Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 10-1-12 |

Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 10-1-12

I love to plan parties — especially parties that have any kind of western theme. So I was thrilled when my almost 7-year-old daughter decided that she wanted to have a barrel racing birthday party last month. I knew that was something that I could pull off with ease. She was going to be impressed and so were her new friends. I was definitely going to be the coolest mom at her new school.

Looking back, my arrogance was the first sign that there would be trouble.

There aren’t many places to have a birthday party in Scott City — I considered the park and Pizza Hut but in the end decided to just have the party at our little house. My daughter Shayla wanted to make some crafts, so having the party at home just made sense (and was cheaper than buying pizza!).

The guest list started out small —just a few friends that she’d met at church over the summer. Decorations started out small too. Shayla has had some sort of horse party every year since she was born, so I had a few basic horse party supplies already. I just made an Oriental Trading order for horse balloons and some fun horse-themed crafts (they all come in a 12-pack — which I knew would be enough) and I was ready to go.

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I couldn’t find any barrel racing party supplies (someone needs to make some!) so I made my own table centerpieces and invitations with barrel racing clip art. A talented friend agreed to make a barrel racing cake. I came up with a stick horse rodeo game and found some first grade level barrel racing books to give as party favors. All the details came together well. I planned to take lots of pictures to post on my blog — I knew my great ideas would increase my blog traffic significantly.

School started a couple of weeks before Shayla’s birthday and she met lots of girls she liked there. When it was time to send out the invites, Shayla not only wanted to invite her church friends, she wanted to invite five girls from her class. I started to feel some pressure. I know how little girls talk and how sad it it feels to not be invited to a party. So I caved and invited all the girls in the class. I told myself that it would be great to get to know them all. We sent out 15 birthday invitations. I was a little worried about only having purchased 12 craft kits, but as any party planner knows, everyone rarely attends a party. I figured at most I’d have 8 girls come.

When 13 girls showed up at our door for the party on that September Saturday I had a sinking feeling that I’d bit off way more than I could chew. ❖

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