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Melanie turns 4 this week and this past Saturday, we threw her a birthday party. As a blogger, I was prepared to Pinterest the crap out of whatever party theme she wanted but, my daughter wanted a simple Paw Patrol party so that's what she got. Melanie was very specific – she wanted a Paw Patrol party with swimming, hot dogs, Pirate Booty, “baby” sodas, and a Paw Patrol cake. That's it. That's all she asked for. I debated for a while over where I should craft the hell out of the party and do up cute food with fun names (like I did for her Avengers party last year) but you know what? All she asked for were a few things. All she WANTED were a few things. So why split the focus and do more? As a blogger, it's so tempting to “do up” every little thing so you can create a blog post that might go viral and add to your bottom line. And I get that. I really, really do. The pressure is always there. But I decided to ignore that pressure and just give my daughter the party she had asked for. A simple party filled with Paw Patrol party stuff, swimming, friends, and her favorite couple of foods. I did just that and she LOVED it. She didn't stop smiling all day and is still talking about it this morning.
Interested in throwing your kid a simple Paw Patrol birthday party? Here's how I did it.
First up, get Amazon Prime. I Primed the crap out of this party and man, was it a stress free experience! All I did was type “Paw Patrol party supplies” into the search engine on Amazon and cruise through the first couple of pages of results. I selected a handful of cute stuff for the party, ordered it, and never looked back. Two days later, everything was delivered to my house and all that was left was buying the food and ordering the cake.
The cake. Normally, I make my kid's birthday cake from scratch and it's all Martha Stewart up in here. But, Melanie specifically asked for a Paw Patrol cake. I looked at buying a few related items but discovered that by the time I bought them and created the cake – it was actually cheaper and easier to buy a cake from our local HEB. Seriously. MUCH cheaper and easier. Melanie got to flip through the book of designs, picked her favorite, and chose the flavors, the frosting, and a fun border – all for under $21 (for a 8″ round cake). They baked it fresh and it tasted AWESOME. Melanie was so excited about this cake. She talked about every. single. day for literally weeks. WEEKS. She is still talking about it today.
The favor bags. I always love to put together a fun little bag of favors for the kids. Melanie only has a handful of friends so I can do six bags stuffed full of little bits and bobs without busting my budget. I find that kids love favor bags and will spend a good amount of time just hanging out and playing with the stuff if you keep it all simple and laid back. What I've learned is that, if you have a really cool favor bag, then you can fill it with whatever themed crap you find and everyone thinks it's awesome. We used these kick ass Paw Patrol favor bags and then I filled them with the items from a few themed favor packs. The kids loved picking their favorite Pup themed bag (and it really cut down on the end-of-the-party fighting over who's bag belongs to who).
Do a simple menu and lots of it. Melanie only wanted a handful of foods at her party: hot dogs, Pirate Booty, and baby sodas. I was super tempted to fix up a bunch more foods and name them all after the different Paw Patrol characters. I really was. But, you know what? She only wanted those foods so why do more? We ultimately did hot dogs with condiments, mini bags of chips and Pirate Booty, a bowl of cut up grapes, mango, and strawberries, and mini bottles of water and tiny cans of soda (aka “baby” sodas). We bought plenty of each thing so no one would feel like they couldn't go back for thirds (hey, it happens). Everyone really liked the menu and ate a ton. As an added bonus, it was beyond simple to assemble everything. I just cut up the fruit that morning, dumped all the chips/Booty in a basket, and my mother-in-law cooked the hot dogs while the kids were in the pool. We laid it all out buffet-style and let the guests have at it. DONE and DONE.
Skip decorating and just buy themed everything. Part of throwing together a simple party based on a theme is just buying all the basic crap in that theme and calling it good. Plastic, disposable Paw Patrol tablecloth? DONE. Assorted plastic and paper Paw Patrol or matching colored plates, forks, spoons, cups, and napkins? DONE. A prepackaged Paw Patrol themed balloon pack blown up with a prefilled helium tank? DONE. That's it. That's all the decorating it did and it was great. I also wrapped Melanie's presents in Paw Patrol paper and totally count that as decorating.
Skip doing a million activities and just let the kids play. We're lucky and Melanie's grandparents have a pool so we had the party at their house and the kids swam the entire time. For HOURS. That was it. No games, no activities, no schedule – just swimming and eating. That was the whole party. And it was awesome. The kids were in and out of the pool, the adults hung out and talked or swam, the food happened when it happened, and the cake/presents portion of the day happened whenever the hell I felt like doing it. The kids swam until all the adults were tired and wanted to go home. Then the party was done.
You guys. This was the simplest and BEST party that I have ever done. Sure, it wasn't anything that was going to be pinned like crazy on Pinterest and go all viral and stuff but it was the party that my baby girl wanted and LOVED. It was easy to pull together and relatively stress-free. Clean up was minimal as was the party prep. Filling the favor bags the night before was probably the most time consuming thing and really, that's only because Melanie helped me so I went slow and let her enjoy the process. Otherwise, the pre-party preparation took less than an hour total and the clean-up lasts about 15 minutes. All in all, this was the best and easiest party and I highly recommend it to anyone tired of Pinteresting their life.