Fiesta -11yr- Sombrero Wearing Chili Pepper Cake
Joy in Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA
My daughter had a Fiesta theme for her 11th BD.
I scanned an actual flour tortilla into my computer and used it as a background for the invite. It was printed with the BD info, cut into a circle, then glued to a circle of white fun foam. Another copy of the tortilla was glued to the opposite side of the foam "tortilla." It looked quite like the real thing.
Decorations were in bright, summer tones and mostly handmade, including papel picado and tissue paper flowers (directions for both may be found on the internet). The papel picado was hung in a row on string at the dining room doors. Our dining room table was covered with two tablecloths (one yellow, one purple) on the diagonal to give it some interest. It was sprinkled with fiesta confetti, bits of tissue paper (left over from cutting the papel picado), tissue paper flowers, strands of raffia, and uncooked pinto beans.
There were candles in sunny colors and some floating candles in a crystal dish. I picked a bunch of fresh yellow daisies from our garden and put them in a vase on the table, and their color was a perfect touch.
The menu included mini tacos from the frozen food section of the supermarket; tortilla chips and three types of salsa (I labeled them "mild," "medium," and "hot, hot, hot"); bean dip; traditional tri-colored coconut candy from the local Mexican market; a variation of sopapillas drizzled with chocolate syrup and butterscotch topping (usually used for ice cream); nopalitos (tender cactus); red hot cinnamon candies; jelly beans (well, they ARE beans!); and Mexican cheese.
Drinks were "cactus juice" (Mountain Dew with the label taken off and replaced with a "Cactus Juice" label I made in my publishing software) and margaritas (frozen strawberries, limeade and ice mixed in a blender).
The homemade cake was a red "chili pepper" wearing a sombrero. "Feliz Compleanos" (Happy Birthday) was written on the brim of the sombrero. With the addition of an "bandito"-style icing moustache and sunglasses, the cake was adorable. Our tablescape was enlivened by the addition of a traditional bull pinata. We had two crafts: Decorating plastic maracas and fun foam visors with pom poms, jewels, and feathers. We had several games with a South of Border flair.
There was the wooden spoon/bean relay race (carry a dried bean on the back of the spoon to a bowl without dropping it), a tortilla chip toss (toss three chips into a hula hoop on the ground), and a bean fortune telling session (kids take a small handful of beans, then "count" them out according to the old rhyme "Tinker, Tailor" - whatever word they run out of beans on is the person they will marry, when they will marry, in what clothes, and how they will be transported to their wedding). They had so much fun with the fortune telling that they wanted to do it again!
Another cool game that really involved cooperation was the Bean Transfer: Teams of two kids had five beans, two bowls, and two knitting needles; the object was for them to get all the beans from one bowl to the other by using the pointy end of the knitting needles (each girl holding one needle). It's extremely difficult to do even if only one person is holding both needles (like chop sticks), but near impossible when two separate kids are holding one needle each. We also played Loteria, a game much loved in Mexico and similar to our Lotto (printed the cards out from the Enchanted Learning website). Prizes were funny things like taco seasoning, a can of refried beans, and hot sauce.
Each winner also got a Mexican variation of the Baby Bottle Pops that are so popular now (got them at the Mexican market). Only in the Mexican version, chili power is used instead of the candy powder. The kids either hated it or loved it - one girl ended up taking 10 of them home because the kids who hated the candy gave them to her! After the games we went inside to make tortillas from dough I had prepared an hour before the party. Each child got a small ball of dough to shape into a tortilla, which I cooked in a skillet on the stove. Many of the kids added food coloring to their tortillas before they were cooked, so they were really colorful. They thought it was so cool to make and eat their own tortillas!
Near the end of the party we did the pinata (I hate for pinatas to be filled with those cheap toys and tons of candy, so I filled my daughter's pinata with pencils, glitter bracelets, stickers, rubber snakes, etc., and only a small amount of candy), sang Happy Birthday, opened presents, and ate cake. Each child got a small goodie bag (nice paper gift bags from the Dollar Store, which I enhanced with a clipart burro and chili pepper), with a jumping bean inside; they filled the bags with their pinata goodies and crafts.
Before they left, I put on a Latin music CD and they did a conga line through the house and outside. It truly was a fiesta with crafts and games easy enough for little kids but not boring for the older ones.