We enjoyed the company of some of our family and friends to celebrate E's birthday. She was SO excited about the day, the planning, even the prep. This was the first time she helped to prep for the party (beyond coming up with the theme), and the first time she decorated her own dessert. I had mixed feelings - so great that she can help and WANTS to help, but nearly a lifetime of decorating your own birthday cakes comes soon enough. Why rush it? But I bit my tongue, smiled, grabbed the camera and (after fulfilling her request to do the lettering), stood back and let her have at it.
Traditionally, we've served locally grown strawberries on homemade angel food cake and homemade whipped cream. (The cake was pretty popular and held the attention of one boy who, though he's outgrown other party trappings, reported last year that he still came for the cake.) But this year, E said she wanted brownies instead. I couldn't break with tradition entirely, so I picked up some of the strawberries and a store-bought angel food cake, then whipped up some cream. We made three trays of brownies for our guests and for the sing-a-long and "cake" presentation. The strawberry treat was maintained as a secondary treat for anyone vaguely interested.
E's parties have been, for as long as she's been able to state a preference, costume parties, and guests have traditionally obliged. To the princess party, one set of grandparents came in full costume, thanks to the royalty section of their local costume shop. This year, another set of grandparents went all out for her chosen gypsy theme. All of the kids in attendance came in gypsy garb. The best we could do for "gypsy music" at this point was to stream a random selection of Celtic music, though the online music service occasionally threw in random acts of mariachi and kids' sing-a-long ditties.
The gypsy menu was, thankfully, much easier than the menu for the pioneer party that required game hens. E decided gypsies might have beef (therefore tri-tip), beans, garlic bread, a salad and soup. She made her own soup from scratch for the party. While some party-goers were kind enough to try it, the picnic setting didn't exactly encourage soup eating. (Thank you to those who tried it, and commented encouragingly.)
And, of course, there were balloons. "It's not a birthday party if there aren't balloons," E. Best, 2004