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Birthday Buffet


 Sometimes creative juices start flowing out of financial necessity. Following farewells from lucrative paychecks, my husband and I both act differently on all levels of consumerism, including birthday parties.

In the past, we’ve rented out a party room in the back of a children’s museum and even traveled to a big city, complete with fine dining, to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. No longer are such options feasible, yet we still have fun. More fun! All accomplished with a little help.

My sister, who happens to be a graphic designer, offered to create fabulous invitations. She’s crazy about cools fonts and crisp lines. The end result looked like snazzy carnival tickets. My daughter and I hand delivered the invites to the friends in the neighborhood.

Over the weekend, our backyard was filled with kids’ smiling faces as they competed in races to see who could put the most socks on their feet the fastest or fill up measuring cups with water, teaspoon by teaspoon. Yes, it helps that my husband loves orchestrating activities for kids. He even emptied out his t-shirt drawer. The kids grabbed at t-shirts, collected over the course of a decade, to see who could put on the most in one minute. The record was 13!

I usually make my daughter’s birthday cake. I had a hard time handing over the task. My dear friend and neighbor asked if she could make the cupcakes. After all she wants to start a cupcake business and thought that birthday party would be the perfect place to showcase her scrumptious product. Since we were her very first “practice” clients, she didn’t charge us. The cupcakes, perched on ornate stands, were surrounded by kids ready to start singing and start eating. “Hold on!” I shouted. I forgot all about candles. I always have a stash of numbered candles that we use again and again. But when I looked in our stash, there was no number nine candle! We never needed a nine. When my husband turned 39, I used a “3” and turned a “6” upside down. As a result of quick math, I stuck candles in various cupcakes. The numbered candles added up to “9”.

I made a wish when my daughter blew out her candles. I wished that we never lose our love of the simple moments.

How do you live creatively?