a birthday party …

It’s not smart to plan an outdoor birthday party in April for preschoolers in Montana.

This photo was taken by Abby two days before the scheduled party.

Got it.

Lesson learned.

Thanks, Mother Nature.

Sure there were two days for the snow to melt, but the forecast wasn’t really in our favor.  So the white-out was a great reminder.

Snow-fall aside, we still had a little one turning four years old.

We still had 12 of her friends coming over.

And we still grandparents visiting.

A cake to make (strawberry, please, with pink icing).

And a playlist to put together.

Plus …

Our backyard is big.

Perfect for a party for 12 kids, 17 adults and 2 dogs.

But our house is not.

We live in a two-bedroom cottage from 1943.  It’s charming.  And we love it.  But it’s not so perfect for 12 kids, 17 adults and 2 dogs.

So with a high of 40 degrees and more snow in the forecast the day before it all was set to happen, we needed a back-up plan.

And we were really lucky that there was a cancellation at a local Rec Center.

We just needed to change the time of the party.

So a few phone calls and texts and we were good to go.

Except that I’d been planning for an outdoor party for weeks.

I had been culling hoola hoops.

Sorting musical instruments.

Ordering balloons.

And the Cowboy had purchased a 4ft x 10 ft scrap of canvas from a local tent store (for a whopping $10) and we had made plans to have a big finger-paint station stapled to the fence in our backyard.

Now what?

Well … I just figured, if we could do it in the backyard, we could figure out a way to get it done in a recreation center.

I am also not too into over-coordinating where kids are concerned.  (It drives my mother crazy.)  But I find that the more expectations I have, the less likely they are to conform to my plan.  I firmly believe that if I present the kids with things that will engage their imagination, the day will transform into  free-form fun within the framework that’s in front of them.

So I made a strawberry cake with pink cream-cheese frosting (as requested by the birthday girl).

strawberry cake
(no red dye #5 in this cake … just good old fashioned berry puree added to a vanilla cake recipe and more added to the frosting recipe and we were good to go)

Packed up the balloons, the hoola hoops, the paints and the canvas and headed out.

Oh … and Abby offered to take some pictures so we wouldn’t have to worry about that on top of everything else.

So I’ll let her photos tell the rest of the story.

the sun came out, melted the snow (it was a balmy 40 degrees), and the kids got to play outside for about an hour!
The sun came out, melted the snow (it was a balmy 40 degrees), and the kids got to play outside for about an hour!
cake with candles
I made a homemade “banner” using construction paper and two bamboo kabob spears. We added a few candles and I don’t think she missed a store-bought-theme cake one bit.
Yes, those are garbage bags with holes cut into them for arms and heads … and yes, it feels weird putting them over the head of a little one … but I didn’t want any mamas mad about paint spots on party clothes!
happy kids
I love “jazz hands” … nothing makes a photo more fun than a bunch of kids with “jazz hands.”

Happy kids = happy mamas = success!

How do you celebrate birthdays in your house?




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