Last week was Benny’s fourth birthday. Seems like eons ago already as it passed in the blink of an eye. I was also in the throes of a nasty fever (chills! swollen throat! a general lump of lethargy!), so I feel like I didn’t get to really enjoy the day with him. I didn’t even have cake! Almost sacrilegious. A big giant *praise hands* that my parents were still here and they and my husband could save the day. Actually though, the entire last year passed in pretty much the blink of an eye too. I’m left asking myself questions like – didn’t I just birth Ben just yesterday? And now he’s going to be in pre-k next year? What? I feel like that a robot that moves its arms around saying “DoEs NoT cOmPuTe” over and over. I guess it just goes to show that that old saying holds true – the days are long, but the years are short. I’m actually not here today to wax poetic about my kids getting bigger (insert sob) or how it’s all going too fast (insert fist shaking at the sky) though I could go on about those things for a mile. I AM here to bring you a simple little idea to make birthdays a bit easier.
I thought of this trick when Charlie was just a tiny guy, but it just so happens that all three of our kids have middle-of-the-school-year (two in October and one in March) birthdays which can mean *STRESS* setting in a few days before. That’s right around when it hits me that I need to somehow bake a cake in the middle of the week, pick up cupcakes for their class party, make their favorite meal, buy them presents, wrap them, and generally make their day filled to the brim with magic without myself becoming a stress ball mom trying to soak up the memories all while telling everyone who will listen how very busy I am – my biggest mom pet peeve. Ha! No short order.
So hear me out. It doesn’t solve all my birthday struggles, but at least one answer to this middle-of-the-week-school-year quandary is – The Birthday Box. Our birthday box is…just a shoebox. I should think about an upgrade at some point, but honestly the shoebox has been working for us for a very long time, so why overcomplicate a good thing? Okay, other than that time when we moved and I became panicked when I couldn’t find The Birthday Box. I was convinced that my husband had thrown it away – it being a shoebox and all. But it turned up (I think in the garage?) after a few prayers to Saint Anthony. Phew! But that’s also why it now says *do not throw away* in very emphatic writing. Anyway, the night before The-Birth-Day we just pull the box out, and decorate the dining room with abandon – setting hats out at each spot, hanging garland, inserting the age in the birthday crown, and blowing up balloons. Instant party. You should see the look on the boys’ faces when they get up in the morning. Pure childhood magic. And after each birthday, I just make a little list and restock the box if needed. Just makes life a little easier.
A list to build your own Birthday Box:
- Our beloved birthday crown that I made out of felt with a little plastic pocket to insert the age (should maybe post a how to at some point, yes?)
- Pom Pom String Garland
- Happy Birthday Garland
- Noise Makers
- Party Hats
- Extra Scotch Tape to prevent late night wrapping panic
Other things to make birthdays special:
- Falcon Party Set
- A pretty, classic Cake Stand or a simple baking dish for a sheet cake has never failed me
- My favorite cake cookbook
- Here is a nice little box if you’d like to use something fancier than a shoebox
- You Are Special plate, my most cherished birthday memory from my own childhood. My mom got us one when we were married.
- The cutest wrapping paper
Just making things a little easier in any way we can. Do you have any ideas to make birthdays a little smoother? I’d love to hear if you do!