So it was the 'birthday weekend' here on Saturday and Sunday. Which means it was the weekend that falls closest to the Little Guy's birthday, and so that was when we had the actual parties. Our family party with aunts, uncles and cousins was on Sunday, and the party with his little-kid friends was on Saturday. So it was a very busy weekend. Also, it was the Oscars, and I love the Oscars, so I also hosted a little dress-up/eat/watch party, so basically I had three parties this weekend. Luckily my sweet Mom hosted the family one at her house, so I only had to clean my house and make food for two parties. Thank heavens. Though I should not even complain, because I do love a party, and really, would love for there to be something social and fun at my house every weekend.
Anyhow, every good party starts with a cake. After much stressing out over facebook (thanks for the support y'all) due to the fact that I did not grease the pan properly, it did manage to turn out ok in the end. The Little Guy is really into dogs these days, so a dog cake was in order. He was very happy with it, and naturally requested the piece with the little red gummy tongue, which was his right as birthday boy. Its a gluten free cake recipe that I alwasy use and should get around to posting here someday because it is delicious. But I cheated and made a swiss meringue buttercream for the frosting (Martha Stewart recipe) which is gluten free, but NOT dairy free. And it was aMAzing. One thing about rarely eating dairy is how much you do appreciate it when you get the chance. Because ermagersh, butter.
I'd like to say a few words here about good old fashioned little-kid home birthday parties. There has recently been (or maybe not recently, I haven't been a parent for that long) a trend for having parties at a 'venue'. Like a place where you rent by the hour, or pay per child, or a community centre, or a country club or something like that. And I know that there are a variety of reasons for this, like people who live in apartments or don't have a lot of kid-friendly space at home. I totally get it for city dwellers and whatnot, or older kids where you want to do something out of the usual, like bowling or something. But I have to say, I love a simple home party at this age. We asked the Little Guy who he wanted to invite, and all together there were nine kids include the birthday boy and his brother. And that is PLENTY if you ask me. Nine kids feels like about two-dozen kids when you've got them all together under one roof. And you hardly even need to plan stuff for them to do, they are just so happy to have other kids around, and play with all the regular toys that are always around, but seem more exciting when there are new friends to experience them with. I guess what I'm trying to say is that next time you are looking at planning a little-kid party, take the pressure off and just have it at home. Don't feel like you have to invite the whole class. Try something like inviting as many familys as the birthday child's age. (as in, we invited three familys, because LG is three) because that really helps to keep the whole situation manageable, and also cheaper. And I know, as kids get older it gets less easy to do this. I'm sure it will be only a matter of years before I am eating my words and ponying up for some sort of cleverly named pay-by-the-hour play space for 28 of the Little Dude's nearest and dearest friends. But while I can get away with it, I will be happy to have these simple cake-and-ice-cream-at-home parties. (Please note that by saying this I do not mean to criticize anyone who has had parties in a play space. The Little Dude and I have been happy to attend lots of these parties, and have had a great time. They are totally fun and practical in many circumstances where you have no choice but to invite a lot of people. I'm just putting this out there for the parents who can't afford to do anything like this and may have felt bad. I don't want anyone to feel bad. After all, its a party! There should be no feeling bad at parties!)
If you want to do something similar, I used the templates from this super-hero mask tutorial, but made them generic, and also used a template that a friend of mine had made up for her son's birthday. I don't have a link to that though, as it was just something she put together. But it was a really fun thing to do, and now the masks will be part of our dress-up repretoire until they fall apart.