SYNOPSIS: Strega Nona is a good witch with a magic pasta pot who is getting older. She hires the town fool, Big Anthony, to help out around the place. One day he spies her using her magic pasta pot to make pasta, but he misses the key thing she does to make it stop. When Strega Nona goes out of town, he uses the pot, against her express orders, to make pasta for the whole town, and be everyone's hero. When he can't make it stop, pasta pours out of the house and starts to take over the whole village. Strega Nona comes back just in time to stop the pasta. The villagers want to string Big Anthony up, but Strega Nona says the punishment should fit the crime, and she hands Big Anthony a fork - he has to eat ALL the pasta! The last page shows a miserable-looking Big Anthony with a huge stomach slumped against Strega Nona's house.
DECORATIONS: Not much. Balloons, streamers, Happy Birthday banner. The usual.
ARRIVAL/CRAFT: As everyone arrived, during a nice little snowfall, we peeled off coats and shoes, and went straight to our craft (in the hopes the glue might dry by the end of the party.) We used the colored pasta the girls and I made last week to decorate wooden picture frames from Michael's. The girls had heart frames, the boys had ovals. Later in the party I took a picture of Ginger with each guest; we will mail those with her thank-you cards, and they have the option of putting that picture in their frames at home.
DINNER ORDERS: While everyone was working on their frames, Ed was cooking in the kitchen and Hazel was taking dinner orders. She sat down with one guest at a time, and showed them the menu we'd made. I also made some order forms for Hazel to fill out. The menu had pages with photographs to show choices for drinks (water or root beer), pasta (hearts, bow-tie, or spaghetti), sauces (pesto, alfredo, or marinara), and fruit (grapes or strawberries.) Garlic bread was served in baskets at the table.
BOOK: We couldn't really have a Strega Nona party without reading the book, so while Ed and Hazel executed the dinner orders, I read the kids the book, complete with my exaggerated Italian accent for Strega Nona, which both amused and embarrassed Ginger - she kept looking around at everyone when I did it. But all these kids know me pretty well, and I don't think it fazed anyone I looked sounded like an idiot.
DINNER: It was a hungry crew we fed, many asking for second, and third, helpings. Heart-shaped pasta with marinara sauce, strawberries, and root beer, was the overwhelming majority of orders, but we had some outliers, and everyone clearly liked their dinner, from the empty plates and messy faces we had at the end.
We served the drinks in these cute cups I found at Target - I think they are for Valentine's Day, but I thought the straw looked like a spaghetti noodle going around the outside. At the end of the party, we rinsed them out and included them in their goody bags.
GAME: Us Hickmans try not to think too hard. Pin-the-something games are always easy, and go with ANY theme. Here, we took some of the cooked spaghetti noodles, and played Stick-the-Pasta-in-Big-Anthony's-Mouth.
I know, my art work is astounding. It was cool, though, that the spaghetti was naturally sticky.
DESSERT: This was probably my favorite part of the party, because it was so theme-y but really so easy. Spaghetti-and-Meatball Cupcakes!
THE REST: The rest of the party, we had only loosely mapped out. We weren't sure how much time would be left a this point; there were about 20 minutes. Ginger opened presents - being a 6-year-old girl is so fun! Hair things, books, crafty kits! So much to keep her (and her sisters) busy for many Saturdays to come! (Even as I type, Hazel and Ginger are working on things from a Decorate-Your-Own Princess Craft Set.)
I could tell the kids were wiggly and bursting with sugared hyperactivity, so I had Ed take over to play "Dad games" for the last few minutes. Red Light, Green Light...
The only rule was, no one was allowed to get upset if they got out. Of course my kids were the only ones to break the rule. Then parents started to show up.
FAVOR BAGS: I didn't take pictures, but you can see them in the background here:
Last week Ginger spent her whole Sunday morning making and decorating the name tags for the bags. Each bag contained their swirly-straw cup from dinner, a bag of "Sour S'getti", and a copy of another Strega Nona book, Strega Nona's Magic Lessons. They also took their not-quite-dry pasta picture frames home.