Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Big Birthday Bash!

Last week Starlet turned 5 and so we planned a fun party for her and 5 of her best friends (and her brother). Of course, she wanted a princess theme, and she gave me a list of activities she wanted to do: dancing, movie, stories, and a treasure hunt, plus lunch, cake and presents.

In order to fit it all in, I decided it would be fun to make it a "Royal Academy Open House." Here is the text of the invitation I sent out, along with translations in parentheses:

Her Royal Highness, Princess Starlet, formally invites you to attend an Open House at the Royal Academy to be held at the Princess’s Palace on Monday, January 17th, beginning at 11:00am sharp.

Your schedule of events will be as follows:

11:00 - Dancing Instruction and Rehearsal (put on dance music while I finished prepping the food, did a "freeze dance" too)

11:45- Princess Literature, Legend and Lore (read 4 different princess stories)

Noon- Tea Party with Proper Etiquette Instruction from Her Royal Highness, The Queen (did I mention I dressed up too? Served mini pigs-in-a-blanket, grilled cheese sandwiches cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter, grapes, and apples)

12:30- Special Presentation of the Royal Cinema (put on a short 30-minute princess movie for the kids to watch while I cleaned up lunch dishes and refilled cups and put out fresh napkins. I even had time to sit in my massage chair for a minute...mmm...)

1:00- Presentation of Gifts to Her Royal Highness Princess Starlet (presents!)

1:15- Presentation the Official Birthday Cake and Ice Cream to Her Royal Highness, Princess Starlet, and her honored guests (cupcake cake and ice cream! I used ice cream cups to keep it simple)

1:30- Hunt for the Royal Treasure (I made up a treasure hunt with rhyming clues that eventually led them to a gift bag with party favors)

1:45- Farewell Ball and Talent Show (more music and play till parents come!)

Please dress in a manner appropriate to such a royal occasion and contact The Queen at (xxx) xxx-xxxx with any questions or concerns.

Princess Starlet and her family look forward to your attendance at this very special event!

I am a big believer in the the idea that kids' birthday parties should be not just parties, but an experience, where they can use their imagination and be somewhere magical for the time they're there. This was the first time I'd had a kids' party where I asked the parents to just drop them off and go, but the youngest child was 4 and the rest of them were 5 or older, so I knew they'd be fine.

The key to any successful party like this, especially when your guests are young children, is plan, plan, PLAN! And prepare, prepare, PREPARE! Having a schedule is really helpful, because then you can move from one thing right to the next and not only does it cut down on chaos, but it also keeps you sane because you know what you will be doing at any given moment and you won't feel like you have to come up with entertainment on the spot.

I kept the decorations really simple for this party. I decorated the table using plastic tabelcloths from the dollar store- a white one on the bottom with a blue one folded in half and placed diagonally across the table to create a pretty layered look. The plates, cups, and napkins were all white- cheap and pretty! The centerpiece was a balloon weight from the dollar store along with a framed photo of the birthday girl with Cinderella at Disney World (from our vacation last summer).

I used helium balloons to decorate both the table and the other rooms in the house that we used for the party- 2 special princess balloons for Starlet and then pink heart balloons and white star balloons. The balloons doubled as both decorations and party favors- each girl took home a pink heart and each boy a white star. Total for decorations was about $13 (I also had regular blow-up balloons for them to kick around on the floor for the dance party).

The party favors included the balloons, pretty dry erase boards ($1 at Target), strawberry plant growing kits ($1 at Target), and ring pops ($1 for a bag of 4 at dollar store). Total spent on party favors (not counting balloons) was $16. I usually do goodie bags, but those always end up having cheap toys and candy and I liked the idea of things they could actually enjoy (and not just leave around the house for their parents to step on!). I also made sure to label each item with each child's name to avoid any potentially teary mixups.

Starlet had a great time, and I actually did too. I used the titles "Sir" or "Lady" in front of each child's name, and I spoke like I was the queen and they were royalty also. It actually caused them to sit taller and try to be on their best behavior! During lunch I turned on some soft piano music, which also helped to calm the atmosphere significantly, and added to the "Royal Tea Party" effect. All the children really enjoyed the party, even the boys. And that's the point!!

Have you thrown any beautiful thrifty parties lately? Or have any questions for me as to how to pull one off? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

Comments make me happy. Nice to know I'm not just sitting here talking to myself. So, thank you!

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