Monday, January 19, 2009

May the Force be with you...

Gavin's 8th birthday
...and any other parent who is throwing their child a birthday party. It's crazy...I am crazy...I need therapy. Martha Stewart has ruined me for life because it all started with her. She made it look so damn easy and convinced me it was. And not only that, convinced me that it was a good thing. Soon so many things became a necessary good thing. Where did that come from? And how did I become such a person that would get sucked into such a thing? Well, what I know about myself is this:
  • I have always had champagne taste and beer money.
  • I want my children to have good memories of birthdays & holidays.
  • I love being creative.

So some cable network needs to hire me to do a show called, "On the cheap" because I've got it down to almost a science. I was going to write I had it down to a science but I really have to leave that recognition to Kevin and second runner up, Erin. I come in third definitely. But they inspire me to keep being cheaper yet maintain my dignity. Thus we come to Gavin's birthday party.

Until now, we've lived in a city...a real city. When one aspires to have the perfect birthday party one must live in a real city...even one in the Midwest will do...or plan very far ahead. I wasn't asking for much...a little star confetti, a black table cloth, and some plain cellophane bags. But what I got was big stars, clearanced black material and blue paper bags. These things along with some "Clone Wars" napkins, two Star Wars figurines, and a "Clone Wars" poster became the decorations for the party. Certainly no "tablescape" here. What a terrible word I might add. I cringe every time I hear Sandra Lee on Semi-Homemade Cooking utter the word. I swear she is a poster child for Stepford Wives.

As most of you know, our house is little. Our house is a very very very fine house but it is getting smaller by the minute. Not a house for an eight year old boy's birthday party. So our kind friends Michael and Karen offered to let us host the party at their house. Not only that but Michael creates the most kick a** pizzas that he offered to make for the party. Yummmm. All I had to do now was invitations, goody bags and cake.

Gavin, as you can tell by the pictures and possibly, some of this post, wanted a Star Wars party. So I decided to make it a Jedi Training Academy party. We invited four padawans and their parents. They became Jedi Knights after two training sessions. The first was light saber training where they had to keep a balloon up with a light saber. The one who did it the longest won. The second training was decoding a secret message sent from the Jedi Council by finding asteroids (aluminum foil balls) and finding the hidden word inside the asteroid. The message was, "It is now time to eat cake!".

The cake was along the theme of the Light and Dark side. So I used Wilton's Fanci-fill cake pan and made a chocolate cake with white mint chocolate chip ice cream. I iced one side with chocolate icing and the other half with white icing. You can see in the picture above where Gavin is looking like he is training for the Dark side the finished cake. I also made edible light sabers by dipping pretzel rods in red or blue colored white chocolate and wrapping the other end in foil. They were fun and tasty too!

Best of all, the adults got to drink wine and have adult conversation. The kids seemed content to play with one another, sing "Happy Birthday", eat a little cake, open a couple presents, get goody bags, and then play some more. We were all home by 7:30 p.m. and the only thing that got broken was a wine glass by an errant light saber swing by an inexperienced padawan.

All this was fun and celebrated my oldest son's birth. But there were many moments throughout the day where he would lament the people missing that he loves so much. So know dear readers that many of you are loved fiercely by an eight year old boy of very few words but a very big heart. The Force is definitely with him.
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