This blog post is long overdue. My second daughter had her 9th birthday back in November and it was such a nice event. Birthdays around here are a big production in many ways. They are not extravagant or expensive, BUT we put a lot of effort on finding a Jewish theme and making sure the party is not just about the physical elements, but also about some deeper concepts. (Read about other Jewish birthday parties here, here, here and here) This year’s Jewish Birthday Party theme: Gratitude!
And yes, there are plenty of years we’ve had no parties. A batch of cupcakes and a homemade family dinner works just as well for me! In fact, part of the reason I made this beautiful celebration is because my second daughter had not had a “real party” since she was 5, which you can see here (pardon the terrible pictures)! For the record, my 11 year old daughter hasn’t had a party since she’s 9, which you might remember from this post. (And if you see a striking resemblance between that 9 year old birthday party and the one I’m about to show you… well…. that’s because there is, and that’s fine with me!!!)
My daughter’s Hebrew birthday fell on the eve of the Thanksgiving Holiday this year. So, as we were debating on a theme and a Jewish activity to do, I said to the girls, “Gratitude!” Well, my darling daughters rolled with that and made a lovely “Gratitude Themed Fiesta.” I have to give them tremendous credit because they really did so much of this themselves.
In fact, I have to say thank you to my oldest daughter cuz she made a program/schedule and COMPLETELY ran the show. Let me show you (and yes, I took this from her Google Drive!):
|4:05-4:25||Eating/speeches/thanks game/talking||Dining Room|
|4:45-5:15||Modeh Ani Frame Craft||Outside/Inside|
|5:15-5:30||Games (Pass-the-Parcel, Hug-A-Bear)||Outside/Inside|
|5:30||Party is Over!|
And here are the lovely words that my daughter wrote with the help of her 11 year old sister (Again, I’ve taken this directly from their google doc!):
Welcome everyone to my Birthday Party!
A lot of people think that Birthdays are for getting and not for giving. But that’s not true! They are actually for giving extra!
So now let us pass around the tzedakah box so that everyone gets a chance to give.
After that and while they were eating, the girls played a Jewish trivia related to Gratitude and how the theme shows up in different prayers, mitzvot, Holidays and events in Jewish History/The Five Books of the Torah etc.
And then came the “keynote speech” haha – these girls are too much!
As I told you before, the theme of this Birthday Party is Gratitude. By Hashkacha Pratis (Divine Providence), this week is Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. We also have a “Jewish Thanksgiving” but our Thanksgiving is not once a year, it’s everyday. We thank Hashem for Friends, Family, for keeping us alive and so on. Being grateful brings happiness because you’re more positive about life, so you don’t take things for granted. Gratitude Brings love and joy. Today we are going to decorate frames and inside will be Modeh Ani cards for you to put next to your bed so that it will remind you to say thanks to Hashem for being alive by saying Modeh Ani.
In a few minutes we will bentch – a way to say thanks to Hashem for giving us food- so start wrapping up.
Let me say this again: I had NOTHING to do with this! I just gave them the theme idea and I purchased the items we needed – food, craft, decor. Oh and as you will soon see, I made the cake!
I had this delusional idea that I would work with fondant to make my daughter a “dream cake.” After one quick attempt, I knew this was going to be a lot harder than I had anticipated. I called my expert cake maker friend, Yaeli, in Miami and quickly realized that there is no way I’m spending my morning working on this cake. I removed the atrocious looking fondant sheet I had laid over the cake and went with icing instead. Thanks Yaeli for bringing me back to reality! My sanity comes first. Voila! There you have it! Not too shabby, right? My daughter loved it and my sanity remained intact!
We did have cupcakes with her name on them made by the local bakery thanks to my husband who decided to pre-empt the fondant disaster (apparently he knows me already) and order some cupcakes… “Just.In.Case.Yael.”
Hey, there can never be enough cake, right?
The girls decorated frames with the morning prayer of gratitude, the Mode Ani, so that they would place on their bedside tables. Some modge podge, craft paint, tissue paper, and frames from the clearance section at the craft store is all we needed!
And of course, we had to have a piñata! (Why? Well, because we’ve done it (almost) every other party… Tradition!)
Oh and then every girl got to choose a gratitude journal to take home with inspiring stickers. The girls had put cute gel pens inside the piñata, along with other goodies, so you see how it all tied up. They took home their Modeh Ani frames, their Gratitude journals stocked with inspiring stickers to decorate their entries and a nice gel pen to journal with!
So there you go, friends, a Gratitude Themed Party for my now nine year old darling girl, planned and run by my 9 and 11 year old. The best part, everyone was happy!
Thank You to Janette Quirarte Photography for the beautiful pictures!