We give the girls a choice to have a birthday party on alternate years. On the year that it is not their turn to host an event, we have started taking a weekend family trip. Who would have known that gathering and traveling would be ill advised all in the same year? Eliminating a lot of fun options. With those circumstances I pointed out to my little one that around her birthday our backyard renovation would be nearly done. Misha the sweet, sassy, sophisticated little lady she is, said she was flexible and would be happy to open gifts on the new patio.
Co-Vid numbers are on the rise in Wisconsin, I let her invite a few friends: a neighbor and dance girls she is in class with every week , dance being our only out of the house activity. I was delighted that she settled on the theme, Book Club Meeting!
Our kids are watching us more than ever. They are observing how we are responding to crisis. They are seeing how we interact when tensions are high, emotions are volatile and parenting breaks are non-existent. I joined a book club a couple years back and I truly believe that women benefit from social time and space to enjoy each other’s company.
We actually do read and not all the books are lighthearted, we dive into deep topics. The fun part is you read books you wouldn’t necessarily pick for yourself, and when the subject resonates you can openly discuss it. Once a month we have a designated time to see our friends, to sip on wine and discuss someone else’s life, perspective or problems.
My daughters are intrigued by it. They like to help me pick an outfit, or watch me do my make-up and they are always asking, whose turn it is to host the meeting? As 2020 would have it our book club meetings have gone virtual. With my kids home for schooling and my ne teaching duties I began listening to books on audible, so that peaked their interest too. Who knew that literacy could be so modern & cool?
Book Club Party Activities
For the 7 year old book club meeting we didn’t assign a book. We asked each girl to bring one they loved and let them share something with the group. Tell us about the book, why do you love it? How many times you have read it? Or tell us about your favorite character in it?
Misha’s older sister Giana (age 10) read the birthday girl’s favorite book to the book club attendees: There was an old lady who swallowed a birthday cake . Then the girls did a craft, scratch off bookmarks. They really enjoyed this, the only tricky part was once you enclose the bookmark into the protective sleeve, you need a needle and threader to pierce it and add the ribbon piece. I put granny on it!
Fall is a great time to get the kids outside and I was hoping we could have the entire event outdoors. The weather here swiftly mocked me and shifted to freezing cold. To thicken the plot, we had a light dusting of snow.
Nonetheless a scavenger hunt involves movement. I ordered these blank story book journals and created a list. The designed cover for the journal doubled as party décor, the guest would take home these journals and use them to write their own story.
I printed the scavenger list and glued it to the inside back page of the journal. You can design a book cover and scavenger hunt like I did for free in Canva. I had to add a little fun so I bought a fake snake and hid it for the hunt, they were squealing when they discovered it.
The Book Club Menu
Misha can be incredibly complicated and super chill all at the same time. When I asked her what she wanted for food she said Jimmy John subs and cupcakes. Easy enough! I got a variety pack of chips, warmed Costco tomato-basil soup and made a pear-pecan-gorgonzola salad for the moms.
There is a local baker I use that can make just about any version of a cake and she did a great job with the tiny printed book covers on cupcakes. To make them feel like they were super grown-ish, we bought to-go coffee cups with lids and greeted them with warm cider. Using disposable tea bags I blended mull spices: (anise, all spice, apple pie blend and cloves) and dropped them in the crock pot with slices of oranges and cinnamon sticks. A shot of rum in the mug makes this a spiked cider version.
Bookend Gift instead of a goodie bags
For the last parties we were able to have, I’ve tried to pick usable guest gifts instead of goodie bags of things that do not last. For this party I found the perfect customizable bookends. A cute way to anchor a collection or add a little décor to your child’s bookcase. The seller on Etsy was pleasure to work with and she wrapped them before shipment. I didn’t know which one was monogramed for each kid but didn’t want to unwrap them so I made it into a game of Pass the gift.
It did not matter who ended up with which they were all the same, it gave them another activity and you can use the link to play the game too.
The other thing we did that enlisted belly laughs was Halloween themed mad libs and each kid got one to take home with them. The blank paperback kid story books that we sent home with them has space to draw a picture and large ledger lines to work on their penmanship.