Monday, February 28, 2011

Birthday party

On Saturday we held a 2nd birthday party for our toddler, C, at home. A great time was had by all, most especially the birthday girl, who is still talking about "my birfday party, mine 'appy birfday!"

Unlike a lot of our parties, this one wasn't particularly themed, although her big sisters, indulging her current love of the Wiggles, made Wiggly signs and decorations to put up around the house.

We also cleaned and decluttered the place to within an inch of its life (parties are very good for us in that regard - they force the "big" clean, the one you've been putting off, and sometimes that's really helpful! The table looked pretty nice as it was set up, if I do say so.

One big difference that I noticed in preparing for this party is how much more pleasurable the prep time was, and how very unstressed we were, in the days before and the morning of the day itself. This is the very first time I've prepared for a kid's party while not also juggling paid work and carrying a horrendous sleep debt. C now sleeps a lot better - mostly down from 8:30pm to 6am, and only waking at night once or twice a week - and that, combined with my less pressured time now I do not have to shoehorn work hours in every week, made the whole experience really enjoyable for me.

Expecting about 15 children and 20 adults for afternoon tea, I made the following party food:

- fairy bread, which is always and ever a hit
- fruit plates
- bacon & egg pies, which always go very quickly with older kids and adults alike
- a Spanish frittata (potato & red onion)
- mini cupcakes iced in fairy colours
- Vietnamese-style rice paper rolls, some with prawns, some with marinaded chicken
- a chocolate hazelnut cake (provided by my Mum)
- bowls of chips
- "little boys" (mini frankfurt sausages)
- multicoloured jellies

There was also, naturally, the birthday cake - following in a family tradition of 2nd birthday cakes, C's was an ice cream cake from Dairy Bell, in the shape of Thomas the Tank Engine.

The food was pretty close to all consumed - we had half a frittata left, which made a nice dinner on Sunday combined with a salad, and a few slices of the chocolate hazelnut cake, but that was about it. Everyone seemed to have enough - I hope they did! I only served iced water to drink and later, cups of tea and coffee - I think it's just easier (not to mention cheaper) to avoid sweetened drinks at parties altogether.

We did have fun! We had a pass the parcel, where each layer was filled with a little object from the $1 basket at the local Big W - things like skipping ropes, yoyos, water guns, bubble wands, hopping frogs, mini puzzles, and so on. The beauty of that was that as soon as the pass the parcel was done, all the kids poured outside to play with their new acquisitions, which amused them for half an hour before the second party game - a classic, old-fashioned, hilarious egg & spoon race. The kids bounced on the trampoline and dug in the sandpit and generally had a good time. The adults sat and ate and chatted and soaked up the sun.

The birthday girl herself was entranced, not least by her superlative haul of gifts - which was heavy on playdoh related items, kitchen / cooking stuff, and puzzles. But she also loved having all her favourite grown-ups around her (grandparents, godmother, neighbours, friends), and having loads of kids to play with and cosset her, and playing games and eating copious amounts of fairy bread, fruit, and cake.

It was, in the words of my brother, an old-skool kid's party - nothing fancy, nothing heavy, just fun food and a few games and cake and laughter. It was a wonderful day.

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