Somewhere between Palolem in South Goa and the waterpark down the road from us, planning kids parties is located firmly upon my map of Happy Places. Thinking about what they’re into that year, what they love, planning a theme around that and dreaming up silly little party details…it makes me happy…cushions the world’s seriousness. I cannot save every child rotting in a refugee camp and I cannot stop bad people doing bad things, but I sure as hell can celebrate what is right in front of me and thank my lucky stars I have it at all while having a hell of a time making what I can control extra good and meaningful and fun.
“And you think I’m crazy,” a friend said when she saw the individual wrappers for individual ‘road snacks’ I’d made.
In my defence, she had bought 24 white statue heads off gumtree and was planning to cut the tops off each of them, pop in a plant and then trim it like it was hair. Like, so they’d have fringes. Made out of shrubbery. “A garden feature,” she said.
The point is, whether we write stories, paint pictures, give statues plant hair, or throw kids parties, what we’re really doing is the same thing. We are being creative. We are making instead of consuming. And we’re doing it because there is a kick from creative living that feeds our soul.
Like Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her latest book Big Magic (which everyone must read), “Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants. For most of history, people just made things and they didn’t make such a big freaking deal about it.”
So without further ado, my boy’s road trip party: thrown by a mother who likes to make stuff, and celebrated by a family who likes to be part of it.
*Party details at the end.
My very favourite part of my children’s birthdays: watching them surrounded by love, the centre of attention while Happy Birthday is sung to them. It gets me every single time.
Billy wedged a finger up his nose the minute we started singing and didn’t take it away until we stopped – a shy gesture that was just so him.
His favourite part?
My friend’s statues, they turned out awesome.
We celebrate each other’s crazy and we applaud the fact that we are each allowed to do whatever it is that makes us happy.
Party details – They don’t have to be expensive or elaborate – just require a bit of creative flair.
Easy snack packets: plastic snap lock bags from a $2 shop, printed labels onto cardboard (I just used Pages on my mac to design), stapled on.
Party decorations: An old Atlas I found at a second hand bookstore($4), made into bunting, signs and lining the table as a tablecloth.
Cardboard box cars: old nappy boxes, different coloured cardboard and novelty personalised kid’s number plates found here. I found a couple of super easy make-your-own-cardboard-box-car tutorials online and did a miss-mash of them both. You can find them here and here. The kids LOVED them.
Bingo game: Picked a bunch of famous Australian landmarks, stuck 6 or so on each map, and played a bingo style game of pulling the landmarks out of a box and whoever completed their road trip first and ticked off all the landmarks won a prize.
Happy Monday! Clean Slate Day.