This will be my last mention of Emily's birthday party for a while. Probably until next year when I have to think about another one.
The party was great. It went way better than I expected. The kids loved the activities and those were broken up well with time to just play on their own in the backyard and playroom in the basement.
The first thing we did was put on the aprons I made for each of the kids. Then we got started making the pizza dough. The kids gathered around the dining room table and got messy kneading the dough. After the dough was done and rising we went outside, they played a bit while the adults (my trusty helpers and me) set up the cookie making stations.
Each kid had their own station outside with all the ingredients they might want to use to make cookies: flour, baking soda and salt mixed together; butter; Smarties; Clodhoppers; vanilla; cinnamon; raisins; brown sugar; an egg; and a few other things I can't remember. The kids LOVED this activity. They loved getting to decide what went in there and mix it all by themselves. It was really interesting to see each of their personalities dictate how they made the cookies. For example, Emily dumped everything in at once and went at it. I could have predicted that. They got to shape the cookies too of course. After all that we baked them and tasted and decided who had the smoothest, biggest, lumpiest, best decorated and fastest mixed (Emily of course) cookies. Each kid had a prize.
After that it was more play time and then we set to making pasta. I made the dough the night before so they just had to crank it through the machine. They each really liked that although Emily and Daria liked it best. They kept cranking long after the other kids had gone back to playing.
After that they played in the basement while we cleaned and got the stuff out for making pizzas. Emily opened her gifts, the kids made their pizzas and then we all ate. By then the house was full of other parents who I'd (crazily) invited back for "grown-up pizza".
I was exhausted at the end, the house was a minor disaster but man, did those kids have a great time! Emily L-O-V-E-D it! She kept telling me over and over again how much she loved it. That made the exhaustion and days of preparation worth it.
Although I'm really really glad that her birthday only comes once a year.
I'm not sure I'll do a party of this scale next year. I think I'll go on a two-year rotation of big preparation party and easier party.
I have to send out HUGE thanks to Meredith for helping me organize, set-up and wash everything, and to Pam who took all the pictures and helped when help was needed with anything. Thanks guys!