Whew! Mothering For Three Years | A Pinterest-less Party for All

First – I have a VERY love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I get a lot of great ideas and think it can be a useful tool. But I also feel that it has raised people’s expectations of DIY projects to an unattainable goal – I mean, sometimes we just don’t have the skills to complete said project. It also has made mothers feel inadequate in their projects with their kids and created a new host of Mommy wars. I know I typically post a lot of Pinterest ideas – because let’s face it, why reinvent the wheel? But in this post you will not find ANY Pinterest ideas. This is purely ideas from my Mother or myself. It is a reminder that we don’t need gimmicks for kids to have a great time!

Mother’s Influence – My Mom and neighbor Mrs. MacDonald threw amazing kid’s parties when we were growing up. Trains, dinosaurs, 101 Dalmatians, Candyland, etc… You name it and they probably could pull it together.

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{Picture of my brother Jimmy taken by Lynn Coppotelli}

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{Picture of my brother Alex and neighbor Kyle taken by Lynn Coppotelli}

It even got to the point where they thought about starting a party planning business – unfortunately for us, that did not happen. Although each party was so intricate – there was no Pinterest and limited internet for them to get ideas from. Everything they came up with was through discussion and creativity. I will say each party had the relatively same blueprint – food, dessert, one activity, and presents. They also tried to make as many things in advance as possible and make it as easy as possible on themselves as well – both women are mothers of four children. Growing up with this extensive and creative party planning made me really want to continue the tradition with my own children.

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{Picture of the 101 Dalmatians Party taken by Lynn Coppotelli}

Here are some of the general rules that I learned:

  1. Have a project that the kids can take home. Not only does it keep the kids out of trouble, but it also provides them with a souvenir of their experience!
  2. Keep the party small. You do NOT need to invite the whole class. It will save on cost and chaos.
  3. Food is overrated at a kid’s party. Sometimes they will eat tons and sometimes they won’t. Don’t worry about cutesy, expensive foods – go for the chips and dip and easy snacks.
  4. Keep the cake fun! This is often what the kids really look forward to – doesn’t need to be expensive and can be made at home. But have a fun element – shape, color, candy, candles. There are so many options out there so take advantage and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
  5. Keep the kids’ goody bags useful and practical. No child needs the cheap toys and candy. Try to make it more functional and fun. For instance coco-cola glasses for root beer floats, dog head costumes, jewelry boxes etc… Again doesn’t have to cost a whole lot, but the parents will appreciate a more practical gift.

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{Picture of My Cupcake Party taken by Marc Coppotelli}

Creating the Atmosphere – I wanted to do a party that my kids would enjoy and would hopefully remember. Not only that, but I also wanted to make every effort to make the event fun for others kids and relatively easy. My children love to cook and I thought it would be so fun to do a cupcake decorating party. We started with making cupcake invitations and I let the girls decorate the icing of the invitations.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Carlisle}

We baked mini cupcakes (because who wants to make just one) for the few weeks before the party. I bought pre-made colored icing and fun toppings. I also found cupcake cups with a curly straw and child-size aprons for the guests to wear. This way, we didn’t have to worry about ruining clothes or anything either. Because of their gift and fun of decorating the cupcakes – I really didn’t need decorations. It was all so festive that it stood up well on its own.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Carlisle}

The Project – As far as keeping the party under control, we first allowed the kids to play for an hour. This allowed the kids to get the wiggles out so they were then able to focus on the project. We then brought them inside and sang “Happy Birthday.” Immediately following, the kids began to choose their cupcakes and toppings from the table. There was at least one container of toppings per kid so there wouldn’t be fights over the toppings. The kids were so well-behaved that they lasted almost 30 minutes simply decorating! After that, we did presents and then time was up. It really was perfect timing and honestly pretty minimal mess – except for my own child who decided to ‘ice’ herself!

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{Picture of Viv’s decorated cupcake by Lauren Carlisle}

Let it Go – Finally, cut yourself some slack. The kids will be so excited to see their friends and open presents that it really can be a simple pizza party and they would still have a blast. You do not need to redecorate the whole house. You do not need to have intricate decorations. You do not need to even have a project. It’s pretty simple – food, an activity, and good people – it really is the recipe for a great party! You do not need to spend tons of money to have a successful and memorable experience for your children.

After having some time to reflect on the last 3 years as a parent, one of the biggest things I have learned is to keep it simple. Don’t over-complicate things and drive yourself crazy. Yes the gimmicks can be so fun – but truly it is unnecessary! We all really do have what we need in our own creative minds. So put aside the Pinterest, talk to your kids and creative friends. I am sure you will come up with something that not only is fun but creative as well. Trust me – it will be the envy of all the other Moms that you were able to keep your kids party simple, under budget, and still make it creative and unique!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins by day and waitresses at a major ciao_laurencop_sig-01restaurant in Greenville, SC. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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