My dear Sweetpea celebrated her 7th birthday last week. She's 7 going on 25, so she had the entire party planned—from the invitations, to the colors, the activities and the cupcake decorations. We collaborated on several things, but this party was her baby. I was merely the facilitator.
She drew a design for her invitations, and I helped her transfer it digitally using Adobe Illustrator. She made sure to include seven 7s in the drawing, as “seven” was her theme that helped bring everything together. We found the party hat dimensional stickers on a clearance rack at the grocery store (of all places) and thought they would be the perfect finishing touch.
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Now here's something you don't see very often—a glimpse into my typical crafty time. I can't possibly get anything done when the munchkins are awake, so my craft time happens after they go to sleep. I'm usually on our big comfy couch in front of a Netflix movie. (This one happened to be The Joneses. Good overall message, though a wee bit overdone. But I'll watch anything with David Duchovny once.)
On this particular crafty night, I was cutting paper napkins into pennants for the party banners. I used the fold of the napkin to my advantage. I kept the folded side intact, and cut from each corner down to the center of the opposite (open) side. Like this:
Then all I did to make the banner was hang cotton twine where I wanted it, and place the pre-folded pennants over the string. They're fairly “sticky,” as in they don't slide around easily, but they do fly off with a strong breeze or, say, when a 7 year old party guest bounces a balloon up onto them.
The napkin idea worked much better in my head. I wasn't too impressed with it in action. But it was a quick, easy and cheap way to make many yards of banner. Much easier than stringing cardstock onto string via punched holes, like I did for the baby shower.
Snacks & Decorations
Balloon 7: Queen Martha, or more likely, her staff
Apple & marshmallow smiles: Disney Family
The party was after school, so we kept the snacks light and mostly healthy. Apple smiles, grape skewers and hard boiled eggs (which we used for one of the seven challenges; see below). Sweetpea insisted on cupcakes, but refused to let me put them on tiered cake plates for height. So I chose a few bottled sodas to display on the tiered pedestals and served the sodas in cups, because most 7 year olds won't drink a whole soda at a party.
For the activity portion of the party, Sweetpea chose seven physical challenges for her guests.
- Clothespin drop—kneeling on a backward chair, drop clothespins, one at a time, and try to get them into a jar. Everyone must drop from a consistent level above the jar; we asked everyone to keep their hands level with the chair back. This is a game I played at parties when I was a kid, and it was a big hit at this party.
- Balance an object while standing on one foot—We vertically stacked two rectangular blocks on each guest's hand and timed how long they could balance the blocks while standing on one foot. It's harder than it seems, and was really fun.
- Bounce a balloon seven times in a row without letting it touch the ground
- Jump rope seven times in a row—this was easy for some; difficult for others. Bonus: everyone got to take home new jump ropes! (This was our only party favor, and no one complained about missing goody bags.)
- Egg on a spoon race—each guest carried an egg on a spoon across the backyard. Whoever made it to the finish line first without dropping their egg was the winner. The kids loved this game! We used hard boiled eggs, both for easier clean up and so we could use them as a snack. Per Sweetpea's request, we composted the egg shells.
- Hold breath for 70 seconds—this was Sweetpea's idea, but I made sure the guests knew it was optional. None of the kids made it even close to 70 seconds.
- 70 Jumping jacks in a row—the kids did great on this one! It was the perfect way to channel some of that after-school energy.
I made no mention of winners or how guests ranked in their results. I did keep track of stats on our “scoreboard” (my 24x36 cutting mat covered with paper), but let the kids draw their own conclusions. Everyone received a plastic “medal” for participating.
Sweetpea was very specific about her cupcake plans. She wanted lemon cake with chocolate frosting, topped with pink, yellow and orange fondant and a fondant 7. And, as I mentioned above, they were to be displayed flat. I took the liberty of elevating her cupcake, but she didn't complain.
She chose compostable cupcake liners over brightly colored trendy ones. She's very Earth-friendly.
Full disclosure: I used boxed cake mix and store bought frosting. I was exhausted from the previous week's auction and just wanted this party to be easy.
I did, however, make the fondant. Here is my printable marshmallow fondant recipe. I added a little pink gel color and a little yellow, then kneaded everything together just enough to make it swirl. The pink and yellow mixed to make orange, so I had all the colors represented in a cool tie-dye/marbley swirl. I wasn't about to buy a special cupcake-sized cookie cutter, so I searched our cabinets for something the right size. Our wine glasses had the perfect diameter, so I used those to cut my fondant circles.
The fondant 7s? Oh, the fondant 7s. Here's another situation where I didn't want to buy a special cutter. I used the corner of a flag cookie cutter I had on hand, and hand cut the rest of it. It was a big pain, but it was exactly what my girl wanted. Seeing her smile when the whole party came together just as she hoped made all my trouble worthwhile.
I'm so impressed with the party she put together. She was an eager planning participant, and pretty easy to work with. I love how she included healthy snacks, physical activity, and eco-conscious options. She is one fantastic little girl. ♥
Click the “comments” link below to tell me your thoughts on the party. Also, I'm interested to know if you think this post was too long. I went for one long “whole party” post, but could just as easily have broken it up into sections for multiple posts. To help me with future posts, which do you prefer?