An American Girl Themed Birthday Party
This was supposed to be the year we would finally cut back on elaborate parties for my daughter. I was hopeful that perhaps we could take a handful of kids and head to American Girl to celebrate – until I saw the price tag. I decided to propose a paint night instead where the kids would receive step by step instructions as they painted their very own piece of artwork on canvas. However, I quickly realized that wouldn’t accommodate some of my daughter’s youngest of friends. After weeks of discussing ideas with my daughter, she decided to have a movie party again, one of her most memorable birthdays, but this year also make it a pajama party, which added to the fun.
DECIDING ON AMERICAN GIRL FOR THE PARTY’S THEME
Our daughter also asked if we could incorporate American Girl and her favorite Girl of the Year “Grace”. We settled on showing the movie “Grace Stirs Up Success”. Grace is a 9 year old from Boston, an aspiring chef, who spends her summer in Paris with her grandparents working at their bake shop. The storyline inspired some easy decorations and the recreation of a bake shop in my dining room.
Once the theme was decided, finalizing and paring down the guest list was nearly impossible. Based on some early experiences of my daughter being excluded from birthday parties (hence my not wanting to do the same) and her long list of friends, it was not an easy task. Not only does she have friends she’s known since she (or they) were born but she also has Brownie friends, neighborhood friends and current or former class friends. Her list was very lengthy at 18 girls! Only one child declined. When I realized we would have 17 girls in our home, I quickly enlisted the help of my sitter for the night of the party. My husband and I would certainly benefit from the extra set of hands!
PARTY PLANNING: BRINGING THE BAKE SHOP TO LIFE
I then began planning. The bake shop idea came straight from the movie. We pre-screened the movie to make sure it was appropriate and I realized I could set-up bake shop for the girls as their party favor. Plus, I could make many of the desserts in advance, leaving the day of the party somewhat free so I could attend my kids last soccer games of the season and do any last minute shopping for the friend party or the family party I was hosting the next day. I also asked my mother-in-law to help by making a few of the recipes that she’s known for, and my daughter loves: her meringues and Linzer cookies.
I ordered an Eiffel Tower cookie cutter and Eiffel Tower lollipop molds and started my list of desserts. I also started jotting down all the ingredients so a friend with tree nut allergies and another friend with peanut allergies would know exactly what they could eat. Here’s the spread of sweets we came up with:
- Linzer Cookies
- Pink Tinted Meringues dipped in Chocolate
- White, Chocolate and Pink Chocolate Eiffel Tower Lolliops
- Rice Krispee Treats (cut into Eiffel Tower shapes) and drizzled with chocolate
- M & M Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Pink M & M’s)
- Peanut Butter Balls (covered in white chocolate and pink sprinkles)
- Mini Cupcakes with Pink Frosting (and Eiffel tower tooth picks)
- Sugar Cookies shaped and decorate as Eiffel Tower
- Pink Gumballs & Pink Rock Candy Sticks
The invitations and all the decorations included the Eiffel Tower in some form or another. Everything looked perfect. After eating pizza, the girls were given “movie” tickets and “popcorn & candy tickets” which they could redeem in the basement movie theater. Cake would be for dessert, but the desserts from the “bakery” were to be packed up in treat boxes and taken home.
The day before the party was when I had learned about the tragedy in Paris. It was heartbreaking to think about all the life loss while putting the final touches on my daughter’s Paris themed party. I worried a little bit about some children talking about the horrific events. They are old enough that some would know. However, we were fortunate enough that no one brought it up. That the girls could still enjoy the party and the innocence of a young child that they very much deserve.
The last 20-minutes or so, a few girls who had seen the movie before had lost interest. They were making a lot of noise and distracting the other kids which created some frustration. But after a quick intermission and vote to continue watching the movie, the girls settled back down. We were a little rushed at the end of the party as well, as we started the movie later than planned. We were left with only 15-minutes to do cake and the gift shop before parents arrived, but no one seemed to mind. Everyone had a great time and my daughter had the memorable 9th birthday my husband and I wanted her to have.
While like many of the parties I throw, it may seem like a lot of work (it is), but now that my daughter is older, the appreciation and her ability to vocalize it is priceless. There were numerous occasions during the weeks leading up to the party where her gratitude touched me deeply. Hearing how thankful she was made it all worth it!
- E-Family News: Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party Without the Stress
- More posts about birthday parties
- Pinterest: Bright Horizons’ kids birthdays & parties board