sleepy time tip: planning a meaningful party

IMG_5096 For months I've been going back and forth on how to celebrate Bobby's 30th birthday.  A small gathering here, taking Bobby out on the town, planning something with our extended families...  I wanted something really meaningful for Bobby.  What would be best?

The most meaningful party, I decided, would be a special, intimate, well thought-out evening with the people he knows and grows with the most: his wife and children.  The meaning would come from everyone being involved and playing a part. IMG_5139

I'm accustomed to birthday cake and presents but never a real full-fledged birthday party just for my immediate family.  I mean, all of the details I'd only plan out when I'm inviting lots of children over to celebrate, like games and party favors.

So that is what the children and I did.  Made very detailed plans, worked on them daily this week, and slowly put together a meaningful and rather personalized party just for him.

How you can plan a meaningful party involving everyone in your family:

  1. Make a master plan of everything you want for the party from decorations, food, etc.
  2. Delegate certain aspects of the party to each child.
  3. Give the jobs out based on age and what skills each child can offer.

For example, I was in charge of the food, any necessary sewing, and making a "30 Things" list of his accomplishments thus far.


(A variation of his favorite cheesecake- a pumpkin cheesecake)


(A birthday crown that can fit any family member because of the velcro)


Caroline was in charge of all the games and publicity.  She had to come up with the ideas (with a little help) and then carry out the details to make them happen.

Caroline the 5 year old using her skills:

  • she made birthday posters for decoration
  • made the birthday invitation (with Johanna's gluing help) that Bobby received, inviting him to come to his own party
  • she made the game "Pin the Pants on Bobby" including the poster and pants
  • came up with "Balloon, Balloon, Balloon, Pop", a variation of Duck, Duck Goose
  • would orchestrate each game at the party


Johanna was in charge of the party favors.  A day in advance we made these whole wheat double fudge brownies from my King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book using brioche tins.  (I put half the sugar in and half of the chocolate chips.  They turned out perfectly!)

Johanna the 3 year old using her skills:

  • she helped make the batter
  • chose the tins
  • chose the party favor containers that were on hand
  • packed the containers
  • would hand out the favors at the party


Along with the responsibilities everyone had for the party, people still needed to get their own gift projects finished on time.  Caroline created a set of things for Daddy's office "since it is so plain in there."

The Party:


"Balloon, Balloon, Pop"


"Pin the Pants on Bobby"




The look on Caroline's face perfectly describes how everyone was feeling last night, especially Bobby knowing how everyone gave so much to make the evening special.  Throwing your own party saves money, creates lasting memories, and most importantly, encourages a strong bond between the members in your family.