Saturday, June 15, 2013

Katie's 8th birthday Par-Tee!

Yes, we went there with the cheesy golf puns.

Katie requested a "friend" party this year for the first time in 3 years.  Heck, last year even I missed her party!  After much deliberation, she decided on a mini-golf party at the course near our house.  They provided pizza, plates, napkins, drinks, ice cream, and the entertainment.  We just brought some chips and snacks, the cupcakes, and favors.  After years of all day cleaning and fussing and planning, I now totally get why people pay for someone else to host!

As always, these things have guest limits and for mini-golf it was severe: 8 guests.  I get it; it was already zoo-y with just the 8 guests plus Katie.  Twenty-five kids would have blown way out of control.  But choosing just 7 friends (one guest was going to be Jorge) was a sensitive topic, too.  We made it work.

DSC_6027.JPGWe did very simple but cute cupcakes. I found these cupcake papers with green polka-dot with pink trim and just made a yellow cake (tip: Betty Crocker tends to not put powdered milk in their cake mixes, so they're dairy-free.)  The green frosting was from a can, like Cheeze-Wiz.  These tend to also be dairy-free and my home-made dairy-free frostings are just as chemical-filled so store-bought spray-can frosting it is.

The white balls are just really big sprinkles (found in the cake-decorating section of Hobby Lobby) and the "holes" are chocolate chips pushed into the cakes upside down (Ghiradeli semi-sweets are dairy-free).   I used Powerpoint to made two identical adjacent isosceles triangles with green borders and an "8" in each, then copied and re-pasted it about 12 times.  We glued those around sandwich-picks (slightly longer and thicker than toothpicks) to make the flags.

As in years past, I made a very small round cake for the birthday kid, so it can accommodate candles.  Same batch of cake mix, just split it between a tiny round pan (about 5" diameter) and the rest made cupcakes.

For favors, I got green re-usable water bottles at Hobby Lobby, too.  I used a fine-tip paint-pen in white to write each kid's name on a bottle and then filled them with green-and-white gummy rings (apple flavor).  For the two kids with severe allergies, I put in bags of Skittles which I knew were safe for their lists of allergies. (I didn't get a photo of them all set up, but they're just getting them in the photo above and you can see 5 of them.  It's like Where's Waldo but drink bottles and easier.)


So, then there was the golf.  I like mini-golf a lot, but am constantly annoyed at the tiny pencil and score card.  I knew most of the kids wouldn't have pockets big enough to hold them, so this was the only other real effort we made for the party.  I bought 10 of those retractable badge-clip things.  Then Katie and I designed a score card for each kid to keep track of their own scores.

We printed these out as 4x6 and glued them to large index cards for stability.  I put some clear packing tape on one end of the card as reinforcement and did enough hole punches to make a slit for the badge clip.  Each kid could clip it on their waist or pocket and the pencil fit fairly snugly into the loop of the badge holder.  After each hole, they'd reel it out, mark their score, slide the pencil back in the loop, and let it back.  No cards blowing away, no handing the cards to everyone else to hold, easy peasy.  Plus, it allowed kids to form into and out of groups easily without being tethered to one score card across a set.  I had somewhat planned to do prizes for lowest score on each set of 6, overall, anyone with a hole-in-one (there were several), highest score on any hole, highest overall, etc; but the kids had so much fun just playing and I didn't want to bother.  So we just did a show of hands and cheering ("Raise your hand if you got a hole in one" CHEER!  "Raise your hand if you had any hole that had more than 6 tries"  WOW, SOME WERE SO TRICKY!  EVERYONE HAD A FRUSTRATING TURN OR TWO! (general agreement that the volcano hole was impossible)  Anyone have less than 100? CHEERS!  Less than 90? CHEERS!).

Everything went beautifully.  One girl didn't show up but we had, at the last moment, told another friend that his little brother could tag along so we filled our 8 guest limit.  The weather was a bit drizzly for the first 15 minutes but then was cool and gray but dry.


Katie had a great time and so did the guests.  Success.  Each guest was given a coupon for a free round of golf another day, so we'll be meeting up with friends for smaller-group golf dates all summer, I suspect!

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