Despite going to some amazingly awesome kid birthday parties of friends, I have made it pretty clear to my daughter that we need to keep expectations a little reasonable for our own particular family member's birthdays.
To each his own (and no judgement at all if you like going all out for your kids birthdays), but spending hundreds of dollars on kids birthday parties is just not my thing.
Having a first born child who arrived in January, it makes it even trickier for me to keep up. I feel like I am just coming up for air after the month long holiday hoopla of December and then I have to start planning her birthday celebration. It's exhausting!
Due to this said post-holiday exhausted feeling, I have tried to "outsource" my daughter's birthday party twice. And both times, due to some strokes of bad luck, it has not worked out so well.
For her 4th birthday, my husband wanted her to have a "fun" birthday party. We booked a bounce house place, invited eight or so of her little buddies, and the day before we had to cancel due to a massive snow storm. I said goodbye to my deposit, and the meltdowns ensued.
The next time I outsourced her birthday party, we booked an indoor trampoline place when she was turning seven. She was raring to go and all of her friends were, too! And as luck would have it, the morning of her party, the birthday girl woke up with the stomach bug.
I decided to cancel the party and reschedule for the following weekend. Well, wouldn't you know that the day of THAT (rescheduled) party, she woke up with yet ANOTHER bug. At that point, I felt badly for her but also for the kids who must have been very excited to go. So, we went ahead with the party and my poor girl had to stay home (don't feel too bad for her though; she recovered in a day or two and still got all the presents and cake).
Needless to say, all of this hoopla was a bit of a waste of money and energy. So, I vowed to revamp the way our family does children's birthday parties.
We are now opting for small parties at home.
There are plenty of resources out there to make a birthday party at home a fun one! You can even have a themed birthday party at home, if that's what your kiddo would like.
My daughter decided the "theme" of her birthday party was "American Girl." So, I did what all moms do these days: I proceeded to do an exhaustive Pinterest search. There are LOADS of ideas on there, but unfortunately none of these wonderful ideas fit my very small budget.
Enter my friend, the Dollar Tree. (If you don't have a Dollar Tree store near you, have no fear...you can order in bulk online). Admittedly, I have a slight obsession with the Dollar Tree. It is the perfect place to shop for anything holiday or party related and they even have a great crafts section! With a little creativity, you can find anything and everything you'd ever need for a kids birthday party.
It is okay to keep any 'activities' simple.
We will just be doing a few easy and simple activities at this birthday party. I'm having the girls play "hair salon"with their dolls, make friendship bracelets and decorate a paper doll. Easy peasy and everything will be completely supplied by the Dollar Tree.
Homemade cakes are the best.
No need to go all fancy for something that will get devoured in minutes! I have been known to mix a can of seltzer with a box of cake mix, slap some store bought frosting on there and call it a day. The kids love it and it is quick and easy! Don't make things more complicated than they have to be.
I am hoping all of this will keep the girls busy for a while, and that our first Dollar Tree/American Girl themed birthday party will be a success!