Monday, June 6, 2011

The Best Possible Birthday from the Worst Possible Planner

There are two reasons to freak out this year.

IMGP05081) I will have a five year old. (I seriously almost wrote “three year old” right there. That’s how freaky it is. Here she is at her first birthday party.)

2) And a one year old. 34utah2011

My birthday party planning skillz are about as quaint as that z.

Normally my style is to eat food (but not even good food, because I freak out about making food for that many people and end up buying cheap ice cream and Pizza Hut) and invite everyone at the last minute. In that order. I’ll call someone and say, “Hey, uh, I’m having a birthday party for [insert the name ‘Amaya’ or ‘Jake’, and soon ‘Mozely’ here] and you should come.” Then the person on the other end says, “When"?” and I say, “Now? It’s totally cool if you’re late.”

This is because birthday invitations are cute, and I’m not. I have zero crafty genes in me, despite my mother’s DIY intuition, a husband who is a professional artist, very competent friends, and an entire culture of Mormonism that screams, “SCRAPBOOK, SCRAPBOOK, SCRAPBOOK!” into my ear.

A friend of mine recently had her daughter’s first birthday party. There was a bouncy castle, 5princessparty


a hair dresser (complete with glitter spray, accessories, and magic mirror),



face painting,



and… Did I mention that this friend is a pastry chef?

3princessparty4princessparty1princesspartyThe cupcakes were magnificent. Red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla with lilikoi curd.


I felt like a terrible mother.

So I’m going to throw a teensy eeny weeny birthday party. One that I can handle.

Here are my theme ideas:

Popsicle bar: featuring 15 different popsicle recipes (multiples of each)

Cereal bar: featuring a variety cereals and add-ins/toppings as desired

Yep. Two.

Which one do you like better?

Do you have any birthday party tips for a really poor party planner?

(P.S. I don’t do games. Or gift bags, although I’m not opposed to a gift to give away. It’s just the cutesy bag thing I can’t do. I have to recognize my limitations here.)

Thanks in advance to my brain trust.

I’m sure you’ve seen this website, One Charming Party. If I was that kind of mom, I’d use this site for inspiration in a second. As it is I just like to look.

I fell in love with Just Jenn’s Hello Kitty Cupcakes a while ago. She even shows you how to make them.

My favorite rainbow cake, ever.

My awesome in-laws made a transformer’s cake last year.

And last one. Just for fun.



Ellie said...

Both ideas sound really good but I think the kids will like the popsicle theme more. I remember I became excited when I saw popsicles when I was a child.
I have one idea for birthday parties. How about pinatas as entertainment? It can be homemade and filled with treats that each person can take home as a goodie bag.
Plus, I like the rainbow cake too because it's made with natural ingredients!

(lia) said...

The popsicle theme is great since it's warming up. I remember seeing SOMEWHERE that someone did a brunch kid's party. They served breakfast food & had the kids come in their pajamas. I think she served mimosas for the adults. But making it in the morning & the pajamas would make the cereal thing more of a theme without much more effort.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I'll have you know that I should be grading this very second but because you said party I just couldn't help myself. One Charming Party is a daily read and I want to do their bubble party so bad. I actually saw this mud party last week and totally thought about Amaya. If I lived in Hawaii I would do something like this in a second

I love this cereal party invitation
and I think this looks super simple (beware you will hate the all the purple in the blog) but this is prettier or you can just have the kids do this

I know you hate cute invites but these are easy you should make them.

I remember Amayas first birthday. It was super windy and we had all the Pizzas at Hukilau and then we went back to Pams. For some reason I remember you being super not-stressed and I remember Jake laughing a lot and I remember sitting on the floor almost peeing my pants. It was a good time. I like how you do parties, it's actually way better to be laid back.

kirsten said...

Popsicle bar. Cereal bar sounds soggy, plus it would require additional planning for bowls AND spoons AND toppings.

Are you planning two parties or a 5th-slash-1st birthday party?

Mariko said...

Ellie: I like pinatas. Good idea. I like it even better with homemade treats. Except, do I have to make these treats? You think I like cooking, or something? :)
Lia: I do really like the idea of the kids coming over and watching cartoons. That is easy beyond easy.
Da: Yes. Those ideas are wonderful. I love the mud run. How can I mix that with the popsicles? And all of those links are way too cute. This is me we're talking about. Although I pine for the day that I will attend such a cute party. I really really loved the popsicle party you showed and the containers for the cereal and personalized spoons.
It was a good party. Even better because I had zero expectations.
Kirsten: You are right about the cereal bar. And, unfortunately, in Hawaii, it's likely to get stale in 15 minutes. I am undecided about the two parties or the slash party. I think my mother will be horrified if I do a slash party.
So maybe I will have to do both?

FootPrints said...

i've voting for the cereal bar. but if i were a NORMAL 5 year old, i'd vote for the popsicle bar.
when we have free dinner night, the kids ALWAYS pick cereal.

ok i'm no help!

iMaLLheaRt said...

If you don't do a slash party, I would say do Popsicle party for Amaya and the cereal (in containers) for Mr. Mozely. That way he can also munch on cereal. Just a thought. And i totally know what you mean about not being cute and creative. We're in the same boat...but at least you can make awesome food! I got nothing! ;)

elle marie said...

Me neither, I don't have much DIY skills with paper crafts and such (outside the pastry world) but that cake is fit for a princess!!!

Christine Wu said...

Popsicle! Uh, now you make me feel like a bad mother too. Hehe. We didn't throw any birthday party for the boy, until this year. Our logic was, he was too young to know abt birthdays + we were poor hahaha.

I have a creative, artsy husband, too. But I can't even glue things without making a total mess. DIY isn't my best friend. Goodie bag doesn't have to be cute. Just let the kids draw on their brown lunch sack, then later you fill it with homemade treats?

sophia said...

Haha, I think you ARE cute!
I say cereal bar, because popsicles melt and they can get sticky and messy.

Don't worry about being a "bad" birthday mother. you gave birth to your kids, that's the best gift they can ever get. :-)

Mariko said...

Footprints: Free dinner night? That is a great idea. Why didn't I think of that?

Imallheart: You have a good point. He does love his cereal.

Elle Marie: I highly doubt that you could not pull together a fabulous designer looking party. I refuse to believe it! You always have such great food design.

Christine: You did catch the part where I barely did anything for my daughter for 4 years, right? :) I'm not sure where she figured out birthdays were from, but now she gets that they're for her.

Sophia: Thanks. :) I will make sure that they know that I gave birth to them, constantly.

justJENN said...

Aw, you're the sweetest. Btw I was planning on going to Hawaii next month but that got cancelled. Boo. We coulda hung at the mall.

I always say a snack bar is good and cheap and people can feed themselves:

Also popsicles in Hawaii heat? Prepare for drips...

Jill said...

I'm freaking out a little too- Amaya, age:5. How did this happen. Don't get me started on my little people. They're not even kids.

I think the popsickles and cereal bars sound really yummy. I really wish I could be there.

My only approach to birthday partys is that it's a great excuse to spoil the kids, so ask Amaya what she wants, and as crazy as it is, indulge her. Or at least take a tiny peice of her birthday wish and transform it into something do-able. If it feels silly, at least you can say, "it's what amaya wanted." Best mom ever. Case closed.

Kirsten said...

Saw this today and thought of you.

You could give away the molds as favors at the end, reducing kitchen clutter.

Also, I want a hairdresser and glitter spray at all of MY birthdays going forward.

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