Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planning for the Big Five

Christmas done?  CHECK.  Oh but, wait, that means birthdays are next on the "to do" list.  Sigh.  No rest for the weary. 

As much as I like to pat myself on the back for my efficiency of having both kids in the same month, two years apart (because you know, I planned that...yeeeaaaaahhh), it so happens their birthdays are on the heels of Christmas.  Sure, it's two more months before it's February, but January is practically here and we all know how time flies.  This year, SweetPea turns five.  The Big Five.  Half a decade.  No longer an infant, no longer a toddler, not even a preschooler anymore.  Nope, she's a full blown kindergartener now who has a classroom full of friends.  Add to that the fact that she just recently went to her first "school friend" birthday party, where a good half of her class was there to celebrate.  Don't think it was lost on her either.  As we drove away from the party, she asked "Momma, can I have a Princess birthday party like Hannah?" followed by "Can all of my friends come too?" Dun, dun, DUNNNNNNNNNN.

Here's the deal...counting SweetPea, there are 12 kids in her kindergarten class.  The unwritten school rule is if you invite one kid, you are expected to invite them all, so no one feels left out.  They are a nice enough bunch, but together they can be, well, a little unruly.  Having attended Hannah's party, which her parents were brave enough to do at their house, I saw the mayhem...and the mess.  Thought #1: the birthday party must be somewhere other than my house, which leads to Question #1: where should we have the party?  The options are somewhat limited.  I don't want anything too expensive, but I also want a place where our party will have room of it's own (translation: we don't want to get stuck at Chuck E Cheese next to 3 other birthday parties.  Who needs to add to the mayhem?)  At this point, we are probably looking at Pump It Up, where we'd get a private room filled with bouncy houses.  The kids can burn off their energy and they will be in a place where it's next to impossible to break anything.  Bonus: I don't have to clean up.  The only downside...it ain't cheap.  Sigh again.

The party site aside, SweetPea had another request...

"Momma, can we put up the Christmas tree for my birthday?  That way we can put my presents under the tree."

Hmm...pull out the tree all over again in two months and put it back up?  Think, Mom...think fast...

"How about I make you a Birthday Tree?  It will be smaller, but then you can have a special tree for your day."

Like how I pulled that one out of my a...out of thin air?  I'd gotten the idea from a Michael's craft tutorial sent to my e-mail during Christmas.  It'a small tabletop ribbon Christmas tree that looks like this..

I figure I can use festive ribbon, maybe with cupcakes on them, to make it more Birthday-y.  Go ahead...say it...I'm a genius.  Alright, well, I can think on my toes anyway.  The nice thing is, I can stow it away pretty easily and we can use the Birthday Tree over and over.  Yay!

So it's T-minus two months (give or take) to SweetPea's big day.  Anyone have any other fun party ideas?  Any ideas on how to survive a birthday chock full of 4 1/2-5 year olds?


  1. Ha, I'm so glad you're doing it before me. Gracie wants a Justin Bieber party *rolls eyes* but we don't have to worry about that until May. I'm thinking of making it just a rock star party and giving out mix CDs and Justin Bieber hair bows and blow up electric guitars or microphones as party favors. As for handling the kids.... ugh. Dunno.

    Holly's Alice in Wonderland tea party looked fab... ask her, she's a party pro!

  2. I think you should hand out Justin Bieber wigs to go with it :P I loved Holly's party...only she did it at her house. That part I want to skip!

  3. the bouncy house thing sounds good... (minus the price, of course). then you don't have to worry about thinking up games and prizes. the kids just constantly get to play! i have no ideas or suggestions... other than... do not have cake, ice cream or snacks until the very end! you don't want those kids going back into the bouncy houses and throwing up! haha!

  4. Haha, I can do a JB hair station and all the kids can blow dry their hair forward :D

  5. I was at a 5-year old's party last year with my kids: the mom, with a help of her mom, organized everything, the parents dropped their children (12 all together) off at 4pm, there was some warm-up time for all of them to get comfortable and once they were about to start running around, the program started: some fun group games, involving all the children, then the cake, candles, singing, Kodak moment, then some games in the other room as the mother or her assistant cleared the table and back to the main room (they live in a small flat) for some sing-alongs and dancing to favourite kids music...

    Before we knew it two hours were gone (I read in a book once the key to succesful childrens party is to keep it under 2.5 hours!) and parents came to fetch their children at the instructed hour (each was given a small party favour as they left the house). The birthday boy hadn't opened his presents in the course of the afternoon so not to stall the party but came by the next day (we lived in the same building) to thank us for our present in person.

    This way the children were given a party 100% to their liking and the parents some time off (+ the mother/organizer didn't have to cater to adults as well as children). And in 2.5 hours it was all over, mother relieved, happy birthay boy alone again, unwrapping presents...

    Mind you, this was in Germany, but perhaps we can all learn from their efficiency, hehe...

  6. Chuck E Cheese is not such a bad solution for a bday party: don't let them do it, bring your own cake et al, and buy the bulk pack of tokens, ends up being about the same cost wise as doing it yourself. That being said: last party was a candy shop, used bulk candy, kids made own treat bags (one cup of candy, fill self) dipped pretzals into choc & covered w sprinkles, made candy charms (pre-punched shrink plastic punched w large hole punch, kids coloured & we baked) decorated their own mini-cake (cupcake) and that took 2.5 hours. My rule of thumb: would rather invite more kids, because is same amount of work to plan, and know SOMEONE will show up. Call a few days before to confirm, no one RSVP anymore. It's not rude to make generalized gift suggestions. (My daughter likes pink. Or littlest pet shop. This allows them to spend $5 and get something your kid will squee over) Get someone else to take pics. You won't have time. Unless you love baking, delegate the cake, or make it in advance. Let the kid help you clean the house, and decorate: is her party too.


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