Did you ever do this when you were younger?
Invite a bunch of people over to your house to eat spaghetti but use a random utensil from the kitchen, instead of a fork?
When I was in elementary school, my mom threw me a REALLY fun party. When I first heard about this party, I was honestly terrified that my friends weren’t going to participate and then go to school and tell EVERYONE how lame my party and parents were. Thankfully, I was TOTALLY wrong!!! My friends LOVED this party, so much that the kids at school waved at my parents whenever they saw them and even felt a little bit like they were now a part of our family.
Curly Cook was turning 9 last month and we have a rule in our house when it comes to birthdays. Curly Cook would receive $50 for her birthday and she had the choice of what to do with it. She could save it, spend it or use it to throw herself a birthday party. But my heart was touched, and amazed, when I heard Curly Cook’s plans for her birthday this year.
You see, ever since Curly Cook was a little, little girl, she has had a desire to play the violin. She has tried to get us to get her one for over 6 years by making herself one out of pretty much anything she could get her hands on: old refrigerator boxes and their supports, paper, cereal boxes, even chair foam. Then she tried to turn her ukulele into a violin. I recently found out that she has hoped for years that a violin Paul picked up, through a discount store years ago, would work for her soon but we found out that it is for Junior High age students. Sad.
So Curly Cook made her own plan. When her father challenged Joy Boy and I not to bite our nails for 3 months, and as the reward he would give us each $50, Curly Cook took the challenge too. With her $50 from her birthday and $50 from not biting her nails, she felt she would have enough money to buy her own violin. And she almost did. She was still short $32. So she made a deal with me and agreed to do 32 “mommy chores” to earn the rest of the money.
32 MOMMY CHORES!!!! Who does this??
One determined girl does, that’s who.
But Grandma saved the day by sending her money for her birthday, so she was able to not only cover her violin but will hopefully have a few lessons from a teacher too. After I heard all of Curly Cook’s plans to FINALLY get her violin, she shared how torn she was. She felt lonely and wanted to have people over to share in her birthday BUT she NEEDED her birthday money. My heart softened and I told her that “IF” we ONLY USED what we ALREADY HAD in our house for the party, she could invite over a few friends to share in her special day.
She thought it was a SUPER idea and was TOTALLY FINE not using fancy paper supplies like character plates, napkins and invitations, or store bought anything really. She just wanted to spend time, with the people she loved, for her birthday. That was when I remembered the party my mom threw for me. I told Curly Cook all about it and she was “okay” with it but also panicked. I totally understood.
After we found a guest list that would bring Curly Cook joy, instead of panic and anxiety, we texted out this adorable digital invitation that I made on my phone. Curly Cook invited: 2 sisters from church who are Young Adult/Women age, our “Costa Rican Uncle” Spencer and his fiancé Sofia, our neighbor Katie and her family, Curly Cook’s “boyfriend”, a cute girl from her Primary class, and then our family. 17 people in all but it was a perfect group for her.
Once our guests arrived, Paul walked around the ping-pong table and passed out random utensils for our guests to use to eat their pasta dinners.
The reaction to the utensils was priceless. Most were nervous to eat but we had already warned them to come in “old clothes”, so it helped us just chill out and relax. Thankfully Uncle Spencer was there because he set the perfect tone for the night. “JUST GO WITH IT!!” He is SO MUCH FUN! We are so grateful he is a part of our family right now!!
And believe it or not, everyone was well fed and had success eating with their odd utensils.
Or at least they found a way to get full! Way to go Joy Boy and Sebastian!
After dinner Curly Cook opened her presents. They weren’t expected but they were all perfect and she loved receiving them. That was a HUGE blessing not to be taken for granted.
After the presents, came the piñata.
When Curly Cook and I had our little talk, we didn’t know what to do to entertain our guests. Hence the idea to have a crazy pasta party (pasta is so cheap!!! The perfect food for a crowd). But we couldn’t just sit around and eat all night. So I looked around the house and saw we already had the supplies to make our own piñata. So I asked our master piñata builder to help us out.
El Gringo made the strongest piñata ever, and I decorated it.
Curly Cook LOVED it!
After Curly Cook had her turn hitting the piñata, everyone else had a blast doing their best to bust it open!!
(Sebastian, Joy Boy, GingerSnap, and Yipsi)
Then it was the Master Builder’s turn and he did us the favor of getting the job done!!!!!
For her birthday dessert we made homemade donuts (again, all the ingredients were already in our pantry) and had our guests participated in a hanging donut eating competition. They only had to take two bites of an unfrosted donut and then they could take it into the kitchen to decorate it themselves. We enjoyed: maple, chocolate and white frosting with sprinkles, mini chocolate chips or shredded coconut. Yummy!
After having fun singing Happy Birthday to Curly Cook, we sent the kiddos upstairs to watch part of “Lady and the Tramp” (until just after the “spaghetti scene”).
Then we took a final photo and it was time for everyone to go home. It was the perfect party that lasted the perfect amount of time (3.5 hours).
The next day was Curly Cook’s official birthday. I had stayed home from church sick, so when the kids got home we had a simple lunch and then spent the afternoon playing the LONGEST GAME of Monopoly ever! Usually Curly Cook wins but on her birthday, of all days, she got out pretty fast. Thankfully she wanted to talk to people instead of playing, so it all worked out in the end.
Paul had a HUGE meeting that day with our Area Seventy and ALL the Stake Presidencies of Costa Rica, so we wondered if he would even make it home in time for Curly Cook’s birthday dinner . . .
Thankfully he did!!! And just in time for Curly Cook to blow out her birthday candles on top of her very own batch of cookies!
What a cute kid!
It has been a blast to watch this little one grow up. She is a spunky, cuddly, busy, huggy, adorable girl who is 9 going on 17. She amazes me every day and I love being her mom. Thanks Curly Cook for being the youngest, someone has to, and for working so hard to be the very best that you can be!!
I love you Curly Cook!