I've learned over the years that making decorations yourself isn't always cheaper than purchasing items from The Dollar Tree, Target, or the party store. I do a mix of homemade decorations and store-bought...it saves me time, and I also enjoy creating.
TIP: My girls and I usually decide on a party theme early on in the year, and I keep an eye out for goody bag items and decorations throughout the year.
The sideboard in my kitchen was the party hub. I covered it with a store-bought pink vinyl (always pink around here!) table cloth from the local party store, and embellished it with crepe paper streamers. This was the spot for goodie bags, the cake, paper goods, juice boxes, and our "Barbie Lounge."
Goody bags were sparkly pink boxes from Target's Dollar Spot (last year) and filled with pink and silver Dove chocolates, a Barbie tattoo, Barbie pencil and sharpener in the shape of a Barbie shoe, Barbie stickers, and a Barbie puzzle (Dollar Tree!).
Cake was store-bought this year from a local grocery store. It was delicious! I thought about ordering a Barbie topper, but it would have been an extra $6 and the Barbie-themed candles at the party store were not cute at all. Guess what? The kids could have cared less that there was no Barbie on top of the cake or that I didn't order it from a specialty baker. It tasted good, had pretty Barbie-ish colors, and that's all that mattered!
I came up with the Barbie Lounge idea after I remembered that the guests would be bringing their Barbies for a Fashion Show and we didn't have a place to corral them all during the party. It was a quick fix: I grabbed some furniture from the girls' dollhouse and set up a little seating area:
The "garland" was white curling ribbon, clothespins, and dresses from Natalie and Michaela Byrd's stash. I inked the clothespins in pink before adding them to the line:
The other kitchen decorations were a mix of party store goods and clearance decorations. Michaela Byrd loved the pink chandelier I bought on clearance at WalMart!
I toyed with the idea of purchasing or making a Barbie-themed centerpiece, but I knew it wouldn't be used again, so I opted for pink and white carnations in one of my square containers:
I set up the dining room with some crayons and homemade Barbie coloring pages for the girls to work on while we waited for all the guests to arrive. We had two guests cancel the night before (flu! yuck!), so it was a more "intimate" setting...I didn't mind because it meant a slightly more quiet room!
And everyone loves tissue paper pom poms!
The highlight of the party activities was a Fashion Show Puppet Theater that T cut out of a mattress box for me. I decorated it with leftover party supplies, and the girls had a blast. They also played Pin the Sunglasses on Barbie and "Pass the Barbie" (our version of Hot Potato).
Presents and cake are always a crowd-pleaser....
I love scouring my Pinterest boards for ideas, but at the end of the day it's more about making special memories for my kids than impressing readers, other moms, or outdoing myself. I spotted all sorts of beautifully coordinating Barbie parties online during my planning, most notably that gorgeous vintage Barbie silhouette theme. I decided against using it because I showed it to Michaela and she had no idea what it was. The cartoony Barbie isn't really my style, but that's not what's important, is it?
At the end of the party, my newly five year old said, "Wow, Mommy, you are the bestest Mommy in the world, and this was the bestest party!"
Seeing her smile was confirmation that the "perfect" party isn't always the one you see making the rounds on Pinterest. Sometimes the perfect party is the one that brings the most joy, whether you spent $50 or $500 to make it happen!
What was the best birthday party you've ever attended or hosted?
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