A Rethink… Kids Parties… Or Rather MY Kids Party

Silhouette CircleIn a little over two months, Ava-Grace will be turning 4! Can you believe it? FOUR! Where has the time gone???? And obviously, I’ve had to start thinking about what to do for her birthday party. December is a busy month socially and so I always send out her invites early and try to have everything planned by the end of October to avoid disappointments with suppliers being fully booked.

With Hannah’s arrival and my 4 months maternity leave on reduced salary, things are a little tight this year as I try to get back on my feet financially and as a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about kids parties in general and Ava’s parties from previous years and ways to cut costs and still show her a fabulous time and a party to remember.

I’ve thought a lot about my own birthday parties as a child and I keep coming to the same conclusion…. when did kids parties become so ridiculously OTT? And who exactly am I trying to impress with the expensive venue and décor, granted, its gorgeous and I love it, but the kids… the main target of the party… they don’t give a damn! Every one of Ava’s parties have cost a small fortune and for who?

Last year’s party included a water slide and this meant that the expensive décor, sweets and treats went largely ignored by the kiddies who were FAR too busy having fun on the water slide, a great big chunk of money pretty much covered in fly crap and thrown away!

Not to mention, at least half the guest list were MY friends with kids who she doesn’t know from a bar of soap or who she only see’s twice a year, at her party and at their party.

Well, not this year!

This year, I’m determined to do things differently. There will be a water slide again…it’s the perfect party entertainment for a gang of 4 years olds on a hot December day. The guest list will consist of ONLY her friends and our closest friends. The party packs will be home made as will the décor. We’ll fire up the braai’s and serve boerie rolls for the hungry and there will be a small kids table of eats that will be nothing more than a bowl of chips, some sweets and cupcakes. The cake will also be smaller… every year I’ve ordered such a ridiculously large cake that we’ve landed up sitting with frozen birthday cake in the freezer for months after the party and landed up throwing it away.

Ava wants a Barbie themed party and as it’s HER party, I’m going to oblige. This party will be all about what SHE wants.. within reason of course. So I’ve searched online and found beautiful, free Barbie printables and that I’ll have printed and cut out and create myself and one of my colleagues is a Photoshop whiz and she’s creating the invitations for me. We’ll get a few pink and white balloons from Westpack and that will be it, but I know, I just KNOW this party will be so much fun… for the kids!

Barbie Silhouette


The only large expense for this party will be a photographer as I don’t want to spend the day running around with my camera and well, Walter can’t even use a point and shoot camera and I just love the beautiful images that double up as a mini family shoot and make great Christmas gifts for grannies and grandpa’s. So as is tradition, my friend, Bronwyn from Heart & Soul Photography will be taking the photo’s.

I’m actually really looking forward to this party and to doing a lot of the stuff myself.


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  • Reply cupcakemummy

    Can’t wait to see the results.
    So far your parties have been stunning and I don’t doubt this one will dissapoint

    October 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Coral! After 4 months of being so broke, the thought of spending thousands and thousands of rands on a kids party just feels wrong. The kids don’t care.. they only want the water slide, so I’m not going to sweat it this year.

      October 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm
      • Reply cupcakemummy

        I think the most of every spent on a party was R1000 and even that was pushing my party budget to the limits. This year I started working the day before his party and after being out of work for a year the thought was heartbreaking but friends even offered to bring stuff with just so he could have his party. The kids don’t care about decorations and stuff, that’s for us and the “bragging photos” they just want cake and their friends. I think Ava is going to have a fantastic time regardless. And WHOOOOHOOOOO for the waterslide!

        October 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply acidicice (@acidicice)

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Good luck! We are even thinking of combining parties because our kid’s birthdays are exactly a month apart and who is going to attend a kiddies party on the 2nd of Jan?

    October 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply ptaguyre

    Who says you can’t throw a fabulous kids party on a budget. Besides doing the decor yourself could be loads of fun. Can’t wait for you to upload the photos in December. Luckily hubby is the creative one in our marriage and we are rather big on Halloween. Found some stunning and creative DIY ideas on Pinterest. Much better and cheaper than renting decor.

    October 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Paula

    I absolutely agree. For the twins’ 5th (can you believe 5th!) birthday in January, I am actually having it at a play park where they do everything with minimal decor and maximal play fun. Also, and I cannot recommend this enough, look into an ice cream cake. It is perfect for the summer, cheaper than the cake versions and it actually gets eaten, plus what remains goes in the freezer and will not last long! I also send out magnetic invites, especially as they have to go out before the holidays, which I think is not too badly priced.

    October 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    I totally agree, at the end of most of the parties we go to, there is so much food left over, the kids never even remember that there was a theme or what the decorations were like, they only want their party pack when they leave!

    I always try to find a venue with some form of entertainment included. Last year, it was at a place where they run a little model steam train the kids (and adults) can ride on. The birthday girl didn’t get off the train for the first hour and a half.
    I didn’t bother with a theme, or many decorations past some plastic tablecloths. I had a few colourful plastic bowls with chips and sweets, and lots of juice. We also had a portable braai and made hotdogs and boerie rolls for the adults.

    The best find for me was our local Spar bakery. They made me cupcakes for R3 each, and a large square cake for about R150. I asked for plain icing, and then did a little extra decorating (as seen on Pinterest) Even their decorated cakes are priced way below other specialist bakeries. I will be using them for all my cakes in future.
    For the party packs I bought little plastic containers at the plastic factory shop, they cost about R3 each, and put a few treats in them. I now use the extra few I ended up with for sandwiches etc.

    I know every year when you start talking about Ava’s parties it is time for me to start thinking about ours in March, as the venues do book up so fast!

    October 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply Tiina

    Good for you! i couldn’t agree more, kids these days have parties that are a lot more lavish than adult parties, it’s insane. When Leo is older, we will definitely also do a lot of DIY, that’s for sure.

    October 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm
  • Reply Laura-kim le Roux

    Yip! When they are small they don’t appreciate the pretty table or bunting you spent 2 weeks making! They are all about the cake, the presents and the fun! There is so much online that you can still make it pretty without breaking the bank!

    Enjoy the planning 🙂

    October 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm
  • Reply Tranquil Body Treats

    I agree 100%. Living here in the Boland we have nobody to impress lol. Kids could go on a tractor ride and be happy, mind so would the parents. To think the last time we partied with you was at Ava’s bash last year. Time goes by way to quickly!

    October 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm
  • Reply Jude

    I went completely overboard for all 3 of my monkey’s birthday parties, and loved it. Saying that I don’t think the budget was blown, more just the time to put it all together… when Miles turned 1 in August, I didn’t have the time and was still making his cake an hour before his party… Needless to say, he had the BEST afternoon quite literally smashing into the cake and with just a handful of friends. It was a great lesson for me – not what I originally wanted, but a really special day and a good reminder of what is important! Can’t wait to hear how the planning is going 🙂

    October 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm
  • Reply Melinda

    Agreed..I am doing the same with Jadakins party this year. Got a great idea from another party I went to this year. The Mom had party pack packets there…and afterwards the kids were all allowed to pack sweets left over from the party in their party packs. That way there were no sweets left over. At another party the Mom gave each child a soccer ball instead of a party pack

    October 3, 2013 at 7:54 am
  • Reply panjels

    Sounds like my kind of party:) Will be amazing!!

    October 3, 2013 at 8:43 am
  • Reply marina1605

    I know how you feel. I had a very tight budget for Claudio’s 4th birthday party this year and didn’t want to spend a fortune on venue cost etc, so opted for a party at the park closest to our house. We set up a small gazebo and table for the kids treats, I baked the cake myself (which was a huge challenge, but didn’t turn out too badly), made the party packs myself and printed invitations etc myself using pics off the internet. The kids had a blast at the park, running and playing on the jungle gym and slides etc and it went really well. My house was clean and tidy when we got home and the birthday party was suitably chuffed with his party 🙂 and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg!

    October 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm
  • Reply sparrow202

    That’s one thing that really frustrated me about maternity leave, finally you have the time to do all sorts of things without the budget for it!

    Parties are fun and doing it yourself is so rewarding!

    October 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm
  • Reply Luchae Williams

    Im busy planning a 1 year old party, and yip, also going the minimilistic route – I mean, she wont even know that it’s her party! Saving it all for when she is older. Love your idea of getting a profesh photographer. So doing that too now 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    September 17, 2015 at 8:30 am
    • Reply Sharon

      That is literally all I spend money on at my kids parties these days. I’ve also found as Ava gets older (planning her 6th birthday party now) that as long as there are some sweets and a waterslide, she really doesn’t care about decor or anything else.

      September 17, 2015 at 9:25 am

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