I am full of bright ideas, clearly hosting a surprise party at home next week, for my soon to be 11 year old is one of these so called ‘Bright Ideas“! Only now I am starting to freak out. I just read an article about a woman who held a “at home” party for her 8 year old with 9 guests in attendance, who trampled her house and nearly drove her to the brink of insanity.
Maybe she was exaggerating to make her article sound good, at least I hope she was, I don’t want my home trampled or trashed! OK I must confess it is already looking a bit trashed and trampled from the three kids that live here, and the cats and dogs. (I burn a lot of candles to attempt to create some sense of sanity and relaxation in my mad house, plus they decrease any bad odours . . . I hope).
But seriously she said it was a disaster, and she only invited 9 guests, we are well past 9 on our guest list, my daughter Aspen is way too friendly to everyone. So am I mad? Clearly, we established that a long time ago didn’t we!
This wont be my fist at home party, I like throwing at home parties. Well hello! We did just establish I am mad!
I have had a party every year for Aspen, from the first right through to this year for number 11. On top of that April and Adam have also had a party each year. They have varied in size and guest numbers. My children felt easily overwhelmed by crowds or noise as little ones so we kept most parties small, until kindergarten.
Aspen’s Kinder party was mermaid themed, I went all out, I had a designer cake, a face painter, a sea of streamers and sea coloured helium balloons, treasure hunt, themed food and party games. It was perfect, but to be honest looking back I don’t know why I went to so much trouble, Aspen barely remembers it and it was a lot of work especially given I had a 2 year old and was pregnant!
I have gone on to host a few more themed parties for my children , ballet, soccer, high teas. Aspen had only six friends to her high tea, everything looked so pretty with real antique cups and jars of lollies including marshmallows which the girls decided were a great thing to throw all around the living room!!!!! Yes seriously. And that was only six girls, this year we are doubling that and adding in 4 boys too!
I can’t even tell you why I do these at home parties, I mean whenever I have had a party at a venue I can not tell you how much less stressful it is, they cook, they run games and activities and the best thing is they clean up afterwards! At our home parties I have to clean the house before they come and after they leave. I wonder why I clean up before they come? Really why do we do that when we know it’ll be so much worse after the party?
Maybe I am reliving my childhood memories through my children. My mum always gave us at home parties and I have such fond memories. In fact all parties were at someone’s home, or a park. Or perhaps I am rebelling against the fact that everyone is competing to have “the best” party. The most extravagant, expensive party ever. The thing is at home parties can end up just as, or even more expensive than a venue.
For Aspen’s 6th birthday we had an at home party. I hired a ballerina to come and entertain, I had the house decorated beautifully and then their was still the cost of the food and cake. To top it off I hired a caterer to make finger foods for the mums who stayed.
I told Aspen last year that there would be no ‘big party’ this year. I figured last year was a special birthday, after all she was turning 10. This year we were going to pick a couple of friends and head out for a special day. Only she has so many friends, it was so hard to choose between them. So I had a bright idea, why not host a “Surprise Party“!
One big list later the surprise was planned, problem number one was trying to keep 10 and 11 year old’s to keep it a secret! Their has been a few leaks, but we’ve worked around them. Now I just need to work out how to keep my house from turning into a rave. I have a few mums staying on as “bouncers’, well helpers anyway.
I am not going to go overboard this year, it is a pyjama party and we are ordering a bunch of pizzas and I’ll bake my own cake (that could be interesting). I am not even doing helium balloons, or hiring an entertainer. And if there are marshmallows I will be keeping a close eye on them.
The most important thing is that everyone has fun, especially Aspen. Maybe I will have a big fat headache, and a messy house, but it will be worth it. Aspen will be so surprised and although I said no more big parties they are only children for such a short time, that’s my excuse anyway.
I will be sure to let you know how it all goes, wish me luck!
Update, the party ended up being a total surprise, she was so shocked and happy and the kids had the best night, but did the house survive? Well it was still standing, but!!!! It was such a mess, most of it was contained to the two living spaces, and the kitchen, however once the cute dog outside was discovered we ended up with kids trampling in mud and some of them where in their slippers, so I felt awful when their parents came to collect children with muddy slippers, and my carpets needed a good clean too!
I wrote this post when Aspen was 11, she is now 14, but I wanted to re-share and update. I was yet again talked into an at home party this year for both my girls, why, again I don’t know? I hosted an at home party for Adam last year, and I actually think I was deaf and ready to be wheeled out on a stretcher after it. I had planned games and even a movie with real popcorn boxes etc, they ended up throwing popcorn around and running in and out of the house with nerf guns. I have an issue with even slightly raising my voice, lucky my friend who is a kinder teacher was here to both laugh at my naivety and help keep the boys under (some) control. This year being unwell with my anxiety, Adam just had one friend come to the pools with us and then we had the afternoon at my parents with family.
I love actually looking back and laughing at these times, I know that it all flies by and I think the at home parties are special. I hope that they will at least remember some of the effort I have put in, and I think if I ever become a grandparent I will get some satisfaction watching them attempt at home parties. Seriously I am a lucky mum, and I am a gluten for punishment!
Do you enjoy hosting at home parties?
Thanks for reading, love Mackenzie xx