K has been working over time like crazy so I didn't really have time to plan out the party the way that I wanted to. Plus there is also the little matter of budget. I simply could not igore that. I spent a lot of time at the dollar store trying to figure out the cheapest way to make party favours and decorations.
As E had invited boys to her party I pretty much figured the whole princess, girly theme was out this year. (sigh) So instead I opted for pretty floral paper plates and cups which had the added bonus of being about a 1/3 of the cost of a Disney themed plates etc.
Plus I had the "birthday box" to draw on. What? Don't have a birthday box? This is something that would make Sandy of Organize with Sandy proud. A few years ago I didn't know what to do with all the left over birthday napkins and party decor items etc so I grabbed a clear box with wheels and started storing everything birthday or party related in it. So there is no hunting up banners, balloons, streamers etc. They are all in one place. Of course, if you're like me and love to shop and are swayed from year to year with different themes you will have multiple table cloths, napkins, left over cups, forks etc.
I say, why not mix it up. Who says it has to be strictly Barbie, or strictly Disney Princess. Why not a little Strawberry Shortcake thrown in for good measure. Let's face it, we are really the only ones concered about "matching". It's not like the children care at all. Have you seen the outfits they've put together? Exactly.
When I was a little girl, my mom used to make me this doll cake that I absolutely loved. She has since passed on the cake pans to me and while I've wanted to jump in and bake my kid's cakes, I have primarily given in and gotten the fancy store bought themed cake. This year, however, in the interests of more frugalness, I brought out the box of cake pans and found the mold. I may be a novice in the cake decorating arena, I'm missing almost all of my tips (thank you children) and am down to one pastry bag but I think I did a fair job. Not to mention it was so stinking hot in the house that the icing wanted to stay runny. Yeah her skirt is a little crooked but that is not as noticeable when you're not zoomed in on it with a camera.
E was excited to see the cake but somewhat disappointed that she didn't get the doll to play with. I wanted to put a regular Barbie type doll in there but those dolls are too tall for the cake. The doll that goes in it has no legs. The other thing was that I was kind of hoping to make it look like Cinderella with a blue and white dress etc but because the doll obviously didn't look like Cinderella and I had put the cake on a pretty yellow and green vined plate that amazingly enough matched the paper plates I had bought, I thought I'd go for a yellow dress with green trim.
Kid note. The funny thing was because the base was a little uneven I iced the under part of the skirt white and added coconut for the underskirt in the front. I think it added depth to the skirt. Well, turns out 99% of all children do not like coconut on their cake. So all those that got it didn't even eat the icing. Go figure. Kids that don't eat icing.
The other shocking kid note. Not all kids like fruit. Okay, I'm spoiled. My children adore fruit in all shapes, forms and sizes. They can't get enough of it. If they ask for a candy and you say no, but you can have fruit, they say, "okay" and they are happy. (Yes you can envy me *L*)
I was trying to have healthy options. So I bought baked pretzels, did up my own fruit tray and besides cake the only real "junky" item was the Bugles. What was the first thing to get emptied out? The Bugles. Oh and the strawberries. I guess 99% of all kids LOVE strawberries.
Alnother kid note. Kids are wasteful. GASP. I know you're shocked, right?
Seriously my kids do waste food too, I am not completely naive or biased towards my own children. I SAID not completely. But not one of them would think of tossing their cupcakes on the ground just because they didn't feel like eating them. I must have picked up like 6 mini cupcakes. One little girl dumped the remains of the Bugle bowl onto her plate, carried it out in the yard and then left it there for the rest of the day. No one else got any more Bugles and for the really picky kid, that was all he'd eat. I hated to toss them away. I wanted them. I hadn't had lunch but there was no way I was picking food off of some strange kid's plate. I mean desperate I am not.
To my recently enforced frugal mind, I could not help mourn those lost cupcakes and tossed fruit. I knew my own kids would have enjoyed snacking on them tomorrow. OMG I am turning into a Cheap Charlie or worse yet.... My Parents!
For party favours, as this was a backyard water fun theme I gave each child a plastic bucket and shovel, with the usual candy and goodiesinside. Although these children were perhaps a little more fortunate in that their friends mom and dad (I'm talking about K&me) had stores with products that had been sitting there for some time because each girl got a complete pack of Hannah Montana pencil crayons and the boys got these real cool spiderman action figures. Items, which normally would not be purchased for party favours but were doable for us because we'd already paid for it through our businesses and we couldn't seem to sell at all.
All in all the kids had fun. The highlight? Water Balloons. We filled up a box and because the day was a little overcast were thinking we'd get the kids to do something a little more sedate and less wet like water balloon lawn bowling. um that lasted for 10 seconds before they were all tossing and chasing each other with the balloons. Not one kid complained about getting wet and all the boys, amazingly, stopped chasing whatever girl that said no to being doused. What little gentlemen. They had so much fun that K and I had to scramble to fill up another box. Unless you've done it, you have no idea how time consuming it is to fill those little buggers up.
So even though I was a little sad that I couldn't plan things out better for my girl and the dollar store didn't have the sea themed items I would have liked to have used, the party was fun and E has no clue how it could have been. In the end nothing really compares to having just good ol fashioned plain fun.