DIY: “Blast Off!” Astronaut First Birthday Party

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Milo Shadow just turned two, which of course means I’m reminded of how we spent this same day one year ago, hosting a super fun “Blast Off!” Astronaut themed party at our house. Here’s what it looked like and how we pulled off the galactic adventure.

My Tips:

1). Get a lot of foil. Seriously, a LOT. Cover EVERYTHING you can in foil, from utensil holders to chair legs to the baby gate. It’ll look awesome, promise.

2). Decorate in NASA colors. We did disposable blue table covers, which are pretty cheap but look great.

3). To make signage, purchase a handful of shiny blue, red, black, or silver cardstock from a craft store. If you shop early, you can be sure to catch a sale.

4). AR DESTINE is a perfectly spacey, futuristic font that you can use on your signage to keep with the theme.

5). Buy A LOT of tape. And make sure it’s invisible tape, not matte (I speak from the experience of mistake. I realized only after taking pictures that invisible tape would’ve made a huge difference in reducing the “tackiness” factor).

6). I know it seems impossible to resist playing the “Space Jam” movie in the background, but don’t do it! The last thing you want is everyone gravitating to the television instead of socializing and participating in party activities.

The Fueling Center

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A party around mealtime needs a good variety of entree-type plate fillers plus snacks, sweet treats, and drinks. To take care of moonman munchies, we baked a big tin of nachos (“Astronautchos”)…

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…and made avocado-tomato caprese sandwiches and grilled black bean veggie burgers (“Martian Meat Sandwiches”)…

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…and baked fresh basil personal pizzas (“Flying Saucers”).

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For smaller snack attacks, we offered trail mix ingredients in separate containers to mix-and-match (“Make Your Own Mission Mix”)…

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…with Cheerios as “Saturn’s Rings”

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…green M & M’s as “Little Green Men & M’s”

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…nut mix as “Meteorite Bites”

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…and dried fruit and yogurt-covered raisins as “Moon Rocks.”

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Plus, we offered the staple of every party: chips and dips (“Big Dipper” and “Little Dipper”).

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For healthy snackers, we used a small star-shaped cookie cutter to jazz up a bowl of cubed cheeses…

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…and fruits (“Final Frontier Fruit”)…

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…and had tossed salad and raw vegetables (“Venus Veggies”).

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Otherworldly Indulgences

We also had a variety of sweet treats, from a container of candy bar Minis and candy (Milky Ways, Moon Pies, Orbit gum, rock candy, Pop Rocks, and Mars Bars are obviously perfect)…

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…to “Constellation Cupcakes” (yes, we did actually decorate the frosting with a relatively accurate depiction of the constellations! I don’t recommend it, because no one will notice)…

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…to homemade s’mores (“S’morbit”), made with Nutella and marshmallow Fluff, pressed with a panini griller, and cut with a large star-shaped cookie cutter…

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…to cake pops (“Planet Pops”) purchased with a variety of extra Starbuck’s gift cards…

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…to, well, the actual birthday cake!

MOON CAKE: I picked up a plain cheesecake from the grocery store and used edible silver graffiti from the baking aisle of a craft store to spray along the side. I used the circular bottom of the spray can to make light indentations on the cake surface — “craters” — and sprayed those too. Then I sprinkled on “moon rocks,” which were cookie crumble sprinkles also found at the craft store. I bought the cake topper rocket and astronauts online.

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Hydration Station

We had a variety of drinks available at the “Hydration Station” — water (“Rocket Fuel”), juice boxes for the kids (“Jupiter Juice”), and adult refreshments “For Designated Flight Captains Only”“Mars-garita” in a fancy drink dispenser and “Cosmicpolitan” ready-made in a pitcher (whoever said First Birthday parties have to be boring?)

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Space Station Decor

Don’t forget to add a thematic decorative element to any area that will get foot traffic by guests, including the bathroom (how about taping an extra invitation to the mirror?).

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What’s a space party without our favorite childhood spaceman, Buzz?

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Sign on the door to the backyard (my last name is Milkowski… my husband’s is Smith…. et voila).

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We put the following sign on the door to any room that wasn’t open to guests — master bedroom, laundry room, office, etc. (See what I mean about matte tape, especially on black paper?)

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The following sign, of course, designated the bathroom.

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We made this nearly room-length hanging solar system two days before the party. We spray-painted styrofoam balls, let them dry, then stuck a line of wire through the centers and hung it up across our kitchen bar. It was much more challenging than it looks, by the way. (No, we didn’t forget about Pluto, it’s just not pictured!).1459788_1989698512644_1226755927_n

Every party needs balloons! Silver is best for the intergalactic theme. Party City will blow them up for you for free if purchased there.1459199_1989696872603_1254779823_n

If you have any leftover foil or decorations, put your Chip Clip magnets to work and stick them on the fridge. 1456796_1989703712774_367061983_n 1456043_1989698152635_76705560_n

Make your table ends more festive with stacks of science fiction books. We made the NASA block with canvas print.1452549_1989696512594_1249582689_n

We set up the birthday boy’s giant play yard to accommodate his infant guests and designated the area with this signage, “Space Cadet Training Hub.”1424396_1989698032632_635013333_n

We got this giant event banner with celestial background printed for just $20 to help set the scene.1424484_1989736273588_1959895222_n

Astronaut Training

In the backyard, we set up a camping tent for the kids to play “Space Camp.”

Inside, we played a few games including “Guess the Baby Picture,” “How Well Do You Know [Insert Birthday Boy/Girl’s Name],” photos in the “Photon Booth,” leaving notes in a “Time Capsule,” and at the very end of the party we played a slideshow of the birthday boy’s stand-out memories during his first year.

Game winners received Freeze-Dried Astronaut Ice Cream and solar system bookmarks as prizes.

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The “Space Crafts” table held boxes (foil-wrapped, of course) of different card stock, paper, pens, markers, astronaut coloring books, rocket ship stamps and stickers, and more supplies to help personalize a note to put in the birthday boy’s “Time Capsule”, which was just a small silver metal briefcase.

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“HELP MILO BUILD HIS TIME CAPSULE!

Using the craft rations supplied on board here, write a note that will be included in Milo’s Time Capsule, which he’ll open in 10 Earth years (2023).

You can write a favorite quote, a cherished wisdom, anything that might help him reach his potential as he moves forward in life. Is there anything you wish you’d have known as a child? A teaching or a lesson you’d like to pass on to Milo and his generation? Maybe just a good memory, story, or fact about this day and age that will make him smile or feel nostalgic?

Funny or serious, emotional or logical — anything goes!”

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PHOTON BOOTH: Less a booth, more of a photo op backdrop. We hung this spacey fabric (purchased on sale at a craft store) across our library shelves. The “helmets” are made of styrofoam circles, also from a craft store, painted with red and blue NASA stripes and black Sharpie dials.

The logos were printed, cut, and simply glued to the top center. The antennae are thin wooden rods stuck into the styrofoam just like the thicker wooden rods that serve as a prop holder (be sure to put a sticky tag on the end of the holder that says “HOLD THIS END” so no one gets confused. You’d be surprised how many people will otherwise try to grab the antenna).

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On the birthday invitation, we requested that guests bring a copy of one of their own baby photos. We collected them as they arrived to the party, and brought them out for the “Guess the Baby Picture” game. Everyone had to guess which baby photo matched which guest, and it was an especially fun challenge since many of the guests weren’t already acquainted, making it also a great ice-breaker to learn each other’s names.1459924_1989714233037_879995243_n

Cool Extra Stuff, to Infancy…and Beyond!

NASA BADGES: We bought lanyards from an office supply store and printed out NASA credentials for the host, hostess, and the birthday boy’s VIP family members. It’s pretty simple to make using a Microsoft Word template or Photoshop. Get creative with the titles!

“Mission Control Leader”… that’s me!

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“Command Pilot”… the birthday boy’s loving daddy.

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“Mission Education Specialist” … the birthday boy’s grandma, an educator by profession.

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“Payload Specialist” … the birthday boy’s uncle, who majored in Business Finance.

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“Chief of Cosmonaut Medicine”… the birthday boy’s Auntie, who is a nurse.

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And finally we have our “Flight Engineer” … the birthday boy’s grandpa!

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Don’t forget to give your little space cadets a favor to bring home!

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Finally, a tiny astronaut jumper for the birthday kid is without question what makes the space party a true space party.  1470026_1989734793551_191913264_n

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