Maybe it’s because my parents were Depression-era folks and our family mantra was “keep it simple.” Or, maybe it’s because I am a glutton for punishment. But, I always gravitate toward hosting birthday parties at home. Walking with a friend one day, I listened as she grumbled about receiving numerous cancellations for her son’s birthday party, the day before the event. My immediate question? “Are you having a ton of kids at one of those bouncy places?”
She replied, “Well, yes I am.” Bingo. People tend to cancel when they think they won’t be missed. And, here’s the rub: I do believe if you are having a school party that you must include everyone. And don’t get me wrong, places like Centennial Sportsplex, Bounce U and other similar venues are the only places to have large class parties.
But, if you want to throw together a hodgepodge of kids from your neighborhood and family, a cake decorating party at home is a great concept. Geared toward GIRLS (I have three of them), this type of party is pretty easy to pull off, and better still, it doesn’t cost an arm and leg. I especially love that it speaks to the right side of the brain, encouraging creativity to shine through in many different ways.
My sister, Sarah, truly got the homemaker genes in our family. She is an exquisite seamstress, an exceptional cook and now, a talented cake decorator. I’m thinking the Home Ec. fairy must have passed me over when making her rounds, because I resist sewing on buttons, have scads of unfinished crocheting around the house and don’t see anything wrong with a store bought cake.
When it came time to plan a birthday celebration for my niece and daughter, though, I ignored my shortcomings in the domestic goddess department and decided to throw a cake decorating party.
My job was to order the cakes from Kroger (iced, $6.99 each) and Sarah’s job was to make tons of icing and teach our party guests some basic cake decorating skills. Each girl received a cute apron, cake decorating instruction sheets and the cake decorating tips (literally, tips to go on their pastry bags) to take home.
As Sarah demonstrated each of the critical cake decorating techniques from Wilton — flowers and figures, borders, roses and a good looking squiggle — I served up lemonade and offered words of encouragement.
With the exception of sending every single girl home with a sugar buzz, the party was a rousing success. I can’t tell you how much fun they had and how clever their designs were. Each girl attacked her cake in different ways. Some sketched their designs, some figured it out as they went, while others just had a natural knack for the art.
Here are some of their creations:
There were a few who decorated their faces instead of the cake, but who I am to hinder their creative flow.
If you decide to give this cake decorating party a whirl, check out the Wilton site for ideas, suggestions and helpful instructions on some of the basic techniques your birthday cake bosses will need to create their confectionery masterpieces.
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