My daughter’s birthday party snuck up on me after several weeks of not feeling the best. I found myself scrambling to make sure we were ready for the party and got out her list of birthday party ideas. Gluten-free cake with homemade buttercream, check. Raspberry lemonade made with sparkling water, check. Cat theme decor? Oh dear. I had nothing! She picked two colors for her birthday – pink and black, and we made a quick stop at Dollar Tree, and I ordered a couple of supplies from Amazon.
Next, she showed me that she wanted to do candy games at her birthday party. Likely much to the shock of some of my readers, I happily took her candy shopping. Sure, we kept the amount and size of the candies limited, but she’s no longer sensitive to food dyes, so we sometimes splurge now! (But we’ve done all dye-free parties in the past – like this one, How to Throw a Frozen Birthday Party without Gluten, Dye or Eggs). I still like my homemade and healthier candies better, but I was happy to buy store bought for her as a special treat. (She ate a couple of small pieces the day of her party and hasn’t had any since. She’s pretty self-controlled!)
Birthday parties appear to my children’s love language, so we try to make it special and memorable. We’ve also learned that we have to make our homemade cakes and cookies sweeter when we serve them to guests as not everyone is as used to our “gently sweetened” baked goods.
Her party was sweet (literally and figuratively) and lots of fun. In fact, she told me it was her favorite birthday party ever! It just goes to show that keeping things simple, but keeping the most important things to your child are what make it fun for both parent and child.
Here’s what we did.
First, our craft which was unrelated to the theme: Mini Terrariums! These turned out so amazing! We bought these little jars from Amazon, and then my husband’s dad supplied us with the rest of the Terrarium supplies from his shop. It was definitely the highlight of the party, and it was fun to send each girl home with their own little terrarium. I made one for myself too.
She chose a Cat and Candy Themed party.
I’m no artist, but I do enjoy arts and crafts. So despite my very apparent deficiencies, I put together some simple decorations. I made this little cat banner using construction paper and this adorable twine .
While not Pinterest perfect, she LOVED it, and that’s what counts.
I recently bought a chalkboard and drew a simple cat outline on it. I also made a little sign for our door that coordinated with the chalkboard and some of the food ideas. Those two things along with streamers and paper pink and black tissue decorations from dollar tree made up our decor.
Food for our Cat Themed Party
- Gluten-free cake with buttercream (Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting)
- Raspberry Lemonade made with sparkling water
- Cat-themed marshmallows
- Mouse strawberries and cheese slices
To go with the cat theme, I used cocoa powder and powder sugar to make a cat outline on the top of the two cakes. I also made a tiny little banner for one the cakes.
For the mice, I used strawberries cut in half lengthwise and then used dairy-free white chocolate chips for the ears (I would provide a link, but I can’t find the brand online, sadly. You could use regular chocolate or white chocolate chips, or sliced almonds). For the tails we used a sweet and sour fruit roll up we got in the bulk section at a local store. We just had to thinly slice them for the tail shape. I’m thinking that any red fruit leather could work! They were pretty cute!
We used Trader Jo marshmallows to make these cat-themed marshmallows on a stick. We used these edible food markers and these adorable Birch Tree Paper straws. We usually use these delicious and slightly healthier marshmallows!
Again, none of it is very amazing or artistic, but she was happy with all of it, and so I was happy with it too.
Candy Party Games
The candy games were so much fun!
First, we played Candy Bingo.
This is like normal bingo, but we used M & Ms for the place markers. You got to keep your M & Ms and the winner got a candy award.
Then we played Candy Pick Up. Each child was given about 20 Skittles, and they had to use straws to suction the Skittles and drop them into a little Dixie cup. This game was hilarious to watch, and the kids got really into it! The winner was the first one to complete it (We gave them 40 seconds total).
Then we played Candy Memory. Under the Dixie cups, we had single pieces of wrapped candies. Everyone took turns picking two cups up to look for a match and then hiding the candy again before the next person went. If you found a match, you got one more turn.
Finally, we had a Balloon Popping Game! In some balloons were two small pieces of candy, in others were a few sprinkles (you can use glitter, but we wanted to something biodegradable). They took turns popping the balloons with wooden kitchen skewers. This was the birthday girl’s favorite game!
This was one of the easiest parties I have planned because we kept the food simple, and the games simple and because I didn’t try to make everything from scratch. I love to have a completely DIY and 100% healthy parties for my kids, but this year, it was important for our soul’s health and our families health that we didn’t overextend ourselves.
We were rewarded with such a nice party where it seemed everyone had a really fun time, a very happy birthday girl, and parents who were only hustling a little bit to get it ready in time. I call that a huge success – candy and all.
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Kim…looks like a really fun party with delicious treats! How wise of you to relax your standards for one day and enjoy your daughter’s birthday. I love all your creative ideas! The balloon game looks especially fun…how did you attach the balloons?
I hope you are feeling better now…thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the sweet words! Regarding the balloon game, we just taped them to the wall. The trick is getting balloons dark enough to hide which ones contain candy. 😉
You did a fantastic job creating such a beautiful and fun-filled birthday party for your daughter. I think you were very creative and it all looked great. Your daughter and her friends had a great time so that is all that matters.
Thanks so much, Sharon, for your sweet words! I appreciate it!
Thanks for sharing your party games. My son’s turning 9 soon and we’ll be doing the Skittles & balloon-pop games for sure. I think it will be hilarious to get the adults in on the Skittles game!
Fun! We loved the candy games. They were a lot of fun. Hope you guys have a great party!
I love the cats!! My son has asked for a Super Mario theme this year. I tend to overwhelm myself with the parties but they are fun. I am going with a box mix for the cake. I made a chocolate quinoa cake for my ten year old’s party and it was crumbly. So disappointing! I hope you are feeling well!
It can be so hard to get the perfect texture – especially when using gluten-free ingredients! To make life easier, I’ve been using a GF muffin mix for cakes. It works surprisingly well for me! Especially with a sweet homemade buttercream. Yum!
Fabulous birthday party! I once overheard one of our sons tell a friend, ” We never get to eat bakery cake. Our birthday cakes are always homemade.” He was 8 yrs old at the time, and it was a complaint; verbal dismay on “neeeever” and “home”. Needless to say, his next birthday cake was a bakery-made cake. He was thrilled and very surprised. Life is short, ladies. I am an empty-nester now, so I tell you….LIVE and make memories. Cake and candy, on occasion, are just fine and apparently they taste waaaay better than homemade, to a child 🙂
Aw, that’s so cute! We also bought a gluten-free cake from a bakery once for Elena’s birthday party. It was expensive, but so special! (Now she likes to help make her cakes. 🙂 )
You have the best timing! My daughter wants a cat and mouse themed party next month and I have done zero planning for it so far. Looking forward to stealing some of your great ideas!
Great! So glad it was helpful. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your birthday party. You are too hard on yourself, this was very creative, yet simple.
I think sometimes Pinterest causes us to compare and the standard is high. ( I am speaking to myself too. I love the ideas on Pinterest and love looking through it, but I must be careful to not set the standard high and let it rob me of my joy)
I love your game ideas. I pray you get better and that the Father will touch you with His healing hands.
Miss seeing you.
Aw, thanks Tarrie! You made me glad I shared my imperfect pictures. 🙂
And thank you for the prayers too!
KIMI…ADORABLE! This makes my heart so happy! Love everything. The simple cat drawing that was repeated in a couple of places, the sprinkles on the cake, the game. Yay!
Aw, thanks friend! You are too kind!
I was wondering how you found out your daughter was no longer sensitive to food dyes? Did she used to have a reaction to them? Thank you!
Yes, she used to react pretty badly to any food dyes. I don’t think they are great for anyone, but certainly some children are very sensitive to them.
Loved this. The Skittles game and the balloon game are great ideas for kid’s carnival games too. Those straws with the kitty marshmallows were absolutely adorable by the way. This post brought backnso many memories of my own birthday parties growing up, how Mom would come up with creative yet simple homemade decorations. Some of the sweetest memories I have are these. And I can’t believe your girl is eleven! Wasn’t she just a toddler? Thanks much posting, I am betting a lot of parents could use the encouragement you’ve offered here, not to mention the cute ideas.
Ah, thank you! It sounds like you have lovely memories of your birthday parties and that’s what I want to give to my kids too! Also, I can’t believe how old she is either. Makes me a little sad!
this birthday party arrangements is really nice .. hats off
Thanks for the recipe. This birthday party arrangement is really nice.
Hi i really love ur party for cats that looks like a lot of fun for the kids my cat might like it too thank for ur time