We’ve had a huge day. We laughed, we cried, but overall we had a lot of fun.
The day started last night when I set this up for our little munchkin to wake up to:
Needless to say, she was delighted. The morning was spent scribbling on the chalkboard…
I then focussed on getting the hair clips finished to take to the craft shop down the road (more on that another time) before coming back to get stuck into the final preparations. Stress started overwhelming me, so I pulled out the checklist I’d made the night before and just ignored the frantic hyperventilating going on in my head while I worked through each item in order. Whenever I got sidetracked or distracted I just went back to the list and carried on.
Of course Little Miss chose this day to refuse a nap (because of course she did) but there were many hands to keep her entertained while I got back to prepping food with hubby and working out how to pack and transport it all.
It was perfect weather for a picnic (if a little hot in full sun) and we got there right on the start time. It didn’t take long to set things up how I wanted it, thanks to me having planned it out so much beforehand.
Little Miss quite enjoyed all the pouring and sipping out of her tea set but the other kids weren’t quite so into it – most of them were actually big sister’s friends as my little one doesn’t really get on very well with kids her age. They all had lots of fun eating party food and tearing around the park though.
The cake was amazing.
My friend wasn’t too happy that it collapsed so much in the middle, but it was sooooo delicious! I will have to get the recipe to share for any other gluten- and dairy-free folks out there. The kids seemed to quite enjoy creating their own party bags too (sorry, no photos). I laid out paper napkins, put a small bubble bottle in the middle, then got them to chose some stickers, a balloon, and a handful of lollies to go with it. Then I bunched the napkin up and tied it with a rubber band. It was good fun!
I managed to keep my birthday girl awake til 7pm but then she was out like a light, still in her party dress (which is thankfully super comfy). All in all, a great day!
Things I improved on compared to previous years:
– I made a checklist of food and supplies and stuck to it.
– We got to the park bang on time, and before anyone else arrived (VERY proud of this!).
– I let go of plans with more grace and less struggle once it was clear that they weren’t going to happen (no cupcakes, for example). I was also able to delegate without trying to micromanage and didn’t freak out when I realised I could have made better choices with minor things like how stuff was packed into bags or setting things up in exactly the right shady spot at the park.
– I actually didn’t go too overboard with the food! There are some leftovers, but they will easily be eaten over the next day or two.
Things I still need to improve on:
– We did end up having to run to the shop for a couple of small things I either forgot or just could not find, like little bubble bottles for the party bags (where the heck did I put them?) and ribbon to tie down balloons.
– Once I set all the food up I forgot to get out the little bowls for people to put their snacks in so the kids used up all the plastic cups instead. Thankfully nobody minded reusing mystery cups for their drinks because I really didn’t want to have to buy more, since we had another stack at home (that I just knew I should have packed).
– I still started out with way too many things on my to-do list (although at least it was only one page long instead of three) and gradually shed items as we got closer to the time. I really need to get better at estimating what is possible to achieve within a given timeframe. It does my head in having to constantly refine and re-prioritise!
Now I just have to put things away and wash the tea sets, hopefully before I go to sleep – but I won’t beat myself up too much if I don’t get all of that done. Just making a start on it tonight will still be an improvement on my normal habits.
Finally, a heads up: my Big Miss turns six at the end of November. Let’s see if I can do even better with that one!