Thursday, September 12, 2013

Birthday Party: The Procrastinating, Busy, Working Mom Edition

Last Saturday I was able to pull off the Not-So-Elmo 2nd birthday party for Charley. If you  remember, I was out of town for both of the two weekends prior to the party so my party planning time was few and far between. It ended up being more Elmo than I'd hoped for, but when you are up against the wall and running out of time you sort of just go with it. I threw it all together in 3 days: Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, a marathon decorating fest Friday evening and finished up at 2:55 p.m. Saturday when the party started at 3:00.

Here's what I did.

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I sent out invitations from one month in advance. That website is ingenious. Sure, I bet I could have gotten a better deal on invitations on another site using a coupon or a daily deal type thing, but I went with for our Christmas cards and they not only SAVE your address book on their site, but they will even stamp them and mail them straight to the recipients for you. Sold.

The next thing I did ended up being sort of a bust. I posted this picture on Instagram and here as a preview to what I was going to do with the balloons. They resembled Elmo, but they weren't SO Elmo. 


But, what ended up happening was the giant red balloons got strung on fishing line and hung up at the ceiling in the living room. The little orange balloons were supposed to be on their own line in front of the red balloons but it ended up being too much trouble and too time consuming. So all the little orange balloons just floated around the living room. The kids actually like that though, so it came out okay in the end. Also, I have no picture of the balloons we hung up. Which was another failure of mine: most of my pictures stink and there weren't enough of them. Enough about my failures - let's talk about the stuff that I liked!

On Wednesday night I decided to draw Mr. Noodle on a piece of foam board. You do know Mr. Noodle, don't you? Charley loves him.


The theme of my food this year was Mr. Noodle's noodles. When I came up with this idea I expected to find a slew of other people on Pinterest that had already done this because it really wasn't all that creative. You know what though? NOT A ONE. Which seems to be the case when I plan birthday parties.

I bought fuzzy red fabric and cut them into table runners. Know what happens when you cut fuzzy red fabric? Fuzzies go EVERYWHERE. YAY FOR HAVING TO ADD RE-VACUUMING TO THE LIST OF TASKS TO DO BEFORE THE PARTY.

So I chose to do the following menu: 

Mac and Cheese bites (omg so good!)
Pasta Salad 
Noodles in Alfredo Sauce
(that's the end of the noodles)
Cheese cubes


It was a 3:00 party so I felt like that was plenty to snack on for a non mealtime party. The only food I personally prepared was the Elmo fruit tray and I also managed to dump the cheese cubes onto a plate. The rest was done by John, my sister, and my super bestest friend. Thank you, thank you! I hadn't PLANNED on outsourcing those items, but I seriously ran out of time and they all helped me save the day.

The only activities I had for the kiddies were an Elmo bean bag toss (which I made with a piece of poster board and a basket! go me!)


and a coloring table (I had a low table that I covered in craft paper and stuck a bowl of crayons on. The end.) You can't really corral two year olds into playing party games and having these two things on top of all of the toys in her room kept all of the kiddies from ages 1-9 entertained.


I did redecorate the mantel for the party too, as you might have seen on Instagram.


I happened to own some red and orange decor things already, so I just threw those up there along with the banner I made:

No, I do not own a Cricut. Everything you see here was hand cut. I couldn't justify the cost of buying one of these banners on Etsy or buying a Cricut machine. It really didn't take that long to make it all.

and the #2 I cut out of cardboard and wrapped in yarn:

These pictures are terrible, sorry. I didn't even bother to get them in focus or REMOVE THE DARN SCISSORS FROM THE MANTEL before taking it. Sigh.
I mentioned up there^^ (in a caption - do you guys read the captions?) that I bought fuzzy red fabric for table runners. I also used the leftover fabric to wrap a wreath leftover from my baby shower to make an Elmo wreath.

Woohoo iPhone photography!

I hung this on my garage door which is where I wanted people to enter since we still don't have a sidewalk leading up to our front door. I also made a pretty cool entryway with crepe paper so people knew where to go, but someone ::notnamingnamesbutmylovelyhusbandJohn:: tore it down before I could get a picture.

That was about it really. We ate, we opened presents (it's customary for us to do this AT the birthday party, not afterwards. What do you do?) we had cake (DARN IT I FORGOT TO SERVE THE ICE CREAM IN MY FREEZER!) and we played. And it was a great time. Charley, most importantly, had a great time.

Woo hoo Wal-Mart cupcakes! I never ordered a cake or anything so I just walked in and purchased what they had.  They were so good too!
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And she's had so much fun with her gifts too. Some early favorites (though she loves them all!): the bubble machine and the Minnie Mouse dress-up dress. 


Thanks to everyone who came and a huge thanks to those that came early and saved my booty. I know I claimed that I wasn't going to do the big birthday parties back before I had kids, but -as long as Charley lets me - I'm keeping this up. They are definitely worth it and I have a teensy tiny bit of fun myself planning and creating it all. Just a teensy bit. ;)

But next year, darn it, NO CHARACTERS. No Dora, or Barney, or Mickey Mouse. And that's final. (wink wink)


Laura Diniwilk said...

COLORING TABLE. You are a genius. Stealing this for the party I have barely planned (scheduled for saturday, ha!)

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fireplace decor.

We definitely open presents at the party. Where I come from, it's rude not to let the people who bought really thoughtful presents see the kid open it and get excited. I also try to make it a point to send a picture of my kids enjoying the present to the gifter. But I know this is something not everyone agrees on.

Heather said...

Very, very cute :) I'm super impressed you were able to throw all that together in less than 3 days!

It is also customary to open gifts AT the birthday party around here. Doesn't everyone want to see the kid open the gifts? That's one of the best parts!

Ps - I had not heard of Mr. Noodle. Guess we need to step up our Sesame Street game over here.

Pps - I don't own a Cricut either and always hand-cut my stuff or use ghetto Word to make my party decor. I think that shocks people. I must be stuck in 1997 because I don't think it's that difficult either for the rare occasion I made a party banner or decorations.