This past weekend, we celebrated the kids’ birthdays with a fun-filled party at our local park. There’s nothing more frugal than having a party at your local park. The space is free, there are lots of things for the kids to do (and tire themselves out) and the grown ups always enjoy just being able to sit somewhere in the shade, chat, eat and have a good time on their own. We had their party at another park last year, but this year we decided to cool down at the splash park.
The Ponderosa Farm and Park in Scotch Plains, NJ is a newer park in our area. It draws in families daily, especially in the summer, because it has wide open spaces, state of the art play areas, and of course the splash area. The kids and I will show you a more detailed view of the park in the coming weeks as part of our playground tour. Since the park doesn’t allow grilling yet (it’s not zoned for it), we decided to make this more of a picnic style party.
The goody bags were filled with books, fun projects and crafts, and even some of our favorite applesauce, GoGo Squeeze. The kids actually enjoyed not getting a small bag of candy. Go figure. We ordered chicken from a local place (only 40 dollars for 50 pieces) and I created a Hot Dog bar. I cooked beef and turkey dogs in the slow cooker overnight, then we kept them on a sterno at the park to keep them hot. An even better idea? Ordering pizza and having it delivered to the park. I saw lots of parents doing it for their parties that day. I extended the vittles by making macaroni salad, turkey subs, italian pasta salad and a fruit and cheese platter. Everyone left stuffed.
I also created a few signature drinks for the adults: strawberry muddled daiquiri, pina colada, tart cherry sangria, and rum punch (the secret to that one is fruit cocktail). Also, since I have a sweet tooth, I had to make some extra treats. Guests enjoyed, white chocolate hazelnut and “chocolate covered banana” brownies (recipe coming soon). I also made funfetti cookies and yellow colored sugar cookies.
Since ice cream was out, I decided to get creative and use pudding snacks. Keep the pudding and bottle of whip cream on ice, get sprinkles from the dollar store, and you are in business.
But the real star of the food was my mother’s cake. Last year she rocked it with the rainbow cake for the kids, and this year, she turned both of them into their favorite characters this year. Look at the faces!
We also had epic water gun fights. Water guns turn everyone into kids again. As you can see, my husband had a blast torturing his Sister-In-Law.
I still can’t believe that my little girl will be 3 in a few days, and that my little boy is now 8. Time is flying by too fast, so I always appreciate these parties that we throw for them. It gives us a second to catch our breath and just celebrate them at their current age. My July babies make my heart sing.