As I sat in my comfortable chair, eyes glazed over and body utterly exhausted I wondered why. WHY did I go to so much trouble and work so hard that I literally was exhausted from it? Then Miss E climbed up onto my lap and gave me a big ‘ol kiss and said “that was the best party ever. Even better than in my dreams.” She was so happy, so satisfied…
A warmer, fuzzier feeling I could not have now.
So even though *I* know that all the details I meant to include weren’t there, that a few things didn’t go quite as planned, and I didn’t have all the decor I had originally wanted… the party was a hit.
All but 2 of the girls from E’s kindergarten class descended upon my house this afternoon to celebrate a very special girl turning 6. Her first “my friends” birthday party, and I will share my ideas, tips, and details with you:
- The pre-planning and having a structured activity READY for them paid off big. No “oh let me open…” or “oh wait kids, I need to figure this out…” It was ready and done.
- TAKE A GROUP SHOT! I’m not posting it here but I had the girls gather up on the stairs and pose for pics. Funny, princess, mean, sticking tongues out, silly, scary, pretty… I just kept shouting out moods and snap, snap, snapping. Future cherished photo? maybe!
- Short party (1 1/2hrs), a few minutes of free play at both beginning and end, and doing it at a time that required no full meal all helped make this pure fun and lower in prep work for such a young (5 & 6) group of girls.
- START PLANNING EARLY. Figure out a ‘theme’ (even if theme is that there isn’t a theme) and goals. Come up with concrete to-do lists, get things done EARLY, break it down into small increments so it’s not overwhelming. So much can be done weeks ahead – and then you’re not stressing. After all – birthdays don’t surprise you. It’s same day every year!!
- Have fun getting crafty, but for heavens sake LET GO of ideas if they aren’t working or time is running short. Better to sleep well and enjoy party vs stress and have it be “perfect”.
- My ideas to save for future that didn’t happen: fancier gift bag decor, banners/pennants that were homemade, doily garland/banners, pennants on sticks with/in food, more glitter-ization of stuff.
Take a few minutes and get some details going. Oh I’m not winning any crafty awards for my gift bags – but I added a bit of flair (and some die cuts + a doily) to the goodie bags that the girls would take home. While they all essentially had the same stuff inside, I felt like the personalization was a nice touch and Elizabeth enjoyed handing each girl THEIR bag and saying thanks for coming as they left.
Elizabeth wanted Cake Pops (I purchased them from a local business – Just Cakin’ It) and I couldn’t have been happier that cake cutting and serving was not in the plans. It streamlined the whole operation! So I made them the centerpiece of the aqua & pink dessert table. I would have loved to buy fancy containers and such to really display stuff… but I don’t have it on hand & breaking bank wasn’t goal!! So I made what I had work. We got gummy candies, marshmallows (found at Cost plus), candy dipped oreos with Hello Kitty (sugar) decor on top… just fun little things. To cut the sugar content, we also had pretzel rods and (homemade) popcorn.
They ate loads of popcorn – perfect since that was a) cheapest and b) plentiful not to mention c) probably the healthiest option available!
I will confess – I had too much sugar on the table. Rather than freak out or overload kids at that point, I just didn’t offer some things to them, and instead “bagged to go” a few jelly beans, gummies, and the dipped oreos for each girl. That way they still got to sample everything – but they didn’t get sick or wired at my place.
We did craft projects (a bead on stretchy string bracelet), decorated a chipboard-ish butterfly, and there was a fun foam bear to decorate too. Just fun. easy. no chance of glitter or glue on the carpet crafty session. Each girl had her own spot + “kit” ready to play labeled with a name tag. The name tag gave them a personalized spot, and gave them a spot to put food, drink, and finished projects so they knew what was theirs.
Down the middle I sprinkled pink “diamonds” (just jewels from the craft store picked up for some random project I’m sure I intended to use them for at some previous time!) I also got a couple of bunches of cheap little flowers at the grocery store and used florist foam + beloved tea cups to make little arrangements down the center a few days in advance. EASY. FAST. CHEAP.
What is simply impossible to show is all the crepe paper streamers. I had them off the stairs, coming from above the front door… the whole of my living room and entry way is a maze of streamers. Not terribly time-consuming, and had to be done last night (as streamers dont hold shape/tend to fall after a day or two) but very budget friendly, simple, and quite an effect.
So tired as I am now, neglected as this blog has been for the past week, I find myself quite satisfied with the day’s events. I stretched some new-to-me crafty muscles and the experience gives me loads of ideas for future years. Ok and I’m going to fully admit that the decorating portion? I had a BLAST with music cranked way up putting the streamers up and such. I totally got into the spirit of things.
Now I just have to convince E that I *need* her new tea party barbie. seriously. Never have I seen such a “May needs this” doll. Unfortunately for mommy, E feels the same and was blown away by the sweet presents her friends gave her. Though she was more into them just being here and having fun – it was a nice bonus for her.
I have no doubt there will be future parties. Both girls have their themes picked out for their next birthdays already…
maybe i should start right now… well… after a long night of sleep…