We decided on a cupcake theme, where the guests did their own decorating. That way I just had to whip up some cupcakes (from a box!) and some buttercream (using the awesomely delicious and easy Wilton recipe), throw some sprinkles on the table and call it good!
For the buttercream, I made the basic Wilton buttercream recipe, chocolate buttercream, raspberry buttercream (using my own freezer jam - so good!) and a peppermint buttercream using the basic Wilton recipe plus about 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. This sounds more elaborate than it was - it only took about an hour using my KitchenAid mixer. How did I ever live without it?
I also made a few sugar cookies using my cupcake cookie cutter. I had been wanting to try decorating with royal icing for a while, and while I was too tired to give it my full attention, I think they turned out okay. I read a few tutorials online, and they all said that the consistency of the icing is key to flooding the cookie properly. I think they're right, and I was too impatient to figure it out, so I ended up just smearing the icing around on most of them. Fortunately the icing dried to a nice smooth finish. I'm sure I'll try again when I'm back to sleeping through the night because there's the potential for some really fun designs.
After last year's b-day extravaganza, I saved a lot of the decorations. This year, they all came back out of the basement, making it look like I spent way more time preparing than I actually did. We reused the tablecloths, runners, centerpieces and candy dishes. Score!