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C'est la Vie: The Anatomy of a Birthday: Hands and Feet

Here it is, moms. Put on your running shoes because it's time to get ready for a party! Hopefully, you've picked a theme that everyone is happy with and you have your to-do list in hand. Maybe I should also tell you to put blister guards on your fingers because the truth is in our culture we can find plenty of answers and ideas online too. If you prefer to do most of your shopping online, knock yourself out. I've tried that route and it never seems to be the most cost effective. However, if cost is not your main concern and/or if you don't have the luxury of finding 15 different stores in a 5-mile radius that can meet your needs then by all means click away!

First things first, do you need to order anything? Ideally, you are planning for a party that is at least 3 weeks away in which case you have plenty of time. Cakes, personalized items, or rentals should all be taken care of first.
These decorations were pre-cut and I just had to assemble. Now they are permanent decorations in my daughter's room, but could have also served as ornament party favors.
Then deal with decorations and other activities. What do you need to make everything look good and feel great? Another birthday staple I'm not a huge fan of (you can tell from yesterday's post I don't love pre-made invites) is... crepe paper. Sure it has it's place, just not taped to my walls and ceilings for a party. Buy or make simple and creative decorations that really pop - jars of brightly colored candies are one of my favorite table decorations for almost any age and works for boy and girls alike. Invest in items that you can reuse for other parties or that can be used after the party, feather boas come to mind. (First use them as garland around door frames or twirled around chairs and then send them to the dress up box!) For boys, consider inflatable items (sports balls or #1 foam fingers) that could double as party favors.

Ribbon, stickers, and chipboard makes for a cute birthday sign. 
The internet is a great resource for game and activity ideas for your party. Several sites highlight real parties with parent's detailed instructions included. This is helpful for the creatively challenged. Try: Birthday Party Ideas or Amazing Moms.

Once you've assembled all of the goodies you need to put on the party, make yourself a day-before and day-of checklist so that nothing is forgotten. Think about the things you you need to do such as cleaning bathrooms, baking cupcakes, setting up games, or whatever else the party entails. You will not regret taking the time to think through this stuff!

Speaking of hands and feet, you might also want to consider asking an older child to help with the party. Teenagers can be a great asset and sometimes will work just for food! Recruit a helper if you think it's going to be too much to handle on your own. What are other "do" details that shouldn't be forgotten?

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