Well, the birthday craziness has finally come to an end around here and it's time to post pictures of the special days. Many of you will have already seen these on Facebook but feel free to have another gander!
First off, I just have to say ~ throwing birthday parties is just downright exhausting. Even though I did basically the identical parties both times, thinking it would make things easier, I don't think it really made a difference!
But here are pictures of the girls' parties with picture collages, letting you see the similarities side-by-side. Joelle's pictures are always on the left and Malia's pictures are always on the right.
One thing I really did love about the parties this year were the very simple decorations. All it consisted of for decorations were the Happy Birthday banner on the wall, a balloon bouquet, and colored cups & napkins for the meal time. Cheap and easy, yet it still made the dining room look bright and festive!
The games we played were very simple too. The Balloon Bulls-Eye game was a hit, yet it was actually difficult to play. All the kids were given their own color of balloon to blow up and hold between their fingers. Then at the "go!" command, they released them and watched them fly around with the intent to get your balloon closest to the bulls-eye. This game proved to be very difficult, and at the beginning we all laughed as everyone's balloons went wild and crazy all over the living room, landing nowhere near the bulls-eye poster! We ended up discovering that it was most effective for their balloons to be b-a-r-e-l-y blown up and have them basically stand right on top of the bulls-eye and just release their balloons, letting them gently fall. :)
Another game was a wacky dress-up game, which seemed to be a hit with all of the kids. I had collected a large bag full of dress-up items (from dollar-store masks to slippers to wings to cowboy hats...) and the point was to have the LEAST amount of items on you at the end of the game. They all sat in a circle and rolled a dice. If they ever rolled a 1 or a 6, they needed to select an item from the bag and put it on. If I ever play this game again though, I might have it be that whoever has the MOST items on is the winner so that it's a little more fun to put on the items. The kids all seemed to be caught between *wanting* to put clothes on (because it was funny) and *not* wanting to (because that lessened their chance of winning).
And last but not least, we had a Smartie game. Everyone had the same amount of Smarties in a bowl and it was a race to see who could get their Smarties transferred into their empty bowl the fastest just by using a straw. Another successful game.
We actually did do a 4th game too, but I didn't take any pictures of it. It was a simple blindfold game where the person in the middle (blindfolded, obviously) would point to someone sitting around the circle, after being spun around (and after the kids moved around to different spots). Whoever she pointed at, they would have to say "Happy Birthday!" in a silly voice and the person blindfolded would have to try to guess who it was.
Now onto the food!! Yumm!
I have to say, doing a Taco Bar was a brilliant idea on my part and I was happy when Malia ended up wanting the same thing. It takes a bit more prep work than just ordering in pizza or doing hot dogs or something, but it's totally worth it. Even the pickiest of eaters can make themselves a meal out of this. Just pick and choose what you want and dig in! And of course I gave the extra options of having the tacos double-decker-style!
And here they both are with their birthday supper masterpieces! Mmmm...just looking at these pictures makes me want to have this meal again!
And we certainly can not forget the cakes! My absolutely favorite part of their birthdays! Joelle just could not get over her sense of awe at this year's cake. She even said: "All of my friends will be AMAZED!" Love it that they feel so special every year when they get their cakes.
This present cake was fun to make - and relatively easy. I just layered a slightly smaller square cake on top of the slightly larger one and iced them (as best as I could...I am no genius with icing and a butter knife, let me just say!). I used bubble tape for the 'ribbon' and placed candies on top of the icing as the 'wrapping paper' design.
The cake that I made for Malia this year might look familiar to some of you, as I actually made a similar one for Joelle's 7th birthday two years ago. I must say that I prefer this newest version for a couple of reasons. First of all, I love the colors and with Joelle's, they were all white daisies. Nothing wrong with that - it was simple and classy (and white daisies are even my personal favorite flower). But now having these colorful flowers to compare it to...I like it better.
Another thing I like better about this version is how I decorated the cupcakes. The first time I made this cake, I just iced the cupcakes normally and did the fancy edging. But this time I did the fancy edging all over the cake and I like the added dimension that it gives.
AND...I also much prefer how I did the leaves this time around. With the original cake, I used two full cupcakes for each of the leaves. This time I used half cupcakes - and only the tops of them at that - to make them more delicate. I'm still proud of the daisy cake I made for Joelle, but sometimes it's nice to get a second shot at something and see where you can make improvements.
So there you have it! Birthday parties are done...and done! Phew!!