Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seven: An Egyptian Party

As I assume most children do, Aiden has been planning his birthday party since his last one. First he was going to do a zombie themed party, then a space themed party, then he decided on an Egyptian themed party. Last year his kindergarten teacher was inspired by our cultural studies, so she decided to do a similar exploration at school with the K-1 class. They chose to learn about Ancient Egypt. Ever since then, Aiden has been over the top obsessed with Egyptian anything. I am certainly not complaining, each time he pulls out some random Egyptian tid bit (Did you know that the first ever shower was in Ancient Egypt???) my heart is warmed and filled with pride. 

So as he and I discussed the Egyptian party and what we would do for his party, we talked about a pyramid cake. I. committed. to. making. a. pyramid. cake. Now for some of you this seems like no big deal, but for me, it was huge. I am completely comfortable in the kitchen and I enjoy cooking and baking, but cooking and baking and sculpting a cake pyramid are two (or three?) very different things. For some reason my artsy crafty side wasn't connecting with my cooking baking side. In all of my plans and thoughts about this cake, I imagined starting early and allowing time to redo the cake if it failed. Then, it hit me, and it hit me hard... I am no Ace of Cakes and I don't have time to make a second pyramid cake if I do a terrible job on the first (and what says that the second would be any better?), it's not like you can make a cake six weeks ahead of time. It was at this point I knew that Aiden and I would have to talk. I was worried that he would be totally bummed but as we talked about alternatives, he said that he wanted Basbousa. 

For those of you who know me, I will pause here while you regroup from trying to imagine me starting early on anything... yet another side of me that was not connecting with the artsy, crafty, cooking, baking me. Procrastinating me. OK, let's move on.... 

Basbousa is a dessert that is made in Egypt (originating in The Middle East). I had made it for the celebration at his school last year and it was a hit. It is nothing like birthday cake, it's sort of like corn bread but much sweeter. I worried that some guests would be disappointed (who doesn't expect birthday cake at a birthday party?) but in the end we decided that since it is Aiden's party and that's what he wants, that is what we'll have (and it is WAY easier than a pyramid cake!) 

We used plastic Egyptian figurines as decorations on the table and Aiden had even suggested that I read some Egyptian books to his friends. Since I felt like I was already stealing the party thunder by not making a birthday cake, I told him that his friends would rather play than listen to me read, but I put the books out on a side table in case anyone wanted to look at them. 

We had a great time and Aiden got some great gifts. When it was time to say goodbye to his friends we gave each of them a necklace that we made. We used Sculpey (you knew I couldn't stay away from it for *that* long, didn't you?) and made scarab beetle beads. 

After the party was over, I looked at my boy who had yet to actually have his seventh birthday and decided that as much as I've enjoyed the last seven, I can't wait for the next seven ... I just hope that they go slower. Oh, and before you start feeling too badly for him, he got a birthday cake on his official birthday... just not a pyramid. 

* The three books that we had out for guests to look at (and you might want to check out with your kids) are Magic Treehouse #3: Mummies In The Morning by Mary Pope Osborne, Egyptians by Stephanie Turnbull, and Who Was King Tut? by Roberta Edwards.

(See other adventures with Sculpey here, here, and here)


  1. Aha, that explains where that cute necklace on the dresser came from. Now I'm extra bummed I missed out on basboussa (you could totally have made several basboussas--basboussi?--and stacked them to make a step pyramid!)

  2. We discussed a step pyramid, but he didn't want that... if we were doing a pyramid it had to be a smooth one. I ended up making an extra Basbousa because I was worried that it wouldn't be enough and the second one never even got cut into.... of course, we have been picking at it all week :)

    I made the shape of each scarab bead and Aiden used a toothpick to do the carvings, etc in them and Eliana made the round beads :)

  3. It was a great cake and a great party!!


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