Friday, August 17, 2012

Double Digits {Part 2- The Party}

If your sick of hearing about Birthdays, you might, want to avoid my blog for the month of August.  I am still blogging about birthdays and will have at least two more posts this month.  I consider myself the girl with the birthday know-how.  After ten years of planning birthdays for, and planning four in one month(including my own;well my husband takes care of mine), I feel like I have finally figured out what works best for us.  I have a complete birthday survival pamphlet that I can pass along to you if you need it. (hee hee)

I learned along the way that I wanted to enjoy the day.  I didn’t want to feel stressed during the whole month.  I learned that that isn’t fair to my kids.  In doing so, I realized focusing on the birthday child was the most important.  Hence the reason we have some great birthday traditions.  Which is also the reason I don’t host birthday parties very often. It has been five years since our last friend party.  Don’t get me wrong, in the early years, we had birthday parties.  We stopped for several reasons:

1. I lost my child.  I started focusing on the other kids, and the party favors, and the games, and the decorations. I worried about what everyone else would think about the party.

2. I couldn’t afford it.  There are lots of great birthday party ideas out there.  There are lots of great places to rent.  There are parties that look so beautiful and extravagant.  I would have to take out a second mortgage in order to afford 3 in one month.  I also lost the entire month of August to planning parties.

3.  I didn’t like the actual day of their birthday spent with a million kids at my house.  I wanted to celebrate “their day” together as a family.

Five years ago, I revamped our birthdays.  I came up with a way to celebrate our children(with the help of a few friends and some brainstorming.)

You may have read about what we do for birthdays here or here; or here and here.

In doing so, the party decorations are there just for my child.  They say, “I am celebrating YOU.”  We spend the whole day together.  I make them a dinner and cake of their choice as a way of saying, “I am thankful God gave me you on August 13, 2002.”  It is also a day spent as a family, because the birth of a child in a sense is what makes you a family.

I knew I would re-visit the party thing again.  After a five year break, I offered the idea to the two older kids.  I will offer it to Isaac next year, as 3 parties in one month is just too many.  The kids will not get a friend party every year, but they can count on a day of great celebrating on their day.

Now, after all I have learned, I have 3 ways to solve my 3 earlier problems:

1. Hold the party on a different day than the birthday.

2. Keep it small, only invite a few of their closest friends.  No one said you have to invite the entire class at school.

3. Use the decorations from their birthday; that I make anyway, and then keep the rest simple.  Kids are happy with simple.

After five years, here is Jex’s baseball party:

Jex turned 10 on Monday.  We let him celebrate a little early by having a few friends over last Saturday evening. 

I was grateful Jex could have a few of his new friends over.

Jex's tenth birthday (2 of 2)

  I told Jex he could invite 3 friends.  He chose some really sweet boys.  They are the boys he has become the closest to since he got here.  He is still making more friends which I am grateful for.  One can never have to many friends.

This is the last time that Jex had a birthday party.  He was five. I was also pregnant with Isaac.  I was put on bed rest just days before the party, but had already sent out invites for both Jex and Stella’s party.  That was so stressful.  On the flip side, Jex had a great time. It was worth it.  He was one cute five year old.  We had a knight and dragon party then.


This year we had a baseball party.

This is his invitation(with important info blurred out):

Jex tenth birthday copyblur

We started the night with a water balloon fight.  His friend Hayden had some left over from his party the night before, so we got to use them.


Then it was time for food, and there is nothing more fitting then Ballpark food.

Jex's tenth birthday (4 of 24)

We had our own little concession stand.

Jex's tenth birthday (3 of 24)

See how simple I kept it with the food; Gatorade, Hotdogs, small bags of chips, and grapes. This meant I didn’t have a lot of prep with food.  It also fit the concession theme very well.

Jex's tenth birthday (6 of 24)

I also had the table nicely decorated with some of Jex’s baseball gear.

Jex's tenth birthday (1 of 24)

It is good to pick party themes that involve stuff you already own.  Our table scape was completely free.  It just pulled it out of Jex’s ball bag.

Jex's tenth birthday (2 of 24)

It was so great to hear the boys chatting away at the table.  I am really enjoying having “tween’s” over at the house. 

After we hit the concession stand up for some ballpark hotdogs, we headed out to the field for a game.

Jex's tenth birthday (1 of 4)

We started by doing a timed relay.  They had to get in their baseball gear, take it off, spin with their head on the bat, then take a ball on a spoon back to the finish line; best time wins.

Jex's tenth birthday (2 of 4)

Next, Jonathan played a game of “home run derby.”  The boys loved this.  The child with the most home runs got a quarter for each home run.  See.  Simple.  No prizes to buy.

Jex's tenth birthday (20 of 24)

Then they played a real ball game.  I had to drag them in from the dark for a movie. 

Jex's tenth birthday (22 of 24)

Present time!!  It is so nice of friends to bring a gift.  Jex hasn’t got friend gifts in five years so he had fun with this.  He received: a gift card to an athletic store, a Lego game, a Harry Potter Lego set, and a webkin.

It was movie time. Jex picked the movie, “Rookie of the Year.”  I had him pick from movies that we already owned which made it so much easier.  I think as parents we always thing that they need something new.  I have learned that kids are happy to just be together; having treats and watching a movie.

They went back to the concession stand for popcorn and M&M’s.  It was so fun to see these four friends hanging out.

Jex's tenth birthday (23 of 24)

After the movie, we ended the night with brownies and ice cream.  Jex loves brownies. (I didn’t get a picture of this.)

…and this was our party favor.

Jex's tenth birthday (24 of 24) 

I made sugar cookies on a stick and decorated them like a baseball.  Let me explain how simple this was.  I bought the roll of sugar cookie dough at the store.  I sliced them in circles.  I added the sticks, and then baked.  Once they cooled, I frosted them with frosting I had already made in order to decorate all the birthday cakes this month.  I used licorice ropes for the threads. I covered it with a cellophane bag.

We put it down inside these tin baskets that I found at the Dollar Tree.  I added Big League Chew, a baseball wrist band, a fruit roll up, and the cookie pop.

All in all it was a very successful birthday party.  It was nice because for the most part the boys entertained themselves.

It was also great because it didn’t cost a fortune.  I can’t believe how expensive parties can get.  I think it is important to remember that kids just enjoy the party, and sometimes less is more.  I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT.  This is the lesson that I learned five years later. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing Jex’s party.  I also hope this helped you in planning your next party.

Thanks for checking it out.  Stay tuned for Stella’s “cake boss” birthday party.


Beth Curtis said...

I love your philosophy on birthdays. Whenever I feel stressed I always think of your method. I have yet to have a friend birthday party and I don't feel guilty. He still gets all the good stuff but all the attention. You are such a great mom!

Heather said...

So, so, so important to keep the focus on the child! I love this and will keep in mind for when I have kids!

julie said...

This is great 'birthday' advice. You are so practical and down to earth, but have a real artistic flair for making the ordinary things into magical and personal moments that will live in your children's memories forever. Have I mentioned how much I love your blog?.....oh I have.... ha-ha.... never stop bloging Andrea....
You have a real gift in sharing the trials and tribulations of family and life! I'm sure there are very many mums that identify with you, and would love to keep things simple, but don't have the 'know how'. This blog will inspire us all to focus on what is really meaningful and important in family life. Never again will I dread birthdays, it's gonna be simple, simple, simple from know on, thanks to you :)

Kari said...

Isn't it funny how we get wiser as we get older? We do a friend party on the even years from 8 years old on and the kids are fine with it. We have also learned the fewer the friends, the better the party! Good luck with all your birthdays this month!

Letti said...

I love that you are sharing all of your ideas. My kids get friend parties every 4 years. So when they turn 4, 8, 12, 16. It has worked out great. I love all of your money saving tips. I also get very stressed out when it comes to the party. I can't wait until the next birthday party now.

Leslie Posey said...

I am glad that the kids are finding such great friends! Grayson was in tears the other day cause he wanted to play with isaac! It made me sad! I love "simple". I love that you are so creative b/c I can then borrow your ideas! ;-) By the way I did notice the blanket you had on your couch while the kiddos were eating!! LOL and you gave them fruit roll ups in their party favor! Too ironic!

KW said...

Looks like a good time! Great ideas and I am sure Jex loved it!

Related Posts with Thumbnails