Sunday, June 19, 2011

in clover: little c's perfect polka dot party

It's Birthday Princess time at our house. 

Little c LOVES a good party and she invites everyone she sees...young or old, friend or foe, she'll ask you to her party.  Seriously, I have made the acquaintance of several neighbors after c flagged them down from across the street, issuing a personal invitation to some upcoming event.  I have heard her playing with her dolls, saying, "Come on in...there's PLENTY of room." 

I keep reminding myself, I am now the QUEEN OF GOOD ENOUGH so even though we want the party to be super cute and oodles of fun, I don't want to drive myself nuts over it. Here's our recipe for a fun and festive party that is "us" but doesn't turn mommy into an evil witch.      

I would call myself creative in many different ways but entertaining small children at a birthday party is not one of them. I have accepted this!  For this years fete, Little c requested a repeat of last year's venue...Bounce U. We had a great time there last year so I thought, "why not?"  They will do pretty much everything for you, if you want.  They'll even order the cake and balloons and provide all the plates and napkins. 

However,  little c and I were not content to let the Bounce U staff have ALL the fun...we wanted to pick our own party decorations and of course, our own cake.  We weren't sure what we wanted but we knew it had to be "super cute" and also not too "matchy matchy."   

Off to the giant (but locally owned and PROUD of it) party store we went.    The first thing we found were these cute polka dot goodie bags....

My hint for shopping a large party store:  Look at EVERYTHING.  Go down every aisle, scanning the different themes.  We found the polka dot goodie bags in the "Baby's First Birthday" section.   We liked them much better than the bags we saw in the "big girl" aisle.  

Next, mix and match everything up.  In two other sections of the store we found these striped and polka dot paper tablecloths and striped party hats.  c liked the butterfly. Me too. It would have been great fun to design and make our own hats....but I keep repeating the mantra, "good enough.  good enough." 

Using stamps is a fun and easy way to personalize your party.  A few years ago, my friend Liz brought me a gift wrapped in plain white paper with my monogram stamped in black, right in the center. It was so elegant!  I've been crazy for stamps ever since. 

The office supply store is a great place to find craft items, usually a little less expensive than a craft store. Little c and I chose these key tag rings from the office supply store. 

We always keep a good supply of curly ribbon on hand.  LOVE curly ribbon.  It feels so ABUNDANT but doesn't cost much at all. The colors are so pretty when all mixed up.  Little c chose pink, purple and green from the curly ribbon bin. 

c stuffed the bags each with a pair of sunglasses and a confetti bouncey ball and then added her own personal candy picks....Nerds, Laffy Taffy and Sweetarts.  We spread the bags out on the French farm table in the dining room and got to work.

We stamped each side of the key tag, one side with a "c" (and three polka dots) and the other with the number six.  We tied up the whole shebang with lots of curly ribbon. Then we found an extra large basket and heaped them up.

We also found these cute wish napkins in yet another section of the party store.  To keep things simple (and to keep our cost reasonable), we chose solid hot pink paper plates.  Plain but colorful paper plates and napkins are much cheaper than decorated ones.  Choose one or the other in a pretty but plain color for a more sophisticated look and a lower total at the check-out counter.  

Before leaving for the party, little c spent some time eyeing the gifts waiting for her at home.  I save all my gift bags..we've used the large fairy bag many times. We've used the big pink bow many times as well. And I like to buy inexpensive paper bags from the Dollar Store and stamp them.  Top 'em off with some curly ribbon...the more the better.  I was in a hurry here so I used less than usual.  (good enough....good enough).

Once we arrived at Bounce U, it was all fun and games for the birthday girl and her guests...

And then it was time for cake and ice cream.  Remember the cute "wish" napkins and hot pink plates?  Mama left 'em at home!  Still, with the polka dot tablecloths and balloons, things looked festive even with the stock Bounce U plates and napkins which were thankfully plain white.  And c didn't notice.  At least, not yet! 

Definitely would have been cuter with the wish napkins and plates but as the Queen of Good Enough,  I know I need to learn to let some things go. 

The (strawberry) polka dot cake, from our neighborhood bakery, turned out really cute.  And yummy, too.  No matter how simple or elaborate the party, my kids always enjoy the singing the best...

When we came home, she got to dive into those gifts...

And found a new friend.

Cliches are cliches for a reason.  Time goes so quickly and they grow up so fast.  I can't really wrap my head around it.  I think she had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed her party and I know I did. 

Do you have any cute (good enough) ideas to share for a child's birthday party?  Post them in the comments!




  1. What a colorful party for precious little girl!! Thank you for sharing the joy!!


  2. Thank you, Nancy. She really had a good time.

  3. Lisa, Everything looks so beautiful. Perfect for a Princess. You've given me some good ideas for our birthday party. Thanks!


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