First, let me gawk for a moment at the fact that I'm officially old enough to have a daughter that's old enough to be having friends spend the night. Yeesh, when did that happen?
So this was her first sleep over. She decided she'd rather have one good friend stay over than to have a whole big party. (Score one for me! Much easier than a party.)
To make it special, I planned a few fun activities, made her favorite dinner (homemade chicken strips, roasted potatoes and roasted beets) and let her decide how we'd decorate her cake.
After we ate dinner, sang Happy Birthday, and had cake and ice cream, we did presents. Note: making your kid hunt all over the house on a "present scavenger hunt" is good times. There was a clue taped to the back of the gift I gave her, leading her to look under the trampoline for the next gift. The clue was "A great place to boing, boing, boing" I believe. The rest of the clues led her to the laundry area, the dog food closet, and eventually out to the drive way to find her new bike.
I had as much fun following her around and watching as she did following the clues. We just may institute the scavenger hunt every year after this - it might make a nice tradition, and added to the gift excitement.
I set up a little craft for the big girls to make after Littlest One was in bed - pre-cut ribbons, paper, buttons, paint, and a wooden frame. I took a photo of them together and printed two copies of it while the girls decorated the frames. It made a nice little souvenir of the evening that they can display in their rooms, and anything involving paint and glue makes little girls happy.
Her little friend was funny - she was kind of amazed at how much stuff in our house is homemade. The chicken strips, the curtains, the hats, even the popcorn was "made from scratch" (we used an air popper and real butter.) When I was following the recipe for pancakes in the morning and got out the glass gallon jar of milk, she mentioned it looked funny and I told her it didn't come from the store. Her eyes got very big and she said...."Do you make your milk from scratch?" :o) That made me giggle. I promised her a cow made it, not me!
The best part of it all was when I set them up with a movie, and popcorn, and games, and prepared to leave the room. I told them I'd be knitting upstairs if they needed me. And... get this... my sweet birthday girl asked me to stay. She wanted me to "hang out" with them. Now, I realize she's only eight, and that this will certainly not always be the case, but I felt so loved. She may be growing up, but she still loves her Mama. And that made me feel pretty darn good.