Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Parties, Traditions, and Budgets

Mabel's swimming party was a great memory-maker!  We do these big parties every four years.

Birthday parties...

About 6 or 7 years ago a friend and I were discussing birthday parties and how absolutely expensive they can be.  Not to mention exhausting.

She told me about  her family tradition as a child and I thought it was such a neat idea that we adopted the tradition for our family.

** Big birthday parties on their 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th and a "Sweet 16" birthday party with friends.  (The other birthdays will be celebrated with just family.) **

Please let me add, I certainly do not claim our tradition to be the gold medal winner.  Yet, it sure fits our family budget and has taught our Littles the meaning of patience and appreciation.


So we had been talking about...planning for...and anticipating little Miss Mabel's birthday party this year because she turns 8 years old on September 15.

The girl had been so excited.

So had I!

Being practical, I had also been thinking about the B-word....BUDGET.

* She decided on a swimming party.  Easy enough since our subdivision has a private pool.  ( no expense with that venue.)

* We sent out evite invitations.  (No money spent on invitations nor postage.)

* No loot bags.  Instead, we wanted to give each of the guests something special to take home as a "thank you".

How we made it special...

Mabel is not really named Mabel.  (In case you didn't know, I use nick names for all my kids on this blog.)

She is actually named after Our Blessed Mother and another beautiful saint.  Mabel's birth date is September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

We decided to have the  special "thank you" gifts  commemorate Our Blessed Mother so, Mabel picked out these beautiful rosary holders for each of the guests....

(They came in these three styles.   Around $6 each at our local Catholic bookstore.)

The weekend before her party, Mabel helped wrap them in white gift wrap I had purchased...

and then she made home made "thank you" notes  for each one...

...using my old stash of Stampin' Up products.

(I happened to have an aqua blue ink pad and pen for her to use.)

Keeping with the swimming party theme, we purchased swimming stickers and blue ribbon to decorate the thank you cards and gift wrap with.


* 2 birds with 1 stone.  These took the place of her store bought thank you cards and postage.

* Swim party themes are on clearance at this time of the year!  (Another area to save money in.)  

The afternoon before, Mabel and her sisters helped decorate the party table.

The menu had hot dogs and chips (bulk items from Sam's Club) and lemonade and kool aide (something we already had at home.)

Can you tell she was excited in this next picture?

*  Cake.  Okay.  I splurged big time there.  But you know what?  I have no regrets.  These parties come only once every four years and my little girl will only be 8 once.

We went to Central Market where everything they bake is made from scratch and everything tastes absolutely heavenly!  Their cakes are very affordable, but we ordered a  fancy one for this party and that's what cost me.

And it was soooo worth it....

...half chocolate...half white...double layered....cream filling....yum!

And there was enough left to feed our guests over the weekend whenever we had a sweet tooth attack.

The next big 4-year party will be at the end of October when Sally celebrates her 12th.  

~  Patty  ~


  1. What a lovely job you did! God bless your sweet girl on her birthday and always!

  2. Everything had such a personal touch. I love the idea of the thank you notes. Mabel made them so pretty! and how wonderful that the summer decorations were on sale ! yes, that cake is beautiful and I'm sure it worth tasty-worth every penny!

  3. We've had this same discussion at our house. My main problem with individual parties was the amount of gifts accumulated and the greed/give-me-more attitude that my kids were developing. But, I still wanted the kids to experience the planning and hosting of a party. So, we do the one big bash to celebrate everyone's birthday each summer. No one is allowed to bring gifts, but we choose a charity that the guests are encouraged to donate towards - such as the local food shelf.

    Individual birthdays are celebrated only by our immediate family as we have no extended family living nearby to invite anyhow. But, with 6 kids that tends to turn into its own event! :-)

    And you're right, that there is no best solution for birthday party celebrations. I think that most importantly you take time to celebrate each child and let them shine in the family spotlight for their day - however that works out for your family.

  4. What an incredible party! I especially love the cake. It is a great idea to space the parties.

  5. Patty, I just love your every four year idea. We have actually gone to an every other year. We do one year of "family" only and one year of friend party. Looks like Mabel had a great party. I can't believe she is eight years old!!!! My ole my!

    PS - Noticed that "baby" bump in the pictures with your adorable sister. Praying for you dear one.

  6. Precious! I love the thank you gifts...I'm sure all the guests will remember the special day each time they use it. :)

  7. Sweet party! The other advantage to the every four year plan- it can be exhausting to plan parties. Your schedule makes it seem manageable. I just love all the thought that went in to the special day.

  8. What great ideas for a budget friendly birthday party! Everything turned out beautiful!
    When I grew up, we were only allowed 1 party: I had mine when I turned 7 and was a bit upset with my mom because she made me invite the whole class. There was one girl I didn't want to invite! :D (Yes, I was a brat!)

  9. Patty, I love all of these ideas! We started doing b-day parties every couple of years, but then we added more kids and I like your idea of doing it every 4. Then it hits the big ones like 12 and 16. I agree that the cake is gorgeous and worth the splurge. Love the thank you gift! Often the goodie bags are filled with junky toys or junky candy, so I really love this idea.


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