Saturday, January 31, 2009

Inspiration: Children's Birthday Parties

Today the boys and I are gearing up for our almost-weekly S-day birthday party. We are so lucky to be a part of such a great village of little ones, and we celebrate their trips around the sun with gusto. Today's party is for a classmate of Big B's, held at the fire station down the street. What a great idea! It inspired me to reflect on some of the celebrations we've shared over the years.Big B has had some great ones himself, including a backyard water park, a playground party, a nature preserve expedition and, most recently, a bowl-a-thon. Here are some other great ideas we've enjoyed thoroughly.
  • a beach picnic
  • a local waterpark
  • a knights and princesses theme (dress up mandatory)
  • having each guest decorate pages (sent with the invitations) to be bound in a memory book for the birthday boy or girl
  • family pot-luck with a giant trampoline
  • camping in the backyard
  • a bus ride to a blueberry farm
  • a scavenger hunt
  • an obstacle course
  • a mock-pirate ship and treasure dig
  • a hawaiian luau with a shaved ice bartender
...and of course, the one constant, the piece de resistance, is the cake. Whether your children cha cha cha or not, the singing around the birthday cake is the climax of any young partygoer's experience (followed closely by the pinata). Big B and I made the same chocolate cake for little b's first birthday that we made for Big B's 3rd birthday. The recipe follows. I know, I know, there are boxed ingredients. Maybe next year I'll figure out the proportions of flour, baking powder, etc. to make it from scratch...but convenience trumps health sometimes where birthdays are concerned. And it really is a delicious cake.
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar for the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate Dust the cake with powdered sugar. Don't forget the candles!

1 comment:

Rose said...

Hey, I think I've been to a few of those parties!

Call me for the perfect box-free chocolate cake recipe. It's so easy you don't need a box!