“Maggie, I was thinking about what we should do for your birthday party. We could go to the zoo and have your friends come too and have treats there, or we could have a tea party and have your girlfriends over and everyone could wear fancy dresses, or we could have an Olympics party and have games in the backyard …”
“MAMA, why can’t we just have a party here at our house with my friends and have macaroni and cheese? And chocolate cake?”
So we did …
… but I wanted to make it just a little more festive, so I picked a butterfly theme.
The butterfly cake didn’t come out quite as pretty as what I saw on Pinterest, mostly because I didn’t really do the right things when I baked it ahead of time. I baked the cake Tuesday morning, and that evening I cut it into the butterfly shape, frosted it, and decorated it with M&Ms. I found it difficult to cut it neatly, and extremely difficult to frost the cut sides. When I thawed it Saturday morning, the color slowly bled from the M&Ms. It still looked OK, but it I had to do it over again, I would bake the cake and freeze the layers, then cut, frost & decorate it straight from the freezer.
(I was going to make a box cake, but on the day I wanted to bake I didn’t actually have any cake mix, so I ended up making the cake and frosting from scratch. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and was really pleased with it. The cake came together pretty easily and was very tasty; the frosting was dead simple and to die for. Highly recommended.)
We also made butterfly cupcakes, which were super easy – three M&Ms in the middle and a yogurt-covered pretzel on either side. Maggie helped me do these the morning of the party, and it was one of the best parts of the day.
Meanwhile, the butterfly decorations that I made with my women’s group actually were just as lovely and delightful as what I saw on Pinterest. Score!
I strung a bunch of butterflies on ribbon and hung them in the dining room; they all ended up upside down because the antenna made them top-heavy, but they still looked beautiful. We’re keeping them up all this week (because it’s not Maggie’s actual birthday yet) and then I intend to either decorate the girls’ bedroom with them, or save them for Easter decorations.
Pete found a butterfly birthday balloon at the grocery store when he went to get ice. It was fun – Maggie LOVES balloons and it wouldn’t be a festive birthday without one – but we neglected to tie or tape it somewhere as a decoration, so instead we periodically had kids fighting over who got to play with it. Oops. Lesson learned, balloons are decorations, not toys.
Pete and I both wanted all three of our girls to look as lovely as possible for the party, but Elizabeth insisted on this mismatched outfit. Really insisted. She doesn’t usually care all that much about what she wears, so I think she was just reacting to the craziness of the morning.
Rachel didn’t argue about her dress.
I had a ton of fun at Hobby Lobby the weekend before the party, picking out supplies for the butterfly mask craft. I meant to print masks with designs on them that I found online, but realized most of the kids at the party wouldn’t be old enough to color inside the lines anyway! So I freehanded a template and cut out twenty of them (again, with the help of my women’s group.)
The gemstone stickers did not come apart individually as I expected, so we had a bunch of butterfly masks with big sparkly pink rectangles on them instead of dainty sparkles artistically arranged in a symmetric pattern. Haha, this was a party for a five year old. Did I really expect these to look artistic? The kids had a ton of fun with it.
Here’s another Pinterest idea I wanted to do for the party:
… but I couldn’t do it outside because it was going to rain, so I put some newsprint on the dining room wall and then I was going to draw some really gorgeous butterfly wings, but I ran out of time, so I drew the outline and asked Maggie to decorate them while I gave Elizabeth a bath. Here’s how it came out:
Ha! And then we forgot to take any pictures of kids with these wings because our house was so crowded we couldn’t actually see them most of the time. The kids were also too busy crafting, eating, and playing with toys to notice or care about posing for pictures.
When we invited Maggie’s friends and their families, we requested that they not bring gifts, but I did mention that Maggie loves receiving cards. The cards her friends brought her, especially the handmade ones, were such a hit!
At the end of the day, I was really happy with what we were able to do for Maggie. It was really fun to make a pretty and delicious cake, and to make the house look beautiful, and to design a craft for her to do with her friends. But of course, all of those were just a bonus; the most important thing was that we had friends, macaroni & cheese, and chocolate cake.
Happy birthday Maggie!