Then my boys grew out of it and running them around left me with little time or inclination to plan a big party (and clean up after). Aww. So now I don't go to all the elaborate homemade measures, but we still celebrate it up! Cakes taste just as good from the bakery at Kroger, probably better than mine - they are pros after all. And at $20-$25 it's so worth it.
The best invention for parties when you don't have time to do it yourself is to take them on the road. Let hired teens and young adults (who have a lot more energy than me!) be in charge and clean up after - especially clean up after! And the kids have a blast at these party places, for not too bad prices.
Here are a few great places to have a kids' party. We've done most of these with the kids and some with adults for a milestone party. Be a kid again - just be careful!
Lazer Kraze - laser tag
Full Throttle - car racing
Sky Zone - trampolines
Glow in the Dark putt-putt golf
Kids' First - Gym for kids
a Movie Party - we took a backstage tour before the movie (they had a party room for cake & presents after)
a Video Game arcade - one of our run-down malls converted some stores into an arcade party place.
a community pool or water park
an amusement park, if you live near one
And now there are party trucks that come to you, like the video game mobile.
Bonus Party Favor Tips - photos are a cherished memories. I try to get some good shots at the party, then send printouts to the party-goers with our thank yous. And the latest way to enhance photo ops is with photo props! I made some for my book parties, and it was easy!
Just print your chosen prop clipart picture - a giant mustache, a princess crown, a curly wig, a clown nose, horns, etc. Glue it to poster board, and attach a wood dowel (or even a pencil, and I use duct tape)