|Image from D. Sharon Pruitt of Pink Sherbet Photography|
BUT... Then we entered the school years.
With my children's entrance to the world of social opportunities I am faced with a number of birthday dilemmas. Do you invite the entire class? If so, where do you have this massive birthday party? Then, let's not even forget about trying to make it even semi-Pinterest worthy!
Do you open your home to 30 some children and their families? And then you have to take into account the parents that automatically assume little siblings are invited, as well... If that's your idea of a birthday party, please forward the name of your cleaning crew (reasonably priced), because that just took the fun out of the word party, that will inevitably cost hundreds upon hundreds of dollars.
I considered nixing the idea of a friend party this year, but kept feeling the need to do something. Sweetie changed schools midyear and this nosy mama wanted to know her friends. And, honestly, I wanted to give her an opportunity to bond with her new classmates, friends that have been together since pre-kindergarten. Plus, the minuscule knowledge I have of her new friends consists of the occasional first name and occasional tips or clues that slip out during the dinner drill of "what did you do at school today?", "what was the best part of your day?", "what was the best activity you did today?". Yes, we do the open question thing. I like to keep our family talking at the dinner table.
I no longer have moms on speed dial, or even half of their emails. As my children grow I am forced to evolve with them. This has not been an easy task for this type A, control crazed, somewhat introverted mama. I had to really think about something that was fun, interactive, yet something that was not in my home; because, let's be honest, clean up takes MANY hours and MANY margaritas (or your vice of choice).
Then, As You Wish in Mesa, AZ entered the scene. This should have been a blaring red light in my face!!! After all, As You Wish Pottery Painting Place is Sweetie's favorite crafting destination. My children often create fabulous one of a kind picture frames and mugs for family member gifts. Why not celebrate Sweetie's birthday at her favorite place to get her craft on?
So, we contacted Taylor at As You Wish in Mesa in order to create a celebration perfect for Sweetie. One thing we didn't know was that As You Wish Pottery Painting place has a multitude of options for birthday parties. See, for her first friend party at a new school, we desperately wanted a unique experience that would allow each guest to create some fun and beautiful works of art, momentous of our birthday celebration. Taylor presented us with a multitude of options based on my daughter's interests, the age of our guests, and my budget. I was finally excited about Sweetie's upcoming birthday. As You Wish created the perfect unique birthday experience that was organized, easy and headache free. Consider weight of the world LIFTED off my shoulders.
I arrived about 20 minutes early to discover that the back room we reserved was set-up and ready for our party guests. Taylor, our party host, greeted me and gave Sweetie a Birthday button to wear. While waiting for our guests to arrive Taylor assisted Sweetie with selecting a special birthday plate that all of her guests would sign.
Taylor began our party with a short lesson on glass fusing while teaching our party guests how to create a glass butterfly using basic shapes and safe cutting techniques. Once they had mastered the basic cutting techniques, the children enjoyed designing their own unique glass creations in colors they love and designs they chose. Taylor continued to assist the children throughout the experience and I was impressed that other As You Wish employees not specifically assigned to our party came back to our room to assure that all was running smoothly, without making us feel rushed in the slightest. A team atmosphere like this is hard to find when having birthday parties.
Most of our guests ranged from 5-9 years old. My 5 year old son, Buddy, used pre-cut "child-safe" glass instead of making all of the cuts on his own and wearing the protective gloves. We had two 7 year olds at our party that did an amazing job cutting their own glass. Their main hurdle was getting use to the safety gloves, since their hands were so small.
After craft time, I enjoyed watching my daughter opening her gifts, while Taylor cleared the crafting tables and set-up our cake. I was extremely impressed and totally relieved to see an employee writing down the gifts that my daughter received. This seems to always be the one thing that people forget whenever throwing a party. Taylor and the As You Wish staff made this a truly an enjoyable experience- for my daughter and for myself.
All of our guests were excited to receive their "party favors." I loved the entire experience and am happy knowing that each of my daughter's guests has a unique meaningful memento. My daughter loves to wear the necklace SHE created at her party and excitedly tells everyone about her amazing birthday celebration at As You Wish in Mesa, AZ.
So, as you can see, As You Wish is a creative, fun experience, which took the stress off of creating a party from scratch, in my home, with an insane mess to clean up. So, Take THAT Pinterest Moms.
What kinds of unique party ideas would you have for the tween groups?
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Disclosure: The above party was received at a discounted rate for compensation to facilitate this review. Ramblings of Mama will always provide honest opinions, beliefs or experiences on products reviewed and will only make recommendations that we feel are beneficial to our readers. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Links enclosed may contain affiliate links. If you have any questions or would like your product or company featured on Ramblings of Mama, please Contact Michelle