The Icing on the Cake

I am in the birthday zone, baby. Today is Luke’s 2nd birthday, and we are celebrating on a budget. Yea. I have to be honest, it’s not quite as much fun as celebrating without a budget. But then I remind myself that he is only two, and it all comes into perspective. He’s only two, he’s only two, he’s only two… once.

My perspective is still a little fuzzy. Yet, when the party is all said and done, all that matters to Luke is getting to play with kids, not being left out (EVER!), and candy. So on a limited budget, I am putting my money into what really matters, and having my most un-party like birthday party I have ever had.

I think it will be fun, but there is no theme, no balloons, and no decorated kid’s tables. For the first time in 11 birthday parties that I have thrown for Noah, Ava, and Luke, I didn’t send out invitations. Yet we will have a cupcake tower, and a pancake and waffle fiesta with all the toppings. The kids will be running all over the house, and Luke will still get presents and probably even get to have some candy. It will be a perfect day for him because he will be loved on and celebrated, not because Mommy did a great job of decorating.

For this birthday, for my sweet Luke, I am throwing a party FOR Luke. I am not throwing a party for my friends and family, although I want them to be well fed and enjoy themselves. Luke doesn’t care about decorations. In fact, if I were decorating for Luke I would scatter goldfish all over the floor and crush them into my carpet. I would get yogurt and finger-paint all over the walls. And I would dump every toy in Luke, Ava, and Noah’s room in a huge pile in the living room. Now that would be a Luke styled birthday… and his mommy’s nightmare.

Luke and I have decided to meet in the middle and just have fun without decorating or destroying the house. I will post pictures after the birthday event.

It is possible to throw a party on a small budget, but it does take letting go of expectations and being willing to give up the need to perform for others. If you are throwing a child’s birthday, think of that child and try to make their party catered just to what would make his/her day so special and fun for their friends and then skip the rest. Invite just the children your child plays with instead of inviting all of YOUR friends. Instead of having a lot of variety of food (if you do food… which I always do. Parties make me hungry!) try serving just one thing or a meal with simple ingredients.

For Noah’s birthday last year I did a pasta dish (manicotti stuffed shells), Caesar salad, and breadsticks. We had cupcakes for desert and I fed a large group of people on a small budget. For Luke’s birthday brunch, I am serving pancakes and waffles and fruit. As my husband reminded me when I tried to add bacon, egg casserole, and cinnamon rolls to the menu, “Everyone will already have eaten breakfast at 10 in the morning. It is just too much food. Simplify and people will enjoy it more.” I think he’s right, and I think I will definitely enjoy it more.

If you are on a tight budget and throwing a child’s party, I hope this helps you to get a little perspective. Parents all turn into crazy people when it comes to our children, yet the key is to celebrate your children with what you have and to not to into debt to do it. Your children may be like my Noah who remembers in detail his 2nd birthday party and every birthday since, but he doesn’t remember how much I spent on his party. To him he was celebrated, he was surrounded by friends and family who love him, and he had a wonderful time. Everything else was the baking cup for the cupcakes… nice if it’s there but no one will miss it if it’s not… and not nearly as vital as the icing. There are some things you just can’t do without on your birthday, and for Luke, that’s icing 🙂

God bless and I’ll be back after the party.