For the last month, Sunshine has been talking about what she wants to do for her birthday. Unlike past years, when she had a definite theme she wanted, this year she tossed around various ideas. She suggested a pool party and then a sewing party and then an art party. Finally, because she and Lily and Jade have been having fun with the tea sets they got for Christmas, I suggested a birthday tea party.
We sent out store-bought card invitations a week before the party. Then we headed to the store to gather a few supplies: jewelry for Sunshine’s friends to wear, food to eat, and a craft to do after they’d had their tea.
On the day of the birthday tea party, Sunshine and Lily decorated the goody bags. They used their stencils and stamps to personalize each bag for their friends. We put the bags on my desk for the girls to add their jewelry and craft to after the party. We also put a chocolate in the bottom of each bag (and then pulled it out of one bag when I remembered that girl had a dairy allergy).
I had Sunshine lay out the jewelry on one of her dressers. When her friends arrived, she welcomed them and invited them to pick some jewelry to wear for the party (and take home afterwards). Sunshine thoughtfully put a mirror there too so her friends could see how their necklaces looked.
I cleared the top of our homeschooling cupboard in the dining room and used that to organize the craft materials. Of course, Jade wanted to start on it right away, so I had to keep telling her “put that back!” while I was getting everything out. We’d found little plaques at the dollar store; I grabbed a few extra things for decorating with and pulled the other items out of our craft stash.
Then we set the table for the birthday tea party. Sunshine had picked a purple theme for her party, so we had a purple plastic table cloth, purple paper plates, and purple plastic cutlery. We added their tea settings. We have two tea sets, each with four cups, so we used three cups from each set. I brewed two pots of tea: one herbal berry tea and one Bengal Spice. We also served apple juice.
It wouldn’t be a party at our place without balloons, so while she waited for her friends to arrive, Sunshine blew up purple balloons. Then, when her friends started coming, we turned on some music and they played with the balloons until everyone had arrived. Then we sat down for tea.
We served a veggie tray, a fruit tray, and some crackers with the tea. One of the friends invited is avoiding gluten and dairy, and I’m also try to avoid those with Jade right now to see if it helps her eczema. So we kept the snacks simple. The fruit was popular and mostly disappeared during the party.
When everyone had finished their snacks, I sent them back to play with the balloons while I cleared the table. I gave the table cloth a quick wipe and then set out the craft. It was fun to see what each of the girls did with their plaques. Everyone liked the self-adhesive sparkles; only one girl tried gluing on sequins and buttons.
Some girls finished their craft ahead of others. One had brought a bag of stuffies with her, so she started playing with those and others joined in. I wondered if I should pull out a puzzle or game or find another craft for her to do, but it seems that at every party we’ve thrown, the guests enjoy having some free play time too. So I left them to play while Sunshine and another friend finished painting.
I put a piece of packing paper over the homeschooling cupboard and set the finished crafts there to dry. When everyone had finished their craft, I quickly set the craft supplies aside and folded up the table cloth (now covered in glue and glitter and paint) and tossed it in the garbage. We set the table with plates and cutlery again and served the cake with a song for the birthday girl.
I kept the cake simple this year. I’m not a cake artist, though I’ve tried hard in past years. This year, I just made my mom’s 1-2-3-4 cake recipe, decorated it with a leftover tube of blue icing (I guess I should’ve grabbed purple since that’s what Sunshine picked for all her decorations!), and sprinkled sugar over it. Oh, I also baked it with sprinkles inside, for a fun surprise. The kids all finished their pieces (which is more than I can say for other cakes, so I guess simple worked!).
Ironically, Jade got very excited about the candles and started blowing them out while we were still singing, so Sunshine only got to blow out half of them. She didn’t seem to mind, though.
Then Sunshine opened her presents (which she’d been asking to do since they walked in the door—must work on her party manners!) and it was time for her friends to go. It seemed like the kids had lots of fun and clean-up was minimal this year. So it was a simple birthday tea party but a success.