Birthday parties are a cause for excitement - and discouragement.
Excitement for the little ones. Discouragement due to the messy house and even messier costs of excitement.
I've always tried to limit the costs of my child's birthday party to $75 or under, but I know there has been some budget creep.
This year, when my son wanted a Lego theme for his seventh birthday, we went for it.
We brought out every Lego in the house and set up a building zone in the toy room.
We let the boys watch The Lego Movie and munch on bowls and bowls of freshly popped popcorn while it rained.
We had plans for a low-key homemade cake with a small Lego figure and vehicle on top. When the cake crumbled - literally - we went to a plan B - Lego "cup"cakes - literally frosting and cake pieces in a cup. Those first-graders gobbled it up.
And when the rain finally came to an end, we took advantage of the still-warm weather to play games on the driveway.
Our goodie bags were replaced with a bag with a thank you note, a Lego Ninjago DVD we got on Black Friday, and a copy of the Lego magazine (which we received for free just by emailing the Lego company.)
Did anyone notice there was no bounce house? No unique location? No wild activities?
No. These were just boys having a good day.
Just remember: Bigger isn't always better.