Day two of party week! Did you see yesterday’s post about setting the partyscape?

Let’s be honest. First birthday parties are really about the adults. Especially for first-time parents. It’s about 365 days of surviving the transition from coupledom into familyhood with all limbs and your sense of humor (hopefully) still intact. So when it came to planning the menu for this party, I had four rules in mind:

  • Hot Weather Friendly: It was HOT during the party. So everything, apart from those items that came off the grill, were COLD.
  • Easy: I have a toddler, remember?
  • 95% Delegatable: I wanted to be able to take people up on their offer to bring something. Coquille St. Jacques? Hmmm… not so off-loadable. Potato Salad? Easy request for an helpful {unsuspecting} friend or relative to accept.
  • Kid-Inspired Adult Fare: I needed food that kids would eat but appealed to adults. I wanted things that were easy to pick up. Skewers were ok for this ‘adult’ party since I figure if you have a license to drive, you have a license to skewer. (Kid party? Ha. Are you imagining the dueling skewer fight that I am? It ends with an emergency room fiasco). This is probably the one and only party where I debate over which cocktail to serve. (White Sangria for those of you that are interested. Delicious! Standard beer and wine, too.)

So here’s what was on the menu. We started out with a modest selection of appetizers since we were planning to roll out the picnic grub pretty quickly: Ordered-bought-and-picked-up Edible Arrangement (saved about 90 minutes of cutting/dicing/slicing), prosciutto/mozzarella/tomato/basil skewers, cheese/crackers, veggies with dip, and fresh guacamole (made by Lila’s grandfather) with sliced pita bread.

I wanted to have something fun and different in terms of beverages (and something that was a bit easier on the budget and teeth than a slew of soda options). So we set-up a lemonade/ice tea bar. I filled a glass drink dispenser with Newman’s Own Virgin Lemonade, a pitcher with Arizona Unsweet Tea, and a pitcher with Arizona Sweet Tea. Yeah – – I was faking it, not making it! Then I set out a variety of herbs, fruits, fruit syrups and club sodas that folks could mix in their tea. Some popular combinations of mix-ins? Sage and blackberries. Lavender and strawberries. Blue Mountain Mint and Lemon. It was set-up outside so that those sweltering could have a little liquid relief.
Kept it simple for the main meal, too. Burgers, hot dogs, apricot-glazed barbeque chicken and a variety of salads. The best part? I made none of the salads and cooked none of the meat. My brother was the grill master extraordinaire and our fabulous family and friends made the salads! We had broccoli salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, mixed green salad and potato salad. Something for everyone.
And then there were the desserts. I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm believer that the cake makes the birthday party. I also know that my self-induced OCD would have kicked in had I chosen to make the cake myself. Frankly, fondant frightens me. So I asked my aunt and uncle if they wouldn’t mind making the cake… and here is what they came up with! It’s far more imaginative and beautiful than something I could have done. And I skipped hours of frost-stration.
They also made these adorable cupcakes! As you can tell from Lila’s face in the first picture – – they were a HUGE hit. You can check out the marshmallow bug pops on yesterday’s post! (Be sure to check it out if you want to know about the decorating details!)

Will be chatting about the party activities and music selection next… stay tuned for more tomorrow!