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Countdown to Party Day

3 days before...
* Bake cake or cupcakes if you're making them yourself. Wrap well in plastic.
* Hit the grocery store for snacks, mini-juice boxes, food and drinks for adults, and paper goods. Don't forget: ice, birthday candles, extra garbage bags, and paper towels.
* Confirm the date and arrival time with entertainment if you're hiring.
* Get final guest count (call those who haven't RSVP'd), but have extra party goods on hand.

2 days before...
* Wrap presents.
* Pack up the goody bags.
* Buy extra camera batteries and film; check/recharge video and digital equipment.
* Run through the crafts and games (at least mentally) to check that they work, and that you have enough activities to fill the time.

1 day before...
* Pull out your first-aid kit (restock bandages and ointment if needed).
* Assemble and frost cake or cupcakes.
* Put up decorations and set the table. Designate a spot for gifts, too.
* Set up craft supplies and games.
* If you're serving ice cream with the cake, scoop it into cupcake liners and freeze until cake time.

Party day!
* Tie balloons to the mailbox or front door.
* Pick up or confirm delivery of cake, if you've ordered one.
* Select bowls and platters for food.
* Make sure the cake knife, candles, and matches are in a handy spot.
* Chill drinks in a cooler.
* If you're having ice-cream cake, take it out to soften 15 minutes before serving.

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