It's always a bit of a trial having a birthday right at the end of term as the end of year sports days, fetes, reports and crazy clearing classrooms take up every spare minute. So, this year, Katie and I planned a DIY party which only took a couple of hours in the morning (and a few amazon orders before) to organise. I think it cost about £30 which included the sundae glasses and spoons (they were on special at Sainsburys- bonus!)
The other great thing was that the party pretty much took place entirely at the dining room table meaning minimal mess, fuss and fully engaged little girls!
Step 1: Party bags
These plain paper bags were only a couple of quid off amazon last year. Lots of felt tips and stickers from the craft drawer were pulled out as the girls personalised them with colourful designs and names. This took a lovely amount of time and when the girls were done, they were surprised by a bowl full of goodies to share out equally. Lots of team helping here to make sure each friend received one of each little item. These bits only cost £6 as they were cheap selection packs of 8 or 6 from Morrisons. They included mini pen, one of those pencils with the changeable nibs, note pad, bubbles, water pistol and stickers. The big surprise was the pack of Loom bands- the big craze- for each bag. These were from amazon in bulk and cost only £2 for 6 good sized packs.
Step 2: Pizza making
I bought some pre-made pizza bases for about £2 and used the usual cupboard ingredients to prepare pots of toppings. Little H and I had fun working together to chop and fill the bowls in the morning and stash in the fridge ready. We had ham, cheese, olives, peppers and pineapple chunks and a small pack of pepperoni slices. We all cleared the table for the girls to start the next task whilst I was prepping the tea and tidying the kitchen.
Step 3: Loom Bands!
These are the current craze at school and I love how children teach each other these skills, passing them down and down each year so that the playground games continue for generations! With that in mind, the girls took out their bands and spent half an hour teaching each other new tricks and beginners skills. I was so proud to see all the girls helped little H join in and have a go at the "Big Girl" game. Perfect calm as I tidied and got the pizzas cooked and on the plates.
Step 4: Birthday tea.
So now the girls got to eat their fantastic pizzas accompanied with cucumber and carrot sticks. I've found over the years that the food children make themselves always gets eaten without fuss. Again, each plate was cleared with exclamations of "Best pizza ever!" and " This is SOOOOO GOOOOD!" I now had little girls telling me how relaxed I must be as they were doing all the work. Little girls love to feel industrious and the idea that they were "working" just sold the party even more! Full of pizzas, the girls gasped as out came the big treat. Ice-cream, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries all chopped up with a tub of icecream and Mummy in charge of the squirty cream. The girls thought they were having such a guilty pleasure whilst I smiled at all the healthy toppings, sticks and fresh fruit! Each sundae was dressed with a dramatic swirl of cream- Yum!
I'm always surprised when you go to a party and the present is received, placed on a table and not touched again until everyone is gone. I want to see people's faces when they open their gift- especially if I have spent ages making it! So, on party day, I always have time for the presents. This was so cute with each friend giving their gift, seeing it opened and gasped about and having a great big hug of thanks from Katie. Yes, there were many photos of this time, but I'll just share the final friend shot.
Noe of the girls had ever had toasted marshmallows before- can you believe it? they are now complete addicts and adored the slight danger of toasting these fluffy treats until they almost slid off into the hot coals. Such treats took us until parents came to drag the girls back home. The happiest little girl was the last one to leave as she got extra toasting time! We never even got to the birthday cake!
So, best party ever! Minimum fuss, time, clear up and noise. Just lots of happy faces and cuddles all round. Try a little DIY magic yourself one day- it's so worth it!