We woke up this morning to find the air a thick, steamy sauna – classic July in the Midwest. We loaded up the truck and car and headed over to one of our favorite parks to set up for the party. We kept things really simple this year – you might laugh at me for saying this – but we really did. No baking, no ice cream making, no elaborate crafts or activities – just a laid back party with her classmates before they all head off to various kindergartens around the city. (We all got a little misty-eyed talking about it.)
Last night we rounded up the materials we needed to host an hour of relay races and activities – M did a fabulous job of planning frozen / ice / sno (beach) ball type games for the kids. He filled water balloons and froze them, creating large ice balls to transport on spoons like a traditional egg and spoon race. The kids strapped cups onto their feet to transport ice to fill buckets, and they did several relays with pool noodles and beach balls that M assembled using wooden dowels. We even had a relay planned where the kids would dress up in oversized clothes and shoes (M’s), but we nixed that one because – again – hot.
We served sweet and savory kolaches, powdered (snowy) donuts, fruit salad and yogurt. We kept the favors simple – summertime sidewalk chalk in bright sno-cone colors – and F passed out prizes throughout the games – ribbons and bracelets and pencils. (Prize awarding is her favorite pasttime.)
At eleven we rounded up all the kids, headed across the street to How Sweet Is This and snapped a group picture in front of the candy shop window. The kids headed next door to the playground while E brought in a few kids at a time to pick out sno-cone flavors. (They were technically shaved ice treats, which are far better than icy sno-cones in my opinion!) The owner of the store hung a Happy Birthday sign in the window for F, and made the flavor of the day “Birthday Cake” (wedding cake flavored syrup with sprinkles) in honor of her birthday.
I thought the kids might be a little nutty in the candy shop (like the old saying, you know), but they were so very good – standing in line (in the air conditioning!) watching the syrups being selected and poured. The sno-cones were a huge hit, and were a perfect end to a hot and steamy party morning.
We continued with our tradition of a “no-gifts” party, but her friends still surprised her with some of the most thoughtful cards and letters and homemade pictures. (And a Frozen sticker book – they know her well!)
It was a pretty relaxing event, and we tried to capture the kids as much as possible in photos. Five feels like a big deal, like a big new step up in the world. I hope she’ll remember these early fun days with her friends, and the ways we’ve tried to celebrate these friendships (and summer) along the way.