Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Successful Birthday On Record

As I mentioned before, I don't have a picture of the birthday cookies but they were great and you have to take my word for it.  If they weren't good, I'd have had leftovers to show.
So, in an effort to keep things streamlined throughout this birthday, I repeated the balloon decoration  on the cupcakes.  I am one to have a small family birthday party and a separate 'friends' birthday.  Anyone who knows us, knows that we do our best to have cake on the actual birthday with family.  This is often the day that my brother and his family will come by.  And normally it is a fairly quiet day.  

On the odd occasions where a birthday falls on a weekend, I tend to have the school kids for a party in the afternoon and then invite friends and family for later in the evening.

This birthday was a Thursday.  We had a great meal at home, even though the trucker got tied up out of town and missed most of it.  We had our cupcakes, our visit with my brother and his family, and our family gifts. It was a quiet evening and very relaxed.

I am also a huge advocate for planning and hosting a birthday party at HOME.  I am loathe to plan or pay for some business to plan a crazy, hectic, noisy party.  I have had theme parties for most of my kids parties so far.  A bit of time spent, and a great quality party was enjoyed by all.  For Macboy's last birthday, we had just 2 boys come over for a sleepover instead.  Dad and 'the guys' went mini golfing that night.  It was a great time.
For Art, this complicated things

He still wanted more friends, but he really wanted to go out like Macboy.  We settled on a compromise.  A shorter guest list, but still a trip out.  I was looking for a fun place, found an indoor jungle gym and play area but the party cost was outrageous. Just over an hour, 1 small pizza, 2 jugs of fountain pop, no real extra games or anything... For 
$250 or MORE!! Really?  

No, thank you.

I instead opted to offer transportation as needed to the kids we invited.  Go for a short play time, then come back and finish the party here.  Because of the 20 minutes of driving each way, this really stretched out our party.  I didn't want to be the type of parent to fill kids up with cake just before dinner, so our party lasted from 1 pm until 6. Quick hot dogs, veggie tray, some chips and pop and juice.... 
Total cost?  
Under $100.  6 kids, counting my own and 6 adults.  Super fun, super busy.

What did we get? 
45 minutes to play before we left, 2 full hours of play at the indoor play centre, 240 game tokens, juice boxes and water to drink while there.  We split the prize tickets between all the kids and each got a pretty good assortment of toys and treats.  We got back home shortly after 4, ate dinner, had cake, opened gifts and had time to play freely until parents arrived.

It was totally worth it to do it this way.  I was close enough to the party rooms to realize that it most definitely was NOT worth what they wanted. And the kids still had a great time.
But at the end of the day, discussion with the kids reveal that the best parties are the ones at home.  

For Art, with a spring birthday we usually have good weather and can be outside. This year, we had snow.  It was fun to have a place to play freely.  The kids didn't snack ridiculously through the party, they all ate a decent dinner, and I didn't have any sugar high children to contend with.
Next time around I go back to my way.  I still had to spend the same amount of time planning or shell out a huge wad of cash. 

I made the cake, I made the food, I planned out the timing, coordinated events, watched the clock.

If I'm putting in the work, I want it to be easier for ME. And since the kids say it was fun, but they like it 'about the same' I am confident that no one will be disappointed to have their parties here.

Fun and games? Live and Learn?  A bit of everything.  
The day was a success no matter what.

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