[Ryder’s Circus Carnival 2nd Birthday Party]

As we approach our son’s 3rd birthday this weekend with no real plans for a major celebration, I figured I might as well flash back to his 2nd birthday party. This is mainly for the memories, and because I’ve made a vow to my husband and myself that that whole over-the-top scenario was the very last time we will ever entertain such madness as parents. It was an awesome party, it really was. But it was pretty much wasted on our 2 year old, who spent a lot of the day clinging to mummy and not always enjoying the attention and the months (yes, months) of hard work that had gone into everything.  My mum-in-law is a wiz when it comes to planning parties. So when she asked me waaaay back in November what I was planning for his birthday (which would only be the following August), I knew I had to get my A into G and start putting together a few ideas, especially because husband and I had been adamant about not having a 1st birthday party the year before.

It was lots of hard work, but it turned out to be a great 2nd birthday celebration for our boy. That said, it is definitely not something I will be doing every year! My heart, head and wallet cannot take the strain.
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Theme:  we went with “RyderLand”, based on a Circus Carnival theme, because I wanted something that would be bright and cheery and loads of fun for all the kiddies.

Weather: crappy, with intermittent winter rain that meant we had to move my whole whole envisioned outdoor wonderland vibe from the playground at the school my mum teaches at, into the school hall. Pretty stressful the morning of the party!

Decor: a mix of stuff sourced from Amazon and eBay (like the carnival themed cups, plates, cupcake stand, party pack boxes and a few of the party games), as well as a super candy station set up by mum-in-law. We made our own carnival signage using printables from the web.

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Cake: a lovely two-tier circus themed cake with little figurines like lions and clowns, created by a lady I was at school with, who is now a really good caterer. I got the cake bunting made locally.

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Entertainment: we had carnival games set up around the hall, a clown faced pinata, as well as a soft play area for the little ones. Outside we had a jumping castle, pony rides and a sack race with carnival themed sacks bought from Amazon. There was also a face painting clown, who turned out to be rather rude and scared a lot of the kiddies off.

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Games: Pinterest and the Interwebs provided some sweet inspiration, which my husband helped come to life by recreating some of the ideas using cardboard, wrapping paper, ribbon and his own artistic skills.  Games included Pin the Nose on the Clown, Ring Toss and Tin Can Toss.

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DIY: I am not your average Pinterest Mum. But I did get our design studio at work to design some RyderLand labels, which we stuck onto red party hats. I also made the craft moustaches myself. Go me. And I printed carnival signs asking people to use the hashtag #RyderLand on social media so we could save all the pics and have them printed with Nifty 250.

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Lowlights: Ryder and I were fighting a bout of gastro during the week leading up to the party, which meant we were in bed for 2 or 3 days. Thankfully it had mostly cleared up by the night before. I’d also hired a local party planner who turned out to be a complete fail – scatty, unprofessional, completely shocking service, including arriving with a shortage of chairs and tables, as well as just not bothering to deliver on a few of the other items I had already paid for. Thank G we had opted to do a lot of the stuff ourselves or it would have been a disaster.

Highlights: the incredible help from my mum and mum-in-law, and seeing our vision for the party come to fruition.

It was a great day. But that doesn’t change the fact that his next big party will be his 21st!

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