This year we decided to keep Hunters party intimate. I knew that a couple of his friends were having larger parties so I was confident he wasn’t ‘missing out’. I also wanted everyone to be able to spend time with each other, including (selfishly?) me. I love hosting parties but since having children have tried to be more present. I wanted to witness all the little moments that I often miss while I am washing champagne glasses!
Decorations // Ok so its only a small party, but its still a 2 year olds birthday party so we did do a little fru-fru. A large balloon garland with a scattering of dinosaur balloons from pop roc parties. Julie was a great help with all my questions, including a suggestion of a hand pump purchased from the $2 shop for the balloons. Genius!!! We did a green back drop with dinosaurs ($15 from the warehouse) dotted around the food table. Then on the backdrop we had a few photos of Hunter and a dinosaur print from Little Grippers Store.
Food // I wanted to have most of the food ready to go on the table when guests arrive rather than fussing in the kitchen. So we went with:
+ Chelsea Winters Crazy Italian Chocolate Cake: with cake topper by Love From Seventeen. I cannot recommend this cake highly enough! It was easy to make and was so delicious and DAIRY FREE so I could partake in some birthday cake! River has an intolerance to dairy and I am still feeding her so no dairy for me. Back to the cake. MAKE THIS CAKE you will not be disappointed, so moist (yup, said it). I made 2 and sandwiched together using the icing recipe and doubled this too. Decorated with more dino’s.
+ Platters: I like a selection of the following and I used to make everything from scratch but ya know, kids, no time. Meat, veg, seafood, dips, cheese, and vessels to eat dips and cheese, something healthy and usually something from our edible garden, and colour for visual appeal. So step on up wood smoked salmon & garlic aioli, salami, ham, blue cheese, aged cheddar, creamy Havarti, 3 different crackers including these addictive things, raw baby carrots from my in laws garden, grapes from our garden, beetroot hummus, ‘Lisa’s Aubergine & Cashew’ dip, Anathoth sweet chilli relish. These went down a treat. Who doesn’t love a bit of a platter?
+ Jelly Dinosaurs: nothing flash, just store bought jelly poured into individual glasses with more of those little warehouse dinosaurs placed on top
+ Fruit Cones in cardboard ice cream stands – The kids loved these, they were easy for their little hands to hold. I filled some good quality waffle cones with kiwifruit, pear, berries & one token piece of dark chocolate.
+ Chips & fortune cookies. Because its a party.
There was also supposed to be dinosaur shaped cookies that I even had made the dough for but they didn’t make it into the oven. Basically every event that I host this happens with something, but I am the only one that knows I failed, well now you do but Hunter will not look back and wonder why there were no cookies at his second birthday party I’m sure. Cut your losses, pick your battles and all of that.
Once everyone was settled and all had a drink and presents were done I cooked up some pot sticker dumplings. I used to make these from scratch pre-children but that hasn’t happened for approx. 2 years. You can get some great ones from the supermarket and I just pimp them out with pickled ginger + QP mayo and herbs from the garden and serve with store bought hoisin sauce and chilli.
I didn’t do party bags but made green ice blocks (pictured below) for the ride home. These were just whipped up in the blender and put into ice block moulds : spinach, avocado, banana, coconut cream, almond milk, canned peaches, pineapple, lemon. The avocado really does make them super creamy.
It was a fantastic day. Hunter played with his best friend and his grandparents and ate as much cake as his little heart desired.
Then on his ‘real birthday’ we took him to the dinosaur safari at Highlands Park. If you haven’t been, and you live in the area I can’t recommend this enough. You jump in vans and drive through the ‘jungle’ and spot huge Dinosaurs. Then in the middle you jump out and the brave ones can touch the big beasts. There is also a flying fox and a few other attractions to keep all ages entertained.
We gave Hunter 2 presents which were this beautiful wooden lawn mover by Needle and Nail because he just loves mowing the lawn with his Dad. It has been such a hit and it is so beautifully made. We also gave him these hand painted stones by Wonder Filled. The hilarious thing is that we gave him a farm themed set and then our lovely friends also gave him a dinosaur themed set! How crazy is that?! They say great minds think alike!
None of this is revolutionary but I know that parties can be stressful and sometimes hearing how others make it work while balancing normal life can be valuable. I hate being disorganised so I have a lot of lists. Including a day by day list (Friday blow up balloons, Saturday make balloon garland etc.) and if something doesn’t get completed it just hops on over to the next days list. Then I’m not stress pants on the day. And remember to take photos, and make sure you are in some photos even if you have to prompt someone to make it happen. If in doubt read this and my motto is “even a bad photo is better than no photo”.
Happy party planning xxx Jana