My son turned THREE this week, and since we are – okay I am – big on birthdays, we had multiple celebrations for him over the course of the birthday week. This is such a fun age and I’m loving everything we get to do with him.
1. We had my in laws over for breakfast the morning of his birthday party day. The time worked better for them and we got some one on one time instead of the craziness that comes with a party with a ton of kids. We made coffee and cooked up breakfast sandwiches, which cost very little and was more relaxing and enjoyable than trying to get out to a restaurant for breakfast. My father-in-law hung out with our son while we got ready for the party as well.
I so appreciate living near family and this was just one more reason why it is so great. It was nice to have them over for breakfast and to celebrate with him in a small group, but it also wasn’t SO special because we get to see them throughout the year. Our son has a real relationship with them and gets to just hang out and play when they come by (plus he gets my mother in law all to himself two days a week while we’re at work.
2. By request (and with a little help from my son), I made six pizzas and thirty cupcakes from scratch for his big birthday party. If you’d told me a decade ago that I’d have made everything – and enjoyed doing it – I would have told you that you were absolutely crazy. But both the pizza and the cupcakes turned out fantastically, and the kiddo made sure to let everyone know that HE made the food (or at least that he helped mama).
Even better, the cost of all the food was only a fraction of what it would have been had everything been store bought, and it tasted so much better. Another thing I’ve noticed by doing a lot more cooking and baking from scratch is how much less garbage we produce in a given week. Even premade crust or box mix come in more packaging that ends up getting tossed or recycled. It feels so good to have a half empty garbage can for pick up these days.
Speaking of waste, We also don’t bring out the paper plates and cups and plastic cutlery and napkins that are ubiquitous at parties these days. We may do a lot of dishes and laundry afterward, but our trash wasn’t any more full after his party than it is on an average night. We did go through all but three of our unpaper towels though – what happens when you feed a house full of kids pizza and cupcakes.
3. His actual birthday fell on one of the two days a week he’s at preschool, so of course he got another party there as well. They request that you bring in something at least slightly healthier to share with the class, so we made blueberry muffins from scratch. My son saw a picture of Budget Epicurean’s cranberry orange muffins, but we didn’t have all the ingredients at home already, and I wasn’t going back to the store, so he agreed that blueberry muffins would be tasty also. I have promised him we will make those soon though.
The school party was right after nap time, but my husband was able to leave work early that day, so we both got to be there to sing and celebrate with him. The fact that daddy got to be home early that day really made it special for him.
After that, we had time to stop at the park on the way home and let him play for a bit. It wasn’t warm and a little rainy, so we had to cut it shorter than he would have liked. Otherwise, since it was his birthday, he got to call the all shots. Which means we picked up teriyaki for dinner when he asked instead of making something at home, but it sure was tasty and something he enjoyed.
4. We stopped in to the grocery store while we were waiting for the teriyaki to be ready because my son is friends with one of the managers there and he wanted to say hi to her on his birthday. Imagine my surprise when she had a bag with a little present for him (two hot wheels cars). Being friendly and creating relationships wherever you go is something I hope to pass on to my son, and he definitely seems to be learning that one early.
5. Similar to our Christmas tradition where we only exchanged stockings, our son didn’t receive any physical presents from us for his birthday. He did receive plenty of gifts from friends and family, but thanks to the suggestions in this post, I clearly outlined our preferences for him, and the requests were MOSTLY granted: books, clothes, and experience gifts (tickets to the aquarium, a gift card for Cold Stone, and money toward his college fund). The physical gifts he DID get (dinosaurs, a stable with horses) are things I expect he will play with for a long, long time.
I’m hoping as he gets older, our son will still be as interested in the people and experiences as he is now and doesn’t get bogged down with the want of just more things. I’ll let you know how it goes in another 10 years 😉