Monday, March 31, 2008


So I hosted my first ever kid's birthday party on Saturday. Abby turns 5 this week, and since her mom was going to be home just for the weekend (from her 7 weeks of training out of town) we had the party on Saturday. Jane (Chris' ex) told him last month that we needed to plan Abby's party since she was going to be out of town. She said Abby wanted a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, and it would ONLY cost $150. ONLY. I immediately nixed that, because a) I hate that place and b) why can't we just have a party at our house? She's 5 - I don't think she cares where the party is, as long as it's happening.

I looked up some ideas on the internet (oh internets how I love you and your awesome party ideas) and came up with a "Littlest Pet Shop" party, because Abby loves LPS. As I suspected, when I asked Abby if she would like to have a LPS party at our house, she was totally on board and could've cared less about the expensive pizza place. Because she's 5.
When I told Jane we'd be having the party at our house because we thought we'd rather spend the money on a new bike for the birthday girl, she scoffed (to Chris) that that was fine but we wouldn't be saving any money. She obviously doesn't know me very well.
I ordered a LPS party pack from a party supply store - for $35 I got invitations, thank you notes, tablecloth, centerpiece, 18 balloons and matching ribbon, streamers, plates, cups, napkins and plastic utensils. I got a bunch of colored gift bags from Target for party favors, and after hitting the dollar bins, put in silly putty, a yo-yo and bubbles. I also made "puppy chow" for the bags, which is Chex covered with chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. I labeled the bags with the kids' names (which I printed at work) and called it good.
Notice the cardboard dog house by the fireplace
Riley helped me think of games for the kids to play that were pet themed, and so we came up with musical lily pads (the hopping like frogs was AWESOME), pin the tail on the monkey, toss the beanbag doggie into his house, cat cat mouse (like duck duck goose), and hot doggie (istead of hot potato). I made a giant LPS monkey and mounted it on foam core, created a dog house out of boxes from work, and cut lily pads out of flourescent posterboard. I did no actual work on Friday - I was too busy making a huge monkey and constructing a cardboard dog house.

Saturday morning, I frosted the cake I had made on Thursday, and decorated it with LPS figures and sprinkles. Chris took the balloons to get heliumed up, and moved our furniture around to make room for seven 5 year olds to run around.
I was REALLY proud of this cake

I won't bore you with more details, but suffice it to say, the kids had a blast. In order to avoid any potential meltdowns if they didn't win at a game, I had about 8 hojillion animal stickers that EVERYONE got after a game. After the first game, no one cared if they won - they were too busy deciding which sticker they wanted.

Look at my little punkin - she's so happy to be the birthday girl!Abby's mom sat and watched the whole time - didn't offer to help or anything - which I thought was kind of weird. Then again, she's at a party for her kid that she had no input into at the house she used to live in. That in itself was probably weird. Her parents were there too, and they were so gracious - her mom hugged me and told me what a great job I did and said she'd email me the pictures she took. And her dad just hung out with Chris the whole time. They love him.

The thing that baffled me was that in all of Riley's 8 years and Abby's 5, this was the first at-home party they'd ever had. I remember most of my parties, and the only time we went somewhere was to go to the pool, but then we always came back for cake (that my mom baked). Beth and I were discussing it the other day, and she never had anything but home parties either - we were remembering all the years of movies rented and homemade cakes and backyard obstacle courses and sleepovers and board games.

My mom said she didn't have parties as a kid, so she wanted to have fun parties for us when we were little. My reasoning is that I grew up with fun and creative parties, so I want to do that for my kids as well.

So tell me - did you grow up with home birthday parties or location parties? Inquiring minds want to know...


Alice said...

my sister and i had mostly home parties, too. it wasn't actually until i was OLDER that we did out-of-house themes.. like went to a fortune teller one year, or a make-your-own jewelry place another. i actually used to rent myself out to other moms to help wrangle kids and come up with activities during THEIR home parties too :-)

Woodrow said...

I remember having both kinds. Mom would let us choose.

Cheryl said...

I didn't have any parties until I was 8, and then they were home parties.

Anonymous said...

I did have parties, but I don't remember the parties from like say 5 on. I DO remember my 3rd party which people can't believe but it was at Dennis the Menace park and Ramona Brown gave me a yellow Tonka truck that carried a bulldozer.

I remember it very well.

My wife looks up party ideas on the internetz as well. It's amazing how that has changed info exchange.

I bet that was creepy for Jane to be in the house. I would be thinking, "Wow they have sex ... in my house ..."

Did the dead guy come to the party?


Marissa said...

I am so proud of you! You are such a wonderful mommy!!!! I wish I was at the party! :-)

I had both kinds of parties as a kid. Some at home (sleepovers when I was older), some at restaurants, movie theaters, etc. But my favorite were the home parties.

Antonio said...

I only had two birthday parties ever growing up, both were out of the house. One at McDonald's and another at Chuck E. Cheese. My mom isn't the most sociable person and dealing with other people's kids is NOT something she'd be up for.

Great job throwing the party. How did your total expenses stack up to the Chuck E. Cheese experience?

KC said...

My best party was at Casa Bonita. I believe it was my 6th birthday. But I do know a guy who had his
34th birthday there...

123Valerie said...

You know, A, I'm glad you're here for lots of reasons but largely because I feel like I'm called to be a "bonus" mom, too. Thanks for reminding me that love and blood don't mean the same things.

I hope all is great with you, dear, and thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Yay cake!

-J said...

I once had a party at Chuck E. Cheese. It was a whole lot of fun, as all my friends could come. I guess part of it has to do that I grew up in a really small town where my nearest friend lived about 10 miles away. So, having a bunch of us all go to a place where you could swim in a vat of colored plastic balls was excitement.