I’ve learned the key to planning a birthday party with home cooked food is to prepare whatever you can ahead of time. This makes everything less stressful and gives you more time with your guests. It’s never fun be stressed out at the party you are hosting. It takes way too long to wind down and relax! It’s also hard to imagine that only a few menu items could take a lot of time to cook but they do. And even though we may be completely prepared — list wise — we are never prepared for the infamous law of Murphy: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
I’ve also learned it’s OKAY to ask other people for help. Naturally I want to make everything myself because I can regulate what type of ingredients go in but sometimes it’s better to not overload yourself and let other people help you. In this case, I knew the meats were going to be of the quality I want and the eggs would be made by myself so I felt content with letting my family help with the macaroni salad, potato salad and fruit salad. Even so, they know I am big on clean food so thankfully they use organic whenever they can.
The day after I arrived from my four day long trek across the country, I had to immediately go to work planning and prepping Andrew’s second birthday party. I had already created the menu plan ahead of time so I knew what I had to purchase/prepare (four days in a car gives you enough time to create a meal plan).
Grass-fed burgers and hot dogs
Deviled eggs with homemade mayo
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Homemade macaroni salad (my sister-in-law made this)
Homemade potato salad (my aunt made this)
Homemade french onion dip
Fruit salad (my step-mother made this)
The fridge was empty and I had no decorations. Woopee! Luckily we were able to split the errands so the girls (my mother-in-law and myself) got decorations and food and the boys (Scott, his dad, and Andrew) drove up to the farm to get 4 dozen pastured eggs.
Why go through the hassle in having to drive 45 minutes round trip out of our way to get eggs from the farm? Because it means that much to me! People may say, “Why bother? Most of the guests you are inviting don’t care whether the egg comes from the farm or the grocery store.” I say, “Because I care!” If I am inviting guests to a party I am hosting, I’m not going to serve them garbage food because:
1. My family is eating it and
2. It’d be kind of hypocritical in my eyes to serve them food I don’t believe in
What do you think?
After my MIL and I spent nearly half a day running around buying the decorations, food and supplies, I came home and made dinner (pastured lightly fried pork chops.. yum!) then went to making a plan on what I needed to prep and created a plan of action. I’m one of those people who work way more efficiently and effectively if I have a list organizing everything I need to complete.
My plan of action?
- Soak the sprouted flour for the cake
- Make the brownies
- Make homemade mayo
- Hard boil eggs, peel, and slice in half
- Make the deviled egg mixture
- Cook and shred the chicken for the chicken dip
- Prepare the chicken dip
This plan of action only left me with having to make the cake and frosting, scoop the deviled egg mixture into the egg whites, make burger patties, and prepare the onion dip. I could have done the onion dip the day before but because I absolutely had to go to the farmer’s market the next morning for raw milk, I figured I’d just pick up onions from there as well. Hey, whatever I can do to buy from local people, I do!
Murphy’s Law in Action
We were going to have the party at the park (five minutes from our house) so my husband and father-in-law went early in the morning to grab the pavilion, reserve it as ours and decorate. By accident, Scott grabbed the bag with the deviled egg tray so I made a run to go get it. At this point Scott had left my father-in-law at the park to hold the fort down while he went to get the balloons. I was driving past the entrance of the park (there was no parking) when all of a sudden I heard a loud, bellowing “Hey!” It was my FIL and he was standing on the side of the road with the couple balloons we had and all the bags. I thought to myself, “weird?”
I turned around, drove up to where he was and the first thing he said was “I’m just going to tell you how it is… You won’t believe it but we got kicked out.”
My stomach dropped — just a little.
Apparently, if we want to use the picnic tables we have to reserve them. Since this is my first go around with having parties at the park I had no idea! I asked him if there were any other tables available and he replied, “every single one of the picnic tables are reserved.”
Ironically, he forgot to bring his cell phone so he was standing there for like a half hour. He told me “all I was doing was sending brain waves to you guys hoping one of you would show up.”
The party was scheduled to start at 1pm and at that moment when I picked my FIL up from the park it was 11:30am. We were expecting guests to show up in about an hour and a half and we have no location to host a party.
Honestly, I stayed extremely calm during all of this. I knew we would find a way and it made no sense to get all crazy and panicky. I called my father (we had Andrew’s first birthday party at his apartment complex) and asked if he could see if the party room was taken or not.
40 minutes later, after waiting patiently and a little anxiously, my father called and said we got the place! Hooray!!! Although I already had the feeling it was going to work out, I still had a huge wave of relief hit me because I knew for sure we had a place locked in.
I called my cousins to see if they could help Scott decorate down there and I finished the last bit of prepping. My MIL, Andrew and I loaded things up in the car and headed to the party.
We managed to pull it off!
In The End, It Was a Success
Despite planning and putting the party together in two days and initially losing our party spot — everything worked out for the better. It was really windy that day so having the party at the park would have been miserable and because we were able to have it at my dad’s apartment complex party room, we had shelter from the wind if we wanted. The food turned out great and everyone LOVED the cake and brownies. The guests were happy and satisfied and Andrew had a fun time as well. What more could I ask for?
|Playing outside with his cousin — despite the wind it was a beautiful day!|
|The delicious real-food-no-artificial-sweeteners-or-refined-flour birthday cake|
|Lining up all his cars (new and old)|
|It was a car/Mickey Mouse gifted birthday|
|My sweet family 🙂|
|Myself, my father-in-law, Scott, Andrew & my mother-in-law|
|Andrew with his cousins|
Have you ever had a borderline catastrophe happen when you were planning a birthday? What kind of real food do you like to serve when you are hosting a party?
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul
This post is part of: Real Food Wednesday