What do you get with when you combine a group of 5 year olds and a bunch of chocolate? A dang good time, that’s what. I absolutely jumped on board when Remy said he wanted a chocolate party for his 5th birthday. What, no Spiderman? No movie theme?! It’s a friggin miracle! As we were prepping for his party he reminded me often that everything had to be chocolate. For the menu I’d mention things like pancakes and waffles and he’d look at me seriously and say ‘just chocolate mama’. Chocolate is serious business.
This is the first year Remy has a group of friends at school that he really connects with. In the past it has been hard to not invite the whole class, because that’s how he socialized. But this year it’s quite different. He’ll list his besties as he counts them on each finger. And they are all AWESOME. So, clearly we nailed down the invite list quickly – and I am really happy it was a short enough list that we could accommodate at home.
With the holidays upon us our typical evening shindig wouldn’t work, so we decided on brunch. This way we don’t compete with all the holiday parties going on, and we can really amp up that chocolate theme!
The menu was simple – pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, bagels – all served with a big side of chocolate fondue, of course. The chocolate on chocolate cake was from a local market and topped with some kraft cutouts I threw together.
The décor was equally simple – chocolate brown, kraft with a little blue and gold sprinkled about. I was slightly bothered that I had to also navigate the christmas decor, but what’s a girl to do on the 13th of December (on a side note we typically have it earlier because his bday is 11/30, but we were traveling, then daddy was traveling…so it really crept toward Christmas!)? We had a sweet little treat bar, displayed thank you gifts and just a few other nods to the party theme.
I set the table as though it wasn’t for 8 boys under 5, and planned to let them serve themselves for the most part. Does that make you nervous just thinking about it? Live a little. That’s what I say…my husband on the other hand was envisioning a disaster. The lunch trays are some of my all time favorites for kid parties – but I’ve used them for other adult functions as well. They are awesome, biodegradable and particularly perfect here. I have to give the boys a lot of credit with their table manners – sure there was a little mess here and there, but nothing crazy and they all sat and ate so well! Perhaps this is what happens when you put a bowl of chocolate in front of someone? You can see a little before & after action below – proof that they didn’t act like the maniacs we all know they are!
For drinks I did hot cocoa in the crock pot for the first time, mimosas (yep, parents only), juice and chocolate milk. The crock pot hot cocoa is brilliant. You mix it all up a couple hours in advance and then it keeps warm the whole party. People loved it! And the mimosas were offered on a bar with tart cherry, grapefruit and mango as juice options – my personal favorite was the tart cherry with a splash of grapefruit. So good.
With a group of kids I always like to have some entertainment, and something physical is best to wear them out. With the weather in New England this time of year, it can be a real challenge. But I took a risk on the weather and hired a company I’ve worked with in the past, Knucklebones. We needed to have it outside, but kept our fingers crossed the weather would work out. At one point the forecast was showing rain, and I think I checked the weather repeatedly every hour to see if it was going to change in my favor (this was for a solid five days). And it did! I’m fairly confident it was my obsessive weather checking that did the trick – you should try it. Sure, it was lightly snowing out, but no rain, and we can handle a little cold. The boys enjoyed massive blown up rings, lots of things to throw around, and about a zillion other outdoor toys they’d never seen before.
As our guests were headed out I handed each a mason jar filled with cookie mix so they could keep the chocolate party going at home – just what the parents wanted, I’m sure! I snagged the recipe and printable directions here, got the mason jars here, but have yet to make the cookies…I guess I should have done that before I handed them out?!