at nearly 14 months she is a powerhouse of personailty. She is super determined and strong willed. She often knows what she wants, and most of all, that she wants it right away. She is quick to laugh and smile, and seems to find amusement in most things. She happily walks around babbling away and making noise.  As you can tell, I adore this little girl.

Sometimes I just want to press pause on life and savour the moment. I want to record all the little things in my memory.

Such as how magical that moment felt when she was born. I want to always savour the feeling of love and family that filled the birthing suite when both our families piled into the room a scant 30 minutes after Abbie was born. There were tears of joy as she was welcomed to the world by the people that love her most.

My life has changed. I have a new title to add to my list. Mother.