My family loves few things more than an inspired theme party, so when my older daughter -- who turns seven this week -- asked to have a "medieval times" birthday celebration, I was on a mission.
We sent out invitations she drew and lettered in the style of illuminated manuscript pages and, before the guests arrived, hung streamers from the ceiling and arrayed ourselves in finery of the Middle Ages. Duncan and I wore robes and adornments we found at a local Shakespeare festival costume sale, and the girls put on favorite party dresses. Our younger daughter added to her look with a felted dragon headdress from a few Halloweens ago. We were so thrilled as we welcomed the guests to see that many other people had decided to dress the part too. There was even another baby dragon for ours to play with!
For refreshments, we provided simple foods such as figs, pears, kumquats, cheese, and bread, with wine and tea for the grownups. One friend of ours provided the party with minstrel-style guitar playing, and there was a dancing revue by the girls (and at least one adult).
The pièce de résistance, however, was the birthday cake. Set on a board decorated to look like a medieval meadow, complete with castle in the background, the cake itself was made in the shape of a running unicorn. It was the creation of a dear Castle in the Air customer, my friend Jeff Gosche. As enchanting as the unicorn was to adults and children alike, once it was time for cake, the birthday girl wasted no time in carving up the fabulous creature for us all to enjoy.