Obviously it’s taken way too long for me to get this post out. Seriously, it’s a birthday party. No recipe, no step-by-step instructions, no nothing; just cake and some tissue paper and a few games. I think I’ve been overthinking it because I’ve been looking at it as my first post back from hiatus, as if it needs to be some mega-incredible thing, and it doesn’t.
It’s a birthday. for a now three-year-old. And that’s pretty incredible all by itself, I think. Here’s what we did this year, and maybe this year more than ever, I wish all of you had been there. Why? We had games and a new swing set, and you all would have really enjoyed yourselves. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
invitations were made and sent…
tissue puffs unfurled…
walls polka-dotted (all the walls)…
and tables set up. By the way, folks, until someone teaches me the magic of taking photographs directly into windows, this will always be a poor photo. It’s much more magical in real life.
As you know, there were tissue garlands everywhere; inside and out. We made all of these, and I’ll be posting a little how-to in case you a) would like to use tissue garlands at your party or b) you happen to be a tissue paper hoarder and would like to justify your actions. Tomato, tomahto. Moving on.
Update: here’s the tutorial for tissue fringe garland! As promised.
The Wee One is having a pink moment, so she requested a pink cake. I complied, and produced what may be the world’s most delicious vanilla/white chocolate cake, otherwise known as the Baked Whiteout Cake. I’ll be sharing the recipe for that one later, and some tips on how not to have a (literal) meltdown with the semi-tricky-but-worth-it frosting.
As for the food, we had a few drinks (mostly water, iced tea, and a blueberry lemonade I slapped together which was delicious)…
enjoyed the relish tray…
and ate picnic food, which is pretty standard for these parties, as they are in August and for this one, we were headed outside for games anyway. On the menu:
- Mini Turkey Burgers with assorted sauces
- Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwich Triangles
- Pasta Salad
- Cole Slaw
- Deviled Eggs
- Skewer Bar
- Relish Tray
- Assorted Fruits + Veg
- Snackers (pretzels, chips, and dip)
Wait a minute…
Did I say mini grilled cheese sandwiches? I did. They are the Wee One’s favorite thing to eat, and everyone else seemed to enjoy them as well.
Mini-recipe: Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread, a little butter, cheese slices of your choice (but they should be good for melting). Throw them in a 400˚ F oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through or when one side is toasted to your liking. Remove and slice into quarters, preferably triangular. Serve to the delight of your (child and adult) guests.
The skewer bar should be noted as well in the highlights, as it’s just as easy as it looks to throw together, and would be fun to experiment with in the future. I did a simple one, but you could really expand it out to include vinaigrettes, fresh herbs, and more veg, fruit, and cheese offerings. However you do it, it lets your guests essentially make their own custom skewers to suit their tastes. It’s like the New Year’s Toast Bar I made, but even easier, which you can’t beat in the late summer.
As always, there were plenty of sweet options. I made Kim’s Old Fashioned Pink Popcorn again, and it’s the first thing everyone noticed/collectively fell apart over because they loved it so much a year ago. I’ll be making a version of it every year, and quite possibly for every party I throw.
Even my little Mini Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies got dressed up for the party. Because there’s almost nothing more fun than taking classic chocolate chip cookie flavors and pairing them with a house-made cream cheese frosting and topping them off with tiny party hats. Mini-tutorial coming up for those as well. Because some of us *ahem* hoard printed cupcake holders as well, and this is a nice craft to use some of the ones you’ve been sitting on.
But back to the actual party.
We had games this year, which was a blast. Sure, there were only two kids there, but who cares? Adults love games; you know you do. I’m probably inviting everyone over again in October and having games for my own birthday party, and it may be these exact same ones. That up there is bowling, which was a set of kids’ bowling pins with a Mr.Table-crafted “bowling alley.”
We also played Tin Can Alley, which was simply that: tin cans and a ball. All you really need to take cans from spaghetti sauce ordinary to completely adorable is a little soap, water, tape, and a few colors of card stock. Add in a wood piece for stability and an appropriately sized ball, and boom: game.
The Horseshoe Game was an old kids’ set we had lying around, which got quite a bit of traffic on party night. Everyone loves to play Horseshoes. Fact.
We also had the Duck Pond game, where we took tiny party store duckies, wrote things on the bottom, and floated them in a Tupperware lid filled with water. Also fun. Each one had a code which corresponded to one of these:
Prizes. Because prizes are quite simple to put together too when you want them to be cute, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money or time on it, either.
I could do a little how-to on these also, if you’re interested. I thought this project was pretty entertaining to throw together, with some great results.
A pretty practical and fun way to add color to a space is to fill it up with plastic balls. Why not? It gave the kids a little something else to do, it made the backyard a little whimsical (as if the banners weren’t doing that enough), and now the Wee One has lots of balls to play with. Win/win.
As you can see, she had a wonderful evening. And if you noticed an outfit change, there was one. I like to get her a special dress for her birthday – one I will save forever – and this one, although unfussy, wasn’t one I wanted ruined by grass stains or rips. She changed into jeans and a tank later when we officially went outside to do games.
After the games, we did some present-opening…
Lit the birthday cake…
…and finished the night. She loved every minute of it, as did I. Hope you did as well.
This isn’t the last time we’ll talk about the party certainly, but this gives you a good overview of the day, with a few party craft tutorials and a brilliant vanilla cake recipe thrown in. I’ll also give you the recipe for the cream cheese frosting I used for the cookie cups in the post I do on their hats, as it was a really solid recipe to use and play with.
I feel like we have so much to catch up on! I’m not one to always have full months, but this past one was pretty packed with exciting things. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Probably with many posts; not that I want to overload you, but there’s just so much to talk about. See you very, very soon, and I’ll bring actual food next time.