I am now the mother of a seven year old girl. While she will forever be my littlest Peanut, she is certainly growing up. Like many modern mamas, I posted on my personal FB page, gushing over how amazing she is, and how proud of her I am, and yet, how I wish to hold on to every last piece of her seemingly fleeting childhood.
But the truth is, I’m darn proud of the young lady she is becoming. With each transition to the next stage, I mourn the small and little pieces of her that slip away, while also welcoming the new she brings to our world. It’s bittersweet, at best, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, in all her squirrely-ness surrounding her birthday, she started telling us a few months beforehand that she’d “never” had a surprise party. You know, in all of her (almost) seven years of living.
Around the same time, I got an invitation from the good folks at All Fired Up to try out one of their locations. Opportunity knocks, y’all. So, after asking my daughter in a very casual off-hand way if she would be interested in going to a place like this one day, she eagerly concurred. …and the plan just fell in to place from there.
I knew I didn’t want to do another indoor playground party, as we had done that every year since she turned 3. My son’s fourth birthday, which is days before Christmas, was celebrated with friends with a very small (on-the-cheap) party (basically, a glorified playdate with three school friends), which was perfect for him. So the opportunity to mix-it-up for her 7th birthday sounded refreshing.
Our experience with the Alpharetta location of All Fired Up, from start to finish, was absolutely fantastic! Since it was a surprise party, we planned for my daughter and my husband to “run errands” in the morning, and then meet up at All Fired Up at 10 minutes after the hour. So, my mother- and father-in-law came with me and my son about ten minutes early to get things set up, and welcome our party guests as they arrived. Samantha kindly let us in early and helped brief us on the party, and helped us get set up. The staff remained friendly, helpful, and patient throughout the entire party.
As the party guests began to arrive, they were greeted warmly and shown which pieces they could pick from for painting during the party. They took the time to help them make their selections, and then wrote their names on the bottom of their pieces for them. There was a wide variety of choices, which was great, since my 4 year old son wanted something “boy-ish” to paint (his words, not mine, I swear!). Most of the other guests were girls ranging from age 6-8, as well as my 3 year old niece.
Once the guest of honor arrived, and the stun of the surprise faded for her, she also picked out what she wanted to paint, and the party hosts got things under way. The staff walked the girls over to the paints, showed them the large paint selection, and explained how to use the tiles available to put little dabs of paint on so they could paint their pieces.
While the guests worked on their pottery, the staff came around to have them sign a special “happy birthday” plate for my daughter. We were able to take it home that day, and bake it in the oven. She now has a great token to remember this occasion for years to come, and it’s a practical piece we can use each year on her birthday!
As the girls completed their pottery, the staff happily took their pieces so they could be fired, and made a note on their sheet for our party list, so it would be easy to quickly match the piece with the child upon pickup. When most of the party guests had completed their pieces, the tables were tidied up so we could sing and serve cake.
P.S. If you’ve never experienced a double-layer cookie cake from Sam’s Club, your life is incomplete. That’s all I’ll say on the matter. 😉
The entire party lasted about 90 minutes, but it was the perfect time for the kids to gather, celebrate, and have fun. I’ve found in the past, there was an awkward time period during parties where folks linger and shuffle around, not really sure what to do. This did not occur here.
All in all, I was super-pleased with the service we got from the staff at All Fired Up, and we will certainly return for another party, or simply another outing. Everyone came away raving about the experience, and it was such a relief to have a relatively easy party for my daughter.
If you’re looking for a new place for birthday parties, casual get-togethers, and even summer camps, give All Fired Up a try – you won’t be disappointed. They’ve got three locations in the Atlanta area, including Marietta and Emory, along with the Alpharetta location I attended. You can even sign up your kids for art camp over spring break or during the summer. Furthermore, they have creative art classes for both adults and for kids.
And, of course, I wouldn’t be Atlanta’s FRUGAL Mom if I didn’t tell you about their frequent painter program, which rewards you for -you guessed it!- frequent visits. Ask your location for further details. Oh! And All Fired Up also offers fundraiser opportunities for local schools, churches, and organizations – what a great way to think outside the box for a good cause.
Thanks again to the wonderful people at All Fired Up for a fantastic birthday part for my daughter! Check them out on Facebook, Pinterest, and join their mailing list to stay abreast of upcoming events and specials!Keep on saving! :o)
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