This is a sponsored post written on behalf of The Women Bloggers in association with @KendalKingGroup and #SoapboxInfluence. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
While first birthday parties are most certainly for the parents, let there be no mistake, third birthday parties are for the three year old. This was the first year Eli really started to understand the concept of birthday parties - at least as far as to say he knew it meant: 1) presents 2) friends 3) favorite foods 4) it was all about him.
He had been requesting a monster-truck themed party for about three months prior to the party, so of course, I had to oblige. What made it difficult though was the fact that we were planning on having the party at my parent's house in Iowa since he wanted his cousins there, so anything I needed would likely need to be brought five hours away by car.
In recent years, outside of my kid's first birthdays, I've started to change how I decorate for parties to be much simpler. These days, I only decorate one main table. All the focus and attention lands in one spot, and I no longer worry about having every little corner decorated or the whole room having to incorporate the theme. This keeps things much easier on me, and I'm amazed by how festive the space still looks, even with consolidated party decor.
Of course, the table I decorate is always the food table. To give the table height, I just nabbed six of these blow up swimming tires from Amazon, and waited to inflate them until I got to Iowa. Add in a couple 36" round balloons, and the "decor" was pretty much complete.
To keep Eli's party food simple and super toddler friendly, I just went with Italian sub sandwiches, mac and cheese bites, potato chips, chocolate donut "tires," fruit kebobs (which I forgot to set out), and the most toddler-friendly food of all, Gerber's Lil' Beanies. I picked these up at my local Walmart and these bean-based snacks were the perfect, healthier alternative to chips for the kiddos. (They didn't know the difference!) I love that they contain protein, fiber and have no artificial colors. Plus, the adults liked them too! Even after the party I often find myself munching on them with the kiddos.
As some of you long-time readers know, my parents live in an old school that they've converted into their home. One of the rooms is a large ballroom-type space that has tons of large kid's toys in it (trampoline, ball pit, etc.) and I knew it'd be the perfect room to hold the party since it was already decked out in the toy department. And with Eli having seven cousins four and under, it was important there were a few things for them to do.
I also had grand plans to create a race track for some monster trucks picked up as favors for the party, but I ran out of time before it started and ended up only being able to lay down a few pieces of tape. Thank goodness the kiddos are still young, they didn't care at all that it was so simple. They just loved having a start and finish line to race their trucks across.
And of course, as with any party with kiddos, the decor became the biggest hit at the party.
Overall, I'm so glad we kept it super simple for his birthday. By keeping the decorations consolidated to just one area, it also made clean-up a breeze which meant we had more time to enjoy family - and could get those kids down to naps faster.