Friday, September 23, 2011

A Kitchy-Kitchen Birthday Party

Ah! Lucky little Meredith. Her birthday comes at the time of year when I'm slower with wedding stuff, not yet crazy with holiday stuff and when time and great ideas seem endless. The idea for this party is strictly hers, "I want a 'Make It' birthday party, " she told my sister Alex. Then neither of us discussed it until 1 week before the party date. This may have scared off any normal parent and sent them straight to Chuck-E-Cheese, but not Alex and me! We are motivated by procrastination and impossibly short deadlines! We even come up with more stuff than it seems possible to do in a month, and miraculously everything gets done. I must say that we are a killer team when motivated.

So, we took the "Make It" party and pulled in a retro Kitchy-Kitchen theme. Colors were primarily red and pink, with orange and yellow accents. I'd just been working on some cute retro-inspired plaids and patterns so the design was fun and undaunting. I created the recipe cards first, then used a similar 4x6" template to make a cute invitation that would attach to a child-sized kitchen utensil. Alex distributed them a week before the party and we were so excited that the kids didn't have as wild a social life as we thought and were all able to attend.

While brainstorming, I saw this photo and sent it to Alex with a note saying "I know you've got all the time in the world, but aren't these adorable??" See, Alex can sew and I cannot. All those great ideas go in her direction. Of course as soon as she saw it, she was in. It was a complete miracle that I had a truly vintage tablecloth that was too stained to use on a table anymore. (I'd bought it sight-unseen with a group of vintage tablecloths on etsy.) It was perfectly sized to make 6 child-sized aprons. And then to top it off, we were actually able to put to good use the ridiculous amount of ribbon we've amassed through the years. Mix and match ribbons of velvet, brocade, ric-rac and grosgrain were perfect trim at the bottom, as well as the ties for the aprons. At this point, Alex and I were not only on a roll, we were like, HIGH on creativity. She called me first thing in the morning to report that they were not only the cutest things she'd ever created, but that she wasn't going to give them up to a bunch of kids. I talked her down off that ledge, like a good sister does. But really, they were the cutest things ever. I'm going to post some DIY pics on that great craft at a later date for those of you who are capable of make a bobbin in your sewing machine. And because the boys needed to have something super cute too, Alex sewed chefs hats (link to instructions here) out of red gingham and solid red cotton fabric. Darling!

The good news, is that if you liked the look of this party, you can purchase the printable files from my etsy store. The place mats, recipe cards, invitation and 2" stickers are all included in the cost. The files are ready for you to personalize with the names of your guests!

The menu was based on food the kids would enjoy making and eating. First were mini pizzas, made with biscuit dough (the kind from a can) and pizza fixin's. The kids loved rolling out their dough and making pizza just the way they liked it. There was one scary moment when we saw that one child was looking down at his plate, silently letting large tears fall down his cheeks. "What is the matter??", we asked, the room instantly silent with all eyes on him. "I don't like pizza." Alex saved the day by asking him what his favorite thing for dinner was. He replied "cookies" which sounded so funny, everyone (including Mr. No Pizza) cracked up. He had a hot dog and was fine. Crisis averted, whew!

While the pizzas were cooking, the kids played freeze-dance around the family room. Then they came back to the table to make fruit wands (served with almond fruit dip), and eat their pizza.

While they were digesting, we played a guessing game. Small amounts of different foods (yogurt, maple syrup, mustard, ketchup etc) were placed in opaque cups and the kids had to guess what the food was while tasting it blindfolded. It was actually pretty challenging but the kids enjoyed it.

Then they went outside to play the marshmallow game. Each child got a plastic spoon and had to see how many miniature marshmallows they could scoop up in 15 seconds. They kept the marshmallows in a cup and used them at the "Make your own sundae" station at the end.

The rest was frankly a blur, but I'm pretty sure the kids had a great time. We really enjoyed planning and executing such a fun kitchen party for kids. Alex and I both passed out at about 8 pm, tired but satisfied.

-The drinking cups were Ball canning glasses.
-We used washi tape to flag the skewers for the fruit wands
-The fabric fringe decoration was super easy to make. The instructions are here.
-The menu chalk board was actually an empty frame (re-purposed from my 40th birthday party) with black poster board fitted snugly in the back. I chalked in the menu and voila!
-I used those 3M Command hooks to hang the party fringe
-The cake was strawberry with chocolate dipped strawberries for garnish, so old fashioned and sweet!
-The photo backdrop was another vintage table cloth, with various mixing bowls and kitchen utensils for fun. I love how that design on the cloth makes a huge wreath around the subject. So cute!
-We printed up 3 recipes on the printable cards and put them in a little photo album for the kids to take home.


  1. Adorable party idea! Love it! For my oldest daughter's birthday, we've had "cooking" contests at some of her parties. I give them a counter-full of baking ingredients and they have a half hour to create something unique. Lots of fun for older kids.

    Rachel S.

  2. Wow! That sounds like a cooking show in the making! Thanks for stopping by... xom

  3. Oh my gosh! This is such a cute party idea. I think it is a lot more fun to have something special at home too. Thanks for sharing.


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