I have a 17 year old, a 14 year old, a 12 year old, a 7 year old and a 3 year old.
Given that we seem to start the special-themed friend-birthday party thing when they turn the magic age of “5” and resort to cooler, more casual parties by the time they are 12 or so…that means we have hosted in or around 27 “at-home” birthday parties…so far! Not all of them have been meticulously planned…and sometimes a carefully chosen movie has filled a couple minutes of the slack, reined in the sugar-rushed kids, especially when weather wasn’t optimal to let them run off their energy outside.
Now, my strength is not in hosting parties. I struggle through the house-cleaning, the food planning, the food buying, the food preparing as well as just the thought of having nine 8-year-old girls or even six 6-year-old boys for as little as 2 hours! The Minute to Win It party of thirteen 14 year olds was orchestrated nicely by the birthday girl…but that was a relatively new phenomenon, back in 2011!
I tried to stick to the rule of number of guests = birthday year, but the optimal number of guests seems to vary with the program.
For me…my enthusiasm for hosting “at home” parties spikes with a good theme and I inevitably start creating invitations and party printables for a full-themed program. I prefer a fast-paced, action-packed event, at the risk of running out of time… to a slow flow of “I’m bored, what’s next?” faces and the odd, not-so-polite inquiry.
Going to laser quest, or the movies or Party Princess Palace (I made that up) seems to be the default for most families these days, but it just bugs me somehow to shell out that much money for someone else’s program planning. The avoiding-cleaning-the-house…is tempting, but we’ve only gone out of house once, for a tea party, the year our renovation project flooded our living room …the day before a planned sleepover. OK, we may have opted for a birthday trip to the movies, a couple weeks after our 4th kid was born.
So given that our “at home” parties inevitably explode into full-program themed parties, I feel better about all the effort that goes into these parties, if I can share some of the work that goes into them by describing them on my blog and sharing the digital templates I create. If I can make some other “at home” birthday parties a little less daunting and oh, so fabulous for other families…it’s my pleasure!
Quiet warnings of “oh, she’s going to blog about this” aside, documenting these parties on the blog and in our family scrapbooks keep the memories alive and maintain a special part of our family culture.
Here is a gallery of some of our “at home” birthday parties…keep an eye on this page…as free printables will soon become available at many of the links and past birthday parties will be blogged about, for the very first time.
(Check out the most recent Minute To Win It party…it already has a pretty cool FREE printable!)
Copyright 2013 Monica McConkey
About the Author
Monica, mom of 5, blogs about Catholic crafts and family traditions at EquippingCatholicfamilies.com. She is an author and creator of Super Saints quizzing cards and over 45 Saint, Sacrament, Catechism and Prayer-packed Craft Kits to help teach the Catholic Faith. The Catholic teaching tools and gifts are available through Arma Dei, the Catholic family publishing company founded with her husband Bill.