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How to Throw a Toddler Birthday Party

Toddler Birthday Party Planning

Planning a birthday celebration for your toddler is not difficult at all . . . when you have a plan. Celebrating a toddler birthday is both exciting for the child as it is for the parents. I know this was the case for our family.

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When our son was born, it was the start of many future celebrations. We couldn’t wait to experience this with our son.

First Time Celebrations

  • First Christmas – we dressed up our son and daughter in a santa onesie for Christmas Mass (cutest thing ever)
  • First Halloween – our son jumped up and down with excitement as a purple dinosaur. He was sick to go out trick or treating so he helped hand out candy.
  • First Easter – bunny rabbits and chocolate
  • First Birthday – the best “firsts”

When you have a child, you want to give them everything.  Half the joy is just watching your child’s eyes light up when they experience something for the first time. 

A Sly Design Photography newborn,
toddler birthday

First 12 Months

The first 12 months are a learning curve for us parents. Babies do not come with a manual. Babies as well as parents are all learning together to cope with each other. They are such precious little beings. You cannot wait to give them everything:

  • teach them how to crawl
  • how to sit up
  • eventually walk
  • eat regular baby food
  • first words
  • first touch
  • The list goes on. 

Then it’s time for their first birthday.  WOW!!  Cake Smash session.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  I actually do it for others.  A Cake Smash!!  A photography session where the birthday child gets to smash a pretty cake to bits.  Hilarious!!  Take my word for it.  As a photographer, I have done a few cake smash sessions.  They can go either way.  You get some children who don’t like to get dirty and then you get some who go to town on the cake.  It’s absolute fun watching, either way. Want to know something funny? 

Cake Smash Session:

A Sly Design Photography, Cake Smash Session for little princess, toddler birthday

Back in the day, no one knew what cake smash photography was.  But my mom made it a point when she sat each of my children in front of their first birthday cake, she put their little hands into the cake to see what they would do.  She actually invited them to smash the cake.  Folks, my mom invented the “Cake Smash”!!  😊 Her and a million other grandmothers and mothers, some 20 years ago. 

Here are some of the things you might want to look into when preparing for your child’s birthday. A few things to just consider. A little helping hand. I went through it twice with a boy and then a girl. Here are a few things I did when planning my child’s birthday.

First Birthday

  • Birthday parties are usually just family and close friends.
  • Go with an age appropriate cake, ex: Disney themed cakes, colour-themed (blue and pink)
  • Matching themed cake plates and plastic cutlery
  • Choose a photographer to have a Cake Smash Session either before or after actual party – will do family portraits as well

Second to Fourth Birthday

  • It will be a different theme: cartoons that they watch
  • Research for your child’s cake baker on social media – so many local mom groups out there eager to help you out
  • Stick with the paper plates matching your theme – easy cleanup
  • Plastic tablecloth of the same theme
  • Helium balloons and regular balloons for the kids to play with
  • Search some games for the kids to play
toddler birthday, create lists, make plans

Fifth – Twelfth Birthday

  • Now they are in the school age.
  • They have just met a whole slew of friends – it’s so adorable to see them intermingle with one another
  • Birthdays are just now becoming a bigger deal to both you and your growing toddler
  • Different themes arise every year – characters your children fall in love with
  • Back in the day my kids loved . . . Shrek, Toy Story, Harry Potter (still popular-more with the parents 😊), Barbies, Princesses (all still popular for little girls) and who can forget the “Justin Bieber” craze. 

Thirteenth – Fifteenth Birthday

  • Enter . . . The Teenage Years . . . yay!! 😊 It wasn’t too bad
  • They want their privacy now
  • You prepare the food and make sure everyone is happy and then you leave the room
  • Then you hear all the giddiness and talking (and screeching) start . . . sheesh !!
  • That’s ok with me … I could use the break from all the preparations
  • at this stage it’s easier just finding a venue like a restaurant, so they can enjoy each others company.
  • click here to find out how to handle older birthdays and more lists

With all this information I have shared with you, may be a little overwhelming. But it really shouldn’t be. All you need to do is to first make a plan, write things down and maybe even create a folder to keep all the information at your fingertips. You can also have this folder to hold receipts and invoices, so you know how much you spent.

Let Me Help You Plan A Toddler Party !

When planning a special event like a Toddler Birthday Party, it may become difficult to keep all your ideas and plans straight. So, I created a couple of lists to help you stay on track.

Download those lists now and start making your plans and budget.


    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
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    I have created for you a couple of spreadsheets to plan out your next event. One of the lists is an invitation list where you will be able to:

    • name of your guests
    • check mark of the invitation sent out
    • who is attending
    • who cannot attend
    • how many adults
    • how many children
    • and a place to write down notes

    Another list I have created gives you the opportunity to budget yourself:

    • list of possible supplies
    • where to buy your supplies
    • amount needed
    • budget
    • actual cost

    I have also created a blank list for you to put the supplies you need if they are a little different then mine.

    Related Posts: How to Plan A Sweet 16 Birthday Party

    Happy Planning folks. Hope I made your planning a little bit less stressful 🙂

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    How To Plan a Sweet 16 Birthday Party

    Planning a Sweet 16 Birthday party

    Unbeknownst to me, having an all out “Sweet 16 Birthday party” (more like extravaganza) was a “thing”.  Huh!!  People . . . it’s exhausting. ☹ When I turned 16 it was like any other birthday.  It was celebrated but not on today’s level.  All I cared about was getting my drivers’ license the day I turned 16 …baby.   I didn’t care about the fancy decorations or the fancy cake.  I just couldn’t wait to start driving. 

    Sweet 16 Birthday

    Million Dollar Family

    When our son was born, we were extremely happy.  But when we were ready to have another, we prayed for a girl this time.  We so wanted one of each.  When we went in for the ultrasound to see what it was going to be, my husband and I prayed for a girl.  Our wish came true.  We were having a girl.  A Girl I can dress up in pretty little dresses.  Teach her how to put on makeup.  (Now, she thinks she’s teaching me … sheesh!!)

    *This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link

    What a treasure.  A million dollar family.  Over the years I have planned so many kids’ birthday parties (check out my post  (How To Throw a Toddler Birthday Party)  for both boys and girls.  Like every mom, I created a themed party for both my son and daughter.  I planned themes from the likes of Shrek to Toy Story . . . from Barbies to Justin Bieber themed parties.  They all ended up fantastic.  The kids loved them.  I love to be creative.

    When planning my daughter’s Sweet 16 Birthday party, that became a whole new world for me.  There were no “Sweet 16 Birthday” parties growing up.  Where do I start.  I knew I had to revert to what I do best … write things down, make lists, make spreadsheets.

    Web Hosting

    Where To Start

    Sweet 16 Birthday
    • Plan a date and time frame – my daughter’s birthday always lands around the March break. A lot of people go away for March break.
    • Invitations – kids these days survive through social media like snapchat or instagram or even texting. So depends how formal you want it to be
    • Theme – is there a theme she wants to go with. Maybe a certain colour theme. My daughter’s favourite colour is red. So we went with a red and black with silver accents.
    • Amount of People – will it be a mix of family and friends or just her friends. My daughter really just wanted “a kids only” party. That was fine. They’re growing up and they need their own fun and privacy.
    • Venue – do you want to hold it in your own home or a special venue. You need to consider how many people she wants to invite. We held it my daughter’s in a private room of a restaurant. Just big enough for her close friends.
    • Food and Drink – you need to plan the menu. I think a simple finger foods is the easiest like pizza, sliders, fries, etc. For drink: pop, juice or water.
    • Decorations – balloons, streamers, backdrop for a photo session. If you are planning at home then you might need theme-coloured plates and napkins and plastic glasses.
    • Cake – this is a special birthday so I think it should be a little more fancier then your usual grocery type cake (not that there is anything wrong with that – I used their themed cakes for every birthday). For this birthday, I found a great lady who does beautiful cakes but nothing overly fancy. My daughter is a simple girl. So we kept it very simple but elegant.
    • Rentals – I was contemplating having her party at home and I looked into renting a couple of cruiser tables and black tablecloths to cover them.  It’s not very expensive.  Even though I did not have it at home, I still had the same effect in our private room.  It was exactly as I pictured it.
    • Party Supplies – these days a lot of us like to diy – I know I do.  If you want to do the decorations yourself start researching ideas and see if you can do it yourself.  I love being creative so I made my own decorations; from the balloon arch to the paper flower backdrop.
    • Other Food – Veggie tray or fruit tray or cookies – if you are having it at home.

    Write It Down

    • There is so much to plan out (yes you have to make a plan)
    • Let’s get organized
    • Let’s face it we cannot remember everything
    • If I think of something I need to write it down (I even have a pad and pen on my nightstand-just in case 🙂 )
    • I always create lists and spreadsheets to keep myself organized
    • There are so many events you need to organize when you have children … (first birthdays, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, christmas parties, etc.)

    Lists and Spreadsheets

    • I have created a couple of lists for you that would come in pretty handy when planning out your celebrations
    • one list is an invitation list to plan out your guests . . . who to invite, who is coming, who cannot make it, etc.
    • the other list is a spreadsheet of all the things you need for the event . . . from decor to food and drink and anything in between.
    • you need a budget before you start and this list can help you with that so you can keep track of everything you buy

    Let Me Help You Plan A Party !


    When planning a special event like a Sweet 16 Birthday Party, it may become difficult to keep all your ideas and plans straight. So, I created a couple of lists to help you stay on track.

    Download those lists now and start making your plans and budget.


      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
      Powered By ConvertKit

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      How To Make Christmas Gift Shopping Less Stressful

      Christmas Planner

      Where has the time gone?

      It wasn’t too long ago that we were decorating the home in autumn colours for Thanksgiving and then Halloween.  My daughter told me that as soon as Halloween is over, she is loading up on Christmas music.  She cannot wait for Christmas.  She loves the holidays, as do I.  Everyone is bright-eyed with a joyful spirit, as we begin to think of the holidays.  From card giving to the Christmas dinner celebrations.

      I want to celebrate our neighbours to the south with their Thanksgiving slowly approaching.  They have it tougher preparing for their Thanksgiving celebrations and the Holiday Season shortly after that.  With the pressures of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in between that.

      It can be overwhelming at times, preparing for the holiday season. But it doesn’t have to be if you have everything under control. And what better way to be organized and in control than to have a plan in action.

      We are preparing for the next Holiday Season that is so close. And I’m sure we are already thinking about Christmas Shopping. 

      What are we going to buy for the family?

      What are we going to buy for our friends?

      What are we going to buy for the neighbours?

      What are we going to buy for the teachers?

      What are we going to buy for the co-workers?

      Are we feeling stressed yet?  Sorry.  It comes with the season.

      To make Christmas time a little less stressful, I have created 4 different

      Christmas Wish Lists


      It will be fun filling out these lists with your family or friends or even co-workers.  I know we had fun at work filling them out with co-workers.  It’s a fun time of year why stress over it.  My daughter is already excited about using them.  She’s 15 and just started working and she is already looking forward to filling out these lists as a family. 


      Gift Exchange:

      If you have small children, you can help them fill out the list. It should be a fun family event for your family.  When you are out Christmas shopping, you will not be circling all the stores wondering what to buy for your family because you have your “LIST” with you. You will not be wasting precious time away from your family when you could have been spending your extra time with your family or perhaps baking cookies for the Holidays.

      Since most of us have everything we need, families with older children would probably find it more beneficial to pool in money to buy a little something special for only one member of your family by doing a “Gift Exchange”

      Whether at work or within your family, “gift exchange” is always a lot of fun. I have created these wish lists for everyone participating in this exchange to write down all the things you wish to receive for Christmas (keeping in mind the dollar amount limit) You should also set an amicable dollar amount for your gift.  You don’t want to receive something more expensive than what you bought for someone. It should be fun, sharing a little something with a co-worker. I’m sure you can come up with a few ideas without going over the specified limit. Maybe aim a little higher dollar figure if it’s in the family.

      Fold up the “wish list”, put your name on it, and put it in a “hat” or bowl and start picking. Have some fun with it. Take a few minutes of your time either on a weekend with family during a special dinner while decorating the tree or with co-workers … maybe create a little impromptu gathering while decorating the Christmas tree, with hot coco and cookies and some Christmas music.

      Don’t forget . . . Keep it a Secret. Bottom line: have some fun with it.


      Subscribe to get our new FREEBIE


      Each one is different

      Let’s have fun with these lists. Find out how by subscribing here

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        5 Ways to Entertain With Less Stress

        entertain with less stress

        Do you love entertaining?

        * This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you

        I love entertaining. But do you ever get to the point in your preparations where you become so stressed out from planning that you wish your guests would call to cancel. There are times, in the beginning, you have everything planned

        coffee bar, entertaining, simple entertaining

        out in your head and you see how nicely the evening will flow.   You have the hors d’oeuvres (I never know how to spell this 😊) planned out and the exact time you will serve them. You have the first course planned out perhaps earlier on in the day and the exact time you will serve that. Then the main course comes out.

        And while all this is happening, you don’t want to ignore your guests. You want to sit to dinner with them as well. After all you are not the hired help. These are your guests . . . your closest friends.

        It’s nice to think and dream your evening will go this smoothly . . . but does it really? Heck nah!!

        I pride myself in being a very organized person, but I tend to always go overboard when I entertain. I don’t get a chance to do it often. So, when I do see my friends and family, I want to splurge on them because I love them so much.

        My day goes something like this:

        • Last minute touch ups cleaning house
        • I figure I have enough time . . . I have my wonderful teenage kids to help, right?  Hmff !!
        • Kids are doing their own thing and they are pretty much a no-show . . . lovely!!
        • Start preparing appetizers (on my own) – 3 or 4 different appetizers  (REALLY . . . 3?)
        • I realize (too late) 3 or 4 appetizers is way too much (who’s going to eat dinner?)
        • Also, I have the stove and oven going just for these (darn) appetizers and I’m trying to quickly plan out in my head when am I going to start cooking dinner with only one stove (yikes!!) All the while fixating on the huge clock in my kitchen counting down the hours to my guests’ arrival
        • As the hour hand whittles away to showtime, I am now trying to figure out how to bake my potatoes while the roast is still in the oven and make sure that everyone’s meal isn’t totally cold – yikes!!
        • By this time, the kitchen is full (kids finally showed up ☹) (husband too – sort of) and everyone is helping.
        • By this time, I am stressed and dictating orders to everyone 🙁
        • Guests have arrived on time (darn it)
        • Table is set – thank heavens
        • Serving plates washed, dried and ready to be filled with the beautiful roast that has come out of the oven
        • Can I pull this off?
        • It’s a touchdown 😊

        Everything in the end turns out wonderfully. I think I care more about the fluff than my friends do. All they care (as do I) is that you are with friends you adore and spending an eventful evening talking about old times and catching up.

        I don’t entertain as much as I would love to but when I do, I don’t hold back . . . as you can see. But it doesn’t always have to be this elaborate and cumbersome. Because if it always is, then you might not visit with your friends as much. There is nothing wrong in toning it down a bit. If you like entertaining, you can always do it on a lighter note – something less stressful.

        Here are ways you can entertain with less stress:

        • Pool Party – this is super casual and perfect for kids and the kids-at-heart
          • Put some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill
          • Beverages for the kids
          • Beverages for the adults – some alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails
          • Dessert can be as simple as a tray of fruit or even some frozen yogurt keeping it light and healthy
        • Backyard BBQ – same idea as the pool party but if you don’t have a pool . . .
          • Start with simple apps – spaducci
          • Instead of hotdogs and hamburgers, put some chicken or steak on the grill if you are serving adults only
          • Drinks – have a mini fridge or huge cooler filled with ice and have different kinds of beverages – alcoholic or non-alcoholic
          • Dessert – keeping it simple again with fruits or berries with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream (yummy)
        • Picnic – who says it must be in your home. Go to a picnic ground or park that allows for bbq. And host a friends and family celebration/reunion. There are so many conservation parks around your city to choose from that are used for such events
          • You can make it potluck – everyone brings a dish – plan out who brings what
          • Bring a cooler filled with beverages on ice
          • Bring games and balls – football, soccer ball, baseball
          • No one will want to go home
        • Potluck Dinner – super simple and
          • Everyone brings a fav dish of their own
          • Plan out who will bring what
          • Evening is very informal
        • Coffee Bar – this is my favourite. So simple but you can dress it up
          • You could set up a small area either in the kitchen at the extended peninsula or the dining-room hutch/sideboard
          • Display your coffee maker
          • Display different kinds of coffee – flavoured, regular, dark roast, etc.
          • Have enough coffee mugs and saucers displayed
          • Milk/creamer and sugar containers (fancier than your everyday) on a decorative small tray
            Sylvia's cupcakes
          • Dessert plates | Spoons | Forks | Serving set
          • Napkins in a certain colour theme
          • Perhaps a few shot glasses for before or after aperitif –  a sweet liqueur (ex. Baileys-my fav) or a special whiskey, etc.
          • Few trays of simple treats: cookies, coffee cake, cake pops, muffins, cupcakes, scones, etc.

        So the next time you are planning a dinner party … don’t stress over it.  There are more simple ways to entertain.  Try using my ideas and you’ll end up enjoying your evening just as much as your guests.