Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

To favor or not To Favor February 27, 2008

I am really over doing this birthday party thing.

I usually err on the side of being cheap (well, more like inexpensive, I usually like to get the most for my buck) but since my husband gave me the go ahead on this Bounce U party, it’s been full speed ahead (at least according to my standards).

My latest dilemma has been whether or not to do party favors.

I wasn’t sure of two things.

Did I want to spend the money for it considering I am already paying for everyone to play at this play place?

And I have a large age range, how was I going to get something for everyone?

Well, of course, I decided, why not? and I went with the favors.

I went with a local person (so if you live in Philly or South Jersey great, but I think she also ships out for everyone else).

I heard about her through the grapevine. My friend used her for favors for one of her daughters parties (she ordered these super cute Frisbees), and we have gone to parties where her favors have been given. I always hear very positive things. She is Mindys Magic Touch. And hopefully we will score another magic touch with this one.

The favors come hand decorated and affordable. I think they make a nice touch for your party guest and they also come wrapped and “bowed” ready to give. I had trouble deciding but after consulting my husband (who has no idea whatsoever) I went with the Roundabouts. I figure the little kids can put snacks in them and the older kids can up them on their desk or dresser and use them for trinkets, like erasers, spare change, whatever.

Anyway, check out her website. She really has come cute stuff at great prices. She has anything from Frisbees to decorated pillow cases (I hear those are adorable).

Well, since I went with the favors, unfortunately I couldn’t go with the amazing Thomas the Train cake I saw at Diabartolo bakery, a great Collingswood bakery that makes amazing cakes. If you live in the area and need a cake for any occasion, I would definitely recommend them.

They are like the “Ace of Cakes” of South Jersey.

I ordered my sister’s baby shower cake there, which is this weekend. They make a great cake in the shape of a baby carriage. (It’s pictured in the second row. We ordered the Spongebob Cake for his birthday last year.)

When I went in to order the cake, I saw this amazing Thomas the Train cake. It’s 3-D and shaped like Thomas. You really can’t beat it. Anyway, as far as the cake is concerned we went with the a Wegmans cake. Mainly because they too make great adorable tasting cakes (great icing and super moist cake), but I need a full sheet and it’s a little more affordable, especially since I went with the favors. But they really do an exceptional job at their bakery. Besides, I think I need an easy cake to cut since it is cute served by the people at Bounce U. I’ll save that Thomas the Train cake for next year, I’ll sure he’ll still be a train enthusiast (knock on wood, it may be onto something else).

Anyway, a baby shower this weekend, George’s birthday the next, and my sister, husband and mother-in-law are also in the month of March.

And we are looking for a new house.

Things couldn’t get more hectic, fun but hectic.


Bounce away February 11, 2008

For all of those looking for a great party place for your kids, I have to share.

We went to our first party at Pump it up this past weekend and we had a blast. It is a great inflatable party place for kids of all ages. They have slides and various bouncers. You spend 45 minutes in one play room, 45 minutes in the other, and then 45 minutes in the party room. We had so much fun. My son had a blast and I think my husband had more fun! It was great!

The place is colorful, clean and very organized.

It is a little more pricey than some play centers but I think it is definitely worth every buck.

My husband, who was trying to convince me to have a low key birthday party at home this year (which would have been fine), grabbed a handful of brochures on the way out. And on the ride home he took a detour and drove by the one closer to our house, which is called Bounce U, and had me go in take a look around and see if they have a date open for our son’s 3rd birthday.

These party places are great, especially if you have a range of ages coming to your party.

I mean, how many 3 year old friends does my son have?

Not too many, but we have cousins and family friends who are a little older and they will be able to go the party and still have a good time.

And so will the adults!


My Super Sweet 3! January 29, 2008

I am in the midst of a birthday party bonanza.

My little one turns 2 in 2 weeks and counting (yeah!!!) and my son turns 3 in March.

Time couldn’t go by any faster.

I feel like if I close my eyes too long, they will be off to college, getting married and having babies of their own, well, maybe I’m getting carried away, but you get the picture.

So why not celebrate while we can?

If you live in the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia Area, these birthday places are sure to make your little ones birthday memorable with non stop fun. And not all of them will break the bank (sounds even better)!

1. Jelly Bean Jungle, Marlton, NJ. Whether you opt for a smaller party during normal hours or an inclusive Sunday party where you get the place to yourself, Jelly Bean promises to let the kids roam free and burn off that birthday cake. All you have to do is show up, bring the cake and tons of energy!

2. Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill, NJ. Various party packages include one hour of the party room plus 1 1/2 hour of hands on fun. Also includes a host, colorful place settings and a special gift for the birthday child. Add on a little extra fun with special crafts hosted by the Discovery Museum staff and Deluxe discovery party bags.

3. The Pop Shop, Collingswood, NJ. The pop shop not only has great food, but great parties for kids. Dazzle your little one and their guests with the Pop Shop party or Ice Cream social! For the older kids, add a little Karaoke in the mix. I can’t wait to throw an Ice Cream Social Party for my ice cream lovin’ son. They also give all guests a coupon good for one free cone for a later visit!

4. Oceans-n-Motion, Mt. Laurel NJ. Perfect of an ocean theme.Oceans ‘n Motion indoor play center hosts weekday and weekend parties of 20 children or less and party options to fit almost every budget. Parties include 30 minutes of theme related activities including , dress-up, singing, dancing and games!

5. International Sports Center, Cherry Hill, NJ and Mt Laurel, NJ. While the International Sports Center caters to children of all ages, you are bound to find something fun to do. Choose from the Fun Zone or Roo’s Giant Slide, for children 10 and under, or Roo’s play place for children 6 and under. Aside from fun, parties come complete with tokens, face painting, popcorn, party bags, invitations and paper goods. All you have to do is bring the cake.

6. Pump it up/Bounce U. These inflatable play places specialize in parties and promise tons of safe and clean fun. They both offer weekends or weekday parties complete with supervised playtime, decorations, and party supplies! (Both feature various locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania)

7. The Funplex, Mt. Laurel, NJ. What better place to hold your child’s birthday party than the place with enough activities to keep your kids and this guests completely entertained (and drained at the end of the night). Complete with unlimited choice of foam frenzy or mini golf, unlimited bumpers cars or free fall, pizza and ice cream cake. All you have to do it show up! (My kind of party!)

8. Enchanted Dreams, Haddofield, NJ. Let your child’s imagination flourish with a princess party at Enchanted Dreams. They host weekday or weekend parties complete with dress up, beverages, pizza, and crafts. You can also enhance your party with the visit form a Character, Elegant tea party, Glamor party package or Red Carpet! Aside from birthday parties, they also hold Princess Camp and Special Events. This months special event is Belle’s Book of Love (may be a great idea for a valentine’s event for you child), your child can join Belle for crafts, snacks, music and dance! (I found out about this place from a friend and she said they hold cute parties)

9. Kix and Giggles, Philadelphia, Pa. I’m sure your child is destined from a couple kick and giggles here ! (ha-ha). Fill all your child’s party needs with all day play passes, cake, pizza of hot dogs, decorations,invitations and balloons. Sounds to me like a one stop party shop!

Of course you don’t have to leave your home or break the bank to throw a great party. Remember my New Years blog, there are plenty of fun things to do to spice up your child’s party besides a pinata and pin the tale on the donkey (how old school!)! Family Fun Magazine has some great ideas.

1. Let the kids create their own party hats. Using simple supplies such as construction paper, glue and decorations, this would be a great cute birthday craft.

2. Handprint Aprons. This is a cute craft and a great party favor. All you need is plain aprons, paint, paper plates and a fabric marker. (Get your child/children to make one and this may also be a cute gift for mom, dad or the grandparents.)

3. Make your own pizzas. Make your own dough or use the pre-made crusts! Use bowls and topping to create a toppings bar. Provide some traditional toppings and some creative toppings and the let child’s inner-chef emerge. This may be a bit messy, but definitely memorable!

4. After seeing the make your own pizzas, I thought you could also do this with cupcakes and let the kids decorate their own cupcakes. Make the cupcakes in advance, add coloring to the icing and provide toppings such as sprinkles and candies. You may want to do this instead of a cake.

Don’t feel like birthday’s have to be big and flashy to be fun and memorable! The best parties I had as a kid was a couple kids over, running around in the backyard and great homemade cake (box cake, but homemade!)!