Choosing to simplify our kids birthday parties and then renting a wallaby…

It was not intentional, but here’s the long story of how it happened…

Last year I threw my daughter a Fancy Nancy birthday party. Do they make Fancy Nancy party supplies? No, no they do not. The decorations were made. The games were thought up and brilliant. The food was good. I was exhausted, for like a month. I worked for hours on these hanging pouf things which according to Martha Stewart are simple. Well, they aren’t for me. I taped paper napkins into a table runner and then added ribbon on top of that. I hauled our serving dishes to the church to have a fancy table set up.

It was beautiful, it was wonderful, we all had fun. That said, I never wanted to do it again. Ever. Nope. Too much work. I’m fairly certain that all the decorations were unnecessary. Yes it looked fantastic. But it would have been just as nice without all that.


The activities were by far my favorite part. It was also the least expensive part.

Game: the kids assigned the words “Plain” or “Fancy” to various objects.

Activity: make your own bracelet center. This was super simple, pipe cleaners and pony beads, but the kids had a great time with it.

Storytime: My husband read them a Fancy Nancy story. That was it, but it was great. They all seemed to enjoy it and so did we.

Cheap Kid Party Tip: Read the birthday child’s favorite book to the kids!

The budget was the thing that kind put us over the edge. For decorations I was able to borrow a lot from a dear friend, yet I still spent around $50-$70 dollars. Food was around $120. Then of course there were party favors and the amount that we spent on her presents. It’s a chunk of change to spend right before Christmas!

This year I was going to combine our childrens parties into ONE big party. The focus would be on having our extended family come into town and visiting. It would be low-key and wonderful.

Or would it?

At the beginning of the summer we found out about an educational zoo event at our local library. It was so much fun. We were able to learn about and even touch animals. This included a sloth!! If I could find a picture of this I would post it. Unfortunately we switched phones since then. 😦

When I started looking into party options for my dual birthday bash I discovered that you could do one of these educational presentations at your church! Okay so when I say “discover” I mean asking politely.  The animals included a snake, an alligator, a chinchilla, a tree frog, and a WALLABY. Yup a wallaby hopping around our fellowship hall. It was kind of amazing.


Was it low-key? Nope. Was it super affordable? Actually it wasn’t bad. Since I was paying for entertainment I didn’t decorate much. I used a dollar tree tablecloth and sat cupcakes out on a table. I added a silver tinsel thing (P wanted Frozen theme and E wanted Octonauts, so we went blue/silver). Then I sat out some books for the kids to read about the kids current favorite subjects (winter and oceans). For food we did frozen lasagnas and bread from Sam’s. We probably spent around $100 on food. I have a hard time spending less when our families all come in to town.

It was hard to be able to visit with our family that we only see two-three times a year. So that I do regret. Having just one shindig didn’t make it less stressful; it just kept the stress to one event. Which isn’t a bad thing.  I’m pretty sure next year I will try for two events. Or maybe not do a kid party. We’ll see. I really like to be able to talk talk to people and the bigger it is the harder it is to get a conversation going. Though it is fun for family from far away to be apart of their lives and get to know the kid’s friends.

I love making a big deal about birthdays. I guess because growing up my mom always made a big deal about mine.

One thing I love about the above parties is that they are a little outside the box. They have fun, educational activities. Reading a book at a birthday party is simple and kids LOVE it! Why not do it?

What are your favorite party activities? How do you celebrate birthdays?

Some helpful Party planning things I came across:

Laura’s Crafty Life Party Punch recipe

At Home with Natalie – A Frozen Party

Frugal Living Mom’s Throwing a kids party for under 100 bucks

At Home with Natalie also has two e-courses, one for blogging and one for party planning. You can check that out here.

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