So the third grader celebrated his 8th birthday last weekend…and, of course, we had to have a party! He just wanted to invite a few friends over for pizza and a movie after school on Friday, but I still wanted it to be a little bit festive. And do a little baking and crafting, of course.
I designed the invitations in Photoshop Elements…you can download them by clicking here.
For the party favors, we bought red, white, and blue Hot Wheels, giant erasers that looked like blue and white striped lollipops, and blue raspberry lollipops. The erasers and Hot Wheels went into white lunch sacks, then I punched holes and tied the bags with red and white bakers’ twine. We stuck the lollipop sticks through those same holes. I printed shield labels, the birthday boy cut them out, and we glued them on.
During the movie, we had a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks…they devoured all of it. The little pretzel and cheese snacks looked a bit like a shield, and we had red Twizzler bites with blue and white York Peppermint Bites. Also, we had veggies and ranch dip, apples and marshmallow dip, and Cool Ranch Doritos (the birthday boy’s favorites). We also had popcorn, but I forgot to add it to the table before I took the photo.
Since we were watching the movie in the living room, I didn’t want colored drinks spilled, so we just had water…but look at the cool labels I made for it! (Hydra is the evil organization in the movie, so “Hydrate” worked out punnily well!).
After the movie, we had pizza, opened gifts, and, of course, ate cake and ice cream. For the cake, he wanted a Captain America shield…easy enough, right? I made a two-layer, red and blue cake using the recipe for 1-2-3-4 Cake that I found on the cake flour box.
To make a multi-colored cake, you mix up the cake and divide the batter into smaller bowls, one per color you want to have in the cake. Tint the batter with food coloring, then start spooning it into the center of the greased and floured cake pan, letting each color spread out on its own (you can hurry it a bit by tapping the pan on the counter), then adding a big spoonful of your next color and so on. Be sure the batter has leveled out before baking, but don’t use a spoon or your finger or anything, unless you want a swirly look that might blend together. Then just bake according to the directions.
The frosting recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery. I put frosting between the layers, then a thin coat over the entire cake, with more on the sides. I decided to go old-school with Wilton star tip decorating.
To make star-tip decorations, you just use a star decorating tip, spoon your frosting into the bag, then squeeze a bit and release to make stars. It’s pretty therapeutic, really, because it doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I just cut out a paper star to the right size, and iced around it with blue and red, the removed it and filled in with white. I added more stars of red and blue around the bottom (which hides any uneven areas of the icing along the edge). And it’s an “F” because that’s his first initial…not because I graded my decorating skills!
The only decorations we put up is this set from the party store. I’ve used these murals before for birthday parties, and I think they rock. They’re about $6 and cover a 5’ x 6’ area…so they’re great as photo backdrops. The hooligans like to put them up in their rooms afterward, and they look great in there, too! (And y’all thought my kids have magazine-perfect rooms, didn’t you? Well, they don’t!)
Finally, one of my cardinal rules of having a party…you have to send a hand-written thank you note. I figure, if they care enough to spend time picking out, buying, and wrapping a gift, the least you can do is spend five minutes thanking them for it. Yes, you’re right…he should have written these to the moms, since I’m sure that’s who actually did all that work for the gift!
Here are the matching thank you cards I made…not a lot of space to write, so a third-grader isn’t intimidated by a bunch of white space. And as I tell them, the guests are not going to be comparing thank you notes, so they can write basically the same thing in each one!
We didn’t want to spend a fortune on this party (because, really, why?), and, in all, it was around $75, including buying the movie on DVD. I think it was a total success!