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Countdown to the birthday party – is it over yet?

My kids’ birthdays are in December, March and May, so the good news is our birthday parties are almost over for the year. The not-so-good news is that this Friday is the grand finale – my daughter’s eighth birthday party. Of course I’m half kidding. I love celebrating my children’s birthdays and seeing them have a good time with their friends and family, but I have to admit, ridiculous as it may seem, it is a stressful day. 

As proof, I was helping my daughter look through some old pictures for a school project last night and came across a number of old birthday party photos from past years. Without a doubt every picture of me shows me leaning over the birthday child with the cake or cupcakes, stressed smiling face, sweat glistening off my face. These of course are the only photos taken of me because the one time I hand over the camera is when I am serving the cake……

Another  birthday dilemma when you have multiple children is teaching the siblings to share the spotlight with the birthday girl or boy. My six year old daughter’s birthday was in March and the long day concluded with her older sister sobbing because the birthday girl got so many gifts (she had a lot of kids at her party) and her sweet birthday girl sister piling her presents on her crying sister’s bed to appease her. It was a sad scene.

That said, this Friday is the end of the season. I have run the gamut of birthday party options – parties at our house, and parties off site (skating, bounce house places, gymnastics, tea parties). My soon-to-be eight year old wanted a slumber party, for which I don’t quite think we are quite ready. I have fond memories of slumber parties – someone going home crying, trying levitation and I was the one who was dropped, up all night and coming home gray and exhausted.

So my solution was to have an “Almost Sleepover.” She invited seven friends this Friday from 5:00 – 9:00 pm and the invitation said to bring their pajamas and sleeping bags. We will have pizza, do some kind of craft (I am thinking painting pillow cases – I need to get on that – could be a mess), sleeping bag races, I wanted to do s’mores outside on our outside fire pit (but of course it is predicted to rain – indoor s’mores? fire hazard?), and a movie. That should probably take us to about 7:45. Wish me luck and send me your ideas. I’ll read them after I’m finished making 50 chocolate chip cookies on lollipop sticks for the birthday girl’s class on Thursday. Is birthday season over yet?

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Rachael Ray