The birthday was quickly approaching and we had done NOTHING to get anything, especially not a birthday party, organised. Sound familiar?
In fact, I was out of the country till 3 days before. So what do we do for our soon to be 9 year old?- I fretted. At the 8 going on 9 birthdays are the event of the year, they are critically important. We had to organise something- something small, but significant!
The craziness of our schedules meant that it could only be on the Friday and unless we did it 3 days after my return from abroad, it was going to have to be over a month later (due to prior commitments, school holidays and more work abroad).
So the plan was born:
A film night and sleepover birthday party!
Hold on! -I hear you gasp for air at the thought of having more kids and overnight too
…. But the plan is genius…let me explain:
- A sleepover birthday party is small, since you can’t invite the whole class! Everyone understands this, including your little darling (Hugo was allowed to invite 4 of his friends- one couldn’t make it, so he invited another the day before, who did come.)
- A film night birthday party needs no party games
- It’s totally legitimate to enroll the digital babysitter, aka the TV, to entertain the guests
Have I got your interest yet?
Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash
Birthday party invitations
Nothing fancy needs to go out! It’s a small select group, so just write a personal email to each of the parents. Afterall, they are entrusting their kids for an overnighter at yours. Also you want to get the lowdown on the after hours antics of their little sweetheart.
Keep it simple! It’s a film night with a sleepover, only theme is for the kids to wear PJs. If the film they are watching isn’t a secret, they could all dress as characters.
For 7-9 year olds I had to choose a U rated film, that’s newly released and has decent reviews. Personally, I kept my choice of film a secret, which added to the fun.
Don’t be tempted by requests for PG rated (or higher) movies, some kids are more timid than others. Thatis unless you know your little guests very well. I know mine are more timid.
Actually, for us, the idea of a film night came from our timing constraints- Hugo and his friend had sports club until 7pm- so I knew we had a late start. Not the usual time for a kid’s birthday party, but it works!
Fridays are good: Kids are tired and often have all sorts of clubs the following day- they’ll fall asleep somewhat sooner and they’ll be picked up early next morning. (You hope! 😉 )
As a compromise for our late start I decided to pick the kids up and then pick Hugo and his friend up from the sports club. Driving home, the party had already begun with the radio blaring and the kids singing in the back. It was 7:30pm by the time we got home.
Easiest party food: pizza.
(Photo by Carissa Gan on Unsplash)
Most kids love pizzas, so it’s and easy choice. I’d prepared ham and cheese pizzas.
Before I left for the pick up I’d set the oven ready with pizzas. An oven with a timer that switches off is great for times like this!)
On our arrival home the pizzas were waiting.
I also sliced up some tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and had some olives (my son’s favourite) and sweetcorn. The kids could nibble from those too.
As the birthday party had no real theme I didn’t have the pressure to prepare any sort of themed cake. Last year’s Pokemon cake had whacked me out. Instead I asked Hugo what flavour cake he’d like on the Friday morning.
Chocolate and strawberries, came the answer.
“Perfect!”- I thought to myself- “That’s easy!”
Lurking in the larder was a pack of Chocolate fudge cake mix (I always keep some in there), I reached for it knowing it will be delicious and easy. I made up the cake mix, needing to add just 3 ingredients and baked it for the prescribed 55 minutes, then let it cool.
Once cool, I sliced the cake in half and added strawberry jam and sliced frozen strawberries to the middle.
I made up some chocolate ganache. Again super easy: warm up (take care not to boil) a tub of double cream and add a bar or two of chocolate. Stir till it is smooth and all chocolate is melted into the cream.
The ganache was left to cool a little, then I spread it over the top and the sides of the cake. To add some interest I sprinkled the top with chocolate sprinkles.
I could’ve made life simpler by buying a ready-made cake or complicated life further by opting for a themed cake. I pondered putting some Skylander figures onto the cake, but decided against it. Had I been organised enough, I could’ve ordered some cake toppers from Amazon.
The cake was a hit! It’s very rich, so kids only had small slices. (If the theme fits, you could always make a Knight’s castle cake)
While they finished the cake I quickly prepared the film. (Oh did I mention that Dadonthebrink had a work dinner he had to attend so I was the only adult in the house?!)
Then, while I tied up a little after the kids finished, the kids jumped and dance a little. (We have an IKEA disco ball, which isn’t used very often. My children really enjoyed having it on and showing their friends.) They then went and changed into their PJs.
Photo by Lorene Farrugia on Unsplash
We pulled the sofa out, I took lots of cushions down, all our sheepskin rugs and our stash of blankets. After a surprise of playing the Happy Birthday song by Hugo’s favourite characters- the Skylanders- on Netflix, amidst lots of giggles, I started the film. There was a little nattering here and there, but mostly quiet.
We have a small television and I could’ve made the birthday party even cooler if I’d had a projector… but to be honest, the kids were as happy watching on our 40 inch screen.
15 minutes into the film I served up popcorn and also settled down to watch the film.
It was 9:30pm by the time the film was finished. The kids begged to watch something else. So I allowed them one episode of Skylanders.
Then it was bedtime
First everyone brushed their teeth and all piled onto the mattresses on the floor. Lights off and the nattering continued till just after midnight, despite several requests for quiet from me…. But that was OK. I was happy that they’d all settled, there’d been no arguments about who’s sleeping where.
The kids continued chattering and giggling, being warned a couple of times, till we’d all gone to bed and I switched off my lights. I then gave them a final warning: ” Quiet now! It’s past midnight!” I heard giggles, but they were obviously pleased as pleased with themselves as they were tired, as soon there was quiet… Till 7am.
The morning after
The kids all got up within half an hour of eachother, filtering slowly downstairs. They chilled watching TV, chatting and playing, while we, adults, had a leisurely wake up.
We then had bacon and eggs for breakfast, followed by some leftover cake, before dropping everyone off at home around mid morning.
Such an easy birthday party! And one that the kids are still talking about a week later.
What’s the easiest kids’ birthday party you’ve organised?
… And no, a quiet family party does not count! 🙂
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