Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Parties for My Two Year-Old (and Some Party-Planning Tips)

My boy turned two recently and we had two birthday parties for him – one at home and the other in school.  

Last year due to some unforeseeable circumstances, we had to forgo plans of having a birthday party for him. I was really upset over it but in retrospect, I think it was for the better.

If we had celebrated last year, Kenan would have been too young to really appreciate or understand what’s happening (and he had not even started walking yet!). This year, he really enjoyed playing with his friends and had just as much fun huffing and puffing away at the candles!

Planning the Parties

It may sound surprising to you but I really had been stressed over the party preparations. I was lost for ideas and had to trawl the internet for inspiration.

First, they say you must have a theme, because it would then guide you in decisions about the venue décor, birthday cake, goodie bags and so on.

I thought about it and decided on ‘My Favourite Things’. Kenan’s favourite cartoon character is Mickey, so we used Mickey as the theme for décor and goodie bags. Next, I used his favourite soft toys as design of his birthday cake.

 Secondly, you need some entertainment for the kids, and this was the tough one. The kids’ wide age range (from two to primary school children) made it almost impossible for me to have something for everyone.

In the end, I settled for entertainment for the majority of the kids (two to six). I rented toys for the younger ones and bubbles for the older kids. In the end, almost everyone played with everything.

Initially, I thought of getting a balloonist but since we didn’t have a lot of children, I decided not to have it. But we had helium balloons as part of the décor and some children including Kenan had fun playing with them.

By the way, we were busy entertaining guests that we almost forgot all about taking photos! Thankfully some guests who took photos sent them to us (thanks cousin! thanks Angie!).  

Mickey is Kenan's favourite cartoon character so we used it as the decor theme and for the mini cupcakes, which we got from Wicked Oven. Sam, the mumpreneur was really nice and gave us Mickey cupcake toppers and stand.We ordered two flavours: chocolate cheese and banana walnut brownie, which our guests really liked. 

Rented the kitchen set and teether-tooter which were a hit with the little guests. We also bought bubbles for the children.

Continuing with the 'My Favourite Things' theme, we used Kenan's favourite soft toys for the cake from Cake Avenue. See how realistic the figurines turned out to be! The cake was probably the highlight of the party! It only comes in one flavour - chocolate fudge (when I first found that out, I thought"Huh? No choice at all?!"). But let me say it's one of the best chocolate fudge cakes I've had - moist, rich and with just the right amount of sweetness. 

When it came to the school party, it was a breeze in comparison. The school has guidelines regarding birthday celebrations which can be summarized as “Keep It Simple”. And that’s what I did (plus we had about just half an hour for the celebration): all I did was to order a cake and prepare the goodie bags. After all, it was just for his class (which is less than 10) and not the whole school (thank God!).

Party Planning Tips:

1. Plan early
I know this is common sense but if you’re like me who has a tendency to get things done at the last minute, it creates unnecessary stress.

2. Same age
If you can, invite kids who are about the same age as your child as it makes for easier planning when it comes to things like activities, games and even the goodie bags.

3. Rent toys 
Rent toys for the kids, but not as a party package – that way, you stretch the dollar by getting to keep the toys for a month (the normal duration for toy rental) after the party and your kid can continue playing with them (so make sure they are also toys your child likes). I find that kitchen set is a good option. Just take precaution against losing any of the small parts or risk paying a penalty. What I did was to take out some of the smaller, easy to misplace items and add in some of my boy’s toys e.g. food (at least I don’t have to pay for it if they get lost).

Kenan playing with the balloons and toy after the party

4. Assign photographers
When it comes to photo-taking, rope in family members/friends who are photography buffs (I think two is a good number) and assign them as photographers. Then you can fully focus on entertaining the guests and don’t have to worry about not capturing the funny/heartwarming/once-in-a-lifetime moments. You may like to get your photographers gifts for their hard work.

And I'm sure you will have more party planning tips. Please do share them with me so the next time round, it will be less stressful for this mommy! Thanks!

Vendor Listing*:

Birthday cake with soft toy figurines by Cake Avenue
Winnie the Pooh birthday cake by Bengawan Solo
Cupcakes by Wicked Oven
Toys from Rent That Toy
Balloons from Kidz Party Store
Food by EatzCatering

*Please note that the above is purely for information, I am not endorsing any of the vendors nor do I get payment in any form for listing them.

On 2 Feb 2012: A note on cakes
Just thought I'll share this experience. At Kenan's school party (where we had the Winnie the Pooh cake), and at another kid's birthday celebration (cake from a different shop), we realised while it's nice to have the cute cartoon characters which the kids love, cutting through that icing sheet wasn't easy. For us, even sticking in the candles was a challenge, despite having candle holders. The top layer was really hard, so in both cases, we ended up removing the icing sheet. But guess that was fine, as no one was interested in eating it. I'm not sure if all icing sheets are just as hard. So this might be another consideration when you order your child's birthday cake.


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