I think we can all agree that 2020 has been the year of surprises, changed plans and some disappointments. This year our girls turned 2 and 4 and we didn’t want to let that get in the way of celebrating them. Let me preface by stating that our current state regulations are that indoor events should be limited to 25 and outdoor events should be limited to 250 guests. We had 24 attendees, including ourselves, and were outside the entire time. The party had some adjustments from what we usually do, but overall everyone enjoyed it and I kind of want to have all of our parties this way now.
What did we do differently this year?
Every year we have had the girls parties at the restaurant since our dining room can sit up to 55 and we prepare and cook everything at the restaurant. This year I aimed to have the party at our new house (mid-remodel) so that we could be outdoors and have everyone spaced. We had some chairs and asked guests to bring their own, if they have them. There was plenty of room for everyone to claim an area while eating.
Games & Activites:
Last year I had a PlayDoh station at Genny’s first birthday party. It wasn’t fun to clean up afterwards but it was a big hit and let me get rid of our PlayDoh stash. (I buy a bunch of PlayDoh every year for Black Friday and give it to the girls on Christmas. Their birthdays are the perfect excuse to clean house!) This year since we were going to be outside I didn’t do the PlayDoh station and instead made “snow” for the kids to play in. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it is so simple:
1 11oz Can of Shaving Cream
2 16oz Boxes of Corn Starch
All you do is empty the corn starch and shaving cream, add your desired amount of glitter and mix! It’s so easy. I doubled the recipe and then put it into two Ziploc bags and stuck it in the freezer. It stayed nice and cold until play time – when I dumped the bags into our kiddie pool. We had 5 kids playing and it wasn’t nearly enough… Next time I plan to do the recipe 4-5 times. Nonetheless the kids loved it and Adriana is still talking about the “snow”.
The only thing I want to note is that if your kids have sensitive skin they might react to this. Genny’s skin is SUPER sensitive and she is my wild child. She kept climbing into the pool and ended up getting the snow all over her. She had a rash on her knees that night, but it was gone the next day. She didn’t bother with it at all either, so I’m assuming it was from the shaving cream.
Pinata & Egg Hunt
In true birthday fashion, we had a pinata for the kids. They were able to wait in line between turns and space out. We also repurposed our Easter eggs and had a birthday egg hunt. We just used a small part of the grass but the kids were spaced out well when finding the eggs (they were all pretty obviously placed).
We typically do a buffet style meal and have done wraps, sandwiches, and sausage & mushrooms in the past with all kinds of sides, fruits, meats and more. This year I decided, for safety and sanitary purposes, to individually wrap/portion EVERYTHING. The only thing that wasn’t pre-portioned for the party was the birthday cake(s), but I served those wearing gloves.
I purchased 6 inch sub rolls and made turkey & cheese and ham & cheese subs with lettuce and tomato. I had single serve mayo packets available on the table for anyone who wanted it. I cut the sandwiches in half and put them in these Reynolds sandwich bags I bought at Target. They came with stickers to seal the bags. (I had planned to make cute Frozen themed labels for everything with my Cricut machine but just didn’t have the time.)
In addition to the sandwiches I had cups with meat, cheese and crackers. I had two different kinds: prosciutto crudo with sharp provolone and salami & pepperoni with colby jack. I added a few crackers that were from an entertaining variety box. These did not fair well in the sun/heat. If you will be outdoors I recommend either keeping them on ice or just putting a few out at a time.
Instead of a fruit platter, I cut fruit the day before and put them into individual cups. Each cup had strawberries, blueberries, gapes and cantaloupe. I used 8 oz ice cream/gelato cups with lids for all of the individual servings cups.
Instead of a veggie platter, same as the fruit, I prepared the veggies the day before and put them into individual cups. Each cup had cucumbers, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. I had individual packets of ranch dressing available for anyone who wanted to dip.
I make my pasta salad for all of our parties and picnics and even at home for lunches during the week. It is easy and delicious as either a side or main dish. It is best if it marinates for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight, so I prepared it the day before, portioned it out and left it in the fridge until the party.
Another side dish I make for all of our parties and picnics is broccoli salad. My husband, who can be super picky. LOVES this. This was the first thing to be completely gone at the party. I make this regularly at home for lunches as well. It’s light and everything just mixes together so well. This is also best if you make it the day before, which is what I did, and had the individual cups ready to go for the party.
In the past I have always put out large bowls of chips, popcorn and pretzels. Even without COVID I realize now how unsanitary that was. This time around I bought a big party pack from Sam’s Club that had six different types inside.
I had water bottles, Capri Suns and 16.9 oz bottles of sodas. Especially with us being outside I wanted individual containers that would prevent bees and other things from getting inside.
All in all the party was a success. The majority of the food was gone, and what was left we had our friends take (which was easier to do since it was individually packaged already!) The girls had so much fun and took great naps afterwards. I even told Matteo that I think I want to do all of our parties like this from now on because it is just more sanitary and easier when people are going down the line to get their food.
This year has been full of surprises and changes so any easy changes that can be made to find some sort of normalcy are definitely worth it. We also had hand sanitizer bottles spread around for easy access.