Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kid Birthday Parties

I am in the midst of planning a birthday party for Big Sis, and so far so good.  After doing a few of these, I think I've hit on the simplest one yet.  I did have a lot of fun with Lil Sis' last birthday, but I definitely over spent on things (hint: DO NOT go on etsy to "just look for ideas").

I have just partially read a book called The Tightwad Gazette, and the author had a lot to say about kid birthday parties.  She never spent more than 25 dollars or some such amount, including food and gift.  What?!  How is that possible?  Oh, right, no food allergies in her family for starters, and super creative with what she had on hand, and Pinterest and etsy did not exist yet.  Well, darn.

At any rate, it inspired me to try harder with being thrifty and creative in planning and executing a birthday party.  For starters, I had the birthday girl choose a theme (ballerinas), and choose a color or two.  She chose three, naturally.  We went to the store to get party supplies in those colors, and I will come up with some kind of ballerina art or decoration.  We will supply tutus for dress up, and play classical music for the kids to dance to.  I suppose some kind of ballerina craft would be good as well.

For the food we will be keeping it very simple.  In The Tightwad Gazette, she suggests just a cake be served to cut down on cost, but we are a family of food lovers, so serving food is a must.  The standard chips and dip is easy, especially if you just buy prepared dips.  We will be getting salsa and tortilla chips, and make our own guacamole.  An assortment of fresh veggies with homemade dips and spreads is an easy make ahead menu item, and you can just use the veggies you like.  Because, really, who wants to eat raw broccoli?  Um, nobody!

I have yet to figure out what else we will be serving, but I do know that some suds are in order, and that I will leave to the Hubby, resident beer expert.  I will provide the non-alcoholic drinks.  As in, water.  Ha, ha, okay, maybe some homemade iced tea or cucumber fizzy water.

After the last birthday party for Lil Sis, I realized that even though it was fun to run with the party theme in all aspects of the party, it can cost you a lot more, especially with the food.  Her party had a pink and orange mermaid theme, so we had a lot of orange foods, as well as foods that related to underwater, things from the sea, etc.  It was super fun to do and I really loved coming up with the menu, but it was a lot of work!  With Big Sis having her birthday so soon after Christmas, I am just not mentally ready to tackle something like that.  And I don't know if I ever will again.

Kids don't really remember those things about a party. They remember who was there, and the fun games they played.  They remember getting sung to by a room full of friends and family and how special it made them feel.  They remember blowing out the candles and getting to lick the frosting from their fingers.  They remember ripping open all the gifts and being so excited and exhausted at the end of it all.  That is what I remember, too, from all those childhood birthdays.

It is times like these that I am so glad I never login to Pinterest, and that I purposefully never search online for party ideas.  Just keep it simple, and concentrate on being present during the event and making the guests comfortable and happy, and that the birthday girl is having a good time, and that is totally good enough!

What do you remember from your birthdays as a kid?  Did you have a special birthday tradition?