Last weekend we celebrated my daughter’s sixth birthday. As it is with every passing birthday, it is so hard to believe it’s been so long since she was just a chunk of a baby, laid up in my arms.
Nevertheless, the time came for us to celebrate her again, and this year she chose a Shirley Temple theme for her party. She has been exposed to Shirley Temple through my dear friend Judi, who dotes on my kids like they were her own grandchildren and has occasionally kept them up very late watching Shirley sing and dance. When we first started talking about doing the party, I took to Pinterest where I found… very little. But over time the party took shape and so following is what we ended up with.
I do want to say that the reason I’m sharing this is not so I can be all “Heyyyyy look how crafty I am.” Here's why I wanted to put it out there:
1. Lots of us wonder how to keep little girls sweet in a world that wants to sexualize them too early. I latched onto this theme because it is sweet and innocent and I think that not only do mindful parents want that, but our children do too! When I went to look for ideas they weren't there, so I'm sharing some for someone else who might want them.
2. I also have struggled with the increasing price and over-the-top-iness of children’s birthday parties. But every time I again commit to having a party at our home and limiting the budget somewhat, I end up quite pleased with what I can come up with, with a little internet research time and some work. I want to encourage anyone interested to give that a try instead of just feeling like you have to keep up with everyone else.
My family’s go-to cake is the Hershey’s Especially Dark Chocolate Cake. You can find the recipe here or on the back of the box of Special Dark Cocoa. I cannot recommend this cake enough—it is AMAZING and very easy to make. I have done more extensive cake decorating in the past but for this, I just made some white chocolate shaving ‘curls’ for the cake. Cost: Under $9 for cake, white chocolate, and candles.
THE TABLE AND FAVORS:
I decorated the table with some leftover tulle and ribbons I had, and then all the candy from the song The Good Ship Lollipop:
On the good ship lollipop.
Its a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.
Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar.
See the sugar bowl do the tootsie roll
With the big bad devils food cake.
If you eat too much ooh ooh
You'll awake with a tummy ache.
Bonbons, peppermints, lollipops, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate bars…basically everything but the lemonade. The girls each got a bag and filled it with the candy to take home. This was the biggest expense of the party but, oh well. Cost (including bags): $15
…and the reason we didn’t do lemonade was because I wanted to make the Shirley Temple floats I’d found on Pinterest. Ginger Ale, Vanilla Ice Cream, Maraschino Cherries and their juice. I put them in the crystal we got when we got married so it felt very fancy. I wasn’t sure how the little girls would like them (I myself don’t like cherry-flavored things) but they slurped them down. Cost: $7 for ice cream, ginger ale, maraschino cherries
I had toyed with rag-curling their hair for the party but that just seemed like too much work, so I decided to make them “wigs” using headbands and curling ribbon. I got the cheapest headbands they had at Target and a big roll of gold curling ribbon. I then spent quite some time cutting the ribbon, tying it on the headbands, and curling it. I stupidly thought this might be a project my kids were old enough to help me with if they used kiddie scissors but right off the bat there were tears and a cut, so, um, no.
This was by far the most time-consuming part of the party. Thankfully it is pretty mindless and everything else was easy. I ended up using about 60 pieces of curling ribbon on each headband. Each piece was about 12-15 inches long; I didn’t do hardcore measuring on it because that seems like work, but it also ended up that the pieces weren't completely uniform--a good thing in my opinion. But anything shorter than 12-15 inches and you’ll end up with tiny bits of curl. Cost: $6.50 for headbands and curling ribbon.
THE TAP SHOES:
Right when the girls got to the house I showed them a bunch of YouTube videos of Shirley Temple singing and tap-dancing. I then showed them how to do the simplest of simple tap steps (which I had looked up on YouTube the night before. Mama don’t tap dance.)
Then we made temporary tap shoes. I found a DIY guide to making tap shoes, but it called for using metal washers, which will certainly destroy hardwoods. So I went to Michael’s and got a bag of big plastic buttons and some cheap yarn. Then at the party I enlisted some (very patient)parents to help thread the yarn through the buttons and we tied a button to the front and the back of the bottom of the girls’ shoes. Then they ran around the house making noise until inevitably the buttons slipped off and we had to re-tie them. It was cheap, and fun, and they got a feel for the joy you get when your shoes go tappity-tap. Mission accomplished. Cost: $6 for buttons + yarn
Then we ate the cake and opened presents and the party was done. My daughter felt celebrated and her friends enjoyed themselves. I don’t know that anyone will be wearing their Shirley Temple curls around town, but maybe that’s a good thing. ;)
Encouragement Spoken Here
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11