Chef-Themed Children’s Birthday Party
It’s that time of year again when I get to plan my daughter’s birthday party – it’s always a creative outlet for me. For the past year, I had prepared myself for the financial sting of an American Girl birthday party theme. Miraculously, in the 11th hour, somehow I managed to convince my daughter that lunch with mom at the American Girl store was far better than a party (which due to cost, she’d be limited to just six friends). She is a social girl, so perhaps just hearing that she could only have six friends was motivation enough to consider a different party theme and activity.
This year’s birthday party instead was a chef theme. Once again, we had two parties to throw. The first party – attended by over 30 kids and adult family members – would be a “basic” family party. Dinner, chef-themed decorations and a piñata. For dinner I served ham, mashed potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, green beans and salad, following an array of appetizers and, of course, a chef hat cake for dessert. I think if I let them, some might have licked the dishes (particularly the potatoes which had bacon and sour cream mixed in). The beauty of the menu was that everything, except the salad and fruit, was made ahead of time…one of my easiest menus yet!
For my daughter’s friend birthday party, I left the cooking to the kids. I hired a personal chef who happens to do children’s parties on the side and with the help of her 13 sous chefs, they made spaghetti and meatball pie and cupcakes. The meal was prepared healthier than normal, so the biggest disappointment was the amount of food I threw away. Once the girls saw they were adding spinach to the turkey meatballs and pureed sweet potatoes to the tomato sauce it was a bit of a lost cause. I don’t think the chef expected so many girls to suddenly have an aversion to tomato sauce!
However, the party execution went perfectly. The girls arrived and within minutes were intently listening to the chef explain the process. She had a room full of 7, 8 and 9 year olds captivated! For the cupcakes, they each picked a pre-written piece of paper with an ingredient on it from a bowl. Before I knew it, the girls (and my son) were well on their way to making dessert – a dish where precision and measuring counts. They had a short break at which point they moved back to the dining room table where I laid out markers and white chefs hats. They went all out decorating their new accessory. We took a quick picture and then it was back to the cooking table.
At this point, the girls worked in teams of three to make their spaghetti meatball pies. Once again, you could hear a pin drop as the chef explained what they would be doing – I was in awe! They followed the instructions and listened intently as the chef explained how with baking, measuring is critical, but with cooking you have much more freedom with your ingredients. Cook to taste!
Thank goodness for my daughter’s birthday present, a karaoke machine, that she received earlier that day. While the dinner cooked in the oven, the stars came out! The girls sang in pairs of two, since we have two microphones on the karaoke machine. We were able to get six songs in while everything cooked. The “audience” participated in the singing as well and I must say I truly loved how serious many of them took their “performances”. What a wonderful age!
Following their song interlude it was time for cupcake decorating. They each had a cup of frosting and the chef brought plenty of sprinkle choices. Afterwards, they pushed their masterpieces to the center of the table in order to prepare for a nice dinner among friends. They all sat together, giggled and laughed. It didn’t even matter that some barely ate their dinner because they clearly were having so much fun! We wrapped up the night with a rendition of “happy birthday” and then more karaoke while waiting for the parents to arrive. All and all, another successful birthday party.
This time around, birthday party favors included:
- Aprons (homemade by my mother-in-law, including one with baseball ribbon for my son)
- Blondies in a Jar (compiled with the assistance of my daughter)
- Apron Cookies
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- Read more posts about birthdays from the Family Room bloggers