The party was Saturday night. The cooking-themed activities were in honor of Little S's obsession with mixing any substance she can get her hands on in the kitchen (I often find her in there with various vessels full of "soups" - bowls filled with milk, juices, dressing, condiments, curry sauce, shredded cheese, spices from the spice rack, etc.)
The kids each got to decorate a chef's hat, wear oilcloth aprons, and make bagel faces and their own pizzas (I also had sugar cookies to decorate, but we didn't have time). We played food games: 1. a tricycle-marshmallow relay where each kid rode a tricycle while carrying a measuring cup full of marshmallows to his team's cup-o-mallows, dumped the mallows in, and rode the trike back to the next kid on his team; 2. pumpkin bowling with real bowling pins; 3. tortilla toss - D drew a funny big-mouthed face on poster board and the kids tossed tortillas into the mouth frisbee-style. Then there was the usual running around the yard like a little gang of hooligans with Little S often acting as the ring-leader. We had lasagna, salad and breadsticks for the adults. A friend recommended the lasagna recipe on the back of the Barilla no-boil lasagna package and it is quite tasty!
Finally, the cake. We borrowed the giant cupcake cake pan from a friend - I guess there's an infomercial for this item, but you can also get it at Target/Walmart. I made the chocolate cake and vanilla butter cream frosting from scratch - total scratch on the cake, meaning no Kitchen-Aid, meaning I melted bittersweet chocolate over the stove and whisked the ingredients together in various bowls. And it was great! The bottom of the cupcake fell out of the pan in 4 large pieces, couldn't be used for the party, and D was stoked that we had to eat it (I baked 2 small rounds for the bottom, instead). When all was said and done I ended up doubling the cake recipe twice and doubling the frosting recipe twice. About two hours before the party I was wondering why I was doing all of this craziness, but once the party started and we were all having a great time, I didn't give it a second thought.
Aunt L was the first guest to arrive
Her Daddy made this giant card for her actual bday earlier in the week - yes, he drew it himself
Bagel face creations
She ran inside when she thought we were going to sing to her - so we sang without her there
One of the only shots I have with the cousins in it
When it got too cold outside, the kids broke inside. So I asked Cousin M to try a puppet show for the young ones - it lasted a few minutes until they all grabbed puppets and tried it themselves.