Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Our first birthday of the season: Cupcake Wars!!

{Warning:  Lots of adorable pictures ahead!}

Our first family birthday of the year comes in on the heels of Christmas,
so I'm not usually well-prepared for a complicated hurrah!
This year our youngest mentioned she really wanted a party this year for her 8th birthday,
so I knew I was going to have to kick things into gear right away!

 We tossed around several ideas and I began pricing out the different birthday venues that
are available in our area.
The prices nearly took my breath away.
THAT  much money for only two hours of time AND I can't bring my own food?!

When I realized there was literally nothing that would fit our budget,
I turned to my old friend, Pinterest.
There I found the inspiration for a Cupcake Wars themed party
that would be perfect for our family!!!
My girls love to watch DIY craft videos and Food Network challenges,
and I already had a ton of things at home I could use,
so we sprang into action to pull it all together!!
First, I sent out Evite invitations because it was going to be faster.

I contacted the Pastor/Principal of our little homeschool co-op for permission to
use that church's fellowship hall as our venue.

A couple weeks before, I began shopping my house for repurposed decorations,
and I began making cupcakes and tossing them into the freezer.
Lots of cupcakes.
There wouldn't be time or resources for the girls to make their own cupcakes,
so Ashlyn and I spent a couple days making several dozen a day from a box mix.
We made chocolate, funfetti, strawberry, and lemon flavors.

Fortunately, there were lots of Christmas cake mixes and decorating supplies 
on clearance in the grocery stores,
 so I snatched up as many I thought we would need!!

On the night before the party, my younger girls helped me set everything up!!

Aryn appropriately had 8 friends come to her party and I decided ahead of time who would be on which team together.
We had three teams of 3 girls, and I paired an older sister and Grandma 
with each team as the "Team Coach."

The judge's took their seats......
and we were ready to begin.

I acted the part of the "Host" and gave them their first challenge:

Challenge One
The first competition is a challenge of “taste”. You can pick from one of the four cupcake flavors on the table - they are chocolate, funfetti, strawberry, or lemon. Your job is to create a delicious cupcake topping that goes along with which ever flavor of cupcake you choose. Judges will be determining the best cupcake based only taste, not on how it looks. Remember- you can put icing on your cupcake, you can use candy, sprinkles, and other topping, and you can also put some filling inside of your cupcake. The choice is yours. But here’s the catch- you have to use at least three of the ingredients from The “Aryn Table” which you think will best describe her personality.  So teams you have 10 minutes! Start brainstorming your ideas and let’s get started! ”

When their time was up, each team chose a "team spokesperson" for 
that challenge who brought their cupcake up
 to the judge's table for judging.
They had to explain what they had decorated their cupcake with, 
and why they thought those components best represented the birthday girl!

Challenge Two
 “This time around the judges will be choosing the best cupcake based 50% on how it tastes and 50% on how it looks. So it’s time to make sure that our cupcakes look as delicious as they taste. Here you will pick two different cake bases and we are going to allow teams to take turns choosing which type of cupcake you want to use. So Team 3 since you won the first round you will get to pick first. You have 15 minutes to create two delicious cupcakes. And they better be beautiful to look at and “wow” the judges! Ready? Go!”

Lunch Break

The girls were definitely ready to eat lunch by this time, but my person
 who was picking up the pizza was running late.
So we sang happy birthday and ate our cupcakes first.
Aryn opened her presents and got a picture with each of her friends as well.

After eating, drinking some water, laughing, and running around,
we were ready for the.......

Final Challenge

“In our final round, you will have a chance to perfect your cupcakes from round 2. Based on the suggestions from the judges- you’ll want to improve your cupcakes from round 2, and in round 3 you have to decorate ALL of the cupcakes in your flavor. Each team will pick a cupcake stand, and you will be judged on overall presentation. Today’s theme is: Aryn’s 8th birthday party! You’ll need all 12 of your decorated cupcakes presented in a way that fits that theme. You’ll have 20 minutes for this challenge! Go!”

After all the judging, we awarded  prize bags to each team in one of the following categories:
Most Creative
Most Delicious
Most Beautiful

Final Award Presentations

Each girl got to choose two of the their favorite cupcakes 
from anywhere in the room
to package up and put in their prize bags!

Everyone had an absolute blast and went home happy and full!!
Happy 8th Birthday, Aryn!!!
We love you!!

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