For Isobel’s third birthday we threw her a kite party. It was a huge success and best of all this party was simple, easy, and very thrifty. Here’s how it went down.
Last year we threw Isobel a bubble-themed party and it was a lot of fun but it was a lot of work. We wanted to do something easy that was still fun, particularly for Isobel, and one day while reminiscing about our adventures flying the kite last summer we decided on a kite party with a picnic in the park.
Barring bad weather the park is a perfect choice for cheaply hosting a party for 60 of your closest friends and relatives. It costs money to reserve picnic tables in our city’s parks, but the location we chose was away from the main area so we didn’t have to pay anything to use it. The good news: it was free! The bad news: it couldn’t be reserved, so its availability was on first come, first served, a fact I freaked out about on a daily basis. I envisioned someone stealing our precious, off-the-beaten-path picnic area. Normally fringe tables aren’t too hard to get, but since the party was the day before Easter I wasn’t sure how crowded the park would be. We are a park-going city, particularly during holidays. I arrived an hour before the party, at 9 a.m., in order to secure our precious picnic area. While I was setting up a guy driving by kindly rolled down his window and shouted, “IT AIN’T EASTER!” in case I was confused. “Wait!” I wanted to shout, “You mean Easter isn’t on a Saturday?! ZOMG! I’m the worst Christian ever!!!”
Since we sacrificed picnic tables in order to be near the kite-flying action we asked guests to bring lawn chairs and I spread out thrifted blankets for the kids. We made sure that all the food was easily eaten with one hand while standing to make this situation easier, and as an added bonus I didn’t have to provide utensils.
My you might remember that my bestie creates awesome custom invitations and stationery. (I may have mentioned it a few dozen times.) Together we designed these invitations using origami paper I scanned to make the kite. I’m really proud of how it turned out, and Angela went on to create a version of Isobel’s kite invitation for her Etsy shop. There are not many kite invitations out there, and the ones I did find were not that cute. I really love how this one came out. Angela made ours for free, but you can order custom invitations from her for ten bucks, which is an amazing thrifty deal.
I tucked this map in with the invitation so guests knew where to find us.
Cheap and easy being our goal, we also needed food that was easy to eat one handed since we wouldn’t have enough table space for everyone to sit down. My Dad grilled all-beef hotdogs and in addition to offering the standard American hot dog fare we also offered mixtas, the Guatemalan version of a hot dog. Anthony’s grandma took care of the preparations for that, and I’ll be sharing that recipe with you a little later on.
We stocked up on soda, bottled water, and juice boxes for the kids, the idea being that I didn’t want to have to worry about buying plastic cups. It was cheaper, easier, and cut down on waste that way. All I had to buy for the table were (pink) paper plates, (pink) napkins, and two (pink) tablecloths. I still had pink napkins left over from one of my baby showers that said “It’s a girl!” on them and you better believe I brought those along. I’ll be burning through those leftovers till she’s twelve.
Probably the most useful thing I brought to the party was the stack of diaper wipes. We had a ten or twelve kids at the party at any given moment so I knew they’d be useful, but it turns out the adults loved them, too. They were perfect to have on hand since we weren’t near any faucets for water.
My friend Valerie, who is a demon of a baker, made these extra pinkpinkpink cupcakes for the party and they were easily the best cupcake I’ve ever had. Valerie explains this is because they were 90% butter. I believe her. Val was kind enough to make a small little cake especially for Isobel to enjoy. The look of glee on Isobel’s face when she saw that cake is something I’ll never forget.
When I scoped out the area before the party I knew we weren’t going to have much opportunity for decorations because there weren’t any low-hanging branches on the trees or other features that would make it easy to decorate. Which was actually fine with me because that was one less thing to worry about. The day before I picked a bunch of flowers from my yard and used my ten cent army to hold them. They looked lovely strewn about the food table.
I brought vintage trays from home to hold the food, and the scenery of the park did the rest.
The main attraction of the party was kite-flying, of course, but we had no idea if nature would cooperate and give us enough wind to keep the kites up in the air. A trip to the dollar store and I had enough freebees, balls, and hula hoops to keep the kids occupied for a few hours. I also bought plastic eggs and filled them with candy for an egg hunt later in the day. I bought a dozen Easter baskets while thrifting and spray painted all of them so they were uniform colors. At the end of the party each kid got an Easter basket and five eggs filled with candy to take home. I didn’t bother with any other favor.
We brought two of the kites we already owned from home and the rest I bought from the dollar store. The cheap kites actually worked really well and were very easy to get up in the air. Some of the kite flying was successful, but mostly there just wasn’t enough wind. The kids didn’t care, though. They just loved the attempt.
My camera crapped out near the beginning of the party so I don’t have any shots of the action. I captured what I could using my iPhone and the rest I borrowed from my brother in law. More party photos are up on flickr.