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Our little Duck Fan turned ONE this summer!
As parents of a one year old know there isn’t much they really “need” or will even remember receiving. So when deciding an alternative we decided that the best and most efficient gift(s) for him to receive and for his family to spend on would be college. Our main goal was to earn him money for college, a long term gift that he will obviously have to appreciate later…. but we figured a Yearling wouldn’t notice.  He has had a College Savings Account since the day he was born, given to him by his Aunt Kelsea and Uncle Wade, which we have contributed to all year and put his Christmas money into, etc. So for this party, which I wanted to be more of a “party” we turned it into a family competition of sorts…. both his parents have very competitive families! We settled on the theme, “Fill the Pig!” so that people would know that the physical gift they were to bring was only pennies. I must admit that Billy and I were both very anxious and nervous about how the invitation would be received by everyone…. We didn’t want to portray a message of being money grabby or greedy. We almost scrapped the whole idea because we were so nervous about how it would be perceived etiquette wise. That is why we also kept this first party small and only invited our immediate families since we were specifically asking for money and didn’t want to ask that of friends. We figured that if the invitations totally offended everyone that our family would have to forgive us regardless! Plus the “family competition” was more simple that way. We certainly aren’t against birthday parties or big celebrations or anything like that, or aren’t trying to keep our friends away from our kid…this year it just happened that way 🙂 We have NO IDEA what his second birthday will look like! 

So the plan is made: We’re going to have a family contest to see which side of his family, Mom’s or Dad’s can contribute the most to the PIG! (piggy bank) Now for the fun part and my most favorite, putting it all together, one Project Block at a time! Aunt Kelsea had us in the studio to take pictures with his piggy bank and Oregon Duck ONE banner that I made. I then used my own computer to make the invitation which I ordered through Vistaprint.
When family entered they were greeted with this chalk board sign I wrote…. my first ever chalk writing experience (you’ll see more boards I did) and it is much harder than I thought! I didn’t even get too fancy and all of these signs took me about 2 hours! This welcome sign I used to commemorate his birthday with his birth stats and a few nicknames he has earned along the way. I bought the balloons in green… if you hadn’t yet noticed, we’re Oregon Duck fans. Billy and I met in college so we’re a little biased… though we understand he will get to make his own choice in 18 years! But for now, he’s a Duck! 

For dinner I made “Go Ducks!” Fajitas (my family calls them) which are chicken, not duck, but use green & yellow bell peppers. Everyone else contributed to a side dish too! I went to Jerry’s Home Improvement and bought a strip of astro turf to use as a table runner like a football field!
Behind the main food I displayed a “Cash Bar” Candy Buffet with chocolate covered coins and dollar bills along with other color themed candies. I glued pennies to lollipops which we displayed everywhere. But mostly I displayed here the 6 shadow boxes I made for Cash’s first year including his first Christmas tree and card from Grandma Tammy and the onesie he came home from the hospital in. I kept Billy’s room badge into the Mom & Baby room, mine into the Labor & Delivery Room, a floral card from my mother and Matt that went along with one of his ultrasound pictures, and Cash’s birth announcement with the alphabet blocks we used for the pictures. 
They all hang now in his nursery. 
More of the buffet display: Keeping with the green & yellow theme I went with cucumber water (since it was July), fun straws and lots of Duck stuff! I had been building my ideas for a while using Pinterest. Feel free to follow my Oregon Duck Party Pinterest Board!
Everyone who knows me well knows I love to give prizes! Since it was a competitive day we went ahead and made a few categories within the contest for individual winners. I made little birthday planters with Cash’s name on them for the biggest prizes, then found other little trinkets in green & yellow, or Duck affiliated things like chocolate covered Oreos and Duck Food from Euphoria Chocolate Company.  Very simple, very affordable and everyone likes them! I then pulled a few pictures out of his nursery to spruce up the display. Aunt Kelsea contributed this signing mat for people to write their birthday wishes on using pictures courtesy of Kelsea Joann Photography
The birthday boy receiving his first jar of pennies (As you can see, grandparents just could NOT resist the “no gifts” rule! He got a few anyway) 
After we ate the competition officially began! My husband transformed our backyard into a thriving family hot spot where the timers were beeping, pins were crashing down and the trash talk was flying!
I wanted to make sure everyone had actual PENNIES to play the games so I set up this CHANGE EXCHANGE where if you needed 25 more pennies you could drop in a quarter and get more. Every single game was only allowed to be played with pennies. We also had score cards… brilliant idea from my husband, being the avid golfer, which lent to having the individual scores for prizes. 
Everyone listened intently while we explained all the rules and showed everyone where everything was around the back yard. Teams were formed of four: 2 Mom Side, 2 Dad Side, armed with their own pennies. They were given a finite time at each game to score as much many points as they could with the pennies they bought. All pennies thrown into the games were added to the PIG. 
PENNY TOSS: I had two, three tier cupcake towers that we set up, a Mom’s & Dad’s side. You had to stand behind a line and toss your pennies. If your penny landed in the top tier it was 3 points, middle tier was 2 points and bottom tier was 1 point. They could toss 25 pennies. I had intended for everyone to throw them all at once, but people got way too competitive (big surprise) and threw them one at a time (ski ball style), making the game last forever! This game proved to be much harder than I thought because the pennies just kept falling through the towers. If I were to do this again I’d have them throw less pennies and block each tier with paper on the bottoms so the pennies can’t fall through!
PENNY STACK: Using only the pennies they had brought with them to the table they were timed for 1 minute to build a penny STACK as tall as they could without falling over. The height of the stack determined their individual score. All pennies had to be flat on the table before they started, they couldn’t start early and absolutely NO table bumping! At the end of the round they put all pennies in the green centerpiece vase which would later fill the PIG. So they would have less and less pennies to use eventually as they kept progressing through the games…. that is why they would have to start digging into their wallets to dump a $1 into the change exchange to get more pennies! Competitive family makes well for a College Fund Contest!
DUCK BOWLING: I upcycled baby snack puff containers into Oregon Duck Bowling Pins for this game with UO duct tape. Then we numbered the tops of them for point value and set them up like bowling pins. You had to stand off the deck and toss a UO football (mini) at the pins. You then added up the mathmatic value of the pins you knocked over. So if you knocked down three pins, numbers 1, 2 and 3, your added total would be 1+2+3= 6, not just THREE for knocking over three pins. You had to FEED THE DUCK (bank) 10 pennies per toss with a limit of three tosses available. 
SCALE FINALE: After everyone had done all game stations through three times with their pennies we did a head to head family finale face off. I bought two bathroom scales and planters. Each family stood behind a line and had 1 minute to throw in EVERYTHING they had left in their pockets to make their family side scale the heaviest. Pennies weigh a lot! We’re still finding pennies in our yard too despite my attempt to build a backdrop!
Another main reason that we kept this party exclusively to close family was that we had planned to give Cash a special present, the one he would open in front of everyone, which really Billy and I opened…  I had been planning to give this surprise announcement for a while and had thought of a way to do it but really wanted all of the family there. Cash’s birthday provided the perfect amount of “guilt” to get all family in one place at the same time too. It was already a special occasion that we didn’t need to call everyone down to Creswell again….
In front of the whole family Cash learned he would be becoming a BIG BROTHER in January, 2015. We made him a little T-shirt that he opened. It took everyone a bit of time to read it and realize what it meant, but overall I thought it was a very fun way to announce the next Kelso! Plus, who doesn’t want a little brother for their birthday?
Back drop decorations can be found here at The Vintage Event. I used a lot of green & yellow crepe paper decorations that can easily be used over and over again!
On to the cake smash! 
Since he was going to be the only one eating (smashing/playing with) it I picked up a simple cake from Market of Choice. Cash had never seen a cake before much less one in front of him. So I wanted to share his first experience with the whole family, since it was bound to be adorable. He really didn’t know how to do it at first. He grabbed a green spot thinking it was probably a pea, which he has often, then realized it tasted a lot different!

He needed a bit of encouraging…
Then once he learned he could dig in….
A little help from his cousin who has had some experience in this department…
THE RESULTS: Overall we are quite happy with our decision to host a Penny Party! The Fill the Pig campaign raised $1,058.70 for Cash’s college fund!!! Now that is a LOT of pennies! We also had a few great grandparents and relatives mail in checks or contribute directly to his savings account. But still, I would honestly have that contribution to look back on than the few toys and things he may have only enjoyed for a little while… at least as a one year old. I’m sure we won’t be able to pull this off forever once he starts becoming aware of “receiving presents” and we certainly don’t want to take that away from him. But for this first year, his future was the best gift he could get! 
Cash at the bank redeeming his pennies! Thank you everyone who contributed! 
Gag Reel: Funny story/quote of the party…. Someone mentioned their experience trying to track down pennies for the party… apparently they had to go to a few banks to collect the rolls of pennies since banks only carry so many per day/week… She goes, “Yes it would have been much easier to just swing by Toys R US!” We thought this idea of bringing pennies would actually be easier than people having to go out and buy toys or shop for a one year old! Guess not! 
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