I'm always envious of people whose kids have summer birthdays. Planning a kid's winter birthday party can be tricky and often, expensive. With Elliot's birthday in the middle of December, and Lucie's in March-- which is warmer, but still not reliably nice-- we're pretty much stuck renting some sort of facility, or limiting the number of kids and doing it at home. We've tried both, and it's always been successful, but this year we decided to embrace the weather and host an outdoor winter birthday party.
Because Elliot's birthday falls during the last week of school before winter break, for the past three years we've held his birthday party in early January. It's a good time because people are mostly available, and during Michigan winters, on a typical Sunday afternoon, you're pretty much dying to get out of the house. For a free activity, well, that's a huge bonus.
This past Sunday we had a sledding birthday party for Elliot, and I suspect that it may be the first of many spent in the great outdoors. We packed up our SUV with a nice little tailgate set-up and headed out to our favorite local sledding hill, at a local elementary school. I wish I had some photos of the sledding hill, or of actual sledding taking place, unfortunately my iPhone did a little sledding of its own after Lucie and I took a spill. (Word to the wise- don't sled with a white phone, with your pocket unzipped) I was only able to capture photos of the first few minutes, which only includes the tailgate. I don't haul my Nikon to events like this because I much prefer to be involved in the moment, enjoying my friends and family.
It was a beautiful sunny Michigan winter day, almost balmy really, with plenty of snow. You couldn't ask for much more than that. Except, well, the company was exceptional, and the food, that was pretty tasty too. I can't say I didn't like the stares from the bewildered sledders, but just maybe I felt a tiny bit bad for them too.
This is the second time I've used the One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Book (it's not the same one on their website). They're perfectly moist and I love that it yields about 28 cupcakes, although the recipe says 24. This year rather than sending home a bag of favors for the parents to manage for the next month, I opted to make these cute Melted Snowman cookies. My piping skills were somewhat lacking (I didn't have enough icing to fill the pastry bags enough to control the flow), but I still think they turned out pretty cute. Here's a link to the original tutorial, but I found it via OhDeeDoh.
One other idea I had for a winter birthday party- a Solstice hike would be fun on December 21st. I'd love to hear any ideas you have.