Birthday Week

Hugo's 1st birthday

We have two birthdays in our family this week. Hugo turns TWO tomorrow (I know, whuuuuut.) and Elliot will be NINE on Friday *silently sobs.* In addition, the past two weekends in a row we’ve attended at least two birthday parties for classmates of Elliot and/or Clementine, and next weekend looks to be the same. Lately it seems like every weekend is a string of never ending birthday parties for classmates, which means I am constantly at Toys’RUs, buying gifts and cringing at the “girl” aisle (Clementine: “How about this makeup set, mom?” Me: “That is not an appropriate gift for a six-year-old, please put it back.”).

I’m conflicted about whether or not it’s wise to let my kids go to all of the parties they get invited to, so usually I end up just saying yes. On the one hand, I think it’s awesome that other parents throw amazing birthday parties for their kids, and it gives us something fun to do on the weekend. I never seem to find the time to plan a well-designed and organized at-home party, and I lack the pre-planning prowess (or desire to spend $$$) to book a bounce/trampoline/laser tag venue, so I’m also always a bit awe-struck when I bring my kids to these types of parties. When did her mom (or dad, but it’s almost always the mom) find the time to pull it all together? Where on earth did they find matching streamers/plates/cake toppers/pin-the-tail-on-the-fill-in-the-blank to coordinate? I also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they really hoped my kid would come (which happened once with one of Clementine’s friends), although typing this now I realize that’s not a really great reason.

On the other hand all of these birthday celebrations, when added up, seem excessive. Again, I want to be clear: it’s not any ONE party in particular, but collectively, when every weekend you are transporting kids to yet another party, that it starts to feel like too much. I can remember a handful of birthday parties from my own childhood, but I know for sure it was not this many, or this frequent. And when I know full well I have absolutely no intention of doing anything similar for my own kids when their birthday rolls around, it also seems a bit cruel to subject my kids to a taste of the Party They Will Never Have (“See that bounce castle Johnny’s dad rented for his party? Don’t get your hopes up, Elliot!”).

Anyway…we’ll be celebrating this week with cake from a box, maybe some balloons, and as many birthday streamers as I can manage to get to stick to the wall (stupid Low-VOC eggshell paint!!). We had a birthday party with family members last weekend, so it’s going to be pretty low key. I think the important thing is that my kids feel loved and celebrated, even if I don’t (can’t? won’t?) throw a big shindig or shebang. I would love to hear your favorite ways to celebrate a kids’ birthday (especially if it’s quick and easy)! I also would love to hear from those of you who don’t have children, because I remember attending birthday parties for kids before I had children and thinking they were utterly hilarious.

P.S. Photo at the top of post is Hugo, totally hopped up on cupcakes last year when he turned one. Don’t you love it?

49 thoughts on “Birthday Week

  1. Oh yes – birthday parties. We have two rules in our family
    1. No parties in the house EVER and
    2. You don’t get a party every year.

    We like those places which do most/all of the work for you. Our 9yo had a climbing party this year. They did the food and I did the party bags (edibles plus some Lego mini figures)

    I don’t think it should be stressful or expensive!

    • I like the “no parties in the house” rule…even playdates with one kid over are pretty chaotic! Also, Lego mini figs = brill!!

  2. Hi Rae,
    I do feel the same as you and I am glad I am not alone here! We have two kids, and the weekends and some weekdays between October and early December lasr year seemed like a never-ending bithday party for all of their friends. So – either working or bying gifts or driving them somewhere… It was exhausting, for the whole family.
    We decided to skip a few invitations in the end. The organizing parents were cross, even we just couldn’t have made it anyway – picking up and chaffeuring kids is after all quite impossible while working at the same time, during the week. Apparently we should have just taken the day off (yeah, sure.) or at least found a friend/grandparent. (working themselves/4h drive away). The birthday kids were never cross – some a bit sad, possibly, but that was easily remedied with a play date soon after the missed party. What is it with this competition for TheBestChildrensBirthdayParty? I don’t get it…

  3. Dear Rae, You are not alone with your feelings on this one! I think it’s crazy how big birthday parties have become and the parties are out.of.control! I have two little ones and we don’t do birthday parties for them every year (this year it will just be the four of us and two grandparents). When we do parties, they are small and intimate with only a few friends. I have recently (in the past two years) found the confidence to decline birthday parties with just a simple, ” Thank you for inviting us but unfortunately we can’t make it!” on the evite. It is really excessive and makes me wonder what on earth these people are going to do for a teenage birthday? I love to follow the motto “Keep it simple”. I want to teach my kids the beauty of simplicity too. I don’t want them to think its normal to spend $500+ on a birthday party plus gifts and everything else. (Ok, getting off my soapbox).

  4. We have four kids (7, 4, 2, one week). We do some version of a bigger play date with as much Pinterest extras as I feel like doing that week. My kids value home made piñata a (paper covered box counts) and some sort of cupcake.
    Most basic was my two year olds meet at the local children museum and I will bring Trader Jos cupcakes because I am too morning sick to cook or clean.
    For other kids I skip the class parties I don’t want to go to if my kid does know the kid well. I bulk shop for gifts on Amazon when I find a good price (Lego and craft kits) for kids I don’t know well and am not excited to sew for.

  5. In theory I limit parties, but in reality it’s not needed to actually happen because my 5yo doesn’t get invited to that many (thankfully!). I have friends who let their kids attend multiple parties in one day, which I think is insane. It’s my weekend too!!!

    And if hosting, I book a hall and pay an entertainer. If I can get something that does food too, then great. I do always make the birthday cake though, that’s my one concession. My mum always made our birthday cakes so I feel like I’m not a real parent if I don’t (absolutely no judgement on those who do buy their cakes though. My stupid rules only apply to me!).

  6. When I was a kid, my mom had a rule that we could invite as many kids as our age (so 3 kids to a 3-year-old party). By the time we got to be 9 or 10 we only wanted to invite a handful of kids anyway, so it never really got out of hand.
    These days, it seems that the norm (for the younger crowd anyway) is to invite the entire class in the name of inclusiveness, but yeah, that’s a lot of work and often overwhelming for the kids too!
    I’m a fan of park/playground birthday parties for the pre-school crowd. Just show up at your local park with a bunch of bagels & cream cheese, coffee for the grownups, and of course cake! Of course, this assumes the weather cooperates 🙂

  7. My daughter is a summer birthday so she is easy, just invite a couple of friends (not the whole classs), and turn on the sprinkler. Done! My boys are in April though so that doesn’t work for them. They are still in preschool so their best buds are each other and they don’t really want anyone else so that is good for now. The soon to be 5 year old loves to run so we will do the Color Run as a family as it is the same weekend. Who knows, maybe it will become a tradition?

  8. I’m with you! Its madness the level that birthday parties have evolved too! I blame it on Pinterest (which I totally love, haha!) I’ve got 4 kids 8, 6, 4, and 2 and we keep it simple. Last year we started a tradition where hubby and I take each kid out for a special day on their bday. They get to choose where we eat & what we do. We did zoo, coin collectors store (8 yo choice), putt-putt, bowling, what ever they wanted that we could fit in the time frame. Then we would stop at a bakery and let them choose a cookie or cupcake on the way home. They LOVED it! Talked about it the whole year and have been planning their “special birthday day” since. If you can get childcare for the other kids (we are thankful for close grandparents), it makes it so special for them to have mom & dad one-on-one. If you can’t get a sitter, maybe one parent take them one year and then the other parent the next year. I’d much rather do this with them and start this tradition of quality time with family than a huge sugar-crazed blowout that’s exhausting!! Just my 2 cents 🙂 And my kids have never been to Chuck E Cheese…..planning to avoid it forever!!

  9. It really does feel like almost every party we are invited to is at a bounce place, or a paint-your-own-pottery-place, or some other place that was rented out. I think I went to a party like that once when I was a kid and it was a huuuuge deal because everyone else had box cake and played pin the tail on the donkey at home.

    And that is what I do for my kids (well, minus the box cake – I love to bake and decorate cakes – but if I didn’t I would totally make a box cake with canned frosting and they would love it). We do have birthday parties with friends each year and we play pin-the-whatever-on-the-whatever and musical chairs and then whack the heck out of a pinata. It’s fun and doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars.

    • When my kids were small we did parties at the house. But, as the children got older (over 4 yr) we found that the kids were bigger, their friends were bigger, and it was much easier to manage them in a shared/public space. It takes so much effort to clean house before and AFTER a party that I’d rather pay $200 to have it elsewhere. We don’t invite too many kiddos and we don’t do anything super extravagant with food (too many food allergies in our circle). This year we tried a new tactic with my 9 yr old. We went to the movies. Three friends met up at our house, we all drove together to the show and then we dropped them off at home afterward. There was a lot of lively conversation in the car and everyone enjoyed the movie. Perfect small gathering celebration IMO and less expensive than many house parties – no food, no favors.

  10. We just had a party at home for my 5-year old, and it was pretty simple and fun. He invited 5 friends over for 2 hours after lunch. I decorated with balloons and paper-napkin pompoms (super cute, but very time consuming). We did a craft (stick stuff on paper crowns I’d already cut out), played games (freeze-dance, charades, and hide-and-seek), played with rocket-balloons (best idea ever), ate cake, then opened gifts. After several at-home parties, I think I’m finally getting the hang of how to make it easy but fun for everyone.

  11. We don’t do parties at all – just cake and presents with the grandparents/aunts and uncles – and our kids don’t seem to mind. A for the many invitations they bring home from school… I finally resorted to telling the kids that we just can’t go to them all. It’s too expensive and far too time consuming. So my daughter can only go to girl parties and my son to the parties of his buddies that are boys. Oh, and Sundays are off limits. So between those things we don’t have nearly as many parties to go to anymore. Thank goodness.

  12. I have 4 kids (9 yo twins, 4 yo, and 2 yo) and we’ve yet to throw a birthday party with friends. We usually just do a fun little party with homemade cake, ice cream, and gifts with our family of 6. I sewed a girly pennant and a boyish pennant a few years back, and I decorate with one of those every time.

    My kids generally only go to parties of their actual close friends – not just the courtesy invites that go to the whole class. So it ends up not being too many thankfully!

  13. I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking that birthday parties are way too excessive these days. It also turns into a real expense buying gifts for all of them! I’m also glad I’m not alone in feeling guilty for not going all out for my kids. You’re right that it’s an enormous amount to organize, plus the cost just makes it prohibitive most of the time.

    My daughter was invited to a party recently at a bounce house place with a ton of kids. She had a great time, and the nice thing about the presents was that it was a book exchange, so instead of the birthday girl getting tons of inappropriate plastic junk, everyone traded a book and got to bring one home. So ugh on the bounce house, yay for the book exchange!

    We just do family stuff for birthdays, bring healthy treats to school for the class, and call it good.

  14. I love to throw big parties for my kids. It is my thing and I enjoy it. I have as much fun as the kids and I like the challenge of coming up with something interesting.

    As for other kids parties, if we are available, my kids attend. Children love their birthdays, and not having their friends come because their parents don’t want to bother, is sad. It is a good lesson to celebrate others. My girls love to pick presents and are so excited to see their friends outside of school.

    • It looks like we’re in the minority, but I agree with you! Even if the whole class is invited, it means a lot to the birthday kid to have people attend, and also to the parents who have gone to a lot of trouble and expense to plan the party, and who probably want their children to have a good birthday.

      I’ve seen too many sad mom-group Facebook posts about people not showing up to birthday parties to feel good about not letting my kids go for any reason other than illness or actual conflict with previous plans.

  15. We are one of the big party families, but it’s honestly not all that hard for us. Our oldest was born on the fourth of July, and we live in Florida. We discovered by accident that a water feature bounce house and permission to run wild in the backyard is pretty much the party. Basic food (like hotdogs and watermelon), a cake, and dollar store plates, napkins, etc. finishes it off. Our one year old was born in February (so no water) and obviously isn’t ready for a bounce house. So, bubbles and “stations” of toys we already had (easel chalkboard, tub of balls, puppet theater) replaced the bounce house.

    The bounce house is the real expense, but with shopping around I found a place that is cheaper than any venue option. And, we don’t give birthday gifts; the party is our gift to them.

    I should also add that we like to entertain in this free for all style and usually have about two non-birthday backyard parties a year that are just as big. As long as we keep the food simple and trust that our friends are there to hang with us, not admire centerpieces or check that my floors are ckean, it isn’t as much work as you think

  16. Thank you Rae for this very very thoughtful post. I completely relate and am increasingly feeling some pressure from a 7 year old soon to turn 8 to have a party “just like a few of her friends did.” So far I have not given in and I don’t plan to anytime soon. Birthdays in our house have been simple with just us and maybe a friend or two. I make the cake and we have to eat what the birthday boy/girl likes. And oh yes, there is always a gift because they don’t really get gifts from their parents (i.e us) through the year.

  17. Ah, the birthday party thing! One of the things that used to stress me out the most was actually the gifts that my kids would receive if we had a party for them. Of course it’s all well-meant and given in kindness but so much of it would just be … you know, cluttery crap. The most recent birthday ‘thing’ we had for one of our boys (turning 13), we invited kids to a movie and asked if they could pay for their ticket instead of a gift. Felt a bit scummy but it worked well and we couldn’t have afforded to pay for them all. It’s a minefield though isn’t it. From memory the best-appreciated thing we ever did at a party was a game of ‘throw water balloons at Dadda’ 😀

  18. We are on a three-year rotation for birthday parties: only one kid gets one each year, and they can only have as many guests as their age-plus-one. We also never, ever, ever have them indoors, because NO. Last year, M turned 9 and she had her girlfriends come swim at the neighborhood pool and they all painted their nails & ate blondies. Total cost: $40.

    And I feel the same way you do about other kids’ parties. Total insanity. The part that amazes me is that the kids don’t seem to care–that one time I carved a watermelon into a pirate ship and all the kids wanted to do was to jump off a 2×6 into the lawn from the patio? Last time we ever went to Pinterest-town. The children only cared about being with their little friends and having a Special Day. Now it’s cake from the box, outside play, and maaaaaaybe a craft. We don’t even open gifts during the party. (And we stopped doing goodie bags after a kid at a party we hosted asked me where her goodie bag was, to which I replied: “In your imagination, honey.”)

    You’re doing it right, dog.

  19. My son gave his first birthday party a few weeks ago, when he turned six. We allowed him to invite (only) 5 other children to our home; I baked a simple cake, we did some drawing, dancing, playing hide-and-seek. Compared to some of the parties he goes to, this was -in my eyes- a really simple party, but he and the other children loved it anyway. I found it very interesting to observe they were very excited to do simple games like hide-and-seek, or drawing faces.
    He gets invited a lot, we check our agenda to see if he can make it or not. If we can explain why he can’t go to a certain party, he totally understands.
    As to gifts: I always try to buy presents as gender-neutral as possible: Lego’s, crafting material, a board game, … (In Belgium, toystores can’t name their aisles “girls toys” or “boys toys”) It works for now, I can only hope it will works in a few years when my children are older…

  20. We happen to be lucky enough to be in a community where fairly low-key parties are the norm. Most are at the park or in a backyard, and if there is a take-home treat, it’s something like a bouncy ball or a single sheet of stickers. My hubs and I took a further step to lower our level of birthday-party mania back when our kids were still toddlers (they are now 6 & 8): our family only gives books as bday gifts. No trips to the toy store, no insane “I want that, too!” fits. We hit the local bookstore, which also has a good used kids section, and they pick out something they think their friend will like. And I keep a stash of books just for gifting in a closet so we always have a fall-back if we are too busy to shop. We also instated the rule of no gifts at their own birthday gatherings starting at age 6. Instead we do a book swap, where we ask each kid to bring an age appropriate book (maybe even one of their own that they are ready to pass along). The books go onto a table, the birthday kid gets first pick and then everybody else gets to choose one. So the books do double duty as birthday present and party favors. If people feel like bringing extras, we take the leftovers and donate them to a mobile library in our county. Some families are usually thrilled to have a good excuse to clean out and rotate their kids’ book collections, and we always end up with a dozen or more to donate. My kids haven’t minded not receiving more “stuff” for their birthdays and they LOVE making the donation. Feels like a win all around.

    • I love this idea of a book swap! Better jot it down so I can use it next year. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Thanks for the sanity check! My kids also have birthdays a week apart and they are turning 3 and 1 this year. I’m planning a small themed party for some friends (mostly adults), but this is a great reminder to keep it simple and not feel like I need to Pinterest it up. So much pressure to do everything so perfectly these days…

  22. I have three kids and my oldest is almost 6, so we haven’t quite got the birthday party madness yet. I am not a big party mom. We have lots of family around, which is great, but even having family over gets so crowded and chaotic- so I usually incur over a family we are friends with to enjoy dinner and cake and let the kids play (even asking they don’t bring a gift). I don’t feel like my kids need any more toys, and so far they seem OK. When I was young my mom would take a few friends and I to a movie in lieu of a party.

    On the flip side I have an old roommate who goes big for parties- it’s what she loves to do. It’s her craft. Her themed kids’ parties look so fun and she enjoys doing them. Everyone has their own talents.

  23. I love throwing parties for my children, but they are all pretty much along a theme of “run around a (free) state park, play in a creek, get messy, eat chips and salsa.” Luckily, they’ve always understood that the point of a birthday party is to celebrate them and allow them to have fun with their friends and family, not to out do anyone or spend a lot of money. Which we don’t have. 🙂 Now that my oldest daughter is in middle school, she picks a couple of friends and we take them out to supper and then chill on our small town’s Main Street on a Friday night, and they take lots of selfies. Its great. As far as attending other people’s parties, we go if it is someone they consider a real friend, and we take a small, thoughtful gift, often a gift certificate to somewhere local. Friendship shouldn’t be stressful, for me or for them, but it should involve mud, tadpoles, and s’mores.

  24. I totally get it that for some people, throwing a big, themed party is totally their creative outlet and they enjoy the process. I’ve tried it, and it stresses me out. For us, we’ve found that our kids enjoy a smaller celebration with a few close friends, and we don’t do it every year. My son invited two friends to bowling and laser tag. My daughter chose ice skating and build-a bear. My soon-to-be four year old just cares what kind of cake she has, no party necessary. When I have done larger groups, low key park venues have been the way to go. I have done 8 year olds in my house and it wasn’t as crazy as you’d expect, but I was very clear about party agenda and drop off and pick up times (no offense to grown ups, but I didn’t want to entertain parents at the same time).

    Kind of off topic, my sister and I were recently discussing that the younger adults we know seem to have a huge expectation of their birthday celebration. My family never went crazy for birthdays. Did these parents, and now the adult kids still expect it? Or is it social-media induced?

    Anyway, Happy Birthday to your little (and not so little) guys!

  25. Growing up (I’m in college now), we had parties at home with friends- but they were limited. We got to make a guest list, and then my mom would tell us if it was too many kids- I think there were rarely more than 10 guests until we were in middle/high school, and then we could invite more as long as we did all of the planning/decorating/helped with cooking/baking/cleaning. My parties were usually pretty small- maybe 5-6 close friends. My sister, on the other hand, had a lot of close friends. My parents often had to tell her it was too many people. For her 17th birthday, she and her friends went kayaking/canoeing- we live in a rural area, my parents made sure there was no alcohol, and my sister is a lifeguard (and life jackets were definitely required!). Her friends said it was the best birthday party ever! Simple really is better!

  26. What you described is exactly the kind of party we throw. Cake, balloons (maybe) and streamers. That’s all I remember from being a kid and lets me keep my sanity. Not sure what we’ll do when our kids get older and start getting invited to more parties. Right now my plan is booking a couple tables at the park.

  27. Yes. We just attended a 5 year old birthday party for 24!!!! kids. It was at a play gym and well thought out, but honestly the kids seemed overwhelmed and the birthday girl didn’t even have time to open her presents before it was time to go. We gave our son the choice last year between 5 friends and presents or a bigger guest list and a book exchange. He went for the larger party, and the book exchange was great! We will never go back to presents. It was so lo key and all the kids were thrilled to get a book. We asked that folks bring them wrapped to avoid any disputes over who got what.

  28. YES! This is an ongoing battle I have with my husband. In his family “birthdays are a big deal.” I don’t equate that to a big PARTY though. We have a good amount of family in town, so celebrating with them over supper at the house seems FUN enough. To me. He’d prefer spending all. the. monies. on a big venue. Of course, who’d be doing all the planning and prep work? Moi. So alas, we “party” at our house over boxed cake and the cheapo ice cream. (PS, we didn’t even buy our 4 year old a bday present last week. Is that bad parenting??)

    • hah! i think if the husband wants a big shindig, he should plan it…but it’s hard when you both have different ideas of what a birthday should look like, to be sure!

  29. We always just go to dinner as a family and the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant. Also each of the siblings get 5-10 dollars to spend on the birthday child. Mom and Dad then buy a couple things and we call it a great birthday. Usually I pick up a cake or cupcakes from the store and we eat them when we get home from where ever we went out to eat. The only time we will break this normal birthday celebrations is when they turn 10. My oldest will be ten this year and we are throwing her a party with family and friends. The hubby and I feel that because shes turning 10 and becoming a preteen we should celebrate! We are excited for this, but as we are planning and prepping we are really glad this doesnt have to be a yearly stress.

  30. It’s funny because I just threw one of these ridiculous parties in my house on Sunday. My middle kid turned 4, and I just wanted to make him feel special. We had the party at home. My husband smoked a chicken, a brisket and some bbq ribs, I baked airplane shaped cookies, made cupcakes, handmade an airplane piñata, made a pin the propeller on the plane game, set up a paper airplane station, and on and on. I spent a ton of money, forgot to get the potato salad out, worried nobody would come, got mad when grandparents didn’t show, still haven’t taken the leaves out of the kitchen table, and what the heck is the sticky junk all over my carpet?! It was a really good party, and I loved all the creative stuff I got to do, but after all that I’m starting to realize my kids just don’t appreciate all the work I put into it. Not sure I can sustain the party bug much longer.

    • Wow that sounds AMAZING, Meghan!! I think as long as you enjoy it, it’s not super important that the kids appreciate it, don’t you think? So then it’s about figuring out when you’re enjoying it, and when it’s becoming stressful and not-fun. 🙂

  31. I have to say that I have been one of the big birthday party people in the past – because I like to entertain and I found that it was a great creative outlet for me. I didn’t really like my day-job so I focus my extra energy on party planning. Nothing really turned out as good as what I “pinned” but I was okay with that. Then a found a hobby – which let me to your blog – of sewing. Now, the kids have much less elaborate parties because I’d rather spend my time sewing than party-planning! But I had a great time when I was doing it and knew it was more about me (my kid did not beg for elaborately decorated cupcakes!). And both then and now I never judged others – whether we are reciprocated with an invite or not, whether they had a small, backyard party, a party at Pump it Up or a fancy manicure party. To each their own! And I have to say I actually enjoy the birthday party circuit. Everyone is always in a rush when they are picking up and dropping off their kids at school so it is nice to be able to hang out with my kids classmates parents.

    • Haha thanks for that fresh perspective, Rachael! I definitely agree that if you love to be creative and party-planning works for you, that’s great. And yes, I think my desire to sew outweighs my desire to plan parties, which is why I always feel a bit caught last-minute when they roll around.

  32. Some birthday parties are as elaborate as weddings. I get a little down about it. I to do not want to do all that. The worst was going to such a party for a three year old.

    I try to organize some kind of party games like broken telephone. Make some food and cake. Sometimes have craft to do. It is more work to think of fun things to do at home. But I always feel a bit weird when people invite you to spend time being tortured at some expensive kid party venue. Or I hate when they invite my kids over to show them a dvd.

    I am feeling a bit pressured to do something a bit more elaborate for my daughter’s 10th. There is a painting studio down the street we might explore. Oh yeah, usually these kids parties are super far away too!! I do not drive.

  33. We have five girls at our house and it can seem as if the birthday party invites are never ending. Besides taking up every spare minute on Saturday, buying a thoughtful gift takes time and money that I don’t always feel happy to part with.

    For our own girls we do family parties. A birthday banner, dinner of their choosing, cake, and presents. One girl each year also has a “friend” party; so we’re only throwing one shindig a year. I try to keep those simple as well but have been known to coordinate favors, invites, etc on occasion but they are usually more like giant playdates than anything else.

  34. Last year, when my daughter turned 5, we had a fairly elaborate party with 5 friends. I was stressed about getting everything ready, and my daughter was stressed out the whole time with little girl politics. This year she decided that she really just wanted to hang out with her best friend, who she doesn’t see often any more because they go to different schools. It was awesome – I took them to a local bakery that does tea parties. They wore fancy dresses, drank tea out of pretty cups, and ate little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, scones, and mini cupcakes. The bakery even supplied crowns and fancy wands. I didn’t have to do anything, just took some pictures and sat back to drink a cup of tea:) It was very relaxed and the girls loved it. I will definitely try to encourage inviting one guest for a special outing again next year.

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