I didn’t make this cake for my nine-year-old’s Secret Agent Party. I had the local bakery write the birthday message in “code” (see if you can crack it!) but that’s where my confectionary contribution ended. I opted to buy the cake instead of bake one from scratch because by the time I was thinking about this last piece of the party puzzle, Reasonable Mom (Secret Code Name: Make-it-Easy-on-Yourself Mom) was losing to Unreasonable Mom (Secret Code Name: Who-Exactly-Are-You-Trying-To-Impress Mom). In fact, for this particular party – with its three-floor, ten-clue scavenger hunt, hand-stenciled tablecloth, and late-night phone consultations with my friend Marcie, who threw her own spy party a few years ago — Unreasonable Mom was crushing Reasonable Mom. For this party, Unreasonable Mom was leaving it all on the field.
It was Unreasonable Mom who, two weeks earlier, forced me spend an hour designing the invitation for the party on my computer, even though the 9-year-old honoree herself was downstairs playing Angry Birds on the iPad. (A major violation in our house! Reasonable Mom always makes sure the birthday girls are as involved in the process whenever possible. Reasonable Mom does everything in her power to protect me from being on the other end of the silent accusation: Who’s this party for anyway? The mom or the kid? ) (more…)
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Tags:birthday cake·birthday parties·detective birthday party·kid birthday party ideas·secret agent birthday party·special birthdays for kids
The party officially began at 6:00 and ended at 8:00, but at 5:58 I had already checked my watch twice, counting down to its finish. Why do minutes feel like centuries during birthday parties in your own house? Or at least they do for me. But its sorta like having a baby, I guess. Because I forget the pain as soon as the last kid walks out the door with her goody bag. And then I live off the high for a solid few weeks. Before that blessed moment, though, I deal with the chaos the only way I know how: I make a schedule, always underestimating the time it takes for each activity because there’s no panic quite like the one that grips you when you look at your watch and realize you have 30 minutes left and 14 cupcake-fueled kids to entertain. Below was the itinerary for Abby’s Game-Themed Party. I am not too proud to admit that it was written down on a piece of paper that I kept in my pocket and referred to several dozen times throughout the evening. (more…)
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Tags:birthday parties·birthday rituals·kid birthday party ideas
It’s a miracle if I bake something from scratch even once during the course of my child’s birthweek. And if I’m going to do it, it’s going to be Rosa’s Mud Cake for the actual birthday party. But for the classroom party? No chance. A few years ago I debuted this Dunkin Donut Cake at school and was actually embarrassed by how slap-it-together it was. But the kids went bonkers when I removed the foil and pretty soon I started getting emails from parents. Sean wants some donut cake for his birthday and told me to ask you? What’s this I hear about a donut cake? My friend Sue told me that your daughter had some cool cake in class? Erin told me to ask you about the munchkin cake. Do you know what she’s talking about? If so, can you pass along instructions?
Here they are — make sure you are paying close attention because it’s kinda complicated: Cover a concave platter with tissue paper. Stack three Dunkin donuts in the middle and shove your candles in the top one. (The top one should be festive with sprinkles.) Dump 75 assorted munchkins around the stack.
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Tags:birthday cake·birthday parties·kid birthday party ideas·special birthdays for kids
A couple of years ago, we started a birthday tradition in our house (and it only applies to kids). When it’s your birthday, you get to go to any restaurant you want. There’s only one rule — the restaurant you pick has to be specific to a certain country. For instance, on her sixth birthday, Phoebe chose Sweden. It’s not as random as it sounds: Abby’s best friend at the time was from Stockholm, and our kids also happened to be in the midst of a powerful Muppets obsession. (Remember the Swedish Chef?) Then, Abby chose Japan. Then, Phoebe picked… Morocco. (We gave her “Middle Eastern;” she never knew the difference.) Some of these adventures (Sweden, with its creamy meatballs…jammy lingonberries…whipped potatoes) were more successful than others (Japan, with its salmon roe…daikon radishes…fancy SoHo address…$200 price tag…what were we thinking?) but the meal is only half the point. The point is that this is one of those rare, special nights the kids get to orchestrate themselves. It’s a night that involves pulling out old world maps and our book of flags and thinking about where on earth they want to go, what they want to show us. It involves tasting something completely new, even if it’s only something as hard-to-hate as a falafel platter. And it involves dressing up and going out, getting on a train, and riding all 32 minutes to Grand Central Station in a window seat, watching Yonkers roll by. Which, to them, is about as exciting as riding a pink unicorn through an enchanted forest. –Andy
Head over to Bon Appetit, where we were able to convince the chef from Smorgas to hand over his Swedish Meatballs recipe.
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Tags:birthday parties·birthday rituals·special birthdays for kids