Amelia wanted to have a cat party with her friends this year, but I wasn't sure I wanted to have a big to-do after the craziness of her party last year. After some discussion about why she wanted to have a big party (her answer - so that she could play with her friends from school), we decided to have a smaller party, where she could invite only 5 friends from school and where she would request donations to the Humane Society instead of presents. She colored and wrote the invitations herself, while I added the printed text:
When her friends arrived, they could choose their own cat ears and cat tails and get their face painted like a cat by the lovely and talented Aunt Becky. Here's the birthday girl with her friends Emma, Gia, Aiden, Noah, Natalie and Gwen.
When the kids came inside the house, they found that the house had been covered in yarn, and each kitty girl or boy had to follow their own color yarn to find the hidden mouse toy at the end. Most of the kids were able to wind up the yarn themselves, but Megan needed some help. This was a fun activity for 6 and 7 year olds, and it took about 15 minutes. It probably took Becky and I no more than 30 minutes to set it all up, although it would have taken less time if the blue yarn hadn't been so tangled. I attached the starting end of the yarn to a strip of thick cardboard for the kids to wind the yarn up on. We got it finished about an hour before the party started, and it meant that all of us had to climb over and under the yarn to finish setting up for the party and put Nathaniel down for a nap. Nathaniel didn't quite know what to make of all the yarn!
Then each kid got to adopt their own stuffed animal cat, fill out an adoption certificate, and make the cat its own kitty collar with beads and pipe cleaners. Everyone but Gwen had a good time with this activity; I heard a few girls say "This is the best birthday party ever" while they were playing with their cats.
Everyone got to make their own cat food snack mix with various types of goldfish and Swedish fish. Then we played cat picture bingo with some bingo cards that I made up. The kids used their goldfish snack mix as bingo markers. Aunt Becky hand made beautiful bag toppers that we stapled on after they'd eaten some snack mix so that they could take the rest home. Thanks, Becky!
After everyone used Sharpies to color cat shaped sun catchers while eating a healthy fruit snack, they had some time to play on the playset outside.
Then we had birthday cake - this time Amelia requested a chocolate cake with white frosting. After the problems I had with the cake last year, I bought two boxes of cake mix and three bags of powdered sugar. I didn't need the extras, though, this cake came together very nicely. I did have to do a crumb coat followed by a top frosting layer, because I was trying to make a white cat out of a chocolate cake. I ended up doing a double batch of frosting, and I used almost all of it (6 cups powdered sugar, 2 sticks butter, 6 tbsp milk, 2 tsp vanilla).
Jane had helped me turn balloons and paper lanterns into cute little hanging kitties, and Aunt Becky made little cat ears for the cups and the plates, so the table looked really cute:
Even though Amelia had requested donations for the Humane Society, most of the girls still brought her presents. She did get quite a few cat toys, a bunch of cans of cat food, a litter box scooper, and a monetary donation for the Humane Society, so she was very excited about that. We still haven't taken the donations there yet, but we will do that later this week. She was happy to have some presents to open, too. Natalie and Noah gave her a mosaic stained glass window kit (which Megan was also very excited about), some Madlibs, and a needlepoint kit (which she hasn't opened yet). Her friends gave her a tie-dye kit and a white shirt, some modeling clay, and a few outdoor toys. She and Megan have been playing with the modeling clay a lot lately.
Amelia had a fantastic time at her party, and even told me thanks for letting her have a party, so I'm glad we had one. Other than Gwen deciding she didn't want to participate in anything (thanks, Brian, for keeping an eye on her outside the entire time!), everything went really well. The girls (and Noah) were well-behaved, had fun with all the games and activities, and got along very nicely. It was so much better than last year!
Notes for next year:
-- Two hours is the perfect length for a party
-- Four friends, two cousins and one sister were the perfect number of guests
-- Having 6 adults for 9 children was fantastic! See if grandparents can come up for all parties.
-- Guests will bring presents, even when donations are requested
-- Let trick candles burn for a minute before blowing them out. That's much longer than singing Happy Birthday. Otherwise, they won't relight.
-- Coloring sun catchers with Sharpies was a great idea. Everyone had fun, and it was cheap and easy. Try to remember to order sun catchers from Oriental Trading well in advance so that you don't have to go to four different Walmart stores to find enough for all the kids.
-- Ask Becky to design bag toppers on her computer prior to the party so that all we have to do is print them out.
-- A cat theme is very easy to plan and inexpensive, and all the kids loved it.