Tag Archive: birthday


This past weekend, my family went to a birthday party that has to be one of the most imaginative ideas I have seen in a long time.

 Sondra has a son who is about four months older than my son and her daughter is two years older than my girl. Their birthdays are both June birthdays and so Sondra held one party. It was located at a local park by the river. The food for the day was hotdogs, hamburgers, various salads and birthday cupcakes. The coolers held juice bags and water bottles.

 The big idea was to have everyone bring Nerf guns and bullets. Six- and eleven-year-olds and every age in between were shooting these things off. It was great fun. Luckily, Sondra brought extra guns she had picked up at garage sales all summer so that people like me, who forgot to bring ours from home, could join in the fun.

 Kids were running and screaming around the park, having a great time. The teenage relatives picked up the guns and became a part of the fun. Occasionally, one of the adults would pick up the Nerf toy and set off a round and let the kids go pick them up.

 That was the other part of the fun. The bullets were all over the place so if you need to re-load all you had to do was grab a few off of the ground. What I would do is walk around every now and again and pick up bullets that had fallen. Then I would stash them in my skirt pocket so that when my kids needed another bullet I had it for them right away. It came in really handy when I took one of the guns my kids had laid down so they could get a juice bag.

 It was mom’s turn to fire off a few rounds. YEAH BABY!!!!

At the end of the party, we gathered all of the bullets from around the playground and grassy areas. One mom had yellow bullets and we made sure she got them all back. I had to empty the barrel of one gun to make sure there were none in there and when I was done we were able to give her the rest of  their yellow bullets.

 I love birthday parties like this that are not big huge productions and yield a high rate of fun. To be honest, it was so much fun, I am thinking about doing the same thing for Sam’s birthday in October. I wonder if I can borrow Sondra’s collection to supplement the few I have?

 Lecture note (Optional Reading):

I guess I should take a moment to write about the dangers of Nerf guns and how little kids will confuse these guns with real guns that have real consequences. So parents, be smart with your real guns at home. Put them in a place where the kids cannot get at them. Take the bullets out of the gun when it is stored. Don’t be an idiot and just have a loaded gun lying around in your house.

 You can teach your kids about guns but a three-year-old doesn’t get why a loaded gun will take away a sibling or friend forever. This is exactly the type of situation where parents have to be SMARTER than the kids. This is when you pull on those big boy or big girl pants and make sure that gun in your house is not accessible to the kids in your house.

 Lecture Over.

This past weekend was my daughter’s birthday party.

Picture by Mensatic

Because of the opening weekend of baseball and garage sale weekend, we put off her party by a week. Personally, I think we had better weather this past weekend and everything worked out well.

It was one of those parties that flowed together. I did as much cleaning up as I could during the week so the house was presentable. One of the girls came early so she and Sara played upstairs.

Once I got home from work, the three of us made the replacement cupcakes since Storm had eaten SIX CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES the night before. I was hoping he would get really sick and feel a little remorse. (didn’t happen). Luckily, I got them out of the oven in time. No burnt cupcakes. (I am easily distracted)

As the other girls began to arrive the level of noise rose as well. Then they all went upstairs again. As more girls came and I told parents pick up time (9 am tomorrow morning), I was given a few looks of sympathy and comments on how brave I was. Well, I had already put the kabbash on the girls sleeping in the tent because of the rain but in reality once you have done youth group lock-ins, a group of girls is less scary.

What they and I did not know is that my husband had given permission for our son to have his friends sleep over in the tent. Four middle school boys who can eat their weight in pizza. The next disaster would occur when we found out one package of pizza crust – purchased the day before – was a sea of mold.

Picture by Cohdra

So we moved on to the girls decorating cupcakes. They made their own colors and one girl has brought more  sprinkles, which was really sweet thoughtful and a lot of fun. Only 6 pizzas crusts were made into cheese or pepperoni pizza, drinks were passed out as the girls ate sparingly. They opened the gift envelopes and my daughter is very happy to know she has more money for that unspecified American Girl Doll matching outfit she has been dreaming about.

The end of the evening was to be watching a Selena Gomez movie as the girls settled in to sleep in the living room. Well, they started watching early in bits and pieces. We turned off the TV for pizza, cupcakes and then we go outside for s’mores.

This is the big hit. Girls and boys are interacting as they experiment with the s’mores. Some are working to make the perfect roasted marshmallow and others are going for the flame out. Soon all of the kids are playing soccer and finish off with a Ghost in The Graveyard game in the perfect amount of darkness and warmth.

At some point one of the girls said her favorite birthday parties end up being at our house. I ask why because I am running a no-thrills operation here. I haven’t ordered a big cake, the food is simple, there are no entertainers, there are no goodie bags to take home. I have a few set activities but let the rest go as it will. The girl states “it’s because we are always doing something and it is fun.”

Hmmm, I know there was a small movement to make kid birthday parties less of a fancy affair, less presentation and more back-to-basics. Plus with pocket books getting leaner, it is hard to make those goodie bags or fantastic cakes. Who knew that the kids would like it that way as well?

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.