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How to host a kids birthday party {and still stay sane!}

Fat Mum Slim /

This is a sponsored post for Gumtree.

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I think there’s a rite of passage that parents have to go through {endure, if you will} and that’s to host a kids birthday party. Be it small, or big… most parents will go through it, no doubt. Some will glide through with ease and finesse and others {ahem, me!} will have their moments of frazzle-dom {not a word, but it should be}.

I am going to put it out there, but Lacey’s 5th birthday party was my practice run… for all the parties to come. There won’t be one every year, but I have no doubt that I will probably host another before she moves out of home, and I will master that baby. It will be the party to beat all parties. Seriously though, I learned a lot from the party just hosted, and I am happy to be guinea pig and share my little lessons learned with you. You’re welcome.

Follow the recipe for a perfect party.

I think they should hand this information out to all parents as they leave hospital. It should be in a book of practical things parents should know {with other such things like: Your kid is probably going to eat something pretty much non-edible {dirt, snails, poop} but they’ll be OK}. There’s a recipe for kids parties, which I learned from Autumn on this post. She advised that when inviting kids, invite the number that the birthday girl/boy is turning, plus 2. So Lacey should have had 7. Perfect. We had 15. Seven would have been much more manageable.

Balloons. Always get the balloons.

I’m always amazed at how entertaining helium balloons can be. The kids spent most of the party playing with the balloons. So GET THE BALLOONS! {We found our fab balloon lady through Gumtree}.

Remember what’s important to your child.

I didn’t let Lacey make too many decisions with the party, because it would have led to disappointment. She’d want a REAL rainbow, and a REAL unicorn, and REAL magic. Instead I asked what she wanted to do at her party, and that was dance with her friends. I also asked what colour she wanted everything to be, and that was pink. So I made sure those two things happened, and then planned everything else to suit, keeping in mind things she loves as I did so.

Outsource when you can.

I know budgets vary, but you can outsource {with local business services, and/or help from family and friends} where possible to save stress, time and a mental breakdown. I was lucky enough to be given help with the budget, so while I knew I could make a cake, it would be something I’d agonise over – so I had a local lady {sourced through Gumtree} make the cake for $40. I knew once I’d bought ingredients and calculated the time it would take – it was better to outsource. At other parties I’ve asked my Aunt to make the cake and she thinks it’s such an honour. My priority was having someone entertain the kids for the whole party. I can be out there when I’m with people I know, but being new to the ‘hood I know it would take away much of the stress if that part was outsourced too. You can find affordable services over on Gumtree. I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable they were {look under business services > party/catering}. I was also able to outsource the party food through a local caterer I found on Gumtree {I saved money by just having them drop off the food, so I didn’t have to pay for their time during the party etc}. You can find great caterers that make platters, finger foods and lots more. Depending on what your budget is you could outsource everything and REALLY enjoy the party, or just choose important things to help you out a bit.

Don’t aim for perfection.

I had to remind myself of this a few times, that it didn’t need to be perfect. Lacey wouldn’t notice the details, and the most important thing was that she had fun. I have a theory with any event – that something will go wrong. It’s not a pessimistic view, but just a little bit realistic. So once that one thing breaks or goes awry I breathe a sigh of relief, work around it and move on. Preferably that thing is an easy fix, if not… drink wine.

Write lists. Lots of them.

Your brain is going to be filled with details, so give your brain a break and write lists of things you need to do. I printed out 5 of these babies {printable daily planner} and wrote down everything I needed to do, down to the most boring detail. It just meant it was all out of my head, onto paper… and then I could delegate too.

Have a back-up plan.

Unfortunately on the day our entertainer was delayed, so it meant that we were left without someone to keep the kids happy. A minor freakout later, I enlisted my sister {who just happens to be a big event planner for people like Lady Gaga} and we were on track. I had a pin the horn on the unicorn game in the cupboard that we pulled out, we put on some music and played statues, and then spent some time opening the presents until the fairy arrived.

Have fun.

My advice for anyone getting married is to steal some time away from everyone, grab your new husband and have a moment. It’s the same with a party, take a little time to watch your little person and all the fun they’re having. Talk to the parents, enjoy some cake, and try to relax.

And now for all the details…

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The birthday dress: Witchery
The cake: Manda’s Sweet Treats {via Gumtree}
Cake bunting: $3 printable by Rosie Simons
Party details {decorations, candy, goodie bags, table cloth, cake stand etc}: Sweet Style
Birthday invites: Printable invite by YourInvites
Love heart cocktail sticks: Via ebay
Cake pops: Amazing mudcake with white choc coating by Sweet Az {via Gumtree}
Party food {for kids & platters for adults}: Gobble Catering {via Gumtree}
Balloons: Local service {via Gumtree}