A little bit of history - because Jane and my niece, Lucy, are the same age and were born two weeks apart, we've done joint parties for the past two years. Going forward, though, I think this is the last joint party. As much as it makes sense to do so for family, it doesn't make much sense for any other reason! :p Jane and Lucy don't have the same "group" plus, I think, next year (being that they'll be four), they might be more interested in having their own special days.
So, this year, I suggested we rent a place for the party vs. doing it at my sis's house or mine... mostly due to the fact that I knew I'd be huge and grumpy and not wanting to clean up and decorate much, etc. I was right. I might have had four hours sleep the night before the party and, between company and party prep, I was zonkered! We rented an "indoor playground" for a private party and it was awesome. The kids loved it, the space was ideal and it took us ten minutes to throw everything into a garbage bag afterwards and LEAVE! WOOT WOOT! Plus, being that it was split between two families, it wasn't too expensive. I don't know that I'd do it if it were just us as it would be a little pricier than I might be willing to pay to get out of cleaning... in fact, I'd probably just do it at home and pay to have molly maids come in the next day, if I were doing it myself. :p
As far as themes go, I started planning early and, because the party was for both Jane and Lucy, didn't want to go with a typical character theme as it might be difficult to find someone/something that appealed to both of them. Last year was easy - Minnie Mouse - what two year old doesn't LOVE Minnie? But this year, Jane gave me the inspiration as I asked her what she wanted at her birthday party and she said CUPCAKES! THe child LOVES cupcakes. So, cupcake theme it was! Simple and all-pleasing, fantastico!
This was the invite and thank you card combo I came up with for the girls party...
I also went with the cupcake theme because, two years ago for Jane's first birthday, I bought a $40 giant cupcake pan that I promised myself I'd use more than once... so this gave me a good excuse to pull it out again. I was disappointed, however, as I found a flower-shaped cupcake pan on sale this winter and was so excited about flower-shaped cupcakes that I bought "turf" tiles to line my cupcake trays with so that it would look like flowers in the grass (I know, I'm so cool) and no matter how much batter I used - a little, a little more, too much, a little less - I could not get effin' FLOWERS! So, we just had varying sizes of different color cupcakes - that, of course, I matched to the colours of the invites and martha stewart stuff - that, of course, no one else noticed but ME! :p tee hee hee.
Here's a photo summary of my efforts...
I got the cupcakes toppers on Etsy (of course)... pretty cheap, I think it was $10 for a dozen, totally custom and I got two orders - one for Jane, one for Lucy. I did the big cupcake as a cake for just the girls - for diggin' into with fingers - and individual cupcakes for the other kids and parents instead of a cake to cut. I think it went pretty well. The kids seemed to like that they could choose a cupcake colour of their choice. The party was from 4-6pm and, conveniently, right next to a pizza spot, so it's no surprise what we ordered for dinner! :p Can you ever go wrong with pizza?!?!
I filled the loots bags with a mix of candy, mini chocolate bars, bubbles, and either pretty hair ties for girls or dinkies for boys. I mean, lets be honest... all the kids want is some candy but some parents aren't in to that so the loot bags can be tricky. We all remember loot bags growing up. Candy = success.
I'm thankful we're still in the politics-free party planning stage... I mean, we invite who we want to come. Simple as that. I suspect, once we get into the school-age-parties, things will get a little more complicated. Do you invite everyone in the class? Do you invite only the kids your kid likes? You have invite those who have invited you... and the gift thing is tricky. I always say "your presence is present enough" but people always bring gifts! Do I appreciate it, of course! But, it's not necessary. How do you truly avoid this? I mean, Jane gets enough gifts from us, the family, etc. She didn't even open her own gifts this year because she was so wired and distracted by everything that I ended up opening everything after she went to bed. :p
Because it's Friday and I feel like I'm bored writing this post, let alone for you poor folks out there reading it... I'm stopping now. :p
Here are some pics of my sweet girl. Look how grown up she is!