February 20th, 2012 at 7:30 am
By Kim Ross
This week my oldest son, Ian, turns seven. I can’t believe I have been a mom for seven years already. Treasure each moment…. they go faster as they get older! In order to celebrate we held two parties this past weekend at our home. We held one with 14 of his closest friends- I know, WHAT was I thinking having 14 seven year olds over! That evening we had our close friends and family over to celebrate again. It was quite a day of partying!
It takes weeks to organize and prepare for a party of this magnitude, and I want to share with you some of my tips and tricks!
The first part is to pick a theme. This used to be a lot easier when only I was a part of the decision. As my sons get older they have thoughts of their own as to what works and doesn’t work. As you know I love Pinterest which has helped me to collect a lot of different ideas for different themes like LEGOS, Angry Bird, Star Wars, or a Mad Scientist Party. Personally, I REALLY wanted to do the Mad Scientist Party, but Ian wanted to have the Angry Birds theme, so that is what we went with.
Once you have a theme decided on, the guest list is the next step. The evening family/freinds party is always an easy one because the same people are invited. The kids party is the tricky part. My son ended up inviting 18 kids – his entire class and a couple boys that were in Cub Scouts. This was too many looking back. The energy was way too much at this age group and next year we will definitely be inviting only 5 to 7 of his friends.
My husband is always in charge of the invitations because he is a Graphic Artist by trade. Invitations can be made from a photo or just using various clip art on the computer. Another easy way is to purchase the invitations from the store that you just fill in the blanks. I usually like to get these out at least two weeks in advance.
I always like the kids to leave the party with something special. Last year, we held a pirate party for Ian. When the kids arrived they got to dress up as a pirate with a scarf for their head, eye patch, and a map. These were essentially the treat bag with the addition of some candy extras. Ian’s birthday is right after Valentine’s Day so I usually pick up some discounted Valentine’s candy to share. You don’t need anything extravagant in the treat bag as it is a small way to say Thank You.
My stand by for decorations involve the cake, balloons and crepe paper. I purchased a sign that has his name printed on it that we reuse each year since his first birthday. The cake is usually part of the table and crepe paper and balloons that match the theme are scattered around the house.
I like to plan a couple of activities that the kids can do during their party. This year since it was Angry Birds we made custom masks and played Angry Bird tag outside. We also had a bean bag toss game. Musical chairs is also a favorite. With a winter party I don’t usually do piñata’s, but we do have those in the summer at my other son’s parties.
Other things to think about for the party are party food and drinks. We served pizza, jello and our favorite Caramel Apple Salad. I also had cake and ice cream for dessert.
Parties are fun, but exhausting too. The main thing I have learned is to not sweat the small stuff. When the boys were little I used to make the cake from scratch and decorate it. This guaranteed a panic attack the day before. This year I didn’t even make the cupcakes for the kids party, I just purchased them. In the end it doesn’t matter and makes life easier for me. Check out the details from our Angry Birds party at my personal blog and pick up a free printable.
Kim Ross also writes at A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.