Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cool party on a budget... Can it be done?

This past Sunday was my son's birthday party. I LOVE to create and design birthday or themed parties for kids. I never knew how much I loved it until my little guy came along. Last year, he was only 1 and the only real things I did special were the cake and invitations. This year, it was much better since he was really into some things (construction vehicles and buses). I chose the theme first (construction trucks) then designed the invitations and made them. All the rest fell into place. Here's the low down:

The Cupcakes! YUMMMMM!!!
After the invitations were sent out, I designed the ideas for the party. First, I have to admit, I'm human. I totally changed the location of the party after the invitations were mailed. This of course, meant more work contacting everyone with the location of the party - which was a cool park down the street from our home. Since this was an outdoor party, it was nice that the park wasn't too far from our house in case we needed to bring everyone to our place if the weather didn't cooperate.
Anyway, back to the ideas: I wanted to find big plastic dump trucks (cheap of course) to serve chips, pretzels, Mexican bean salad, and canteloupe in. Since I'm on a super budget, I hit garage sales. While I didn't find the dump trucks, I did luck out and find someone who recently had a construction themed party. She had construction hats, placemats that could be wiped and had drawing/coloring activities on the back, lots of trucks, and some party streamers. There were 16 of each item (except party popper streamers). I walked out with 5 trucks 17 hats, 16 placemats, a centerpiece that I cut into 2 pieces to make signs, the streamers and a few other items for $5! WOOO HOOO!! 
   This of course changed the game plan. So much for serving food out of trucks. I'm serving out of hats!

I used the trucks and other items to decorate the tables. Covered the tables with plastic table cloths from the dollar store. The cut centerpiece was at each end of the food table. I had created some signs for the tables out of cardboard and skewers planted in play-doh, but the wind knocked those over, so I just put them under the tables.

There were 2 tables for food. The first was the "Build your own sandwich" table. Choice of bread (buns, white, wheat, pita) and filling choices were tuna salad, chicken salad or veggie which was tomato, lettuce, hummus. Being the crazy lady of the day, I forgot the cheese and other decorative signs for the day. Here's that table:

Construction table: Each placemat has a different bread and serves as a workstation.

The second table had the sides- served out of construction hats- and cupcakes. The kids each had a place at their table. Their place had a placemat and hat. In the hat was their peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a baggie like if you packed your lunch. Clever, huh?! 

I found some dump truck balloons at the dollar store so I bought 2 of those and 2 orange stars (Everett chose those). 

The day came and the weather was perfect. Kids played on the playground, dug in the sand, and swam in the pool. Not bad for a party that cost me a total of $85 to have. Just goes to show that you can have a serious party on a budget!

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