Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Parties on a Budget!

I love that I have been blessed with two wonderful children. But when we were "surprised" with Nick, and he was born in mid-July (in fact, the bank clock was the only thing I could see from my hospital room window, blinking 100 F all afternoon), I swore up and down that I would NEVER have another July baby. Fast forward two years. We were expecting a girl...due on Nick's birthday...July 16. UGH! Seriously?? Okay, so God has a sense of humor. Unfortunately, that left us with a little dilemma. Two birthdays, mid-summer, a week apart. Last year, Olivia was only 10 days old when we had Nick's party, and we scheduled a pool party. Perfect for late July, right? NOPE! It was 70 degrees and the water was freezing.

So, with all the mishaps and hooplah surrounding multiple summer birthdays, we devised a plan to not break our budget, make everyone happy, and not have to skimp on the food.

We decided on a joint birthday party for the family to attend. One advantage of summer parties? Almost every produce imaginable is in season and inexpensive, as well as super tasty.

Here's how the lineup looked:
Veggie and chicken kebabs (veggies from our garden-tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini; mushrooms and onions from the supermarket...using more veggies, allows for less meat and thus, a cheaper entree)
Fresh fruit and dip
Corn dip (made with fresh corn at just $.25/ear!)
Veggie/ranch bars
Pasta salad

For dessert, we opted to make cupcakes instead of ordering a sheet cake from a local bakery. At $15-20 a pop, it's just not worth it. I was able to make 48 cucakes for under $5. And, I let the kids help decorate, so they were just as excited about them. I did order some cupcake rings for Nick's bowling party from eBay for just a few dollars too. Still much cheaper than store-bought.

It was a really fun time, the kids enjoyed it, and everyone was well fed. So, I guess, although I would never WANT to have another summer baby, there are some advantages.