Wednesday, March 30, 2016

6 Simple Party Planning Ideas for Your Littles

Planning parties can be tedious, exhausting and all around not-fun. Because of this, my motto when planning my kids' parties thus far has been "simplicity."
After all, do you really think your Little will be disappointed with anything at all involving their birthday?
Okay, maybe [especially if you're dealing with an illogical toddler].

Which brings me to my first tip:
1. Let them pick the theme 
I picked my daughter's first two themes because she didn't really know what a birthday was, let alone what Disney character she liked best.
For her one-year party I stuck to colors:
Fun & easy to decorate on a budget!
But if they're old enough to care, let them pick the theme! My nephew turns 4 in May and has already changed his theme three times. His mom drew the line at 3 so they're going with his latest pick, Avengers! Letting them pick gives them the control and will hopefully avoid an epic meltdown later.

If your kids aren't old enough to decide and you still want to do a theme, trust me: keep it simple. I loved the colors theme because I could get generic colored tableware, table cloths and streamers and it wouldn't cost me a fortune.

It seems like ALL of the trademarked party goodies should be trimmed in 14k gold for the price they want us to pay for them.
Since this is the case no matter where you buy, I suggest:

2. Buy some trademarked & stick to generic for everything else
Choose a couple of colors that match, say, the Buzz Lightyear plates and napkins you found and decorate the other stuff with those. You don't have to buy all Buzz plates, napkins, cups, streamers, party favors, table cloths, toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, etc.
You'll quickly find yourself dipping into your kids' college fund and they will probably tell you later they think that was a pretty stupid idea, mom [though I would enjoy some Buzz Lightyear toilet paper, not gonna lie].

For my daughter's second birthday, I chose Dinosaurs because she was, and still is, obsessed with all things dinosaurs. I got a few dino decorations on Amazon and stuck with generic colors for the rest.

I even got the table cloths, plates & napkins from Amazon because I'm lazy and Wal-mart is the worst. I think for this party I spent less than $50 on all tableware and decorations. Not too shabby!

3. Party favors? I say "nay".
Guys, I get it. You want all the kids to have a good time and love your party. But does that really mean we have to send them home with a bag filled with $50 worth of stuff? No. My kid plays with cardboard. She ate dirt last week. Doesn't take much to entertain her.

I get a couple of things to make them feel extra special and call it a day.
For her 2nd birthday I got dinosaur masks and dino tattoos for everyone who attended.

Yes, that is my husband.
Yes he chose his forehead for the location of his tattoo.
Bonus Tip: Goodie bags for the adults? Beer. Just..lots of beer. 

4. Food & Cake
My family [both sides] is the not at all fussy when it comes to food. Everyone's usually happy with easy goodies so we don't over-do it.
Crock pot meat for sandwiches, lunch meat, chips, dips, etc. As always, sticking to my "simplicity" motto.
Crockpot dips, crockpot pulled pork sandwiches, chips - easy peasy
Taco fixings for [nephew] Max's 3-year "Planes" party
[Nephew] Maverik's 1-year "Lumberjack" party...all things manly
Maverik's "Blaze" waffle pajama party
My sister is the real party planner in our family. She even does those cute food tags with clever puns on them. For my nephew's 2nd birthday, he wanted a "Blaze waffle pajama party". I shit you not. It was amazing. Best party ever. We all wore sweatpants/pajamas, ate waffles and genuinely had a fantastic time. 
She's also clever with the food:
These cupcakes. Seriously. Where does she come up with this stuff?!
Now for the cakes...
Cakes are expensive [you guys probably think I'm poor. I'm not, I swear. I'm just cheap.] and I really don't like cake that much anyway. My sister & I are fans of going the alternative route. Ice cream cake or cupcakes. 
Addi's 2-year Dinosaur Ice cream cake - We had the dinosaurs already so I just stuck 'em on there and called it decor.
Maverik's 1-year tiny birthday cake
Addi's 1-year over-sized cupcake
Max's 2-year Buzz Lightyear cupcakes
Maverik's 2-year Blaze cake
My mom recently started a tradition of getting the kids these amazing cakes that a local gal does for her. It's fun for the kids and the cakes taste amazing [so I'm told. I'm weird about eating cake].

Any way you do it, kids tend to like sugar so I don't think you can really go wrong.

5. DIY
My sis and I complement each other well because where she likes to do fun things with decorating and the food, I love to DIY. It's just my thing. Cooking not so much.
The main reason I like to DIY decorations is because - you guessed it - it's cheaper! And I enjoy crafting like the true dork I am.
DIY Poms - These things are a pain in the ass to make, but totally cute!
Search Pinterest to find thousands of tutorials to make these.
I made the hats in this top picture out of scrapbook paper, felt, elastic, and some poms - all things I had on hand.
I get lazier as the years progress so I bought these hats off of Amazon and added the dinosaur tails with some blue scrapbook paper I had on hand. They were a hit with the kids!
My sister's centerpiece creation for Mav's "Lumberjack" party. All from the great outdoors!
I also choose to make them something special to wear rather than buying it because holy Lord have you seen how much birthday outfits cost on Etsy?? A lot. A lot of dollars.
Tutu I made out of ribbons & scrap fabric [my mom bought her the adorable "1" owl shirt]
Shirt I made with acrylic paint & white shirt from Old navy
I also make their invitations every year because I love doing it. My sister sends out e-vites via e-mail which I think are just as good. I simply enjoy making mine! 

6. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Reuse whatever you can from year to year to make it memorable [and cheap! haha]! 
You might have noticed the "Happy Birthday Adelaide!" sign in a few of the pictures. I made that for her first birthday out of more scrapbook paper I had lying around [you can tell how often I use scrapbook paper for actual scrapbooking]. I plan to use it for every birthday as long as it lasts.

I also use like to use streamers to create a cute photo backdrop. I plan on doing that for as many as birthdays they let me! :)
I made this balloon wreath for my sister's "She's about to pop!" baby shower back in 2012 [yikes, times flies]. The center part was removable so she can replace it with any little message she wants. I made one for Addi's first birthday as well and plan on using it for each of the kid's parties! 

I hope some of these ideas help with planning your littles' next birthday party! If you are working on something a little bigger, check out this event management system by Eventbrite. I've been chatting with a gal over there and she seems super cool!

As always, stay awesome bloggers. 

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