My Munchkin turned eight last week.
I can’t believe it.
In the past, we’ve done a family-only-party (and by family, I mean extended family, not just the five of us) for the kids. But now they’re getting to an age where they have more friends – friends they want to include in their celebration. On the other hand, we don’t want to alienate the grandparents who have been part of the boys’ birthdays since they were born. So the way we handle it now is to do a special birthday dinner for extended family on or near their birthday, and then sometime in between the two (they’re only six weeks apart) we have a shared party for their friends.
We started this last year, limiting the guest list to only the grandparents, and it worked quite well. This year we opened the list up a little more to include one set of great-grandparents (the rest have either passed away or live too far away to come) and the aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was considerably more chaotic, but still a nice time.
Munchkin decided that he wanted to do a taco bar for the dinner portion of the evening, so that’s what we did. I made tortillas from scratch (flour, not corn this time) and did ground beef and chicken so that people would have options. Other than that, we just had the regular taco toppings available – tomatoes, olives, green onions, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, salsa . . . It was quite a bit of work to put together, but I’m glad we did it.
For the birthday cake, we spent a couple of days in advance of the party looking at ideas online. We had pretty much settled on doing a “surprise in the middle” cake, but then he changed his mind at the last minute and decided he wanted a dragon cake. The inspiration for this was a dinosaur cake we’d seen a picture of in our search for the ideal cake. I used the instructions found online as-is (well, basically – I used Starbursts instead of fondant for the spikes, but everything else was the same), and then used a kebab skewer to support a fruit roll-up flame. Because everyone knows that the difference between a dinosaur and a dragon is the fire it breathes. 😉
I ran into two main problems creating this cake. First, my frosting (homemade – that was probably my first mistake!) was way too thin. But it was also already super sweet, so I couldn’t just add more powdered sugar to thicken it up. I ended up using it in its thin state. It wasn’t too thin to spread, but it was too thin to pipe stars using a pastry tip like the picture online.
The other issue was getting the skewers the right length, so they ended up a bit too long. Before I could even apologize to Munchkin about it, he came in and said, “Cool! It has a horn!” So I let it go. Additionally, I forgot to buy birthday candles, so we ended up using tea lights on the side. We (especially Will) decided we like that better anyway. We always have tea lights on hand, so it accomplishes two things: eliminates something we have to buy and looks a little classier.
Now that this party is over, I have only two left to think about in the short term, and that’s a nice place to be. I enjoy entertaining, but after a big party, it’s nice to have some time when it’s back to just our family for a little while.
How do you celebrate birthdays?