A Gluten Free Spa Birthday Party – 11 year old

What do you do with a daughter who has a sugar-restricted diet, and a husband who has a gluten-free diet?  You don’t focus on food! The party was a blast – and the food was really, truly, just an after thought.  After a couple hours of spa-ing, we were all a little famished.


We sent out Spa Appointment Cards that said:

Appointment for:  Guest’s Name

Date:  June 25, 2011

Time: 3 – 7 PM

Location: Haley’s Spa {our home address}

PS – please bring a robe



Haley's Spa

The door was decorated with plastic pink tablecloths that were huge when unfolded, and went from ceiling to floor and were tied with ribbons.  It made for a fast, dramatic effect.

We covered all the windows and several walls with the drawn ‘curtains’.  It made for a pink glow which I wasn’t really expecting but it added to the ambiance.  I found nylon wall decor on clearance for $2 of cherry blossoms and branches – it was perfect!  I plastered that all over the main wall where the facials table was.  And then covered that floor to ceiling with lace curtains.  The effect was great!

There was an entry bar-height table that we had laid out pink tablecloth with silk pink flowers and champagne flutes filled with sparkling juice (from Ikea).  My two youngest (5 yo, and 7 yo) carried around trays decorated with pink covers, silk flowers, and offered the girls each a pair of flip flops as they arrived.

As they came in, they walked past the laid-out facial table.  It was decorated with white tablecloth, placemats that said, “Haley’s Spa” on them, and then covered in a plastic tablecloth.  Each girl has a new face cloth wrapped in ribbon, a white clean bowl in the center, and a labeled rose water container by their place.  We had scented candles along this table that were lit before the girls arrived.

The guests then took their flip flops to a carpeted area in the middle of the room, where we had flung every cushion we had at home, and left out a huge basket of ripped fabric scraps in coordinating colors.  The big wall next to the carpeted area was flanked by pink curtains that were held back with ribbons, in preparation for the movie.

At the far end of the room was the buffet table, which was laid out with goody bags, “Spa water” (water bottles), sugar-free candy dishes, labels, and utensils.  And a seating area for the girls with a pink tablecloth, white charger, and pink plates.  Each girl had a wine glass at their seat, with flowers and candles strewn about.


Spa Footwear: The first order of business was tying the material scraps onto their flip flops, while sipping their ‘champagne’.  They stayed at this activity for awhile until all the girls had arrived and kicked out their parents.   We got the inspiration from this Family Fun article.

Facials: As much as I tried, I could not convince a cosmetology student to come and give the girls a lesson, so it was left to me.  I did my best with my limited knowledge – using the 3 step system of cleaning, toning, moisturizing.

We added a chocolate face mask recipe that I got from here. And we made ahead the rose water, but we didn’t like the rosemary herb in it that our recipe called for – this recipe seems a lot better.   The cleanser and moisturizer I bought at the store (it was cheaper than homemade if you can believe it!!) and asked the cosmetics counter lady for tips on purchasing one for pre-teen skin.   I taught the girls the circular motion for application, and about using a wash cloth for gentle exfoliation.  They seemed pretty interested in using the ‘gentle’ fingers on their hands too.  I was a little surprised by how interested they were!  And – the chocolate face masks – oh my!  They had a BLAST making applying eating these!

Musical Pedicure: This was an upbeat activity.  We set up a circle of chairs – one for each participant.  And I put one different nail color under each chair.  Then we played musical chairs – except we did not remove a chair – we made them paint a toe nail with that chair’s polish.  They had a blast!  One warning – next time, we’ll use a drop cloth under them!  They spilled nail polish everywhere!

Eye Mask Building Contest: This was more relaxed.  We got in pairs, and the girls built a tower of cucumbers on the other girls’ stomach.  It was a contest to see who could build the highest tower.  We used ribbons to measure.  I had thought the girls would be full of giggles – but they were very quiet and competitive the whole time.  It was kind of funny how seriously they took this!

Prizes: We provided prizes of bangles, temporary tattoos, a summer scarf, and a make-up bag.

Refreshments: As I said, food was not the focus this time. And it didn’t seem to be missed either.  During the musical pedi’s my youngest girls served the party-goers chocolate dipped strawberries, which also ended up all over the floor!  (Note to self: DROP. CLOTH.)  We served the girls pre-arranged wraps (ham or turkey, cream cheese, julienned peppers), and a fruit platter with cream cheese dip.  We had also arranged a smoothie station from the Life Made Delicious easy-recipe-collection but we ran out of time!   When they had finished eating, we served them a Splenda cake from a local bakery.  (I know you may hate me – Splenda is NOT good for people, but for my daughter, its better than sugar! Email me if you want to know more!)  I had planned on the girls stuffing their bags with the sugar-free candy but they managed to eat it all up during the party instead.  :)

Movie & Manicure: Then we started the movie only 10 minutes later than planned!  They watched Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure and I did mini-mani’s on all the girls.  I had only 10-15 minutes per girl.  So I placed two bowls one for each hand on each side and had them soak for a minute, while I groomed one hand.  Then I polished and put nail art stickers on them.  It was so simple and they seemed so pleased!

Party Favors

Their thank-you bags were filled with their flip-flops, personal-size rose water, pink emery board, and a recipe booklet with all 4 recipes (cleanser, toner, mask, moisturizer).





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About Cathy Tibbles

In 2007 Cathy's Hubby was diagnosed with celiac disease and Strawberries Are Gluten Free was born. The early days of SAGF are chock full of all the newly converted recipes. More recently the articles are trending to cool new products, events, local news and family tales.