Total cop-out, I know, but it's the best that I can do in that middle ground between serving crap like cheese puffs and candy and beating myself up to go all-out on a gourmet feast like...I don't even know--grilled cheese sandwiches? Fancy crackers and hummus? I know that MY poor kids would think that was a feast!
I got some great advice to try this method of scooping the ice cream for the party ahead of time, and it worked perfectly. To do it, set out the carton of ice cream to soften a little, while you also set out muffin tins lined with cupcake liners, and whatever toppings you also want to serve. Then all you do is scoop a nice scoop of ice cream into each cupcake liner--
--top with toppings--
--and set it back in the freezer until it's party time!
I wouldn't do this more than the day before the party, because I wouldn't want the ice cream to get freezer burn, but oh, my goodness, it was such a huge help to not be wrestling with an ice cream carton and scoop while also wrestling with the cake and the plates and the forks and the nine excited kids.
Because, just between you and me, before I learned this trick I mostly didn't even bother to serve ice cream with the cake at our parties.
See? Food is NOT my specialty!