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Posts Tagged ‘birthday party’

Butterfly birthday cakeMy youngest daughter turned six last week. Good thing she’s such a delightful six-year-old or I would be having more trouble with the fact that my baby is definitely not a baby anymore. She asked for a “spring” theme for her birthday party, and that morphed (butterfly pun intended) into a butterfly theme. So this weekend we had a houseful of 13 kids and 15 adults for a pool party and barbecue, kicked off with butterfly-themed crafts that appealed to girls and boys ages 4-13.

First each child decorated his or her own party favor bag (three for a dollar at Dollar Tree; I chose pink, yellow and orange). The kids used glitter glue ($1 pack from Dollar Tree) and permanent markers to draw pictures or write their names on their bags.

My 9-year-old stuck with the butterfly theme for her party favor bag.

My 9-year-old stuck with the butterfly theme for her party favor bag.

Then each child got to select a small wooden picture frame (in the shape of a butterfly, sun or flower, $1 each at Target) to decorate with Sharpies and/or stickers.

More of my 9-year-old's handiwork, just waiting for a picture to put in the frame.

More of my 9-year-old’s handiwork, just waiting for a picture to put in the frame.

Then came the most fun project: making milk carton butterflies to hang on the windows with suction cup hooks.

milk jug butterfly window craft

Supplies: rinsed clear plastic milk jugs, Sharpies of all colors, pipe cleaners cut in half, assorted beads, and suction cup hooks (pack of 12 for $1 at Dollar Tree). I followed the directions from AlphaMom for these Milk Jug Decorative Window Crafts and printed the free butterfly template from that page. The kids did surprisingly well with little assistance needed from me. Even my 6-year-old liked to cut out around the butterfly when she was done. And here are the finished products mounted on our butterfly wall:

My 12-year-old made butterfly decorations for the party and the kids added their milk jug butterflies during the party!

My 12-year-old made butterfly decorations for the party and the kids added their milk jug butterflies during the party!

After swimming and dinner, we finished the party with the beautiful butterfly cake below (I can call it beautiful without bragging because I didn’t make it — my husband and my 6-year-old baked and decorated the cake themselves!)

Butterfly birthday cake

To make the cake they followed the instructions from this How to Make a Butterfly Cake tutorial by Betty Crocker, but they used this DC Cupcakes vanilla cupcake recipe for the cake mix and frosting. The rainbow-colored candy sticks for the body of the butterfly were $4.99 for a pack of 25 from Party City.

So, with a little advance planning and shopping, we had a lot of fun with the butterfly theme!

Do you have a favorite birthday memory? My favorite birthday theme was an angel-themed party complete with angel wings, gold halos and an angel birthday cake with tiny silver decorative balls on it!

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My middle daughter turned eight this month (How? How is this possible? She was 2.5 when we moved to California. Where did the time go?) In the past we’ve been able to convince her to go skiing for the weekend to celebrate her birthday, but this year she wanted a full-on party. December is a tough time for birthdays, but we made the best of it and had an 8th “brrrrrthday” party, complete with a winter wonderland theme.

I love to get the kids involved in the decorations. My oldest girl suggested getting these:

Crayola Washable Window Markers with Crystal Effects and they turned out to be super cool (no pun intended). While they take a while to dry and crystalize, it’s amazing to watch the designs come to life on sliding glass doors and windows. My girls drew icicles:

The California icicle

The California icicle

and snowflakes:

snowflake drawing

and I attempted some snowflake designs of my own:

Snowflake from template

For the birthday cake we made a dense two-layer chocolate cake from Baking Kids Love (from Sur La Table), along with this buttercream frosting except we substituted powdered sugar for regular refined sugar. It’s not an easy frosting recipe but it’s worth it to avoid the corn syrup in tub frostings. Tip: when you make the milk-flour roux, strain it through a sieve to eliminate any lumps, and then let it cool completely to room temperature so that the frosting does not separate when you combine the milk-flour roux with the whipped butter and sugar and vanilla. It makes a light, fluffy frosting that’s not sickeningly sweet. Tip #2: let your child decorate the cake herself. That takes away any pressure to make it perfect. My 8-year-old painted her snowflake on the cake this year:

Snowflake cake

and made this winter scene last year:

Oh dear, the moon and star have fallen from the sky to the snow below!

Oh dear, the moon and star have fallen from the sky to the snow below!

and this lighthouse the year before (what, you couldn’t tell that’s a red-and-white striped lighthouse??):

Obviously this is a striped lighthouse on a beach by the ocean!

Obviously this is a striped lighthouse on a beach by the ocean!

For party favors this year, I made Tanya’s Snickerdoodle cookies in the shape of snowmen, and packaged them in Ziploc winter-themed bags:

snowmen cookies

I printed winter-themed coloring pages for party crafts, and let the kids decorate some of the other sliding glass doors with the crystal markers.

My daughter loved her party and having all the guests over to play. Her favorite gift turned out to be one that fit right in with the theme:

Crazy fluffy earmuff fun. My 8-year-old is sleeping in them as I type this....

Crazy fluffy fun. My 8-year-old is sleeping in them as I type this….

Cherokee Girls’ Earmuffs from Target (no affiliation).

Birthday cakes: buy or make your own? Frosting: tub or do it yourself?

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