ImageOn Hudson Valley Parent’s website, you will find some great party ideas. But handling 15 kids for an afternoon was never my cup of tea. (I apologize to all you super moms who love the thrill of a great party.)

As you read my story, you may have a story of your own you would like to share.

I remember my son Paul’s 8th birthday party.

Here was the birthday party plan:

1.  No more than 5 kids. The number was arbitrary but that seemed to be the amount I thought I could handle.

2.  It should be easy to organize.

3.  Shouldn’t need a lot of preplanning

4. AND MOST IMPORTANT…my son, his friends and I should have fun.

You may ask, “why did I create these very restrictive rules?”  My answer is simple: I was going to school to complete my master’s degree and commuting to Westchester at least three days a week. Some days I was so tired that I would pull off at the Sloatsburg rest stop just to take a quick power nap.

Now on to my son’s great party. It was May and a beautiful day. I look five kids in my station wagon to Bear Mountain Park. I was living in Monroe, so it was a short trip. Because it was early in the season, the park wasn’t crowded which gave us plenty of room to spread out.

I had balls and bats, Frisbees, kick balls…anything that was light and fit in a large duffle bag.  Bear Mountain has some big open spaces that allowed the kids to play any game they could imagine. They had fun playing and I was hysterical watching them organize themselves. I provided the venue and they created the activities without my interference.

Now it is food time. By now you realize that my menu was simple, Sandwiches, cupcakes with a candle and some candy bars did the trick.

The kids helped me put all the stuff back in the car and we then went for a short hike up one of those legendary Bear Mountain trails. I huffed and puffed, but the kids had a ball. We found leaves that we saved, and I brought throw-away cameras so they could all take pictures to remember the day.

It was a full day and I was ready to drive back home.

An unexpected ending to a great birthday party

The kicker…I couldn’t find my keys. Although the car is no longer around, those keys are probably on one of those Bear Mountain trail sites.

Friends came to pick us up so it wasn’t a total loss, but to this day I always carry a spare key with me.

After that our parties remained simple but not necessarily outdoors. As you can imagine, fast food places, although not considered healthy, was just up my alley.

Have a birthday party story to share?  We’d love to hear it.  If you like this blog, please share, and feel free to comment.