As the time drew near to celebrate another year of our little Gv, I began to contemplate the party situation. We enjoyed last year's event and spending time with family and friends so much, but didn't necessarily think a full‐out party was something we wanted to establish as an annual tradition.
I mean, does a 2‐Year‐Old really need all that?
The answer, of course, is no, but as I said in last year's post, a birthday is really just an excuse to have a fun get‐together and so G and I decided to go for it.
Once again, we forced our guests out into the great outdoors at a time when no sane Floridian ventures outside past dawn. We even upped the ante, by turning the whole thing into a camping weekend!
Although many guests were initially excited about joining us for some camping fun, as the weekend approached and the temperatures climbed higher and higher, most were rethinking their decision already when a powerful thunderstorm turned away the few families who'd been determined to brave the heat.
We were there, though, and so were Grammy and Papa. I did, however, turn to G, as we lay sweltering in the tent that first night, and ask, "whose bright idea was this?"
Luckily, we survived. And it wasn't miserable, although if the mercury had risen even a quarter of a degree higher, that would have tipped things into the world's‐longest‐night category (I have encountered many such nights while camping, ranging from the oppressive heat of the Keys to an uncharacteristically bitter Thanksgiving in the mountains to a flood of rain that invaded the tent in Maine and I don't care to repeat these experiences thankyouverymuch!)
The party was set for the last afternoon of the weekend, under a covered shelter. My theme was going to be my typical favorite, but as I began to brainstorm everything, I decided to give it a little twist.
Thus Gv's Colorful Campout was born.
I used my love of rainbows for the party games, but went with a camping theme for the food and then incorporated both into the birthday cake.
The shelter had three picnic tables underneath it, allowing me to devote one to food, one to games, and one to crafts (although that one had to share space with the drinks). I used fitted sheets to cover the tables, although two of the tables were longer than usual and so the sheets didn't stretch all the way down. No problem, though, because we just stuck the coolers on that part (Papa's idea), which both held down the edge of the sheet and covered the table.
There were a couple other picnic tables scattered about out in the open and I covered those, too, just in case someone wanted to eat out there.
We had a decent collection of camp chairs scattered about, and a couple of really on‐the‐ball guests even brought their own!
I really love it when the birthday treats kids bring away from a party are crafts or things they made during the party, so we had a couple of those. However, I wanted to give out a little something to thank everyone for coming, as well.
I just hand‐wrote the labels on index cards and put everything into a white lunch bag.
|Some Play‐Doh, a bouncy ball, some stickers, and one of those grow‐in‐water capsules|
A simple goodie bag, yes, but these were all things I knew Gv would enjoy and I really don't think you need to go overboard with this part of the party!
Games & Crafts
I wanted a variety of games and crafts that would appeal to the age range we had attending (or at least the majority of the age range, since it stretched from 1 1/2 to 13!) I settled on four activities for this part of the party, which you can read about here.
After creating just about all the food from scratch last year, I knew I didn't want to do that to myself again, especially with the added burden of packing up the car for camping and a party a couple days later thrown into the mix.
That's why the camping theme worked so well for the food. Even though a lot of the selections contained processed food that we'd never usually eat, consuming that stuff one day out of the year wasn't going to kill us and it made things so much easier.
Besides the party standards of chips, salsa, and onion dip, we offered a make‐your‐own‐trail‐mix bar and some cute s'mores on a stick. You can read more about the food here.
Although I really liked my idea for last year's cake, it did not withstand the heat sufficiently, so I was determined to learn from the experience and do better this time. I was pleased with how this year's cake turned out, and felt I struck a better balance between healthy and "normal." You can find the cake details here.
The final touch was that I once again had clothes in the closet already that allowed Gv to totally be coordinated with the party.
So, what do you think? Fun on a frugal budget, or total flop? I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.
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