Sunday, August 25, 2013

pool party... before the summer finishes

The Summer school vacation is just too long in our part of the world (12 weeks this year!) It eats up the entire summer and so summer seems to disappear all too rapidly. I dread the cold weather and rue summer's demise. Anyway, we needed to organize a birthday party for our little Miss soon-to-be-five. We'd agreed upon a pool party and needed this to happen before our neighborhood pool closes on Labor Day (September 2nd). Thankfully our cool/wet Summer abated and the weather was spectacular for the big day today. 
kid soup
It was a challenge planning a party for 20 kids, plus adults, away from our home with no refrigeration, no cooking facilities and no ready access to water or power. Hence... we ordered pizza! 
I made colorful carrot and beet dips with crudités, fruit kebabs, a giant tossed spinach salad, and pesto pasta to curb appetites until pizza arrived. A sudden dearth of available blueberries meant our rainbow kebabs lacked the blue spectrum!
I made the easiest decorated birthday cake I have ever made - with ever so many thanks to the wonderfully helpful video at 52 Kitchen Adventures
I frosted a yellow cake using this recipe for cake and frosting. I used the India Tree brand of natural colors to create the lovely subtle coloring. Mietta was very happy with the result.
To ensure our vegan friends did not miss out on cake, I made my first ever vegan cake! I used the recipe here for a Chocolate-Mocha Cake. Instead of instant coffee powder, Paul pulled four decaf espresso shots for me to use. I omitted the coffee from the icing and used the icing on the sides of the cake in place of the ganache. I topped the cake with chocolate-dipped strawberries. It was surprisingly OK :-)
I made some pink lemonade and we had juice and water for thirsty swimmers. As we had so many guests, I made a Pavlova too, and strew this with fruit that didn't make it onto the fruit kebabs. 
In the interests of providing a healthy - less trashy type of 'goody bag', we bought some of Alex's range of craft projects to hand out. Mietta really enjoyed the paper bag puppet kit she received for Christmas - and I had kept this in mind for such an event. We filled some goody bags with a tub of playdough and a few clay tools for the younger guests and some bags with craft paper, stickers and origami paper for the older children.
We also had some balls for each child to take home. No sweets - much to Mietta's disgust "ALL goody bags have candy!" she protested. Well yes. Most do... but I have been trying to thwart this for years! In the past, we've given out: popcorn containers filled with microwave popcorn, pencils, erasers (for a movie theme party); a bag of healthy prepackaged snacks (Annie's bunnies, raisins, etc.); novel tastes and treats from the Asian supermarket; decorated letter cookies with the appropriate letter for each guest (decorated by Luc); board books for the younger set; bubbles, balloons... It can be a challenge to think of ideas that will delight - but not end up straight in landfill or harm little tummies.

We had such a good time - a really lovely day. Our wonderful guests graciously helped out with kid wrangling, clean-up, cake dispersal and cake storage (in a nearby fridge) - freeing up Paul and myself to actually speak to people... and for me to take a few photos! We were most grateful. 

Mietta had the best time and was a wonderful host. Her enthusiasm lasted ALL day. Upon returning home she immediately constructed one of the left-over goody bag crafts, then built Mega bloks with Paul all afternoon, before taking Rascal for a walk and having her first-ever attempt on a pedal bike. Phew!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah. Before you know it, summer would be over all too quickly. So better start it with a pool party before it’s gone! Anyway, it’s great to see your little Miss having a blast on her day. Will she have another pool party this year? Tiffany @ Pools ‘n More