It’s All in the Details

I am not a details person. It’s a flaw. I see big picture. I see end results. I’m not so great about seeing the details it takes to reach that end. Which is why I’m not a great party thrower.

Wait, let me take that back. Chris and I love to entertain. We have fun when we do and we hope our guests have a good time, too. What I’m not so great at are the details that make so many parties and events really personal or memorable. You might remember having fun at my house, but I doubt very much that you’ll remember what my centerpiece looked like.

Probably because I forgot to get a centerpiece…

For Bean’s birthday, I decided that I was going to dedicate myself to the details, so I went to Etsy and Party City and bought a bunch of detailish decor. But then I got home and I lost my inspiration and devotion to details. The result was that my house looked themed, but not thoughtful. I say all of this as if I’m not happy with how Bean’s party looked, but that’s not true. Everything looked good and I was pleased. It’s just that I have decided I will never be one of those people who nails the details of her kids’ birthday parties. And I’m alright with that, I guess. As long as everyone has a good time, I can live with store bought birthday parties.

Having said all of that, there were some things I found that I really loved and that a lot of you have asked about. The most popular question I’ve gotten is where I got Bean’s birthday shirt. I found this in an Etsy shop called Rock Paper Sisters. And if you run over there really quick, they are having a Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off sale!


The Elmo, Cookie Monster, and #2 decorations came from an Etsy shop called, It’s My Party Day. They had a ton of really cute decorations and if I had a lot of money, I would have really gone crazy here. I especially loved their personalized birthday banners.


The customized Hershey Kiss labels for the goody bags and the Sesame Street cupcake toppers came from an Etsy shop called Creative Queen Bee. I also meant to order the sign for the front door that said, “This birthday party is brought to you by the letter M and the number 2,” but I forgot to add it to my order. (Minor detail…)



Another question I’ve been getting is what is in the gift buckets. I found these mini sand buckets at Party City. They were originally $1.00 each, but they were on clearance for 75% off, so I got them for 25 cents – what a steal! I stuffed them with yellow tissue paper and then put a little bag of personalized Hershey Kisses and another small plastic bag with two homemade chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were supposed to have Cookie Monster stickers on them, but I forgot to buy those. (Another minor detail…) Each bucket got a little thank you note from Bean that said, “Thank you for spending the day with me and for making my birthday so special. Love, Michael.” I think they turned out pretty cute!


The only other decorations I used were paper goods and helium balloons from Party City. Out of everything, I think those balloons were Bean’s favorite thing.

Overall, it was a pretty low key party with low key decorations. A few small personalized things here and there added just the right amount of detail for me. Of course, if I had a better memory and a lot more money, things would have been different.

I might have added golden eggs to the goody bags, for example. But I’m just thinking out loud here.

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20 Thoughts to “It’s All in the Details”

  1. Michaela

    The thing is when you are a kid, you remember the sesame street stuff, playing in the sprinkler and running around with the other kids. And if you’re just having friends there, its nice to see you are making an effort (and I think you did really well!) but it’s all about the people. We can’t all be Whitney from glamlifehousewife (sigh!)

  2. You know… in twenty years when Bean is all grown up he isn’t going to care that you spent $50 extra on decorations or forgot something you planned on doing. Instead he is going to look back at these photos and see that he was loved and so important and special to everyone who was there. 🙂 Cabin Fever in Vermont

  3. I think that is the perfect amount of detail! I love that it was sweet and thoughtful, but didn’t cost an arm and a leg, and is definitely something I could handle/copy!

  4. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, but not sure I’ve ever commented. (Bad blog reader!!) Anyway, I just wanted to say that I LOVE what you did for Bean’s party! I’m one of those that stresses the heck out over whether the plates match the invitations or the if the party “logo” is used enough. I usually end up melting down about an hour before the party. But you know what, I’m the only one who ever notices all the tiny details. What the guests notice is the atmosphere of love and acceptance. Beautifully decorated parties =/= love, especially to children (and husbands). 😉 I struggled with this when I was creating my daughter’s nursery. I felt like if I didn’t have a Martha Stewart worthy nursery that I was a bad mother. You know what my daughter’s favorite part of her nursery is? The ceiling fan. Hahahaha! I wish I’d have known that ahead of time. Would have saved me a lot of stress. You are a wonderful mom who obviously loves her family with everything in her. That’s all that will matter to Bean! Oh and every time I see anything with his name on it, I always think, “Who’s Michael? That’s Bean!”

  5. I’m not a details person either – I think you did a great job with his party! I could spend waaaay too much money at Etsy. It’s dangerous.

  6. I think you did a wonderful job decorating for the party. Guests will remember time together, not the centerpiece, and that is what’s most important right?

  7. I think you hit the nail on the head with the details in this case. I hate it when parents go so overboard that you’re not sure if the party is for them or their kids. Bean’s party looked perfect in my opinion.

  8. Cindy In Owensboro, KY

    I think you did a wonderful job and I’m sure that Bean was happy with it all — that’s all that matters. Who cares about all the “details” , that’s for HGTV, magazines, etc. The most important thing was that you had a party for him!

  9. It’s like everyone else has said…it’s really about the people and the memories you make. The rest of it is, like you mentioned, a minor detail. Personally, I think the whole thing looked fantastic! I’ll take chocolate chip cookies any day, with or without the Cookie Monster sticker. 😉

  10. Rosemary

    I think your party was perfect. Sometimes parents get so involved that they over do the theme and put more emphasis on that than on what the emphasis should be on. The party was all about Bean who was your biggest detail after all. He looked so darn cute and had such a wonderful time-that is what matters. I think you did just perfect in your decorations. What Bean and all will remember most was the fun had by all and how adorable, thoughtful and affordable everything was.

  11. Sandy

    my favorite decoration was family =o)

    take away all of the store bought decorations and bean would have not really noticed…take away the family and i am sure he would not have had such a wonderful time!

  12. What a great party, I’m not sure I’d get my kids party looking so good!

  13. 90% of a party is the company anyway! I’ve had more fun at a party where the people were friendly at we ate $5 pizzas than parties where people stayed in their little groups and we ate like kings. You are focusing on the right things: making sure your guests have a good time with good people. It’s much cheaper that way anyway 🙂

    ps When you start putting golden eggs in your gift baskets, let me know. It might be time to set up a play date…

  14. I love that there was a thank-you note from Bean in the favor buckets! Great idea.

  15. Those thins are so cute -etsy is a gold mine for stuff like this. I have noticed that as my kids get older, their party decorations get more simple. The kids just don’t care. Friends, a sweet treat and a few themed decorations and they are happy. For my son’s birthday we only did goody bags and cupcake toppers. He loved it!

  16. You did an awesome job, mama! I love the shirt. I got a shirt like that for Nate (except with the #2 and Curious George) but it arrived after his birthday party. (eBay dud.) LOVED all the birthday pictures!!!

  17. Everybody finds the cutest stuff on Etsy…I have yet to discover it’s wonders. Which is a total bummer b/c I have to start planning Zoe’s birthday party really soon…yikes!

  18. SO FUN!!!! It looks so CUTE & like a blast! Great job, Momma!!

  19. Catherine M.

    The balloons were certainly Nora’s favorite! She’s still talking about those “ba-oo.”

  20. So much of the fun at the party is about the people, not the stuff–ya know? I think back to birthday parties I had or went to when I was a kid and I never remember decorations.

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