A couple months before, Julianna and I browsed the internet for different party themes. She was convinced she wanted to have a party at the house and I tried to sway her to anywhere but the our house. I guess its easy when you are the little one enjoying life not stressing about cleaning the entire house.
The day belongs to her so we came to a compromise for a house party with a small guest list. Julianna wanted a sleepover, again another compromise, "Pretend Sleepover". I found a great inspiration blog post of a mom for her also daughter's fourth birthday party, tinyoranges.com. Julianna liked the site so much too you will find many similarities in our parties.
After Julianna's last party invites went via email through Evite, I figured I could do better given the small guest list. Now how to do it, photo cards seem the latest craze; and why not they are cute and customizable. I search Costco Photo Center, Shutterfly, Snapfish, nothing wooed me. I have a habit being very frugal at times and coupled with my attitude of why pay for something I can do on my mine lead me to fully designing my own photo cards on Photoshop Elements. I was able to further save money by printing on home photo printer.
Based on the suggestion from TinyOranges.com, kid friendly seating, I found All-Star Rents and rented a single 6-foot long children's table along with 12 children's chairs. They offer a $5 off coupon on your first rental when you sign up for their newsletter. I found a set of 8 multi-colored paper lanterns for $7 on Amazon.com. Since Julianna wanted to paint lanterns I ordered 3 sets to use for decor and craft. We hung 8 of the lanterns from ceiling with fishing line and used the remainder for the craft project.
Kids at table engaged in craft project
Homemade pizza dough was prepared and everyone was able to decorate their personal pizza. The kids loved it! In small bowls I put the spaghetti sauce for pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped turkey bacon, sliced orange bell pepper, pepperoni, chopped spinach, and sliced olives. And you can guess the most popular was cheese.
Idea straight from TinyOranges blog, I loved the cupcakes and mini cake idea. Well going with Julianna's favorite color purple, I asked Courtney, of cupcakesandwineblog.com, to create the cupcakes. She even flavored the frosting strawberry :) (I secretly adore her and her talents). Nugget Market made the chocolate cake and continuing the polka dot them on the frosting.
We ended the evening with Dora the Explorer: Birthday episode with the kids snuggled in their sleeping bags on the floor. It lasted maybe 5 minutes. But it all turned out fantastic. The 3-hour party wrapped up by 8pm and my kids were off to bed just in time.
Our parting gift was a box of soy chocolate milk, homemade blueberry muffin, and two NurtiGrain bars. Some kids were surprised there was no candy, but seriously kids its bedtime.
I was meticulous in planning every detail days before so during the party I was cool and calm. I had a minute-to-minute schedule of activities, adult helpers assigned tasks, and realistic mindset that nothing goes as planned.
Kids don't really care if the cake frosting matches the tablecloth and it helps keeping it in mind that they are there to have a good time. Luckily, that attitude is helpful in keeping the costs down ;)
I received no compensation from any of the mentioned companies or blogs and all opinions expressed are solely mine. I do, however, recommend the companies based on my experience.