Archive | Kid’s Birthdays

How to Host an Easy Clean Up Play Date

I’m back again today with another parenting focused party post.  Play dates are pretty much the regular party around here.  If you’re in the same boat but feel that hosting a play date can be intimidating I can help.  Play dates may seem difficult to host because you have people in your house, there are lots of kids, and the clean up can be daunting sometimes.

I wanted to give a little advice on ways to make cleaning up from them a lot easier.  As for the other reasons, those have fairly easy solutions too.  Don’t invite too many kids, and don’t worry about having people over.  The adults will just be thankful to be around other adults and the kids don’t care what your house looks like at all.

So back to cleaning up from your play date.

how to host a play date, easy clean up play date ideas, tips for hosting a play date

Easy Clean Up Play Date Ideas

1. Use a Baby Gate to Section of a Play Area

Containing the play date is key to a quick clean up.  Block off certain areas of your house with a baby gate, closing doors, or just telling the kids to stay in one area.  This is also great if there are actual babies at your house to keep them safe.

Only having a mess in one area makes clean up a lot faster.

2. Use Paper Table Runners

Plan to do a craft or activity at your play date?  Be sure to get a roll of kraft paper beforehand to cover your table or work space.  Once the craft is done all you have to do is roll up the paper and toss the mess in the trash.  This is also a great way to protect your table for any major spills or messes.

3. Only Use One Play Space

Over the holidays we had several parties where kids played with toys in the living room, the play room, my daughter’s room, and the basement.  So, there were toys everywhere, mismatched with where they were supposed to go.  Keeping the play date in one area or room really cuts down on how many places need to be picked up.  Just see number 1 for how to keep kids in one space.

4. Only Use Big Toys

You know what’s not fun?  Cleaning up a million tiny little toy pieces.  So that’s why I suggest when you host a play date to break out some of the bigger toys.  Things like big blocks, play tables, climbers, and all in one toys are great for play dates.  They may seem cumbersome, but at the end of the play date you won’t have to find a bunch of little things everywhere and clean up will be super quick.

5. Corral the  Snack Zone

Providing a snack for the friends at your play date is a very hospitable.  But cleaning up that snack may not be very fun.  The best way to cut down on the mess is to choose a less messy snack.  Things like fresh fruit and veggies are great.  You can also make everyone eat their snack in one spot.  Doing so will keep crumbs and the mess in one area to clean up.

I hope some of these tips encourage you to ask your friends to come over and play.  Well at least your kids’ friends.  With a little preparation it will be really easy to clean up after the play date.

If you’re still not convinced then just plan to host a play date at a local park.  Super easy clean up and the best part is that it’s not in your house 😉

Happy Friday, I hope you have a great weekend!!

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Kids Party Etiquette

Happy March! Did you know that March is National Parenting Month?  I found that out recently and it just so happens that I had a few parenting and party related posts up my sleeve.  I’ve been meaning to write about them so this is the perfect time.

Today’s post was inspired by a few things that happened while hosting guests this past holiday season. We hosted quite a few parties, and when doing so you have to account for things to get a little messed up.

There were quite a few kids around for all of the parties and although they are kids, I felt they still could have behaved a little better. So here is where my unsolicited parenting advice comes in.

If you are taking your kid to a party, you need to teach them how to behave. If they are too young or can’t understand, then you need to be really observant of their behavior while at the party.

Kids don’t know any better and they never will unless you teach them how to properly behave.  While this isn’t a parent/mom blog, we need to be honest, at my age, almost everyone I know has kids.  Here are a few key things I think kids should be taught when at a party.

kids party etiquette, how kids should behave at a party, kids partyKids Party Etiquette Advice Every Kid Should Know

1. Include everyone

So this is my way of saying don’t let your kid be mean to other kids.  And this advice really starts before the party even begins.  If you’re talking to your child about party invitations make it a point to remind them to include everyone and invite everyone from their class, school, friend group, etc.  It’s no fun feeling left out.

Even though my daughter is still just a toddler (but acts like a teenager sometimes) the idea of exclusion has already happened when we were hosting over the holidays.  After friends were at our house there was an incident where one friend was left out.  With three year old emotions running all over the place it was a big deal.

2. Don’t Bogart Something on the Food Table

The reason this is on the list kind of cracks me up.  We were hosting and one of the kids at our party literally took ALL of the strawberries off of the fruit tray.  Like a mountain of strawberries on his plate.  Thankfully his parents handled the situation appropriately and told him he had to eat all of them if he took all of them.  It was kind of funny actually.

However, if your child is at an age that they can go through the food line by themselves, it’s a good idea to remind them that there are other people at the party too and taking all of something isn’t great manners.

3. Don’t Destroy Property

Probably the main reason I’m writing this post is because we had some significant damage to our house during a party we hosted over the holidays.  Let’s just say that non-washable markers and carpet is not a good combination.  I will admit that I was raging mad when it happened and have since calmed down and realized that it’s just “stuff” and not the end of the world.

But, if you know your child is on the more “destructive” side or just doesn’t understand how to treat things that he’s not used to being around, then it’s a great idea to keep a close eye on your child at a party.  Most kids know their limits when they are at their own house because that’s what they are used to.   But, being at someone’s house is new territory for them and they may do things they normally wouldn’t at home.  Making sure your child doesn’t destroy anything is crucial when at a someone’s house.

4. Clean Up After Yourself

We had quite a few parties right in a row over the holidays and the toys were EVERYWHERE!  It took forever to clean up, things weren’t together that needed to be in sets, and some things were lost.  So, I recommend offering to clean up after your kid when at a party, or making your child do it.  It’s a great way for them to learn there are consequences to their actions.

I’ll admit that I’m not the greatest at this.  I’m usually just trying to get out the door without total meltdowns.  I’m going to try to remember to start cleaning up well before we’re ready to leave. Hopefully that way it won’t be rushed or not done at all.

I hope this post didn’t offend you, but some of these things need to be said.  Unfortunately some of these things just aren’t common sense.  Hopefully, you are already heeding this advice. If not it’s a great idea to start instilling it in your kids.

Happy National Parenting Month!


How to Celebrate a “Birthday Month”

Happy November! I know we’re already a couple days in, but we needed a day or so to recover from Halloween.  We had a blast celebrating all day long with school parties, parades, and lots of trick or treating with friends.

I highly recommend inviting some friends over for chili and hot apple cider before trick or treating in your neighborhood.  That’s what we did and it was so much fun.  Now onto November!

I love November!  Thanksgiving, a time for gratefulness, the start of the holidays and it’s my birthday month!  Are you one of those people that celebrates your birthday all month long, just on your birthday, or not at all?  I typically just celebrate on my birthday, but my husband loves his birthday and loves to celebrate all month long.

So let’s talk about ways to celebrate all month long and do it in a way that’s not annoying to everyone around you.

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An Event Every Week Of The Month

Carry your birthday festivities throughout the entire month by doing something birthday related every week.  Now, I won’t judge if you want to throw a party every week 😉 but try some of these other options.

  • Do a charitable act, this is a great way to give back and not make your birthday all about you
  • Do an active activity like a 5K or color run
  • Send yourself or others bouquets of your birthday month flower, here’s a link to a great list of flowers for each month.
  • Host a trivia night, scavenger hunt, or board game night
  • Put together a roast in your honor, invite friends to tell a funny story or memory of you

Celebrate With Your Work Friends

Don’t leave the celebrating just to your personal group of friends, celebrate your birthday month with your work friends too.  You can do so by spoiling them!  Bring cupcakes, bagels, or donuts to work and you’ll have a great work day.

Try spreading the cheer out all month long by buying coffee for a different person each day.  Decorate the coffee cup sleeve for each person to personalize it even more.

Do a Birthday Month Photoshoot

What better way to celebrate yourself than with a photo shoot just for you?  A lot of times we get caught up getting family pictures or holiday card photos, and don’t take time to do pictures of just ourselves.  Need some inspiration to jump in front of the camera solo?  Try one of these ideas.

  • Recreate a photo from your childhood
  • A glitter or confetti photo shoot
  • Grown up cake smash
  • Boudoir photos
  • New headshots

What’s your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?  Would you try any of these ideas?


10 Kids Birthday Party Entertainment Ideas

Kids birthday activities, kids birthday entertainment, kids birthday ideas, how to entertain kids, birthday party ideasThis is a quick post today, but it’s full of ideas and inspiration! I’ve realized more and more as my daughter has gotten older and we’ve had and attended more and more kids parties, that kids, especially young kids, need something to entertain them at a party.  To help I’ve put together a list of 10 kids birthday party entertainment ideas.

I’ve broken the list down by age range to make the activities geared towards what they would be interested in.  If you’re planning a kids birthday party anytime soon I hope this list gives you some inspiration or ideas for entertainment.

10 Kids Birthday Entertainment Ideas

Age 4 and under

  • Sand/Water table, dumping, digging, and splashing
  • Indoor obstacle course, think jumping pads, crawling under things, and slides

Age 5-8

  • Art station with easels and paints set up
  • Minute to win it games

Age 10-12

  • Neighborhood scavenger hunt
  • Field day games

Age 13-15

  • Video game tournament
  • Start a band at home with school instruments

Age 16-18

  • Car wash for charity
  • Make-up party and photo booth

Kids birthday activities, kids birthday entertainment, kids birthday ideas, how to entertain kids, birthday party ideasDo you think your kids would like any of these ideas to keep them busy and having fun at their next birthday party? What kinds of entertainment and activities have you done in the past that were a big hit?


Real Life Party: Picnic Themed Birthday Party

Happy Friday friends!  I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July and have since recovered.  Today I’m giving you all the details on my daughter’s third birthday.  We hosted a picnic themed birthday party and it was so fun!  You’ll get to see lots of picnic ideas, picnic food, and fun!

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We hosted the party at the park in our neighborhood.  It had been super hot all week and then randomly we had a really cool, windy day.  It was kind of a blessing because I didn’t have to worry about keeping cupcakes and food cold on a hot summer day.

The kids all played at the playground for awhile and worked up an appetite.  It helped to bring some outdoor toys to the park.  Things like buckets, shovels, and balls kept them entertained.

Picnic Food

To keep all the food together and individually packaged for the moms and kids, I picked up some great cardboard lunch boxes from Hobby Lobby.  I also got some chalkboard labels from my local party supply store to label all the boxes.  This is a great way to keep special dietary restrictions separate, and no fighting over who gets what.

Picnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyPicnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyPicnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyFor the kiddos lunch, I tried to keep the menu pretty kid friendly with Chick-fil-A nuggets, baby carrots, chips, and a picnic staple watermelon.  I was able to prepare all of the food the night before and kept in the refrigerator. The morning of the party was pretty relaxed since all I  had to do was load up the lunch boxes and get everything to the park.

Picnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyPicnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyThe little plastic cups pictured above were great to keep all the food separated.  I also just about fell down when I spotted that red gingham washi tape at the dollar spot at Target.  All the other red gingham decor and party gear was from Hobby Lobby.  It was on clearance, so that was even better!

For the moms, I tried to keep the menu similar, but felt like we needed something a little more grown up than chicken nuggets.  Although, Chick-fil-A nuggets are pretty delicious.  I made a large baguette sandwich and was able to slice it up into equal portions for all the adults.  It’s a great way to make one big meal to feed everyone.  All you have to do is make one big sandwich on any loaf of bread you enjoy, then cut up into however many portions you need.

Picnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyPicnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyI wrapped up the sandwich portions in parchment paper to hold all the sandwich fixings inside, then tied it with red and white twine.

It seemed like everyone enjoyed their picnic lunch and were full enough to carry them through until dinner.

For dessert and to celebrate the birthday girl, I ordered cupcakes from my local Safeway store.  If you live near a Safeway, I highly recommend getting cupcakes from their bakery.  The icing is delicious, the cake is always moist, and a dozen cupcakes are only $6.99.  You can’t beat the price for what you get.

Picnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyTo dress up the cupcakes, I found these small rubber ants at a local farm store for about .50 cents a piece.  It was the perfect little decoration to add to the picnic themed birthday party.  It was also nice that it didn’t take a whole lot to just plop these onto the tops of the cupcakes.

Note to self though, never order red icing on a cupcake again!  The kids were a mess after eating these, haha!

Picnic Birthday Party Set Up

As far as setting up the picnic, it was a pretty easy way to throw a party.  All you really need to do is throw down a bunch of blankets.  Thankfully, everyone that came also brought a blanket so we had plenty.  I also had a small pop up tent because I was expecting blazing sun.  It ended up serving as a semi-private potty station for all of our potty training toddlers.

Picnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyI used some more red gingham pinwheels and banner party supplies from Hobby Lobby to denote our picnic area.

Picnic party birthday, picnic party with lunch boxes and red gingham, park playdate picnic birthday partyHosting a picnic themed birthday was pretty easy.  I highly recommend it if you are in need of an easy party on a small budget, or for a last minute party.  Other picnic ideas could be to have a theme, like a sandwich themed picnic party where everyone brings their favorite sandwich to share.  A wine themed picnic party with wine and cheeses sounds amazing! A picnic themed party is a great way to make the normal pot luck a little more interesting too.

I was pleased with how our picnic themed birthday party turned out. Most importantly, I think my three year old enjoyed it.  She likes to throw blankets down on the floor at home all the time to have a picnic.  This seemed was the perfect way to do a quick and easy party for her.  I had planned on not doing much for her birthday this year, but am glad I put in a little effort and did something special!

I hope you all have a great weekend and maybe get outside to enjoy a picnic!


Celebrating everyday!