- in the backyard with everyone we knew to thank them for helping us;
- again in the backyard, this time with bubbles (described in retrospect in third paragraph);
- at the nature center with animal time, craft time, and playground time;
- at the zoo, with animals and a craft;
- at the Aquarium, with a tour and a craft;
- at the church hall, for Legopalooza;
- at the invention museum, with a hands-on woodworking project;
- at the dance hall, for a pop music dance party;
- and now, at the ice skating rink.
Which means I'm pretty experienced with the "away" party. I thought I had already written a post about hosting a take-away party, or whatever they're called (I remember there was a name for them), but I never posted it, can't find it, or didn't actually write it.
Still, a few suggestions:
- have a pad of paper to record names and phone numbers of parents who are not staying on site;
- don't forget matches and candles, very few places have them available;
- also remember bowls you might need to serve snacks;
- bring a Sharpie to label the kids' drinking cups;
- I always try to have enough food for seconds and for parents who stay (today, we barely had enough cupcakes for the kids);
- cupcakes travel and serve more easily than sheet cake;
- bring 1-2 garbage bags to carry the presents away;
- money for a tip for the assistant (I aim for 15-20% of the fee);
Today's birthday party at the skating rink was great. The kids woke up this morning so excited and grew more so when Goo arrived. They had their skating lesson first--it was Bud's first official lesson--and then helped us set up for the party. The set-up was pretty minimal--bowls of potato chips, lemonade and water, ice, cups, napkins--and then they began welcoming friends, both from school and from kung fu.
Most of the kids could skate and Sis helped those who couldn't (with more experience than Bud, she's the better helper.) We had talked to them about how to be a host/hostess--welcome everyone and explain any details, talk to everyone, buddy up with those who are alone, help serve food and drink, thank them when you say goodbye. They did a great job and the two groups of kids, strangers to each other, got along well.
They skated almost 2 hours, with barely a break for pizza; after skating, we sang "Happy Birthday" and ate cupcakes--those wonderful "TARDIS in the Time Vortex" cupcakes that only a couple of people understood. As the Zamboni cleaned up after public skate, we said goodbye to everyone and cleaned up.
And now, after opening all the wonderful presents from generous friends at home, the kids are off to the movies with Mama and Goo, after a big sushi dinner. I'm home alone, resting and rejoicing . . . and writing it all here.