Maggie asked for a puppy-themed 9th birthday party. My initial reaction was, “Aren’t you a little old for that?” But in my quest to be a less-controlling mother, I let it go and agreed that a puppy party was a brilliant idea. As usual, when I let my children take the lead on things like this (you know, things that matter hugely to them yet not at all in the grand scheme of life) it turned out great!
The invitation frustrated me at first, but once I found the right font it all came together. We made a few versions: one for the school girls who were invited for the slumber party, and another for the neighbor boys who wouldn’t stay the night. It was a slight change of wording, otherwise they looked the same:
I scoured Pinterest for cake ideas, and since I’m getting smarter I only pinned cakes I could actually replicate. With my skill set, that means fondant frosting is out. It’s beautiful, but what’s the point in showing Maggie all the beautiful cakes only a more talented mother could make? In the end, she chose this blissfully easy cupcake cake and we both felt good about it!
It took 24 cupcakes and minimal dye (just a little Wilton black coloring in the chocolate icing for the eyes, nose, and paw prints). Here is the approximate cupcake layout if you decide to make this cake:
My friend’s three-year-old daughter was at the party, and she said to me, “Staci, that was the goodest cupcake I ever ate in my whole life.” Look at how adorable she is and just imagine those words coming out of her little puppy mouth:
Oh the cuteness!!!! The face painting was a hit. All you need is white, black, and red paint to transform your party guests into adorable puppies!
A few weeks before the party, Maggie picked out a tiny stuffed dog for every party guest. We ordered these on Amazon.com because they were less expensive, shipped for free, and had better selection than we could find locally. Maggie created a little Pet Adoption center for the stuffies, and handed them out at the beginning of the party. She personally selected a breed she knew each child would love, and everyone was happy with their animals.
The kids named their new furry friends, and were invited to make a leash/collar and blanket at their leisure. The collars were created with a few simple supplies from the bead aisle at Michael’s: colored shoelace strings and a few small bags of beads (some with letters, some just decorative). They ended up being a bit long for collars and the girls either trimmed them or pretended they were leashes.
We also had squares of fleece fabric for the kids to make no-sew tie blankets for their dogs.
Lia got creative and tied two blankets together, and then used the strings from the collars to make a purse to carry her new furry friend!
For food, we grilled hot dogs (of course) and set out bowls of chips and plates of veggies. We just prayed the kids would eat more veggies than chips!
With eight kids spending the night, our saving grace was good weather. They spent 90% of the evening outside on their bikes or in the alders (which they still call “Monkeyville” and I still don’t fully understand). We did have a random cloud pass by that dropped graupel and borderline hail for about 30 minutes, but otherwise the weather was shockingly ideal for April in Alaska:
Eventually everyone came in for cake and gifts. The girls decided to eat their cake and ice cream like canines (this required massive cleanup) but the sound of their laughter was worth it!
In lieu of gifts, Maggie asked for dog toys… with the full disclosure that some would go to our dog Tess and the rest to Friends of Pets. I’m so glad we issued that disclosure, because Tess got into the donation bag the next morning. Sigh.
Maggie’s brother got her a dog encyclopedia – the very one she has had checked out from my library for months. She was thrilled, and I can finally return this very overdue book!
We wound down with a dog-themed movie – Because of Winn Dixie – and planned to serve popcorn (AKA “pupcorn”) but the kids played outside so long that the birthday cupcakes doubled as the snack instead. The movie was an absolute hit!
It was a pretty perfect paw-ty, complete with a little northern lights viewing right before bedtime. The girls slept until almost 9 the next morning, and Clark served them all his “world famous cinnamon rolls” for breakfast. From there they got dressed, brushed their teeth, and organized their gear before heading back outside to bike and play until parent pickup time around 11:00.
It’s taken a few days to recover…. the paw-ty part was easy, but an 8-kid-sleepover should be approached with the same caution as an untrained pit bull!