After a low-key, family-only party last year, and numerous shared birthday parties in previous years, Charis and I decided it was definitely time for her to have her own party for her 11th birthday! It was so much fun to plan it with her. We picked Friday, October 14, and had an "almost over" (as in, not quite a sleepover) from 5:30 - 11 p.m. I offered her the choice of ordering pizza or having a home-cooked meal, and she actually chose a very healthy meal! (Don't worry, we'll get our share of junk when Arden has his party, LOL!)
Charis decided to have an autumn theme for the party, so the menu included pulled pork made in the crock pot, squash bake, inside-out apple pie, and cinnamon bread. She chose zucchini bars for her birthday cake, only we made them into muffins instead of bars so that each girl could frost her own and decorate it with chocolate chips and candy corn.
There were 7 other girls in attendance. One of them, Amberly, was Charis's best friend for awhile, and then her (military) family moved to Virginia. We had the opportunity to spend a day in Washington, D.C., with them when we did our big family trip last fall, but we hadn't seen each other since then. As it turned out, the D family had planned to come to Ohio for a few days anyway! The timing was just perfect, and Charis was thrilled that her dear friend could spend some time with her. (We got together with her family and the C family, mutual friends, the day before the party, so the girls got even MORE time together!) I was grateful that Angela and Brian were able to stay and help; Brian played with Lucan and Christopher, Amberly's little brother, and Angela was a huge help to me during our craft.
After dinner, the girls did a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood collecting non-perishable food items for a local food pantry. Each type of item was worth a certain number of points. The girls collected 4 bags full! They were so excited about what they were doing. I have no idea how the neighbors felt about it, LOL!
Then we did a craft--of course! We used the Big Shot and dies to create "thanks" banners, which you can see the girls holding up in the photo.
Then it was time for cake and presents. Charis requested zucchini bars with cream cheese frosting, so we made those into muffins and had the girls frost their own and decorate with chocolate chips and candy corn. I must say, Charis's friends know her very well--every single gift had something to do with crafting! One friend also gave her a couple of Beverly Cleary books, too. Some of the craft kits included a bottle cap jewelry kit, a scrapbooking kit, a flower-making kit, and I don't know what else. One girl even gave her 4 skeins of yarn! Charis has been in craft heaven, especially since there is so much more organized space in our craft room, thanks to Mimi's hard work while she was here! (I really wish I had taken BEFORE pictures so that I could post before and after shots!)
Then it was time to pile on the couch and watch The Princess Bride, and that took us to the end of the party! I nursed Zaden toward the end of the movie, and we all went to bed by 11:20 (Lucan was put to bed two hours before that) and slept in the next day! Even Zaden "slept in" until 6 am, which helped me recover from the party!
For more photos, go here.