Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Very Barbie Birthday

Birthday parties scare me. Throwing them, that is; not attending them. Attending them is great.

Because I’m terrified, it would seem, of hosting a party in my home (the excuses are plentiful - ill-behaved dogs, cleaning requirements, prep time, a general lack of good ideas…), I’ve gone the easy route for the past three years.

Once upon a time, back in Seattle, I threw a great first birthday party at a local park. It was simple, cheap and consistent with my parenting philosophy. Since then, though, my options have been limited. Little Miss was born in August, and here in Dallas, there simply AIN’T NO GOIN’ OUTSIDE IN AUGUST, Y’ALL. (You like that? That was my Texas accent…)

My daughter’s last three birthday parties have been held at:
• A bouncehouse place
• A pizza place with skeeball
• A local gymnastics school

While all three parties were loads of fun, they were a bit more spendy than I would have liked and therefore not consistent with my parenting philosophy.

But I’m happy to report that a party we attended over the weekend may have convinced me that home parties are not only totally do-able, they can be really fun!

On Sunday we attended a birthday fiesta for one of the girlie girl’s preschool friends (she’s turning 5). The theme was (loosely - it’s not like the girls really cared) Barbie. The cute, simple invitations included a note that Barbies were also invited. When we got there, the mommy had prepared several simple, fun activities that kept the party moving, covered all the bases, and made everybody feel included. Nothing was over the top or unrealistically complicated - the whole thing was really nicely handled. And definitely as much fun (or more) as any of those big-ticket party packages I’ve gone with in the past.

On the assumption that some of you, like me, might be nervous about hosting a birthday party in your home, I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the things I thought were cool about the party.

1. It wasn’t too big. There were eight-ish girls in attendance and four mommies. And there was more than enough room for the girls to run around without knocking stuff over or bumping into each other.

2. The “Barbie dress-up” activity was well-organized and perfectly timed. The girls were given bowls of beads and string with which to make jewelry for their Barbies and themselves; and there was a bowl of Barbie clothes and accessories the girls could choose from to create an outfit. There was more than one of each item (no fighting over the “best” stuff) and some extras just in case. The girls worked on their dolls for a little while; and when they started to drift, as 5-year-olds do, it was time for the next activity.

3. They did a good old-fashioned beanbag toss! Isn’t it funny how the simplest activities are sometimes the most fun? The girls lined up and tried their hand at tossing beanbags through a brightly-painted piece of plywood. Brilliant! And not too expensive. I’m filing that one away for future reference.

4. Cookie decorating offered a cure for the mid-party snack attack and a quiet, focused activity everybody enjoyed.

5. Who doesn’t love a piñata? Although I didn’t personally witness this particular activity (there was wine for the mommies after all - key to any home party’s success, I feel), they hung a pull-string piñata and let the girls take turns trying to get the right string. And apparently my little girlie found it! For her, that was the best part of the party.

6. Cupcakes made cake-serving quick and easy, and both chocolate and vanilla were offered (super nice and very much appreciated by my chocolate-hating daughter).

Doesn’t that sound fun? I think my party-phobia just might be cured…

Have you done a home party you’re particularly proud of? Tell me about it!

1 comment:

sassypackrat said...

I always did theme parties for my daughter at home. One of our favorites was a garden tea party. I bought decent plastic cups, plates, trays & serving stuff at the Dollar store and we had sandwiches and punch outside in the back yard then played water balloon games and did a piñata. The cake was a big flower. The girls loved it and it was low cost.