One of the great things about being a Nana is that I get to plan, plot, and put on the birthday parties. Each kidlet gives me their chosen theme for the year and I take over. Decorations, games, goodie bags, food, and cake are all mine and boy do I have fun.
We don’t just run to Party City and buy the themed party ware either. And lets face it, some of the ideas don’t have anything in the stores anyway. Thank goodness this old gal has incredible ingenuity and some crafty talent! When the kids lived in cramped apartments or townhouses, we held the parties at the local park or the church hall for a small donation. Space can always be found.
Sometimes it’s easy like the Super Hero, or Star Wars, or Harry Potter but, sometimes Nana has to dig deep to create the perfect Sherlock Holmes Party or a “Hula Hoop” themed party! Gotta love their imaginations! The kids and I decide at the beginning of the year what their themes will be and I keep notes of ideas in my planner and then can pick up appropriate supplies when I see them –especially on sale! (ie. giant Easter eggs that were *the* perfect dinosaur egg for a later in the year party, discussed later in the post)
One thing I’ve learned, each daughter needs to maintain a party box where all the extra supplies reside. The supplies that are basic colors! We may not need those colors for another few years but how nice it is to pull out the black and red plates, napkins and cups from the pirate party and reuse them for the Star Wars bash!
I usually make the invitations but we have done the easy route and created computer generated ones to email. Do what works for you!
We do the standard balloons and streamers but personalized banners are a great addition. Black vinyl footprints and strategically placed black vinyl finger prints were a huge hit at the Sherlock Holmes party. HA.
Goodie Bags for the guests are one of my favorite things to do. Of course the guests to the Harry Potter party received handmade wands, gold chocolate coins and a little baggie of jelly beans in their favor bags! I love making cookies for the bags too. Who wouldn’t love to bite into a zombie cookie?
A good game of Quidditch, a Crime Scene Scavenger Hunt, or a treasure map hunt are all great party activities. When we did a dinosaur party, we hunted for a nest of dinosaur eggs. Hints were age appropriate and the kids worked as a team. I had found giant Easter eggs and hid them in the yard (I also used them as goodie bags so it was a win win!). Don’t forget the piñata!
Food can be as simple or as fancy as you want to make it. Finger foods, all appropriately named, are one of our standards -how fun are food names like Jedi Juice, Sword Kabobs, or Cannonballs. Yes, we even drew storm trooper faces with edible markers on marshmallows for the Star Wars Party. I take this job seriously, ya’ll! At our recent Harry Potter party, we went simple. Fruit trays and pizza! Oh, but them I made Butterbeer Floats, complete with little gold star sprinkles.
I am not a cake decorator by trade but yes, I make the cakes. Tab and I do it together when she is there but for the other kids, I only have me. We’ve had some laughable moments -homemade marshmallow fondant is quite the experience when your hands stick to the bowl, some failures in design -our sand castle imploded right after the wee one blew out the candles, and some flat out awesome cakes. Regardless of how many should be on Cake Flops, the kids love them, they’re fun to make, and no one will judge you! Be brave, make one, I dare ya.
If you are not as
crazy visionary as I am, spend some time surfing the slew of ideas on Pinterest. You can find creative ideas for almost any theme now. The secret is to have fun. It doesn’t matter that you are not a professional party planner or a inspired baker, just have fun. You are not building perfection, you are building memories.