Monday, June 22, 2009

Luke's 2nd bday party.....on a dime!

My husband hates parties. I seriously think something is socially wrong with him. He loves going to parties of course, he just turned into a maniac anytime we actually throw one. So since I'm off work, on unpaid maternity leave, I promised I wouldn't go overboard. It was my version of "low key." Apparently to him it STILL cost too much and was too over the top, but whatever, he came around once he saw how much fun Luke was having.

Anyway, the first thing I had to find was a cheap place to have the party. This is probably the toughest part because while there are tons of ideas, a lot of them can be ruined by rain (hence his party last year when we ended up cramming about 60 people in our 2 car garage!) or cost an arm and a leg since you need to buy a whole "party package." The city we live in has GREAT parks though.....the Centerville Washington Township Park District. They recently started building some really nice covered pavilions at a couple parks per year. One of our favorites is at a park called Activity Center located on State Route 48 just behind Marions for you locals. It has your typial baseball fields, tennis courts, etc. But it also has an incredible "spray garden" as well as a really nice play ground. Here's a few pictures so you can see how nice it is:

The party was supposed to be really low key. We asked that no one bring presents (frankly because I don't have the time anymore to pick up anymore toys OR write thank you cards) and instead for everyone to bri9ng a side dish. With Brooke only being a month old, most people asked anyway, so I figured we'd just do a word of mouth thing. We provided 2 liters of pop, water, cupcakes, chips and a party sub from Walmart. We only invited family and a few very close family friends. All the kids were either younger than Luke (cousins/family friends) or much older, like 10, so they could care less about the games and favors, so I skipped those.

I got simple pirate invites from Target that just ran right through the printer. With all my medical problems before the pregnancy, I never got around to sending them out until two weeks prior to the party though. Invites were $16 though, no exactly cheap, but I was desperate at that point. Then I just got matching red and black paper plates, napkins, cake plates. I also got plastic silverware, clear plastic cups, and a sparkler shaped in a "2" for Luke's cupcake. I was able to get all of that, plus a few extra small presents for him from Flower Factory for $40. I then ordered a 4 ft sub from Walmart which was going to come to $29 for three meats, cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato (on the side), and packets of mayo and mustard. Oh, and the cost to rent the covered pavilion was only $30. The 2 liters were $1 each, so $6 for 6. I also got chips for $2.88 a bag (had to support our local Mike Sells) so a total of $8.64 for three bags. The cupcakes were made by a friend for only $25 (thanks Nestie DS1013!). Oh and we had some bottled water on hand already and a bag of ice was $3 at Sam's Club. So total cost would have been $156.64 for 40 people.

However, here is where the chaos begins. My good friend who made the cupcakes said she'd drop them off Sunday morning. As luck would have it, I of course waited too late to give Brooke a bath. So just as I'm getting her out of the tub, my friend Gwyn shows up. We put the cupcakes on the dining room table, I pay her, and I run back to Brooke crying in her room. (I laid her in the crib, just on a towel only.) Todd goes back to his sweeper. The second I heard it I went running for the dining room table. I KNEW Luke was going to want to check them out. Just as I turn the corner, down comes one of three boxes of cupcakes.....and yes, the lid fell off and they all rolled onto the floor! So we were down to about 34 cupcakes before the party even started.
Then, we had to go to Walmart to pick up the sub. Since the party started at 1pm, I figured 11am would be perfect to pick it up. We'd keep it on ice at our house till the party and all would be well. HAHA! We ended up choosing to order the sub from our brand new Walmart. It had only been open for four days. I had this gut feeling it wouldn't be ready, but the manager assured me everything would be fine. Well, surprise, surprise, we get there, ask for our party sub and they look at us like we have three heads. So not knowing what the heck we'd do, they said they could have it made in 20 minutes. So we headed for the toy section and let uke loose. We figured we'd give them a little extra time and played there for 30 minutes....all while Brooke is screaming because she needed to eat and I wasn't about to breastfeed at Walmart, not that I'm that good yet anyway. Anyway, long story short, it took them close to an hour to get the sub done. At this point, I complained and got it for free. Oh and we never got mayo and mustard packets, all the condiments were on the sub, and we discovered that the lettuce was atually shredded cabbage. Sweet!

Spending over an hour picking up the sub totally through our shcedule off. The second we got home, we literally just started throwing stuff in our cars and crossing our fingers we remembered it all. We got to the park just as guests were showing up. Thankfully, we have the best family and friends in the world and they all just chipped in to get it set up. In the hurry of the day, I only got a few pictures though. =(
Regardless, Luke ended up having a blast and so did everyone else that attended. Everyone really helped me out by bringing some awesome side dishes, everyone ignored the fact that the sub had cabbage on it, and of course everyone ignored my plea for no gifts.....I think he got more than Christmas! PLUS, everyone brought presents for Brooke. Too generous!

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