Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Sleepover Birthday and how I told Pinterest I just want to be friends.

My first-born just turned 10.

It was a big deal because my tear ducts told me so. I didn't cry on the last day of preschool. I didn't cry the day my youngest went to Kindergarten. But I cried for two days when my big girl turned 10. The emotion totally ambushed me. I feel like I might blink and she'll be in college.

That may have been one reason why her tenth party was a hard one for me to plan. Subconsciously. Also, it was a challenge because awesome blog friend Denise inspired me to let my daughter choose everything because that's what she did for her daughter's birthday a few months ago. Besides obviously limiting the cost, really the only thing I kept control over was the number of kids. I held it at 6 for our first sleepover.

I even chose not to persuade her to invite the friend she didn't really want to, even though I knew it would lead to conflict on the grown-up end of things. Which it did. And which made me hold my ground more firmly. It was her Tenth Birthday. I chose to protect and respect her special day as much as possible.

Turns out, my girl is an awesome party planner. It went like this.

Craft (a la Deep Space Sparkle).
Swimming (a la community pool).
Dance party with dress up and karaoke (a la Taylor Swift and drama).
Dessert (this is where Pinterest comes in).
PJ time.
Mad libs in sleeping bags.
Sleeping (this part was way too short).
Waffle bar (a la mommy).
More karaoke.

And for some reason, it turned out to be the least expensive party we've ever had. Because they don't really make dress up attire for ten year olds, I bought six brightly colored fancy dresses at the second-hand store. They were between $3-6 each and were a huge hit. We had a zillion feather boas already. From my Vegas days. J/K. We bought a pad of "Sleepover Mad Libs" at the bookstore, tissue for pom poms to hang from the ceiling and 30 balloons for the garage-turned-dance-party. I even purchased take and bake pizzas from our grocery store deli for a fraction of the price of the fancy local pizza pub we usually order from.

And since I'm a slow joiner sometimes, I finally got on the Pinterest train and looked for ideas for sleepovers, favors, and special desserts. Well, after logging a few hours over a few days, I did not have butterflies in my stomach for Pinterest. I did not want to marry it or lose sleep dreaming about it. In fact, I came up with better ideas for favors my big girl self.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. I looked around my house and got inspired by the resources I already had. Namely, fabric. I also had a dozen plain clipboards for a project that has been on hold for like a year. Fabric plus Mod Podge plus clipboards equals super cute Mad Libs time. I spent $4 on pencils and colorful artificial flowers from the Dollar Tree and wrapped them to the tops of the pencils with green masking tape. These favors won't give a kid cavities or end up in the trash next week.

And since I get carried away, I also made matching pillow cases for the girls, with a felt monogram top-stitched on. Those cost me about $4 for the ribbon trim I added. I started to think I just didn't need Pinterest in my life to be happy.

But Pinterest, feeling jilted, decided to show up and try to impress me. My daughter requested brownies and ice cream for her special birthday dessert, and I found this idea to make a regular brownie more special. Brownie Bowls. Like, a bowl that you fill with something good and then eat it because it's also really good. Serious.

So I said, "Okay Pinterest. ONE date."

I had to order the molds - I bought two packs of two - from the company in Wisconsin (not sure why it has Chicago in the title). With the second-day air delivery, I threw down $30 for them. Still less than we've spent on some fancy OC bakery birthday cakes in the past, but I could use these molds again and again, right?

And use them I will. They were worth every penny. Love love love. I even followed the from-scratch recipe for Hot Chocolate Brownies on the same blog post I was led to via Pinterest and it was perfection! I considered photos and description of the whole process, but then that's what this other blog friend already did. I followed her whole procedure (though I doubled the recipe) and it all worked beautifully. She has lovely STEP-BY-STEP instructions and photos.

The birthday guests were so excited to decorate their sundaes in brownie bowls, and most importantly, my daughter loved them. Late that night, I finally made my own sundae (with some peach sangria on the side).

In my sugared/sangria-d state, the brownie bowls made me call up Pinterest in a moment of weakness and lead it on a bit. I knew it could impress me once; maybe it had potential for a long term relationship. But then I thought of all the girls it's disappointed. So many instagrams labeled "Pinterest fail!" Such a mixed reputation. All in all, I think I can handle a party pretty well on my own. And I decided I'm just not gonna be that girl doing drive-bys and smiling at Pinterest just because it's the talk of the town.

Pinterest, for now I just want to be friends. Redheads are a little spicy like that.

{Enjoy a few more glimpses of my girl's super special day. Each of us felt it exceeded our expectations. All the work and heart I put in truly paid off in fun and memories for us all. Here's hoping those memories last, because I think she may go off to college before I know it.}



  1. i wish i had a party like that when i was little. Fantastic job Leslie!

  2. What a great party!

    I have had a few pinterest fails myself..these days I go there for some inspiration and end up with a craft that is much different than what I pinned!

  3. What a lovely party! You're so creative and crafty. I am not, my friend. I am not.

    My twins are 10. They are my babies. I choke up when I think how fast my four are growing. My oldest only has three years left till college!

  4. I am not on pinterest. I feel alone in that fact. Haha. Just not my thing. :)

    Great job on the party, Leslie!!

  5. I'm going to pin you as BEST MOM EVER. Seriously. Love everything about this. I'm letting Kayla drive the train for her 9th birthday party and we're going on a nature walk in a park that has snakes and poison oak. Help me.

  6. love that comment above. I'd pin you, too :)

    seriously though, brownie bowls!?! I will drive 1.5 hours to your house to eat one. and I don't even sugar right now! those are genius.

    I don't want to think about college. I don't want to think about kindergarten or ten years old either :(

  7. What a great party you threw for her 10th!!! You are a rock star mom, for sure. Love everything you did. And those brownnie bowls? Ummm...yes, please. Brownies are my love language. For my bday growing up,I wasn't a fan of cake, so my mom would make brownies & we would have brownies & ice cream. I think I need to order those bad boys!

  8. what a fabulous party. i bet your girl LOVED it!

    brownie bowls? no. i can't. i shouldn't. I WANT TO!

    we make brownie waffles. they've been pinned by other bloggers on pinterest. :-)

  9. I'm loving the brownie bowls! I could eat a million of those I bet!

  10. Your party is really awesome. Great to see this awesome party. It reminded me of my niece’s wedding at one of New York event venues. Awesome preparations were done and it was handled by an event planner. Had a great time there and everyone enjoyed this day a lot!