Wednesday, July 29, 2009

backyard carnival
{birthday party}

Two things you should know about birthday parties in our house. First, I always have BIG ideas for the themes, but then put off the doing until the week a few days before the party. I'd like to say it's because we have what I call the "birthday sweeps" each summer- one birthday a month, but honestly, I do it for Shaye's party too, and she's in March. Second, this year I have decided to start budgeting just $100.00 for each girl's birthday. Specifically, $40.00 for the gift and $60.00 for the party. With those two things in mind, I give you:

Mackenna's 5th Birthday Backyard Carnival...

{click on the pics to view full size!}

To work within my budget, I spent just $4 and change on a birthday decoration "kit" from WalMart that include the banner, tablecloth, streamers and balloons. (It also included metallic confetti but, in the interest of keeping clean-up short & sweet, I didn't use it.) I then used the food and drinks(I bought two cases of teeny drinks), paper goods, and carnival stuff (like tickets, bags to hold prizes and the prizes themselves) as part of the decorations. Think bright, fun colors for everything and arrange it all around the space beforehand!

My plan for the games was two-fold; Use what I had around the house and get the kids wet. Game "booths" were brightly colored beach towels (bust-a-balloon relay: water balloons- $1.00, face painting- had, and tattoos- 2.99), a plastic end table (knock-the-cans: empty cans and beanbag- had), a tomato stake and hula hoops (ring toss- had both), 4 buckets and 2 car wash sponges (fill the bucket using only the sponge to soak up and carry the water to fill the next bucket relay: buckets- had, 2 sponges- $1.00 each), and 1 paper cup for drip, drip drop (like duck, duck, goose but with water)- had. Phew. The prizes were bought at the dollar store- I looked for the biggest packages (IE: 6 kazoos, 49 cowboy and Indian figures, etc.) to stretch the money and have enough prizes that everyone could get one for every game they played. The tickets I bought for three dollars at a local party store and I stapled a strip to a plastic goodie bag ($1.00 for 24) then labeled them with each child's name. Therefore, everyone got the same amount of tickets and had a bag to put their prizes in. The labeling was genius because I can't tell how many times one of the kids was freaking out- looking for their bag!

I made it under budget (and in time!) and Mackenna and her friends had a ton of fun. After a brief clean up, all that was left to do was tear up at the fact that my "baby" is five now!

there's more summer fun at....