My oldest daughter celebrated her 4th birthday this past week. This brings up so many mixed feelings for me. I love watching her grow but damn, she does it so FAST! This past weekend, we invited our closest family members over for a little get together. I don’t believe in extravagant birthday parties. Kids do not need that in my opinion. Spending hundreds of dollars to rent a party room or blow up rental and for what? I feel most parents do this as a status thing and not necessarily because it’s what their child wants or needs.
Growing up birthday parties didn’t mean taking my entire preschool class to Chuck E Cheese. No, it meant having over my aunts and uncles to cram into our living room and everyone chat and laugh and have a good time. We opened small presents and ate birthday cake. A few snacks were offered and that’s it. I think we even did this on a weeknight in some cases although I was young and had no concept for what day it was so I could be wrong on that.
For my girls, we pick a theme, do a little decorating and keep it simple. I have a few traditions I stick to each year.
1. I make them each a photo scrapbook of the previous year. I prefer Shutterfly to do this but there is a huge variety of websites that work. I have a “belly” book for each of them as well and will keep making scrapbooks until they are 5. Then maybe I’ll do important ages like 10, 13, 16, and 18. We take A LOT of pictures in our house and I love having a simple and easy way to view them.
2. I order themed placemats. Birthday in a Box sells amazing quality personalized mats for just $7.99 plus shipping. I think this is an awesome deal. We eat all our meals at the kitchen table and always as a family if possible. Princess Daddy and I have cloth mats as we are not known to be too messy of eaters… The girls on the other hand… They need plastic mats that withstand some abuse. The website literally has hundreds of designs to choose from and we’ve managed to get one to match each party theme so far. I love, love, love them. This is another thing I’ll stop at age 5.
The rest of the party planning differs each year. I’ve been known to make my own invitations. On occasion I’ll order them at the same time I order the placemats and once I bought them off of Etsy. I like to keep invitations simple. One year I even just emailed the invitation to save time and money.
Timing is key with birthday parties. I will never understand why parties for kids are at 1 p.m. That’s when kids SLEEP. I don’t get it. We throw birthday parties at 11 a.m. Yep, that’s right. Since it is close to lunch time, I do provide small snacks.
For this year’s Tinker Bell party, we served some fun themed snacks. We had Fairy Berry Salad (a fruit salad of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries drizzled with honey), Fawn’s Animal Cracker Friends (a simple tray of animal crackers, Fawn being the animal fairy in the TB movies if you weren’t aware), and Rosetta’s Garden Vegetable Sticks (a bag of veggie sticks instead of chips, Rosetta being another TB character, the garden fairy.) We made our own drinks and called them Iridessa’s Sun Kissed Tea and Lemonade and Silvermist’s Splash of Water. And to top it off, we featured a bowl in the center of everything of PIXIE DUST! (Organic raw cane sugar.) I made little signs with construction paper telling guests of everything that was featured. It was all a hit.
Princess Daddy even blew us away this year with a homemade cake and icing. It was all natural, used homemade dyes and whole grain. And it was GOOD!
So… birthday parties are done for us for a few months… Till December!