Pop quiz time:
It’s your child’s birthday. You’re planning a party. Do you:
- Panic, scream, and then hide
- Spend hours meticulously planning every detail and cross-referencing your plans with your Pinterest posts
- Jump on a plane to somewhere amazing – it’ll cost just as much as the party anyway!
- Head to your local play place, hand out hot dogs and soda, and just call it a day
Hmmm. No really good choices there, eh?
What happened to the time when birthdays were fun, exciting, and relaxing? Well, guys, I’m going to share some of the things that helped me out this year because this year was the first year where I didn’t find myself stressing out or going crazy over my son’s birthday. Let me help you plan a #FromScratch birthday party!
Themes & Decor
Depending on the age of your child, you may have a theme that needs to sit centre stage. Or maybe you don’t, and that’s fine too! I’m a theme person – even before my son was old enough to express his desire for a theme, I would always love having an overall idea to tie into the parties I throw.
Whatever theme you do decide to go on, remind yourself of it often. It’s easy to get distracted by things that kind of, sort of fit into what you like, but for the sake of your sanity (as well as simplicity and your wallet), remember to ask yourself if those cute chalkboard painted place settings really fits in with your superhero themed party.
Another thing that I have had to learn is to think big. Pinterest is the enemy of this. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest like pretty much every other North American female out there, but it’s so easy to get bogged down with party touches that really don’t get you very far. Skip the clever food name tags (I spent hours making Cars themed food name tags for my son’s birthday that didn’t even get put out until halfway through the party) and spring for a DIY themed photo booth or themed birthday banner.
One of the biggest reasons that I had found my son’s birthdays to be stressful in the past was due to the reason that we weren’t able to host them in our house because of space constrictions. This year we opted to split his party up into multiple “mini” parties, which, although hectic, was much less stressful as we were able to host the parties in our home. That meant that food was easily stored in the kitchen and fridge, decorations were hung/set up the day before, and I wasn’t worried about forgetting anything.
When planning a party outside of the house, which is what we normally do, it’s important to remember to have a plan and share that plan with someone (a spouse, friend, or other family member) who will be able to help you execute the plan. Set things up so they’re ready to go (we use laundry hampers, cardboard boxes, and large reusable bags to help us organize) and have a checklist that you can tick off as things leave the house and get into the vehicles.
When I’m talking about food, I don’t mean the dessert tables that you see on Pinterest. While those are amazing to look at, kids need something quick, easy to eat, and nutritious during a birthday party where they’ve most likely been running around for the past few hours. Also, I like to buffer the cake, cupcakes, candy, or other goodies with some delicious and healthy eats.
Food at kid parties doesn’t have to be relegated to hot dogs and potato chips anymore. Think about some of the favourite foods that you and your child enjoy, while keeping in mind some of the dietary concerns that may come up if you have any children on restricted diets. Instead of generic potato chips, try whipping up some of your own homemade apple chips or homemade terra chips!
When it comes time to fill that dessert table, there are lots of healthful options out there to incorporate. Scratch Mommy founder, Jessica, has a delicious go-to birthday cake that is grain-free, egg-free, and cow’s milk-free!
…or, if you’re planning a summer birthday, you could opt for an ice cream bar by checking out Jess’s ice cream bar guide, Jamie’s delicious probiotic peach popsicles, or my chocolate magic shell recipe. And of course, don’t forget to load up the table with colourful fruit options like Krista’s fruit salsa recipe!
Side note…don’t forget the bug spray if you are outside (non-toxic Pronounce Bug Spray from Scratch Mommy Founder Jess, of course).
Favours, in my opinion, don’t always need to be centered around the theme of the party. Sure, it’s great to incorporate the theme in small ways, but the more birthday parties we go to, the more I enjoy waste-free favours. Healthy treats, small snacks, some amazing homemade play dough, or relaxing cloud dough are much better options. Opt to package in reusable packaging as opposed to plastic loot bags to make the favour even more meaningful. This is one area that it’s great to get the birthday boy or girl involved in. Choose something they would enjoy receiving as opposed to something that will create clutter or end up being thrown into the trash.