As I sit here sipping my fourth mint julep in as many days, I decided to reflect upon the combo birthday party we threw for Nolan (7th) and Austin (2nd) this past weekend.
Granted, at this stage in their lives, it’s a bit easier, but you never know.
We offered Nolan two options for his birthday: a trip with Linds and I to Six Flags Great Escape or a party with friends. He smartly opted for the former. This meant we didn’t have to search for a place, order 20+ invites for every kid in his class, pay exorbitant prices for some shitty pizza, crappy cake, and colored sugar-water beverages.
Austin turned two, so he was pretty much along for the ride. He was more than happy in the company of his two cousins.
Need some more reasons to just have your kids’ party at your house with just family? You’re in luck.
- DRINKS. Most venues available to host your kids’ birthday party (besides the bowling alley) don’t really appeal to adults. At your house, there’s no limits on what you can serve. At this party, there was a cooler full o’ beers, ample wine, and juice boxes for the kids. I even mixed up a pitcher of mint juleps for the Kentucky Derby that night.
- INVITES. They’re expensive and there’s no getting around not inviting the entire damn class. Family and maybe another kid or two, but that’s it!
- FIRE PIT. Do you know a place you can host a party, have the kids roast s’mores in the fire put as the adults enjoy adult beverages? Oh that’s right, it’s probably your house. And it’s an excellent way to wind down after a busy day.
- GRILLING OUT. Sure, it’s a ton of work hosting a houseful, but the only thing I’ll put ahead of pizza is anything cooked on the grill. And as long as the weather cooperates (read: not raining or 95°) everyone will stay outside chit-chatting, drinking, stuffing their faces. We asked family to bring a dish (pasta salad, meat/cheese/crackers, etc.) to make it a bit easier for us. And then cupcakes (which I baked too long) that were immaculately decorated by Linds were dessert.
- KIDS FUN. We got a unicorn piñata at Target for like $15, stuffed it with candy, and the kids entertained themselves (well, my dad held it in the air) until the thing finally busted. We’ve got a playground, I set up a water table for the littlest two to enjoy, and I made a little dirt and rock digging area for toy cars and construction trucks. And we had a whiffle ball and bat.
- LIGHTING. For photos, the lighting you’ll get outside is way better than the shitty neon lights inside an otherwise dark-ish venue.
- NO GOODY BAGS. Unless you count the Ziploc bag full of candy from the piñata. And if you don’t know my stand on goody bags, here it is.
Yes, the cleanup sucked, but thanks to family, there was plenty of help. Yes, I moved 3 tons (no exxageration) of stone into the fire pit area and 15 bags of mulch elsewhere in the yard the week leading up the party, but it was worth it. Yes, the kids might’ve been losing their minds by the end of the night because they stayed up later than usual, but who cares, conversations between adults who’ve been day drinking drowned out the insanity.
And in the end, kids don’t really give a shit where their party is. All kids need are a few cousins or friends there, some stuff to play with/in, nice weather, and chips, pretzels, and juice boxes. Mix in a little sunshine and you’re all set.
I’m not even sure what it cost, but I don’t recall hearing one single complaint from any of the five kids there, which is worth whatever we spent, mostly on food and booze. I’m sure if it wasn’t 80° and sunny with little to no bugs to speak of, there might’ve been some gripes, but we were and are fortunate our kids’ birthdays are in April and May.
For the record, no one was comnpletely belligerent, contrary to all the booze talk. I did, however, sit by our newly finished fire pit enjoying a few extra drinks after the guests left and the kids were asleep.
I earned it.
(For those of you with kids with winter birthdays, I can offer little to no advice.)