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Princess parties and super heroes: Those were the best birthday years

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Teens are such a buzz-kill when it comes to birthday parties.

Sure, they still celebrate, but it’s often with a “no-parents-allowed” caveat. My daughter’s last birthday was her sweet 16, so she invited a group of friends out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Not so sweet: The only parental participation was picking up the tab. Last year, my 13-year-old son celebrated by going to a baseball game with a buddy. They ate ballpark franks. Boorrrring.

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So, since the era of grand birthday parties is a thing of the past with my kids (well, maybe until they are 21! I’m going to that one!), I can simply reflect on how great it was to throw parties for them when they were young.

I love a good party and always made sure to make birthdays a family affair by entertaining kids and parents alike. Here are 4 of the coolest birthday parties my kids had (if I say so myself).

The one with the pink princess: When you have a little girl, there’s a pretty good chance she is at some point going to ask for a princess/ballerina/everything pink party. Happened when our daughter was 3 (and thankfully, she got it out of her system.) But, oh, how fun it was to go big with pink, from paper lanterns and streamers to party favors and the cupcakes, featured on a triple-tier cake plate. We hired a local party entertainer – the “Butterfly Princess” – who played games, sang songs and did face painting with the kids. She came dressed in full princess regalia, which was kind of weird since she was in her 30s, but the kids loved it.

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The one with super heroes: In his toddler years, my son loved to dress up in costumes. We had a trunk filled with them: Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Cowboy, Pirate, etc.. For one birthday, we invited guests to come in their favorite superhero costume. It was like Halloween in May! A bounce house kept all the little ones busy. The best moment: When our son, who was dressed as Dash from "The Incredibles," got to meet a “special guest” – Mr. Incredible! (That was my husband, who took one for the team and rocked a Mr. Incredible onesie costume for the occasion!)

The one with the red carpet: In the mid-2000s, there was NOTHING bigger than "High School Musical" in our house. So, for one birthday, my daughter had a "High School Musical 2" premier party, complete with a red carpet (we used a roll of red plastic, the kind you get at the party store to cover tables with). We had “paparazzi” take pics of the girls who vamped it up with feather boas and sunglasses before coming into the theater (our living room) to swoon over Zac Efron.

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The one with the sports fans: My son has always loved sports so it was natural to throw a sports fan party, where everyone was invited to come dressed in their favorite sports team gear. Adults and kids showed their pride with jerseys and other fan fare. The cake was in the shape of a baseball (genius pull-apart cupcakes!), and foam #1 fingers made for fun party favors.

Ahhh, the good old days. For now I will hang on to the memories of when they let me kiss them after they blew out the candle and wait for the day when my kids plan a super hero birthday party for their own children. I'm sure I can come up with the perfect costume to wear....perhaps Grandma Incredible?

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