A Challenge + A Celebration, haha! (Cricket’s Fifth Birthday Party)

I love a good challenge — and a good celebration — and Cricket’s fifth birthday party was both of those things all wrapped up into one big, beautiful day…back in March. So I’m behind in sharing, that’s mom life!

I always let my girls pick their party theme, and I try really hard to make whatever harebrained ideas they have come to life. (Which is fun, mostly because of the aforementioned love of a good challenge.) For her whole-hand birthday, Cricket declared she wanted a “Matilda and Kids Baking Championship”-themed fete. Good grief.

“Matilda” was easy — we’d watched the 90s movie one million times and read most of the book as a family in the months before Cricket decided on her theme. I LOVE Quentin Blake’s iconic ink-art illustrations that he did for all the classic Roald Dahl books, so I sketched out and added color to some of our favorite of Blake’s illustrations to make window decals, cupcake displays and coloring sheets. And since my girls don’t think a party is official without a piñata (sigh), I turned an Amazon box into the actual book with his front-cover artwork with some tissue paper and festooning. We topped the cake with a figurine I made of Matilda and her beloved books, and then added a couple nods to the story with gummy newts (ewww) and Cheerio treat bars (like the ones Matilda learns to levitate in the movie) to the food table. And voila — party theme? Check!

And as for “Kids Baking Championship?” Well, that seemed like a no-brainer as well! (Every party needs an activity, right?) Since the Shove girls are all about messy, creative, colorful, SWEET projects — and are majorly competitive — we had our own little cake decorating championship.  I always try to make things pretty, creative and easy, so I just bought naked cakes from our grocery store along with pints of Pillsbury frosting and gave the girls as many sprinkle options as their hearts could desire.

It was a messy storm of sugar and laughter watching 16 preschool girls fancify their very own cakes, which was exactly what I envisioned. I don’t usually do a traditional goodie bag, so this year I got a bolt of suuuuper cheap clearance fabric and made the girls aprons to wear and then take home. (Just don’t look too closely because, yeesh, my sewing skills are about a 4/10 — just good enough to be dangerous, haha!) Of course Cricket wanted to be the judge, so after all the desserts were covered in frosting and confections, each guest “presented” their cake to the birthday girl…who gave each and every one of them a ribbon because everyone should win when it’s a party!

Even though it was a dreary and cold March day as we celebrated Cricket’s big day, I love that this party represented so much of who she is — bright, colorful, messy, creative and (sometimes) sweet. (And don’t worry, she’s ALREADY declared her sixth birthday party theme…wait for it…a surprise party!)

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