It’s so true, that saying that “The days are long, but the years are short.” I can’t believe Hazel and Ada are already 3 and 1! To celebrate, we did a double birthday party the Saturday after Halloween.
I was crazy enough to take on inviting 25 kids under 5 and making food for everyone from scratch, but I certainly wasn’t going to try to do that at our house. We rented the clubhouse at our pool, and it turned out perfectly.
They had lots of tables that we were able to use so that we had several different play stations as the party began. I got a variety pack of Play-Doh, and I found some free clip art online to make cupcake coloring sheets. I tried to adopt the idea of decorating a birthday tree, but maybe that was too complicated for the mostly 3-year old party attendees. Most of the decorating supplies instead got used on the cupcakes, but that worked out just fine.
Then we were able to use the deck to play with paint and Alka Seltzer to make some exploding art. I’m pretty sure about half the parents thought I was crazy to attempt this, but I think it worked really well once we established some rules - no kids on the tarp, one kid at a time, and the kids only put the first piece of crumbled Alka Seltzer in the canisters, so that I could quickly finish the task, add the lid, and flip the canister.
I first learned about this idea at Marbles Kids’ Museum, so I knew it would be fun, but the interaction of all the kids turned out to be a real riot. Dan’s dad took a little video, and it is loads of fun if you’ve got a few minutes to add a little joy to your day.
After all that play, everyone was hungry. I stuck to some old faves from my recipe book, balancing kid-friendly favorites, healthy options, and stuff that I could realistically make for 50 people. We had:
- Braised cranberry-barbecue beef sandwiches
- Butternut squash mac and cheese
- Roasted broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and eggplant (Ada’s favorite!)
- Cherry tomatoes and baby carrots
I was pleased with how well it all went over, and it really wasn’t that tough to do. But it was key to have a half day off to work (hooray for comp time!) to be able to focus on fixing food, rather that taking care of kids.
To finish the party off, we had to, of course, “let them have cake.” In the end, I settled on two cakes because it just felt right for each girl to have her own. I made Hazel a chocolate cake, and Ada got an applesauce cake.
They weren’t fancy, but Smitten Kitchen didn’t lead me wrong. Both were simple to make and delicious. Even though the chocolate probably started as the preferred choice, I think the applesauce was the real winner. It was so moist and just perfectly spiced. I may have to find another double birthday celebration to make it again! ;-)
We may just have to be the family of double birthday celebrations - I think we’ll definitely make a tradition of doing this for the girls as long as they will let us.