Monday, August 20, 2012

Birthday Parties 101

I'm a girl who likes to throw a party! They are a fun reason to get those you love together and celebrate...but don't get me wrong here, I don't throw many. I choose wisely because I don't want to be that person who has a party every year for every kid. With busy lives and full schedules, it's hard enough to squeeze in family time, worship time, quality time, (not to mention down time!!) that I really don't want to add to the frenzy. Parties get bigger and crazier as kids get older and I just don't want to create that monster in my children. I never want them to feel entitled to a party. Some years, dinner with the family and a homemade cake will be the agenda for the birthday boy or girl, and that will (hopefully) be just fine. I still like to make my kids feel special by decorating the night before, letting them choose their favorite meal for dinner and spending the day doing an activity they love, I just don't think it has to be an over-the-top-extravaganza every year. You with me??
So with that said, party planning is something I love, I mean love! Whether it's a small family thing or a full-blown affair for fifty, why not make it fabulous?? From the little touches to the big finish, it's all about the details. This year, for my little guy's 2nd birthday, my hubby and I decided forgo a full-on party and take our tyke to Chuck E. Cheese's with our families and keep it simple. But let's face it, things aren't ever really simple with me. I still baked a few treats, made fun favors and decorated those booths in Camo, per our army theme! It doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming to make it memorable.
Here are a few tips to make even the smallest party feel festive:
- Choose a theme and go crazy with it! From a favorite character, movie, color, candy, anything! Pick a theme and run with it.
- When planning the menu, keep your budget low by serving desserts or appetizers instead of a full meal.
- Think outside the box. A breakfast party where kids arrive in jammies and snack on donuts or a pizza night where kids get to be the chef put a fun twist on traditional themes.
- Always have a party favor. It looks cute on the table and gives the guests a little something to take away. It doesn't have to break the bank to be memorable. I always try to choose something small and edible, like chocolate candies or trail mix. I hate to hand out a bag full of toys, stickers...etc. just to have it thrown away!
 -Have your guests make something to take home. Decorating a cookie or a caramel apple, or even an easy craft gives the kids something to do.
- Keep the party two hours max! The best parties are short and sweet! I hate to say it, but nobody wants to spend their entire afternoon at a kid's party. Keep things moving and don't "wait" on people. Give the guests about thirty minutes to arrive, mingle and snack, then get that show on the road!
- Check out Target, Wal-Mart and Michael's before resorting to Party City. They tend to be more expensive, though their selection is second to none.
Have fun, keep it simple and remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Kids aren't going to notice and that's who we're doing this for, right?? Cough, cough.

                                                The army guys make the PERFECT topper
                                                      a trio of treats...who needs a meal?

                                                         The party favor...easy peasy

                                                    Me and the guys who melts my heart...

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