Kids’ b-day parties

I love to create birthday parties for kids at home, the possibilities are endless and the time with your kids is priceless. The tradition of having my kid’s birthday parties at home every year started from necessity, Jessica’s and Nicholas’ dates of birth are, Jan 1, and Aug 13 respectively, and all the fun spots and party venues were either closed or booked solid so I became a home party master.

At Jessie’s party this Jan(she turned 18 and is heading off to college), I listened as she and her friends talked,(at what I thought would be my last homey get together with this gang), about which weekends they would all be home from college and able to get together.I started feeling sad and getting quietly emotional until I heard one of the gang say, ” don’t forget that we’re always together at Jess’ house for her b-day”.

Here are some tips for throwing a kids’ b-day party at home:

Stay organized, and keep it simple, and you’ll have the best party and most fun:

-Confine and focus your party in one area of your home or yard

-Organize games and activities and do them with the kids

-Pick a theme and co-ordinate games, activities, and decorations to match

-Keep party to 2-3 hours

-Keep the food simple

-Make the cake and ice cream an event

-Pinatas and party poppers are always fun

-Have an indoor back up plan for outdoor parties

-Think about making goody thank you’s, like candy apples, or fudge, if you buy something how about a ticket to a local movie theater, go carts, mini golf, skating rink,etc.

-Always set party up the day before, only leave the food and fun for the day of the party

Over the years we’ve played musical chairs, tag, volley ball, bocce ball, ring toss, horse shoes, charades, pin the tail on the donkey, pin the nose on the snowman, arm on the skeleton. We’ve had races (3 leg, swimming, relay), water balloon fights, treasure and scavenger hunts (frisbees, cards, jump ropes, slinkys, barrel of monkeys, balls, sand pails, bubbles-there are many fun toys at the dollar store to use for prizes in hunts and races). We’ve had activity stations like face painting, tattoos(temporary), nail painting, hair do’s. Last but not least ice cream is fun so make an activity out of it, we’ve made ice cream sundae’s in small sand pails(pool party), to a killer sundae bar(converted a backyard gazebo into a candy shop, to having Mr. Softee pull right into our driveway.(the older kids may prefer sushi to popcorn chicken but at any age the ice cream truck is welcome)- use paper everything, and give the kids a buck to pick up after the party!

Your Basic Cake recipe

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.

Use either one 13×9 inch rectangular pan,  two standard 9″ round cake pans, or one cupcake



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cups salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light cream
  • 3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large eggs


  • Add all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and blend with electric mixer on low until combined.
  • Turn mixer to high speed for 3 minutes, pour into greased and floured pans of your choice.
  • If using a rectangular pan, bake for 40-45 minutes, two rounded pans, 30-35 minutes, or a cupcake pan 20-25 minutes or until top springs back when touched or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Here’s a great recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from, which would go well on this cake.

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Rachael Ray