October 8, 2013

Party Planning for the Busy Mom

Well, it is already that time for me. I’ve put it off for as long as I possibly can without anyone noticing that I’m not totally prepared. If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m currently in the middle of planning my son’s first birthday party.

When I had my first son, I planned his first birthday party out months in advance. You can bet that I was on top of my game then. However, this time around I’ve literally put it off until the last minute. I’m chalking my procrastination up to the fact that I have two children now (one who is an active 5 year old) and life is just a lot crazier for me now than it was 5 years ago. Those of you with multiple children know exactly what I’m talking about.

The good news is that it’s completely possible to plan a successful birthday party in a short amount of time. I officially started my party planning last night and am excited to say that about 70% of it is done!

Okay, so how is the busy mom supposed to plan an awesome birthday party when the birthday in question is only a couple weeks away? Here’s what I did:

Get on Pinterest: I’m a bit of a Pinterest junkie. I just love how easy the site makes brainstorming. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for landscaping ideas or first birthday party ideas – it’s all right there! And, most of the ideas are DIY tips with instructions, making the planning even easier. You can get on Pinterest and quickly get hundreds of ideas for an upcoming birthday party. Pinterest helped me decide on the theme (airplanes) and a host of other party details.

Use Shutterfly: I have to admit that I have never used Shutterfly, even though I’ve heard amazing things about this unique photo site. So, yesterday afternoon, which the kiddos were napping, I set up an account with Shutterfly and quickly designed little man’s birthday invitations. I literally had the invitations designed in about half an hour (this is fast for me), complete with a picture of little man, and ordered. It was a super quick process and when I was done with the invitation, they even had matching customized Address Labels and Thank You notes that I could order too.

While this doesn’t have anything to do with my son’s birthday party, I also bought prepaid print credits through Shutterfly. I’m about 2 years behind on printing pictures and the prepaid print package allows me to pay for the prints in advance and use it when I want. They were on sale (600 prints for $54..or .09 per print) so I bought two. This is a huge convenience for me because now I can upload my pictures to shutterfly, select the ones I want printed, click “order” and have them mailed to me! So convenient for this mom of two who hates dragging the kids along for errands like this!

Befriend Amazon & Ebay: Once I decided on the theme for my little guy’s party and got the invitations ordered, I was ready to tackle the party décor. Keep in mind that this was at 6 p.m. on a Sunday night. My solution was Ebay and Amazon. I know some people don’t like ordering online, but I tell you what – sites like Ebay and Amazon really give you more variety than local stores will and they’ll also be able to help you stay within budget better. Within an hour, I had all of my party decorations ordered through the help of these two sites.

So, if you’re a busy mom like me and have a birthday party coming up quickly, the tips above will help you get it all done. The best part about ordering online is that you can often find coupons for free shipping. I was able to order my invitations on shutterfly with free shipping as well as my party décor off of Ebay with free shipping! Good luck and happy party planning!