Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Birthday Parties, I'll Miss You!

The kids are growing up!

With every passing year, this thought is like a gong in my head...knocking me over. And while it's a little bittersweet to know that you have more time on your hands, I believe the one aspect I will miss more than any other is the joy of planning their birthday parties.

Over the years I have been lucky to have experienced so many different themes. I simply adore the entire process of thinking up a theme, creating the decor around it, coming up with games to go with the theme and to finally see it all through the smiles and hugs from the kids. So worth all the late night trysts with scissors, cardboard, papers and whatnots.

So let me share with you some of my favorite birthday party ideas and how I came up with the birthday banners for each of them.

The Beginning

It was my very first attempt at birthday party planning when my son turned 5. Yup before that we were a party of 4 ourselves. The theme was 'Pirate Party' and I worked super hard to get everything right - from pirate hats to hooked hands, I created them all. We bought the wall decorations online and I added the letters at the last minute. Pretty neat, don't you think?

It was my daughter's 4th birthday and she was into unicorns, of course. I made my maiden attempt at cardboard decor. Now, of course, I am in love with them and whenever there is a party to plan, it's BJ's cardboard boxes to the rescue. I was especially pleased with the banner - doesn't it look like a beautiful necklace?

Banners Galore

Since then we have immortalized the different phases my kids went through.

Armaan has always been an avid animal lover. He loved to watch Diego...and so a Diego themed party was a given. The entire decorations are made with cardboard, tissue paper, streamers and printouts and cost less than $2. Hubby dear could not believe that I had created Diego and Dora with my own hands! Don't they look cute?

And then there was a time when my daughter was still into fairies and princesses, though she outgrew those early enough. This was my favorite banner of all times. The cardboard is covered with tissue paper and the letters stuck on. I think it looks very rich and pricey.

I was so happy with the way her name came out, I plan to do something like that again when she finally has her own room...someday. I know the decor on the wall looks random, but that was part of a game the kids were supposed to play.

Since my son's birthday falls in January, we once decided to have a Halloween themed party.. You know, give the kids a random day to wear their Halloween costumes. That one time I did not have to plan any games as we had called a magician, just to be more thematic.

The one good thing about these removable wall decals is that we can use and re-use them for a very long time. For the spider hanging down (I also had skeletons hanging), I bought the regular ceiling hanging decor (I think they were stars) and stuck the spiders, made from black paper and silver ink for eyes as well as the skeletons made from paper plates.

Then there was the 101 Dalmatian themed birthday party, as that was my daughter's favorite movie. Again a simple printout with the dalmatians hanging on was enough to complete the banner. I also made cutouts of some of the dogs to put around the house.

As the children have been growing up, I have tried to keep themes and games that they would enjoy at that age. With that in mind, we had the most awesome Science Party. I had to do a lot of online digging to find some gems of experiments that the children could do - where they would have fun and my house would not get too messy either.

When that party went off without a hitch, I was ecstatic. Although I think my banner was a little sloppy. But I had worked hard on the decor and the games, so I might excuse myself.

My daughter then wanted an Arts and Crafts themed party. That is not so difficult to do especially as her birthday falls a few weeks before Halloween. We handmade the round fans under the banner too, since this was an arts and crafts party.

To commemorate my son's age turning to double digits, I created a Double Agent party with loads of spy kinda games where all the kids had to work in teams of two (double digits, you know). Creating the invite had been fun too, with hidden clues and invisible codes. Hubby created a small program on the computer wherein each agent had to enter his special code in order to enter the party area.

It was very cool, or should I say, sick?!

Finally, last year my daughter decided on a 'Breakfast in Pajamas' party. I loved the way one of her friends described the birthday banner - "It looks like frosting!" I had not quite planned it with that thought in mind, but I like it.

Well, now my son is turning 12 (WHAT...Already?!) and we are shifting into the new dimension of movie nights or bowling alleys instead. And while there are moments when I wish I could hold on to those days of yore, at least I have created some awesome memories for all of us.

Maybe I could start planning birthday parties or any other parties for friends and neighbors. Hmmm... there's a thought to keep me warm for now.

How do you celebrate your kids' birthdays? Don't you think this is a wonderful way to track their growth?

Happy Decorating,

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