My middle child turned five last week!
Very exciting, especially if you're the birthday boy. I told him that this was his year for a birthday party. We made a rule a couple years ago that birthday parties with friends would happen only every other year. On the off years, they'd get to celebrate with family, but I wouldn't host a big party. My three boys have birthdays in the months of January, February, and March. Three in a row! I would go nuts if I tried to plan and execute a big party for each of them every year. All the same, this year was his big 5 and that meant we sat down together and planned a little party. In years past, I've scoured the internet for cute birthday party themes and then made immaculate arrangements to go with the chosen theme. They're very cute, but they're also a ton of work and often pretty expensive. And, frankly, the little boys don't even appreciate them. I've even had a stressed-out birthday boy in tears at his own party. Pretty sure it had something to do with how stressed out his mom was. So, this year I decided to simplify and just ask the five year old what he wanted.
It went something like this:
Me: what kind of birthday party do you want this year?
Him: Star wars
Me: ok, what do you want do at your star wars party?
Him: decorate gingerbread houses.
Me: really? you know it will be after Christmas
Him: no, it will still be Christmas. Remember the 12 days of Christmas mom?
Me: hmmm...ok, do you want to do anything besides decorate gingerbread houses like play a game or have a piñata.
Him: No. just gingerbread houses.
Me: ok, what kind of cake do you want?
Him: Commander Cody (from star wars the clone wars)
Me: ok, do you want ice cream?
Him: yes, I want vanilla
Me: you can have any flavor you want. Are you sure you want vanilla?
Me: do you want to put toppings on it, like caramel?
Him: no, just vanilla.
Me: ok...how should we decorate the house for you party?
Him: with blue streamers and blue balloons.
Me: anything else, any other colors.
Him: no, just blue
Me: Ok, I can do that. Who do you want to invite to your party?
Him: he lists three friends
Me: what about so and so, or so and so
Him: no, just those three
Me: alrighty then
You can see I had a bit of a hard time with this whole simplify approach. I kept trying to complicate things to make then fit my opinions and designs. But, in the end, I spent $2 on streamers and balloons that I bought at walmart. We had over three friends who spent the whole time decorating gingerbread houses that I purchase at walmart's after Christmas clearance sale.
And then we had to tear them away from the decorating project to open presents and eat cake with vanilla ice cream. They took their gingerbread houses home as their party favor and everyone left with huge smiles on their faces. It was easily the simplest birthday party I've ever thrown, and definitely the most successful. No one was stressed, no one cried because they didn't win a game, everyone was more than eager to decorate a gingerbread house, and everyone loved their vanilla ice cream.
I've been schooled by a five year old. Seriously, he knew more about throwing a successful party for he and his friends than I did.
I did, however, put my own spin on the commander Cody cake. I think he appreciated it...I think.
It's made using two stacked eight inch round cakes that I carved to look helmet-ish. Then I covered it in homemade marshmallow fondant. I got the recipe here.
Happy, Happy Birthday to my favorite five year old!