In the last year, we've been invited to parties at the very coolest places. the pizza machine, the bouncy house, chuck e. cheese, p.e. 101, Skate Daze, and probably even more that I'm forgetting about.
But....see....the problem with that is it makes my kids think that's just what everybody does for birthday parties. Invite all your friends and your whole class, rent a place out, and have your party taken care of.
and trust me, if I had tons of money, I'd love to have a party somewhere where they do the planning and the cleanup for you.
but it's just not gonna happen. we can't do that.
So, for Lillian's party, I was determined to make it tons of fun but super cheap. She's the only one who really gets it that other kids do the fancy parties, so it sort of matters to her.
so here's what i did....
(I'm assuming that most of you have seen my facebook photos, but here's the link since I can't post any more pictures on here yet...grrr... http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150397649958417.408906.728173416&l=286a365635&type=1)
first, I convinced her to NOT have a princess party. Ha-le-to the lu-jah! because seriosuly....been there, done that.
and I love owls, probably because they're really popular right now in fabric and other crafty types of things. so I see tons of cute owl things in my world. so after showing her a cupcake topper idea, she was sold. :) we had a theme and we ran with it.
so first, let me tell you what we did, and then I'll tell you what I spent.
two days before her bday, we passed out invitations that I had made on the computer to the kids at the bus stop, and delivered a couple to the neighborhood kids who don't ride the bus.
on her actual bday, we had the neighborhood kids over (about 30 or so in all) for a cupcake and a cup of raspberry lemonade. they ate their cupcake, took a few pictures in the "photo booth" and headed back home. short and sweet. This part could have certainly been skipped to save more money. but I've got a hidden agenda. Next summer I plan on hosting a backyard Bible club at my house. And I want to invite all the neighborhood kids. But I want them (and their parents) to feel comfortable at my house, and have a few non-Bible club related experiences here so that they think it's really awesome at my house and beg their parents to come next summer.:) so, I'll buy a couple extra boxes of cake mix for the greater goal of teaching them about JESUS! :)
She also brought little 100 calorie bags of fudge striped cookies for her class. (they looked like owl eyes.) :)
can I get on my soap box here a second while I'm thinking about school snacks?? I've seen a few facebook comments and other things about parents kind of making a fuss about having to buy packaged snacks for birthday treats. I don't know, maybe if I didn't have the kid with the peanut allergy I'd be annoyed too. But let me just say that as a parent of a food allergy kid, I REALLY appreciate it when people make the extra effort so that my daughter can enjoy the same things other kids do. She spends most of her life being different from everyone else. Sitting at a different table, bringing her own lunch, not being allowed to eat the snacks that the rest of the class has, etc. It's her way of life, I know. She's used to it. But when she gets to eat the same thing that everyone else is eating it's really special for her. and she's not at risk, which makes me feel much better. So, even though there might be more preservatives and high fructose corn syrup and other crap that's found in processed foods, it's safe. and your kitchen may not be. ok, thanks. I'll be done now.
so, back to the birthday, we went out to eat after all the chaos was over, I mean, after the kids left. because I'd rather spend money on myself for a bday party than a bunch of other people. I'm selfish that way. :)
then on Saturday, we had our families over for supper and presents, and more owl pictures of course.
she also gets to choose ONE friend to go to a movie with her on Friday night. at the cheap theater. that's the really special part, because she gets to take a really close friend. All the neighborhood kids coming over is fun, but they aren't her closest friends. so this will be really special. and $5 gets them a movie ticket, candy, popcorn, and juice box. love that nasty little theater! :)
so, to me, that seems like a pretty decent birthday!!!
but the best part, is here's what I bought:
2 pieces of cardstock (.50 each maybe)
3 boxes of cake mix
2 boxes of cream cheese
1 bag powdered sugar
mini chocolate chips (used maybe half a bag, and already had the white sprinkle things)
1 pkg sucker stick things ($2-$3 maybe?)
4 pieces of felt for the owl masks (.25 each)
a couple yards of owl fabric ($12?)
school snacks ($12, because you have to bring a prepackaged item, so that's a little more money)
3 balloons (the $1 kind, not the mylar ones)
raspberry lemonade mix. (.50 total)
food for our family party: sloppy joes, watermelon, chips, really really awesome spinach salad that you have GOT to try if you haven't already
Now, I realize that I might have somethings on hand that other people would have to buy, like, hot glue gun and glue sticks, wooden dowels for the mask handles, ribbon to cover the dowels, white cardstock to make the invitations, owl masks, bday treat labels, etc., a circle punch and a scallop circle punch for the toppers, and scrapbook paper for the treat labels. and I also have digital scrapbooking software so I can make the cute little invites and cupcake topper things myself. that helps. :)
OH, and I made her a little birthday shirt (didn't really post a picture bc it didn't turn out quite like I wanted...oh well. bought the shirt for 3.50 (score!) and the owl embroidery file for $3.)
ok, so...I think that's all? I know it wasn't fancy, but it was FUN. and Lillian loved it just as much as she would have loved any other party where you pay hundreds of dollars to rent a place out. so I call it a success.
since I'm a celebrater, crafter, and cheapskate at heart, it was the perfect party for me. :)