Back in 1996, for Katie's 11th birthday and Ali's 9th, we had a party -- a party with a theme! My love for themed parties was most definitely cemented with this one.
The girls were each allowed to invite four friends, for a total of 10 partiers. The theme, if you haven't already guessed, was cooking. I'd cut up some old, stained, white tablecloths to make aprons for each girl -- zig-zagging in red around the edges and sewing on red ribbon ties, and writing their names with that liquid embroidery stuff.
Upon arrival, each girl accordion-folded big sheets of sturdy paper to make her own chef's hat. I prepped beforehand, and supervised during, but they basically did all the cooking. They made their own pita pizzas with whatever toppings they desired, skewered some fruit kabobs, and made and decorated individual "birthday cakes" in ice cream cone cups.
All the games were food-themed, as were all the party favors and prizes. I remember having a BLAST getting all that stuff -- refrigerator magnets, spaghetti forks*, food-shaped candles, I don't remember what all else, except that each girl took her loot home in a brightly colored, re-usable, cotton string market bag. We still have a couple of those bags floating around at our house.
It always made me feel good to know that regardless of how their friendships fared -- some better than others as they moved through middle and high schools -- this party tied them together. Over the years, it would sometimes, randomly, come up in conversation betwixt them, and always be deemed THE BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER! I believe it was a sleep-over, too. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!
I ran across these photos the other day -- all taken "before." One of these days I'll find the "after" batch -- taken after they did all the cooking -- and they all look like little butchers because they'd wiped their pizza sauce hands on their aprons. Anyway, from my standpoint, too, it definitely was one of the best ever!
I found the jewel, above, while doing some dusting last Saturday -- exactly 23 years after it was taken.
*Decidedly old-school, I guess. I tried to find a link, but they're all electric, motorized, or automatic! These spaghetti forks had a long handle that was twisted; one tine was slightly longer than the rest, allowing for good twirl action, and it worked by grasping the top of the fork handle between thumb and forefinger and sliding the fingers down. The fork would twirl easily on the longer tine and pick up spaghetti as it rotated. We still have a couple of those in a drawer, too.