Five Awesome Parties, for Five Awesome Years

My daughter turns six tomorrow, which means that I am about to throw the 30th birthday party in my career as Mom  - thirty exceptional birthday parties that have celebrated my childrens’ unique personalities and our special relationsh…oh, who am I kidding? At this point, I’m just praying someone saw the tiny little BYOB in the medium sized LPS’s left pawprint on the invite.

I’ve learned the hard way over the years that, until they start asking for Birthday Spectacular-Spectaculars, I should not deliver them. I made that mistake on each of their first birthday parties and I’m still trying to get them down from the sugar high. Now, my kids get to have the great big crazy insane birthday party when they turn 10, and until then, we keep it small, simple and affordable.

Thirty parties in, I’m getting pretty good at coming up with new ways to keep my expenses down and their fun up. However, I’ve got a few fallback favorites that I thought I’d share on this, the last day of my daughter’s fifth year.

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  • Cupcake Birthday 1 of 5
    Cupcake Birthday
    Wrap the cake and the craft into one big party game! Bake a bunch of cupcakes and lay them out on a table with frostings, sprinkles and other fun toppings. When everyone's made their cupcakes, add candles, sing happy birthday and send them all back home before the sugar kicks in.
  • Movie Party 2 of 5
    Movie Party
    Target sells these nifty little popcorn containers in the $1 ailse. Fill them with microwaveable popcorn, some candy/toys (I personally find those Sticky Body Parts to be a smash hit) and a juice pack or soda. Sit everyone down in your family room, dim the lights and enjoy a theater-style party at a fraction of the price.
  • MMA Party 3 of 5
    MMA Party
    Boys love to wrestle and living rooms make great octagons. Push all the furniture aside and let the kids spar, two-by-two. Having a professional on hand to referee isn't the worst idea you've ever had, if you can find one. Having liability wavers signed isn't, either.
  • Park Party 4 of 5
    Park Party
    When your child absolutley *has* to invite the entire first grade to their party, plan on having a neighborhood park party. Reserve tables in advance, or just show up early and make camp. Your guests will all be able to walk to the party, and little siblings are easily accomodated in wide open, public (and free! spaces). Barbecue if one is available, or just bring easily handled snacks, like chip packs and juice boxes. Let them make their own fun, or plan scavenger hunts.
  • Nemo Party 5 of 5
    Nemo Party
    If you need a themed party, Finding Nemo is my personal favorite. Fill your ceiling with pink balloons (jellyfish) and your floor with blue balloons (water). Line the wall with streamers and put Nemo on the TV. Serve blue jello with Nemo-brand gummies in fishbowls purchased at the local craft store for under $1 each. Serve goldfish as a snack and you have a complete Nemo day your kid will love. (Bonus: letting the kids suck the helium out of the balloons when the party is over. Not that *I'd* ever do anything like that...)

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