First birthday party entertainment. Eek? What to do?

I had two goals: 1) Entertain small children for more than 30 seconds, thus giving adults time to catch up; and 2) something light hearted and funny to showcase how much the Bug has grown over the past year.

First solution? Baby pools and bubbles.

We bought two cheap $10 blow-up pools from Target and placed them under a canopy in the backyard. My plan was to fill one with water and water toys, and to fill the other with balls as a ball-pit-on-the-cheap. I envisioned hours of contained toddler fun while adults sipped sangria and talked in a ‘civilized manner.’ I bought 200 ball pit balls from Amazon. I bought flower garden stakes and balloons to decorate the play area. It was going to be perfect.

I should have known better.

The day of the party, my sister’s boyfriend blew up the pools. I handed him the 200 balls and told him to fill it up. He did. He laughed.

It was the Charlie Brown of ball pits.

200 balls didn’t even cover 1/3 of the space. I needed more like 800. I tossed in an exercise ball and a couple of other large playground balls. Better. Not great. But what’s a mom to do?

The kicker? The girls didn’t even want to get in the ball pit. They just wanted to hang out in the pool. So we threw about 50 balls in the pool. Water ball pit. They LOVED it.

We added bubbles. HUGE bubbles. Whole new level of delight.

After most of the guests dwindled and we were down to the family members that helped throw the party, we filled our Charlie Brown Ball Pit with water. Eight of us collapsed into lawn chairs around the pools, toes in the water and cocktail in hand. The talk wasn’t necessarily civilized… but it was great.

The other hit at our party? An iMovie with photos of Lila (and various family and friends) over the last year. Like the food, I opted for simplicity by using automated tools in iMovie. My mac definitely made me look good! I simply went through our photos on iPhoto and created an album of images I wanted to use. I then exported those photos to iMovie. iMovie automatically introduced transitions between photos based on the theme I selected. I added a few audio tracks, a bit of video we’d captured over the year and some text. Exported to iDVD. Ta da! Finished product.

I struggled with the music selection. Every website I scoured suggested songs like “I Hope You Dance” by LeAnn Womack. While I do hope she dances, I didn’t want various family members (i.e. me, my mother, and my mother in law) to get too teary. Crying guests and hostesses do not usually make a great party. I wanted something upbeat, friendly, and colorful. Just like our Bug.

We selected three songs (perfect to cover our 200+ pictures): “She’s a Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones; “Life Less Ordinary” by Carbon Leaf; and “Smile” by Uncle Kracker.

After all … she comes in colors everywhere, we definitely live a life less sedentary, and she makes us fall out of bed.

Worked perfectly.

Did I mention I’m the proud owner of 200 balls?

Be sure to check out our break down of the party scape details and the food!