I can’t believe my little Sweet Pea turned SEVEN years old last Friday (June 12th). She has been planning her birthday party since last year on June 13th, for real. Not that I’m surprised. I’ve created little party planning monkeys without even realizing it.
Entertaining has always stressed me out; but when it comes to kids’ birthday parties, I’m a totally different person. It’s probably because of the amazing birthday parties my Mom would throw for me when I was little. Paper streamers hanging from the chandelier, homemade birthday cake, and at least 20 friends running around the yard. I want my little monkeys to have awesome memories of their childhood birthdays too.
Party planning is a life skill that, as a Mom, I must teach, right? As far back as the first birthday party, I’ve involved my girls in the party planning process as much as possible. We start with choosing a theme and try to decide early. My monkeys can’t decide on a costume until the week before Halloween, but party themes they can handle. Maybe it’s because I have them trained? Not sure but they get parties!
At least six months before the party, we start gathering party supplies in a large plastic storage box in the basement. Little by little, we find favors, games, decorations, and paper goods to fill the box. The monkeys love going through it and helping me every so often. I also keep a separate box in the basement with left over party supplies. Labeled, of course. It always comes in handy for last minute get togethers.
Sweet Pea has been obsessed with horses for over a year now. No surprise that she planned a horseback riding party at Evenstride, the Barn where she takes weekly riding lessons. At the party, all of Grace’s friends got to ride two of the three ponies: Pippi, Winnie, and Mandy. The kids were amazing at taking turns and the weather was picture perfect! The barn provided real horseshoes for the kids to decorate as a craft. They were super into it!
Most of the party was in the Barn’s viewing room. It’s usually pretty dusty but for the party, they made it shine like the top of the Chrysler building! Sweet Pea chose to decorate the room with deep purple and royal yellow, her favorites. She asked me to “keep an eye out” for yellow daisies for the centerpieces, along with some of her horses. This kid had a vision! We picked up most of the party supplies locally at Funny Bones because it’s important to me that we support local businesses whenever possible.
Sweet Pea chose the most gorgeous invitations on Etsy! I had the designer put 2 invites per page to make the printing more cost effective, and then MinuteMan Press printed them for under $10. I even framed one of the invitations to display at the party along with a photo of Sweet Pea at the Barn.
For favors, we ordered handmade silver horseshoe necklaces on Etsy. You can’t beat “buy 5, get the 6th free!” Sweet Pea made matching beaded bracelets for her friends with their first initial — all with beads we had in our bead box at home. The kids also brought home the little horses we used to decorate the cupcakes and their horseshoe craft. Together, Sweet Pea and I decorated plain brown gift bags from JoAnn’s with a stencil of two horseshoes that I printed online. We added the kids names, purple tissue, and gold ribbon. They came out lovely!
We kept the snacks simple with watermelon wedges and bags of our favorite popcorn. I almost forgot to share my frosting recipe! I use regular sugar a few times a year for birthday cupcake frosting, and I try not to cringe. At least it’s homemade with Kerrygold butter. Try this set for decorating.
Here are some kids party themes for those of you with little monkeys:
– Ladybug Picnic: Order hundreds of real ladybugs (store them in the fridge – seriously) for the kids to collect in clear bug jars (part of the favor). You can even personalize the bug jars with each child’s name.
– Fire Truck: Recycle cardboard boxes into a ‘make your own fire truck’ project. Ask the Fire Station if they can stop by during the party!
– Tea Party: Collect real teacups from local thrift stores and monogram them for your guests.
– Super Heroes: Come to Gotham City dressed to take over the world! Create an obstacle course and play super games.
– Fashion Show: Dress up as a princess and we’ll roll out the red carpet. Don’t forget to interview each guest to find out her favorite things!
– Sports Showcase: Track, tennis, golf, fishing, volleyball, surfing and more. Make your iTunes play list and get sweatbands for everyone (grown ups too)!
– Fairy Garden: Make or buy wings and wands for your guests. Make fairy houses and homemade pixie dust in the garden.
– Spanish Fiesta: Teach a Spanish song and create a musical parade. Label your home with Spanish words. Don’t forget the piñata!
Share your party ideas in the comments and tell us what details your little monkeys loved the most.