Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It's that time of year again - birthdays!

I can hardly believe it - in less than two months my kids will turn three.


Remember the half-birthday party?

Well, it's time to plan the proper birthday party!

Here's little bit from last year's party... the ladybug/ garden theme.

the kids look so young here!
So it won't surprise you to know that I've had a couple of ideas in mind since last year.

I liked one so much I bought the party printables soon after the last party - yes, crazy.

Some people who read the blog but don't comment will be invited so I don't want to mention the theme on here in case I spoil the surprise for them.

I have the raw materials for the party favours already... and I'm going to have such fun putting them together. They will be small but cute.

Hopefully the party theme colours will match a lot of the dishes I already have. I'm also really trying to use up paper cups, paper plates and serviettes where possible as it appears I went a bit mad with the previous parties and overbought. I still have serviettes from the kids' first birthday party!

I was so tempted to say "no presents" but for the first time, the kids are actually really into presents because they see me giving people gifts all the time. Connor even brings me little treasures from outside (a feather, a leaf, a flower, etc) and says, "here Mummy, a present for you". Yes, I melt!

So I can't take that away from them but we have an idea for the family to contribute towards to reduce stuff.

My friend, R, is turning 30 at the end of this month and had a FABULOUS idea on her party invite. If we want to give a gift, we should bring money to donate towards a cancer organisation. I LOVE THAT IDEA SO MUCH.

It got me thinking about my birthday and you won't be in the least surprised to hear what I'm going to ask for. But one birthday at a time.

I need to think about food, cake (if only my sister was here, I could get her to make the cake) and start working on the list and the invites.

I'm a little torn - not sure if I should have it here at home again or if I should have the party at the gym. My gym does parties at R85 per child and that includes people to watch the kids (YES - free babysitting), an activity and (healthy) food. And of course, that means no cleaning for me before or after! Thing is... it could get very expensive so maybe I should first send out a "save the date", wait for the RSVPs and then see how many I'm left with. Ha!

Decisions, decisions.

I've decided NOT to have a professional photographer this year unless I can find one really cheap. I can take pics of the decor and details (I love doing that anyway, esp now I've discovered the AV setting) beforehand. I do want to book someone to take some 3-year-old pics of the kids. Otherwise, my camera will be there and I'm going to tell everyone to grab it and take pics as they see fit!

Am I missing anything?

Would you have it at home or at the gym? Do you think that's good value for money?


  1. Party time! Yeah! I always ask moms what is on the kid's wish list and if nothing particular I lean towards books and colouring/actvity stuff and not toys. So why not ask for that? Or, for our boys' 3rd birthday we asked for Duplo or a contribution towards buysing Duplo and they had all Duplo gifts which is almost all they ever paly with, even today. And it goes with Lego later - the Princess at 7 still builds her Duplo house.

    What does the gym charge for parents or what do you do for them. Watch out, that is often the expensive part.

  2. I was just looking at their little ticker this morning, time flies so quickly!! I have no idea if they work, but maybe you can get disposable camaras just a few for the guests to get great "behind the scenes" snapshots ;)

    I was our designated photo taker this past weekend at a family party, it is actually so much fun, specially with the kids, the catching them in action while playing photos are the best ;)

    Good luck with the planning, although you don't need it, you're super organized ;) so lets say, enjoy the planning :D

  3. You could never make it a no-toy party;-) we had Dewan's 3rd birthday party last Saturday and the highlight for me was watching him open his gifts.

  4. Mmmmmm....there are pros and cons to both. As nice as party venues are, they can be a bit impersonal and almost "manufactured". BUT you literally just say what you want and rock up. Also, like Cat says, there are hidden costs. Does that R85 include a cake for each kid? What about snacks and teas for parents? Can you use your own theme or MUST you select one of theirs?

    Having it at home is more work (or maybe not)but people are more relaxed in that environment.
    And I actually WOULD get someone in to take pics. They get only ONE B-DAY party every year and you need to be hostess and all. Are you really going to be OK with ANYONE picking up your camera at any given time (possibly even a kid who is unsupervised for 30 seconds) and taking pics? You are VERY BRAVE.
    I rather like the idea of requesting donations for a charity in lieu of birthday gifts. Maybe I'll do something like this next year. I'll see.

  5. I can't believe our kids are going to be three!!! I still have to plan the boys party and it's at the end of the month! I love the donation to charity idea for gifts. I think we may do that too, as the boys need nothing!

  6. I did a venue party - the aquarium for his second. Not sure if it was an overkill, but the kids all seemed to enjoy it. I loved that I did not have to do anything. For his first we did not really do a party - just a family "cake and tea", which we still also did for his second. Maybe because we don't have that many friends it is easy for us to do this. No photographer either, but my father in law took photos at the aquarium so at least I have loads of that. I am the worst when it comes to taking pics, it just does not come naturally and I always end up taking very few, and been known to take none on some occasions that call for it...

    R 85 sounds reasonable - but it does depend on what that includes. For our party the price per head included the lunch for the kids, aquariums entrance and a craft session, and the party pack in a bucket. Nothing for adults - and for that you needed to use their catering services. But I was able to take my own cake which was great.

    Good luck!

  7. We had the girls' second birthday party at home (the first, too...but it was different / easier with "babies"). The third party we had at a yogurt shop. I liked that I was still able to decorate and bring in cupcakes (those were the ways that I held to the theme), and it was 100 times less stressful for me! I wasn't worried about someone wandering off / getting hurt / getting in trouble...and I didn't have to clean up any mess! I felt like I more enjoyed my girls and our guests, and I wasn't so completely exhausted before and after.

    On the photographer note, I would advise you to have a list of pictures you want...birthday boy and girl, family, cake, etc. That way you make sure you get all the "must haves" and you don't have to fret over that, either. I say this from experience, as I missed pictures at both the girls' second and third parties. :(

    I think I know your theme..can't wait to see it all come together!

  8. It can't be that time again already! Nooooo! I have my list ready, and I'm waiting on paper to start my invites.

    I think the price is reasonable, but I'm a backyard girl. It keeps people out of my house, and it's cheap and easy. I certainly do paper, or tossable products. To avoid the present dilemma I still ask for clothes in the next size/season, craft supplies, and books. The clothes and crafts will be outgrown and used up. This year I'm also going to ask for tickets and vouchers to kid places and museums. It's an experience gift on their level!! How perfect to hold on to for a rainy day?!

    Missing: What would be your 'activity' if you had the party at home?
    I'm stuck on this. Of course at our party there will only be 4 kids max(including ours), and possibly 3 older cousins.

  9. I think whatever you decide will work well. And paper plates and cups all the way! :-) I have a couple of contacts for cheaper photographers if you're looking...they're not as brilliant as Jenty but still pretty good. Otherwise you could do what we did and just let everyone take photos and mail them to you. If you have your heart set on specific shots you might miss them though.

  10. Wow...sounds like Mom is a super organiser...cant wait for the post with pictures

  11. I think you have a good idea there, to have people first RSVP and then decide whether you want to book the gym environment for a party.
    I love all your ideas here and I like that you will not take away the presents aspect from them due to the fact that it's always so much fun to see the excitement on someone else's face when they get and open the present/s.

  12. Oh, fun! Isn't it crazy that you're planning birthday number THREE?

    I have enjoyed having A & M's parties at our church the last couple of years. I can customize it to some extent, but very little cleanup. I'm all about low-maintenance! Of course, I'm guessing your house is in much more "presentable" shape than mine usually is, so maybe it wouldn't be quite as stressful for you! : )

    Watching the girls open presents this year was so much fun. We just quietly loaded everything up after the party and are pulling it out one item at a time when they need something new to do.

  13. You know I LOVE parties!

    I always try to do a party that reflects the child's favorite things at the time. Joel just had a Donut Many party for his birthday. I'm leaning toward a dolly tea party for LaRue in October.

    We always have the party either at our house, the park, or borrow a room at our church. ... I prefer to have it at home, because I always forget something! LOL

    I've been told I've got a knack for thinking up the most original games. :0 And when the gas prices were very low, and the girls were small, they always had really nice parties. Now days, only my immediate family and best friend come.

    I love to help others come up with ideas ... one Mom use to tell me I should start a business planning parties. But between being super shy and super "cheep", I didn't go for it. My plate was really full at that time as well.

    Hugs! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  14. wow. you are inspiring me to start thinking about the kids' party. i'm dying to know your theme. can you message me?

    and love the posts of pictures from the superhero stuff. your pics are turning out really great!!!

  15. I can't believe all these little ones are going to be three! My boys birthday is in just a month! I haven't even started thinking about it :X I better get on that!


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