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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Birthday Party Budgeting

Miss5 will become a Miss6 in October.  Months away, yes sure.  But it’s time to start planning her birthday party.  Already.  Why, you ask?  Because it is time to start saving for her party.

We live in a townhouse with exceptionally limited space.  Which means no parties at home.  We have trouble fitting our family of 5 inside or out in the courtyard, let alone guests.

Miss5 has had 2 birthday parties to date.

The first was her 4th Birthday.  Yeah I know, so I was a little late getting on the birthday party band wagon.  I’ll just tell her she had 1st, 2nd and 3rd birthday parties – its not like she'll remember any differently.  That party was organised by yours truly while #1 Hubby was away in Fiji on a work conference.  In FIJI.  On a "work conference".  Which is simply employer/employee code for alcohol fuelled junket at no expense to the employee, which therefore leaves spouses zero opportunity to bitch and moan and/or deny attendance.

You can imagine how totally jazzed I was to be left at home with 6 month old twins and a soon-to-be 4yr old, in the middle of winter, while #1 Hubby knocked back free Mojito’s at a balmy, tropical, palm tree fringed 5 star resort in Fiji.  But it was for work, and it was funded by work, so he had to go.  Insert mega multiple expletives here that would make my mother blush.  Or in the words of Miss2 "Bullshit Daddy".

What does one do while stuck at home in the middle of winter, in an attempt to block out the chaotic children?

Ebay, of course.

And so I jumped on Ebay and went nuts on Dora the Explorer themed everything.


Then I booked a venue.  Then I started making the mother of all 4th birthday party invitations that could easily rival any fancy shmancy wedding invitation.  I really went to town on those bad boys.  Anything at all to  distract me from the fact that I was at home with 3 kids while #1 Hubby was pissing it up overseas  make my little Miss' first party special.

With each transaction, each auction win, each bulk buy discovery, my mood brightened.  Two weeks later, with #1 Hubby back home sporting a disgustingly glowing tan, the parcels started arriving.  It took a lot of effort to hide them where he wouldn’t see them.  Because if he saw exactly how much stuff I’d bought, he’d demand to see the costing - which was enough to fund a family vacation in Bali for a week.  Having been so caught up in the Dora rush, I hadn’t exactly kept a running tally of the costs, and when I did finally stop and add it all up after making all the bookings and purchases, I did feel quite ill.  I’m pretty sure even Miss4 would’ve preferred a week in Bali to a 2hr party for the same total cost.

Awesome party was had, completely making up for the previous 3 years where I couldn't been arsed organising anything more than a cake with the family.  And many promises to #1 Hubby that it was the last party for at least another 2-3 years.

The following year, becoming a Miss5, we had another party.  But this time it was in the spirit of inviting all of Miss5’s new school mates, and fostering her friendships with them.  Honestly.  I’m sure it’ll come as no shock to regular followers of this blog, when I tell you that we had a McDonalds party.  So much cheaper, easier, less stressful.

By the way....did you know, when you have a big enough kids' party at Macca's, they give you a very nice discount on any extra purchases above and beyond the party itself?  Well they do.  We went home with 24 McNuggets, 2 Big Mac meals, 2 McChicken meals, 6 kids' meals, 4 apple pies, 7 boxes of cookies, 2 flat white's, 2 moccha's, and a vanilla thickshake.  Seriously.  I shit you not.  I bought up enough food to last us for the rest of the weekend.  We could possibly have ended up as the new Supersize Us family.

Unfortunately, I think Miss5 has outgrown the Macca's party option now.  I haven't, but she has.

And despite once again swearing we would not have another party for a couple of years, guess what?  We want to have a party again this year.

So now I’m searching far and wide for a suitably inexpensive venue in Perth, to hold Miss5’s party in the October school holidays.  Suitably inexpensive being the operative words.  Optimistic?  Very.  Naïve?  Totally.

And so I’m throwing it over to the interverse : does anyone have any suggestions, that are not going to cost me in excess of $20 a head?  Sure, that’s not an obscene amount to pay, but I want to include all of Miss5’s school friends, in the interest of not leaving anybody out, plus her other friends and extended family.  We’re looking at over 20 kids, and I just don’t think it’s worth forking out $500 for 2hrs. 

I would dearly love to have a party at home, complete with pass the parcel and all the other favourite games I grew up with.  Unfortunately, it is purely a space issue that is stopping me from doing that.

So it's either finding the world's cheapest venue, or have a very small party, and hope nobody gets upset if they're not invited.  Even with the best of intentions, I would hate to think someone's child felt left out.

Seriously, what's the etiquette on birthday parties once your kids hit school age?

Any thoughts or suggestions on somewhere in Perth that I can have a cheap-ish party? Or do I have to tell #1 Hubby it's time to move house to somewhere that has more than a dining room table sized yard?  Or, alternatively, advise him to sell a kidney to fund a party at a venue that will hold everyone?


  1. We do lots of parties in the park. Cheap venue, free play equipment and plenty of space. We've had tug-of-wars, parents against kids soccer, three-legged races and lots more. Daddy mans the bbq and we usually just do a sausage sizzle, snacks and cake for dessert. Easy and everyone is worn out after so added bonus of afternoon nap!

  2. Love the park.  Have been to a few parties just like you describe, and we've all had a ball!  Unfortunately - it has rained on Miss5's birthday for the last 3 years.  We're just operating under the assumption that it would be just our luck to rain again this year!  Which is a shame, because there are some great parks close to home.  Maybe we can find one with a large undercover area.  Another bonus of the park party - no power cleaning your house before everyone arrives, and then power cleaning 2hrs later when they leave!

  3. one word, Kidzland. They are in bayswater near the tonkin. Miss 8 had her 6th birthday there, and the kids just run amok while the parents sit back and watch. They even have teenagers that will take all the kids up to the party room and feed them! reasonably priced as well, around $16 per child. But there is no mess, no cleaning up, no cooking. AND they have Perth's biggest indoor slide!

  4. I'm on the other side of Aus in NSW but we do lots of park parties here. My oldest 3 have birthdays within a month of each other so we invite all the family and family friends to the park and often cater everything ourselves. It is a bit of work but the kids love it, and we can get away with a sausage sizzle and some salad for the adults.. Lots of chips, lollies etc but that is it. 
    The kids get their own individual parties at 5, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21 or at least that is the plan, Mr 11 decided a family camping holiday was a better idea for his 10th so he got his individual this year for his 11th. Miss 5 did the Maccas one so she could invite the school class.
    Of course we have a 1 year old who will be getting his own party every year because he is 3 months after the other parties... we plan on doing the same sort of thing, keeping them basic with just family and friends until he hits the big ones. 
    This year we did a construction theme for Mr 1, and instead of buying a lot of themed things i just bought a few cheap dump trucks to serve some table food in (lined with foil and tissue paper after being washed of course) and then added the colours orange, yellow and black to everything. Keeps the cost down but still gives a great effect. For older kids try making some simple foods and giving them themed names. Mr 11 had a spongebob theme, so i made seaslug dogs served with seagrass (mini hotdogs with green tinged cheese), Krabby Patty burgers (mini hamburgers), Sea Urchins served on a bed of coral (small servings of mini meatballs on spaghetti) and barnacle salad (pasta salad). Then made cupcakes (sea sponges) topped with yellow icing and a gummy hamburger lolly on each. We had no spongebob anything but the kids could all see the theme and loved it. Wow apologies for the novel.. i've thought so much about parties this year its nice to be able to share some of the ideas and thoughts lol


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