Archive for the ‘Birthday Parties’ Category

Miranda is wearing the Le Top Spring 2010 " Wild About Monokinis" big dot beach dress

Every year since my daughter was born, I (as in, just ME because my husband thinks I always go overboard so he leaves me with the event planning since I’m the one who wants to make it so complicated :)) always have had a theme birthday party. For her 7th birthday, I decided to keep it simple and have a “no-stress” birthday party. She invited a handful of friends and met at a nearby park so they could play. It was like casually meeting for a playdate instead of a huge, overwhelming party. I’d have to say, it was quite refreshing.

  • Instead of handcrafting personalized birthday invitations, I sent out electronic invitations (such as evite.com or pingg.com). This saves on stamps, too!
  • Instead of ordering a customized theme cake, my daughter and I baked cupcakes. This was fun because we enjoyed quality time together which we hardly get to do when her little brother is around.
  • Instead of ordering a multitude of dining courses and various drinks, we opted for pizza, juice boxes and popsicles.
  • Instead of goody bags, we gave our guests cute water bottles filled with ice cold water to keep them cool while playing.

WOW! It was so simple and easy, and I was also able to relax and enjoy some time with the company instead of running around being the “hostess with the mostess.” Hmmm… I can get used to this.

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My best friend growing up hated cake, but loved rice krispy treats! This recipe is sure to please your child’s sweet tooth and birthday cake needs! It is made of all cereal (who doesn’t love children’s cereal).

SERVINGS:  Makes one 8-inch, 2-layer cake; serves 8


  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • Rice Krispies recipe (see below)
  • Frosting (pre-made is fine such as Pillsbury)
  • Flower-or ball-shaped cereal pieces (Trix are good to use!)

Rice Krispies Ingredients:

  • 16 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 12 cups mini marshmallows
  • 10 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Assorted colorful cereal and candies for decorating

Directions to make krisp-rice mixture:

  • Melt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add 12 cups mini marshmallows; stir until melted, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in 16 cups (a 13 1/2-ounce box) crisp rice cereal.

Directions to make the cake:

  1. Coat two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Prepare crisp-rice mixture; before pouring into pan, reserve 2 tablespoons for patching cake, and set aside, covered. Divide remaining crisp-rice mixture among prepared cake pans. Press into pans with greased fingers to level. Let cool until set, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen; unmold onto parchment paper.
  3. Warm frosting and pour onto center of 1 cake layer, and spread evenly to edges. Let stand 10 minutes. Place second cake layer on top; press down gently. Using reserved crisp-rice mixture, patch edges where frosting is visible.
  4. Decorate with cereal, arranging pieces around top, middle, and bottom edges. Let cake stand until firm enough to slice, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. After 2 hours, wrap cake in plastic wrap to prevent it from getting too hard to slice.

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Since I posted about planning for a birthday party to you all, I thought I’d share the final results. The weather was beautiful, the kids had a blast, and so did we. There is nothing better than seeing my daughter and her friends laughing and playing. It’s satisfying to know the hard work paid off. We had no less than three children crying because they didn’t want to leave. I call that a success!

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This has been a hectic prep week. My daughter turned four a few weeks ago and now that we’ve had a breather from the holidays it’s time to celebrate her birthday. As a kid, my parents always had parties for me. Sometimes I’d just have friends over, other times we’d go out for pizza, and one time they took all of my friends to see a play of Pinocchio. These days there are even more fun things to do.

I want Lilah to feel special on her birthday! What she wants most of all is to have her friends over to our house. She’s comfortable there and can be herself. I love a good party, so we decided to make it adult friendly too. After all, this is a chance for me to meet many of her friend’s parents.

So what do I need to plan for?

How many kids?
My daughter would invite her whole school. Obviously that is not an option so I let her choose 4 (her age) from her current school. If some cannot make it then we will add more. We kept the number down since she also has past school friends, family friends and the like.

Somewhat dictated by the number if kids/adults. You can have parties at gymnastics centers, pizza places, the park, or just about anywhere these days.

How long?
Some parents just want the party to last a couple hours while others are up for something longer. We’re having it at our house and we’re inviting the adults so we’re leaving it open ended. Note: Don’t start your party during nap time if your child or their friends still nap.

Use Internet or hand out invitations? At Lilah’s school you can leave invitations with the child’s name near their sign in/out sheet. I put copies of our Evite in an envelope with a hand written note asking them to contact me if they’re interested in attending.

What is the theme (if any)?
Lilah is not girly girl and most of her friends are boys. She chose a CARS theme but also liked Diego and SpongeBob. Princesses, pirates, cowboy, safari, and beach parties are all fun too. Some parents go all out with balloons in theme shapes, pinatas and other decorations to match. If you’re keeping it more casual then some plates and napkins with the theme is more than enough.

Entertainment: To jump or not?
Absolutely (weather permitting) – For me there is no getting out of a jumper/bouncy house since she requested this last year (and throughout the year). Most rental companies have panels that fit into the jumper that can match your theme. Sometimes getting a smaller bouncy house with a slide can be more fun for the younger kids. No room or bad weather? Try a party game – though pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey was all the rage when I was young, there are many modern options. Click on the (party games) link for ideas.  

Goody Bags:

Many people have prepared goody bags in advance. I find this difficult to do if there is a wide age range of kids. I’ve  had enough parties that I can take left over goodies and add new items such as balls, cars, rings, bracelets, etc.  I put them in a big bowl with a goody bag next to it. Each child can choose what they like. This helps too because the parents are part of the process.

Kids just want cake but adults like to be fed (if you want them to stick around for long). Luckily, my husband is always willing to grill up some hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and veggie burgers. Pick up some potato salad and chips and you’re all set. Either provide some single serving low sugar juice boxes, bottles of water, or chocolate milk or make-up a large batch of whatever you like and have cups handy.

source: bettycrocker.com

Whatever makes the little one happy! Some like cakes, others like pies. I may try a ‘pull apart cake‘ – the tops are cut off of cupcakes, they are decorated as one cake but you can pull the separate cupcakes out so there is no messy cutting and serving.

You won’t walk far in our house without tripping over a toy. We requested no gifts on her invitation. Some will bring them and we’re happy to get them but their presence is present enough.

The Birthday Girl

All that matters is that your child feels special on their birthday. It doesn’t take much. The party is the setting but it’s their friends and family that matter most. Make sure that you enjoy yourself too. You shouldn’t make yourself so stressed out that you can’t play alongside your child. 🙂

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I was back in California recently for my nephew/godson, Otto’s, 6th birthday party! It was at a fun bouncy house (who doesn’t do them these days? They are so much fun!) and my sister said that she had to keep an eye on two kids whose parents dropped off their kids. I thought this was interesting because most of the birthday parties I go to in New York, the parents come and stay and watch over their own children. It made me question, what is the appropriate age to drop off your kid and is it a burden to the parent/host of the party or is it a good way for any parents to get a 2 hour break (sounds good to me, right?)?

It seems that beginning in pre-school, EVERY weekend is packed with birthday parties at gyms, art classes, sports facilities and more around town. At most birthday parties, upon arrival you just release the children and watching them go! When my sister was recently looking after two kids (from different families) at Otto’s party, it made me wonder when it is appropriate (or preferred) for a parent to drop off their kids and return an hour or two later to pick them up. At her party, the majority of the kids who were attending (around 40) all had some sort of chaperon or parent there for them.

Growing up, I remember carpooling to parties with other neighborhood friends. Usually one parent would drive us there and then our own parents would come to pick us up. My parents loved it! It allowed them free time to do what they wanted while I was off having a good time. Today, it seems to me that parents feel like they are expected to come to a birthday soiree (and to be fed too!).

Personally I think it is fine to have parents attend and watch over their kids. I think the appropriate age to drop off a child is if they are potty trained and have been left alone before with a babysitter for example so that they don’t have separation anxiety and leave the parent/host in a lurch. Let us know your thoughts! We would love to hear them.

Here are some pictures of my sister and Otto, Otto with his crown, and Otto’s brother (my youngest nephew) Wade playing in the bouncy house!

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The holidays are hectic enough without adding birthdays into the mix. Many in my circle of loved ones have birthdays during this season. My husband has always told me that he felt slighted because everyone was out of town or just too tired to do something for his birthday which falls between Christmas and the New Year (plus he often received a combined gift). I threw him a surprise party almost two months in advance of his birthday when he turned 40 since it was clear that between the holidays and a new baby that he would get left out once again.

So how do you make their birthday special?
One of my extended family members has her birthday on Christmas day. What a special Christmas gift she was! When she was young we used to celebrate her birthday on the half year. That way, everyone was around on her birthday, but it didn’t just get rolled up in with Christmas. The added benefit was that the weather was generally nice and therefore gave better options for parties.

My daughter was born on New Year’s Eve. That’s right. She was my little tax break. Though I think this birth date will be fabulous when she is a teenager, at this age it’s kind of a pain. Both she and I were sick two years in a row for her birthday due to stress and overdoing it. Last year I got smart and celebrated it at the end of January. Everyone made it to the party since they had all recovered from the holidays and were back on track. This year I opted to have her class celebrate her birthday when they return from holiday break instead of the last day before winter break.

Of course, I want my daughter to feel incredibly special on her birthday so I’ve been checking in with people on what they do to make their child feel like a superstar.

  • Celebrate on a different day or even month
  • Let them choose what they want to do: Have friends over or go out?
  • Let them choose all the meals for the day
  • If their birthday is mid-December, hold off on getting the tree until after you celebrate their day
  • If you must celebrate at the same time, make sure their gifts are wrapped in Happy Birthday paper not Christmas paper
  • Have your child make a separate Christmas list and Birthday list
  • No holiday décor up while celebrating – At minimum have a separate room in their chosen theme to have the festivities
  • Don’t just slap a candle on that holiday pie – Make a special dessert of their choosing with Happy Birthday written on it.

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Discover Easy as 1-2-3- Steps to Making a Pipe Cleaner Cocktail Ring

This past Sunday I attended a Baby Naming celebration for a very special little girl named Ari.  The grandparents, Bobbie and Papi, decided they needed entertainment for all of the kids attending along with the 60 guests.  As I helped to greet guests upon their arrival, one colorful, cheery guest arrived with her humongous cart of pipe cleaner fun – Wendy the Pipe Cleaner Lady.  What a grand idea!  She was like a balloon artist who twists and ties pipe cleaners to create everything from rings to crowns to footballs to monkeys and more! 

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Yee-haw! We couldn’t help but wrangle in this sweet 3 year old cow gal – Davae – posing for her Western-themed birthday shindig. Our lovely lady of the West is wearing a shirt and faux suede skirt from le•top’s Round ‘Em Up collection from a past season. Giddy up!

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Thrills, action and adventure!

Time flies when you’re having fun! And having a son surely made it go even faster. Paulo turned a year old this month, and to celebrate his first year, we had a little safari adventure. It wasn’t too difficult to pull together, just some coordinating. First of all, Paulo already had the perfect outfit to wear: Hip Hop Grasshopper from le•top’s 2010 Spring/Summer collection. All I had to do was to dress my family to match his attire. I bought pith helmets and bandanas to accessorize our khaki gear. We had a custom cake decorated with tiny snakes, handed out 3-ft. stuffed snakes as our party giveaways, and invited our dear friend, Jungle James, to bring his corn snake and other critters to entertain our guests. Oh, did the children have a wild time!

The party only lasted 3 hours, but at the end of the day my husband and I were exhausted. I realize now (after almost six years of party planning for my kids), it doesn’t matter how long the party is or how many guests are invited, the amount of work is still the same:

  • planning
  • writing out invitations
  • shopping (food, drinks, party supplies, etc.)
  • order the cake
  • cleaning the house
  • setting up the food
  • mingling with the guests
  • replenishing the empty food trays and drink cups
  • serving the cake
  • opening the presents
  • cleaning up – BIGGEST JOB OF ALL!
  • writing thank you cards

What I’ve learned is Children’s Birthday Parties = Work. THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTIES = EXTRA WORK!!! But it’s worth every moment when I see how much fun everyone* is having. So now that I’ve got one child’s birthday party under my belt, it’s off to plan my daughter’s birthday party. She’s going to be 6 years old, so I know it’s going to be a sassy one. I’ve get less than three months, so I better get to it.

(* That includes the parents!)

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No, I did not say that!

It was my nephew’s birthday party and it was time for gifts. I watched him as he happily opened each present, then frowned upon discovering it wasn’t what he was hoping for. So I asked him, “What’s wrong?”

“I didn’t get what I wanted.”

“What did you ask for?”

A time machine.”

– Noah, age 6

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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