Cooking Birthday Party for Girls

Every birthday is special, but our older two girls especially looked forward to their tenth birthday-- the first time they were able to have a sleepover.  For various reasons, Harold and I chose to discontinue sleepovers altogether and start a new tradition for our third daughter's tenth birthday party.  (We don’t do parties every year, so this was a big deal.)  I asked God for creativity, and He gave me the idea to have a Cooking Birthday Party.  We invited ten girls, ages 9-11, for the party that started at 11 am and ended about 3 pm. Invitations

Option 1:  Use recipe cards with the following handwritten information:  the title “Cooking Birthday” as well as who it’s for, date, time, location, address and RSVP.  The recipe card should easily fit into an envelope for personal correspondence.  Purchase extra cards and envelopes and use them for thank you notes.

Option 2:  If you have some computer skills you can design your own invitation by importing a photo of the birthday girl or some still life reflecting cooking.  Be sure to include the same information I mentioned above.  Print the invitation on cardstock to give it a little weight.  (You can buy individual sheets at an office supply store.)  I recommend designing two to a sheet, cutting the page in half (either direction) and folding the invitation in half.  Send them in invitation-sized envelopes.

Preparations

Preparations for each activity are listed below.  I set up “stations” in the locations listed, including all the supplies and instructions I needed.  If I planned more than one activity at the same location, I had a basket with instructions and supplies for each activity, including an empty basket to hold the supplies from the first activity.  I also set the table in the dining room where we’d be eating.  Careful, advanced preparations will make for smooth transitions during the party.

Decorations

I kept it simple since most of the budget went to the party activities.  We chose blue paper plates and napkins that coordinated with the invitation.  The activities for the party kept us in different rooms, but we decorated the dining room with blue and white helium balloons.  Fresh flowers would be a nice touch.

Activities

As guests arrive, each girl put on an apron with her name written on the tag and made a chef’s hat. Make a chef’s hat at the kitchen table (15 mins.) Before the party:  I cut the white posterboard into strips, according to the directions, and collected the white tissue paper.  I had the tape and paper clips available.  I also had a stapler, just in case. During the party:  As the girls arrived, I explained to each one how to make the hat.  Anna helped the others, since she had already made her hat.  The girls can chat while you put the supplies in an empty basket and wipe off the table.

Prepare lasagna at the kitchen counter (30 mins)

Before the party:  Gather all the supplies you’ll need, including ingredients, measuring utensils, a large bowl, and a lasagna recipe using no-bake noodles.  Be sure leave enough time to defrost frozen hamburger.  Purchase aluminum foil loaf pans, one for each girl’s lasagna.  Use a permanent marker to label each pan with a guest’s name. During the party:  Of course you’ll want the girls to start by washing their hands.  Explain to them that preparing a meal is an important responsibility for a wife and mother and that today we’re going to practice.  I had the girls take turns measuring, preparing and adding ingredients to make both the meat and the cheese portions.  I allowed each girl to assemble their own lasagna.  (Make sure they have the pan with their name on it.)  The lasagnas baked on a cookie sheet while we did the next activity.

Blindfold the Cook at the kitchen table(30 mins.) Before the party:  Locate a blindfold, sleeping mask or bandana.  Also have available a large spoon, a timer (you can use the stove timer) and two bowls, one with a bag of large marshmallows.  (Save some for consumption.) During the party: We followed the directions, however we opted not to eat the marshmallows that had been used in the game since many hands had touched them!  I suppose you could set a rule that you can’t touch the marshmallows, but scooping them is harder than it looks.

Eat Lunch in the dining room (30 mins) Before the party:  Set the table.  Prepare a simple salad and slice some bread. During the party:  Serve the individual lasagna on each girl’s plate.  Serve the salad and bread family style.   I also had a pitcher of water on the table.  The girls can toss their paper plates, forks, knives, and the foil containers when they’re finished, but have them keep their cups for dessert.  While the girls are eating, prepare the kitchen table and other surfaces for decorating the aprons.

Decorate the Apron kitchen table (45 mins.) Before the party:  I purchased aprons in bulk from a warehouse club.  Then, I purchase several colors of fabric paint.  I think I had 3 or 4 at the most.  Mixing paints is not recommended with that many girls.  I collected my shaped sponges, paint brushes, and pencils to draw designs.  I collected some old t-shirts and had enough newspaper to cover the table.  (I removed the kitchen chairs with fabric seats.  I needed them in the dining room any way!) During the party:  I reminded the girls that the paint was NOT washable, asked them to wear a t-shirt and then let them be creative.  Since it’s been five years since I did this party, I’m a little fuzzy on how we fit all the girls and their aprons in my kitchen!   You may need to work in shifts.

Open Gifts (30 mins.) This is the easiest part!  No preparation!

Decorate Cupcakes on the kitchen counter (30 mins.) Before the party:  I baked cupcakes the day before the party so they would be completely cool. During the party:  I bought one color of frosting, some sprinkles, and a few small bags of candies like Skittles.  When the girls were finished, they took their cupcake to the dining room.

Cake time in the dining room (30 mins.) During the party: While the girls were decorating, I cleared the table, set clean paper plates, and poured waters in their cups.   When everyone was at the table, the girls ate their cupcakes together.

Party Favors

Of course, the apron is the party favor.  (Remind them to be careful because the paint will probably still be a little wet when they transport it home.)  My budget was spent, but you could also include a wooden spoon, utensils from a dollar store or a cookie cutter.  If I remember correctly, we sent a recipe card with the lasagna recipe in our thank you note.

Best of All

I believe this is a way to remind our daughters to be keepers at home.  It’s good to teach our daughters that cooking healthy meals is an important part of their responsibility as a wife and mother.  Practicing their skills in the kitchen helps them to feel more confident and having the apron somehow makes them feel a little more “official.”

A Birthday Blessing

My dear husband celebrated a milestone birthday in December.   I’m not saying which one, but it begins with a number between 4 and 6 and ends with a 0. <grin>  When we celebrated Harold’s last birthday that ended in a 0, we had a quiet celebration as a family.  This time I wanted friends and family to join me to honor Harold and celebrate the impact he has had in the lives of many people. Harold arrived at church that night, expecting to attend a Christmas party for a ministry team that he oversees.  Instead he found more than 80 people yelling, “Surprise!”  My husband, who usually figures out everything, was literally speechless.  (In 20 years of marriage, I’ve never seen Harold speechless!)

It was everything I had hoped for—and more.  Harold greeted his guests— his parents, his brother and family from out of town, the pastors and staff of our church where Harold serves, and a myriad of friends who came to honor a man who had impacted their life.  Instead of gifts, I asked that each guest bring only the gift of words of encouragement and blessing.

After some munchies, the crowd quieted to watch a Powerpoint presentation with pictures of Harold’s first fifty years (baby pictures and all!).  I had asked a few men to speak—one of his spiritual sons, his brother, and his dad.  Each told of their love for my dear husband and what his life means to them.

Lastly, I had asked our lead pastor to close out with a prayer of blessing.  He asked that Harold’s parents and the girls and I join Harold, who was standing in the front, and said that instead of praying a blessing, he felt that God would have Harold’s parents bless him.  There were few dry eyes after Harold’s mother and father prayed sweet and passionate prayers to bless their oldest son.  I believe it was a precious moment in the heavenlies, where God used the human voices of loved ones to say to His son, “You are my precious son and I’m so pleased.”

Birthdays should be the celebration of a life, an individual who was uniquely designed by God and chosen to be part of His plan.  You don’t have to throw a party or spend a lot of money to honor someone.  For my 40th birthday, my mom orchestrated a long-distance birthday celebration.  I received more than 40 birthday cards of blessing from friends and family.  My friend Esther, who inspired me to write blessings for pregnant moms and their unborn babies, writes birthday blessings each year for the children of her friends.  She wrote a blessing for Harold for his birthday.  Another family has a “Birthday Tape” for each child.  Each year they add to the tape and record a birthday prayer for the child.  Of course with new technologies, you could do a Birthday CD or DVD.  Ask God to give you creative ideas that will bless your family.

This year, as you celebrate birthdays with family and friends, be sure to include the element of blessing.  Look for opportunities to bless your husband, your children, and your friends.  Let God use your hand to write words of life or your voice to speak His words of love.  Make it a birthday to remember.

Proverbs 31 Birthday Party for Girls

The girls often talk about their birthday parties as “unit studies.”  I can’t help it.  I’m a teacher.  I’ve been teaching children something for the last 25 years.  Why should birthday parties be any different?  It’s a great opportunity to teach children--they’re a captive audience!  For Abigail’s tenth birthday, God gave me the idea to have a Proverbs 31 Birthday Party.  The party took about three hours for eleven girls who were ages 9-11.  Cutting out the sewing project will shorten the time by about 45 mins. to 1 hour. Invitations: You can use any lovely note card with a lovely cover design and a blank inside.  Buy twice as many and use them for thank you notes.  If you have some computer skills, you can import a photo or design your own invitations.  Invitation-sized envelopes fit a half sheet of paper folded in half.  On the inside, include the title “Proverbs 31 Birthday” as well as who it’s for, date, time, location, address and RSVP.

Preparations: Preparations for each activity are listed below.  I set up “stations” in the locations listed, including all the supplies and instructions I needed.  I also set the table in the dining room where we’d be eating.  Careful, advanced preparations will make for smooth transitions during the party.

Decorations: I chose hot pink paper plates and napkins that coordinated with the invitation.  The activities for the party kept us in different rooms, but we decorated the dining room with pink and white streamers and pink balloons.  Some fresh flowers would be a nice touch.

Activities: I wanted to teach the girls what it meant to be a Proverbs 31 woman.  We began by reading Proverbs 31: 10-31.  (You can read it to them, or have everyone read together.  You can print out a copy of the scripture from www.biblegateway.com.)  Then, we went back to the beginning and read through it again, stopping after we read the verses that applied to our activity.

Cooking (in the kitchen): v.14-15 Recipe for apple crisp here. Before the party:  You may want to cut the apples and store them in some lemon water in the fridge.  I let the girls use an apple peeler with a handle and an apple slicer so we needed no knives. During the party:  Of course you’ll want the girls to start by washing their hands.  I had the girls take turns measuring, preparing and adding ingredients as well as assembling the apple crisp.  We baked it while we did the next activity.

Gardening (outside):  v. 16 Small pots, plastic or clay a cell-pack of plants or seeds small bag of potting soil Before the party:  I set up the table in the back yard so the dirt would stay out there.  I labeled the bottom of the pots before the girls planted their plants so each one got the right container. During the party:  Then, each girl put a little potting soil in the bottom of the pot, put the flower in, and finished with a little potting soil around the sides of the plant. NOTE:  If you choose not to do the sewing activity, you could use the time to decorate clay pots with paint or permanent markers.  Permanent markets can still rub off some plastics.  Old T-shirts can be worn to protect the girls’ clothing.

Sewing (at the kitchen table):  v. 21 red felt red thread satin ribbon Before the party:  To save time, I set up the sewing machine with the red thread.  I used a lightweight red felt so there were no raw edges to fray and cut a rectangular piece (4 inches x 9 inches) for each girl. During the party:  There are many patterns out there, but this is the simplest pattern I could find.  I recommend labeling the pouches somehow so they don’t get mixed up.

Wise Speech (in the family room):  v. 25-26 Before the party:  Write down a few phrases or Bible verses to use in the game. During the party:  Here we played the telephone game.  (Whisper a message down a line of people and of course it gets changed.)  I divided the girls into two groups and gave each group the same message.  We talked about gossip and how it can hurt those around us and how life and death is in the power of the tongue.  (Proverbs 18:21)

A Treasure (at the kitchen table):  v. 10 Assorted red glass beads (I found mine at a discount superstore) Elastic (also from the discount superstore) Before the party:  I first knotted the end of the elastic string.  (You can’t use a regular knot, but the instructions are on the packaging of the string are simple.)  I divided the beads and put the beads and the elastic into small baggies. During the party:  I gave each girl a baggie and let her bead her own pattern.  When they were finished, we had to tie the ends together with the same instructions as the original knot.  I had each girl put on her bracelet so we wouldn’t get confused.  We talked about how valuable a real ruby is and how much more valuable a godly woman is.

Snack Time (at the dining room table):Apple Crisp (made during the party)

Cake Ice Cream Carrots, cut apples, or whatever your family prefers Pink lemonade, juice boxes, or whatever your family prefers

Party Favors: Of course each girl takes the potted flower, the pouch they sewed, and the bracelet they made.  We included an apple crisp recipe card in the “thank you” notes.

Best of all: It was a great party and the girls seemed to really enjoy themselves.  Most importantly, the girls heard God’s Word and what the Bible says about a virtuous woman.  I believe that the party planted seeds in the hearts of the girls that will reap a great harvest in the years ahead.

The Moore Family Birthday Cake

My mom made some amazing birthday cakes:  a race track with matchbox cards for each guest, a swimming pool with miniature, swimming baby dolls, an 18-wheeler, a book, an ice skate, a cat, and so many more.  I tried that tradition when the girls were small but found that it was difficult to make an elaborate cake and plan a party at the same time—and maintain my sanity!  I looked for an alternative. I wanted the cake to match the party theme, so I took an extra party invitation, cut out the main design, and laminated it.  That way, when I put it on the cake, it wouldn’t soak up the oil in the icing.  I also used icing or candies to write names and/or ages.  And don’t forget the candles!

The best part is the cake itself.  It’s a deliciously-moist, homemade chocolate cake with fudge-like icing from a recipe given to our family more than ten years ago.  It’s not a fancy cake, but because we only make this recipe for birthdays it has become something special that we all look forward to.

Enjoy this cake for yourself!  .::Cocoa Delight::.

Birthday Cake for Jesus

(Scripture references from the International Children’s Version) The cake should be round to represent the world.  It should be chocolate to show the sins of the world. Romans 3:23  All people have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory. Genesis 6:5  The Lord saw that the human beings on the earth were very wicked.  He also saw that their thoughts were only about evil all the time.

The icing should be white to show Jesus’ purity covering our sins. I John 1:7  God is the light.  We should live in the light, too.  If we live in the light, we share fellowship with each other.  And when we live in the light, the blood of the death of Jesus, God’s Son, is making us clean from every sin. Psalm 51:7  Take away my sin and I will be clean.  Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

An angel should adorn the cake as the first bearer of the Good News. Luke 2:10-11  The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am bringing you some good news.  It will be a joy to all the people.  Today your Savior was born in David’s town.  He is Christ the Lord.

Add a star as the bearer of glad tidings. Matthew 12:9b-10  The wise men heard the king and then left.  They saw the same star they had seen in the east.  It went before them until it stopped about the place where the child was.  When the wisemen saw the star, they were filled with joy.

Twelve red candles show Jesus’ blood covering us all the time, twelve months of the year Ephesians 1:7  In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death.  And so we have forgiveness of sins because of God’s rich grace.

Evergreens should surround the cake to represent everlasting life. Isaiah 9:6  A child will be born to us.  God will give a son to us.  He will be responsible for leading the people.  His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. John 3:36  He who believes the Son has eternal life.  But he who does not obey the Son will never have that life, God’s anger stays with him.

Light the candles to show that Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12  Later, Jesus talked to the people again.  He said, “I am the light of the world.  The person who follows me will never live in darkness.  He will have the light that gives life.” Ephesians 5:8  In the past you were full of light in the Lord.  So live like children who belong to the light.

Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and blow out the candles!