For H’s second birthday, I threw a fire truck party. I chose this because, well, H likes fire trucks. Important to consider the theme because you will inevitably receive a ton of gifts based on it. I love planning parties. I grew up in a house where we did a lot of entertaining, so it is sort of in my bones. That being said, there are ALWAYS things that go wrong and lessons learned for next time. So, here are the details.
I used Evite for the invites. Lazy, lazy, I know. I didn’t want to hassle with receiving a million RSVP calls and emails. Evite has a cute invitation with a fire hose that worked well. This was also great because, when I remembered things I wanted to tell the guests, I could just send out a message to the whole group. Truthfully, paper invitations, while classy and fun to receive, are a waste of time and money. Oh, and don’t forget the trees. Are you buying my pile of excuses yet?
I then listed activities appropriate for the various ages of kids who might attend. Party Planning 101: Make sure there is something for everyone. That goes for food, music, and activities. Here is what I came up with: A baby pool for tiny ones. I found this great pool at Fred Meyer with a slide, a palm tree, balls, etc. Blowing it up, however . . . well, a pump is a good thing. With several people’s help, we got it blown up, and it was beautiful. So much fun, until . . . the leak happened. Most of the water leaked out, leaving a sloppy, mushy mess on the grass. The weather was about ten degrees cooler than I was expecting, so I think this was a mixed blessing. The toddlers loved it. They didn’t have to get in bathing suits, just took off their shoes and splashed around in the inch and a half of water that remained.
The hay stack: I chose this activity for the kids old enough to know and care about money. I picked up sixty dollars’ worth of coins at the bank—everything from silver dollars to fifty-cent pieces to pennies—and buried the coins in a haystack we made in the backyard. I gave all the kids red cups to put their loot in. This activity was so much fun. I think it is possible the parents had just as much (if not more) fun than the kids sifting through the hay for the coins.
I also ordered a fire truck bouncy house. It was ADORABLE! This was a hit for everyone. I had a blast jumping with H, just the two of us, when the party was over.
The biggest hit of the party was without a doubt the 1940s fire truck that came. Thank you to the Renton Fire Department for that one.
I also created a video using my iMac and iMovie (from the iLife suite). I did this for Hayden’s first birthday, too. I spent probably twenty hours creating the video. I added in great music, pictures of family and friends, and video clips from the year. I also had each grandparent and parent do a little video note for H. It turned out amazing. I put popcorn in these adorable popcorn containers. There ended up being technical difficulties with our DVD player, go figure. At least H will have this video to look back on from his year. I also made copies for family members.
Food: My initial thought was to hire a food truck to come. I thought it would be different and fun. They were all booked, so we went with plan b, Dominos Pizza. They were excellent to work with. I was able to pre-order, and they even offered to cut some of the kids’ favorite pizzas into smaller slices. I picked a variety of greens from my garden to make several salads. Not a surprise that they were barely touched. Who wants salad when there is pizza? I do think it is important to have options for people with different likes, allergies, etc. I also had my mom run to QFC to pick up platters of fruit, cheese, and veggies and then transferred them to nice trays and bowls. I never like to advertise that things came from a pre-made platter. I feel like it cheapens it a lot. I ordered the cake from CJ’s bakery in Black Diamond. They put a cute picture of H in a fireman costume in the frosting and made a fire scene with action figures. It was over-the-top adorable. Tasty, too! I also had little bowls of candy with Red Hots, Big Red Gum, and licorice.
Decorations: I tied helium balloons on chair backs and in other places scattered around the party. We set up plastic chairs and tables on the lawn. I used red tablecloths and paper placemats the kids could decorate.
I also put plastic fire hats and badges on the tables for the kids to wear. I hung red suckers and candy sticks with white ribbon from the walkway over the living room. It looked so neat. I had favors lining the windows that really served as decorations. I’m so thankful to my mother-in-law, Karen, for helping with these. We had fun planning them together. We got red sand pails from Target to put the treats in. I picked up red fire trucks from a western supply store. We got stickers, play dough, bubbles, and other little toys from a party supply store. I also threw in red licorice and chocolate coins. You have to have a little candy, right? I picked out red bows with white polka dots from WalMart for the girls’ pails. We wrapped the toys in white tissue and put them in the pails. Then we wrapped the pails in clear bags and tied them with red ribbon. They turned out fabulous. My mom was in charge of flowers. She is amazing at pulling bouquets together. We had red, white, and a little blue. Lots of hydrangeas. They were beautiful. We had a bouquet in a small square container on every table. For thank-you notes, I am sending a slideshow from Smile Box with pics of the guests and a little note thanking them for coming and for the gifts. Have you planned a neat birthday party? I would love to hear about it! Please leave the details in the comment section. Thanks for sharing in the play-by-play of H’s party and letting me relive the fun day.