Because I have so many photos of Nadia's party that I want to share with you, I figured I'd break it down by category. If you're sick of hearing about the party, come back in
November October. If not, read on!
I'll be honest. The food at the party isn't what excites me. Well that's not all true--I love the dessert/snack buffet part. But the 'real' food just isn't exciting or pretty. That said, I believe in what Megan mentioned in her post about Grace's sunshine party: the adults want good food. Give them good food and they'll have a good time. Have you ever been to a super cute party but left hungry? Yeah, I'd like to avoid that! In that vein, I wanted to offer food and snacks that adults would enjoy as well as sweets and snacks the little ones would love. I did learn one thing: little kids don't really eat at birthday parties (at least when you host it at your in-laws' amazing home complete with 2 swing sets, a basketball hoop, and a pool). But more on that later...
[By the way even though the title says "dessert buffet," this posts includes the little details about all the party food and you can find ALL recipes at the bottom of the post].
First the pretty food:
My fabulous sister-in-law designed the food labels. (She also designed the invitation).
I got the kool-aid popcorn recipe off of good ol' pinterest. [here's the part where I debate making it seem like everything is perfect or go with my manifesto of "keepin it real." Keeping it real wins. Because I hate it when blogs make everything look easy and perfect. It makes me feel like a loser. Maybe that's my own weird hang up but for the sake of argument I'm going to pretend you don't feel awesome when you think everything in someone else's world is perfect and wonder why yours isn't. ok, enough]. All that to say, I didn't love this popcorn. It tasted like a jolly rancher. And I don't like jolly ranchers. And I had most of it leftover. So don't make it (or if you do, maybe try cherry kool-aid instead of pink lemonade. Even though pink lemonade matches the party). There. :)
It does look pretty though, doesn't it?!
One of my favorites on the snack buffet. Simple. Cute. Yummy.
As luck would have it, Sam's Club stopped carrying cotton candy the week of the party. I went through this for Genevieve's first party also-- saw it everywhere before and after. Couldn't find it anywhere during. I ended up running to the Dollar General and getting this fluff at the last minute. A circus party without cotton candy just seemed wrong. Oh and if you remember the cotton candy from this post, it totally "shrunk" before I even opened it. Not cool, HomeGoods, not cool.
I was considering circus peanuts like these for this cupcake holder but I think they may look cute but taste, well, nasty. I saw these cute shortbread alphabet cookies at Wal-Mart the week of the party and made a quick decision to buy them. I'm glad I did. I definitely had leftovers but some kids enjoyed them and my girls didn't seem to mind finishing them up after the party.
Iced animal crackers. The children did not eat these! I thought I was being really careful to have snacks people would eat but it turns out as I mentioned, the kids didn't eat! For Genevieve's first party, everything vanished! But it was indoors and kids get bored and they see the stuff and go for it. At my in-laws, the yard is amazing and when you have 20 other kids to play with, you don't hang out at the snack table. My point in telling you this, is for you to learn from my mistakes--consider the "venue" of the party when planning the kiddie eats. And I think Genevieve is the ONLY two year old who doesn't like iced animal crackers so I ended up throwing these away. And I HATE throwing food away.
Another "keep it real" moment-- the card is wrong. This is actually candied popcorn. I liked this recipe better than the kool-aid popcorn although it did get hard really fast when preparing it.
I LOVE caramel apples. I considered making them myself but decided to stop being stupid. :) I got them at Wal-Mart instead. At almost $1 a pop, they weren't cheap but I didn't need many. I always buy them there in the fall and just love them.
I wish I had taken a picture of these when I first finished making them because they were PERFECT! I've made cake pops quite a few times now but they are tricky. These were super easy. I got the recipe from here. The issue was that I froze them (which I never do when I make cake-pops) because Lindsey from Pillow Thought froze hers. But while it seems like hers were gobbled up right away, I had to transport mine to the in-laws and then leave them out until the party started...resulting in some wilting. I will definitely make them again though because they're so darn cute and taste delicious. Just no freezing next time!
Is it me or are these just so dang cute?!
Of the 4 popcorns I made, this was my second favorite. The recipe can be found here.
And this is my FAVORITE of all. You can find the recipe here. If I had it to do all over again, I'd eliminate the candied popcorn and just make more of this and the caramel popcorn. This recipe was the easiest one of all and there wasn't a lick of it left.
Ironically it's the least pretty of all the popcorn but the most delicious.
Ok, I haven't told you about how crazy windy it was that day, have I?! I was happy it didn't rain (which weather.com threatened off and on all week), but the wind really gave me a hard time. I will share more about the weather in future posts but for now, I mention it because the flags on the cake look insane and I wanted you to know why! They looked awesome before I moved the cake outside, I promise. The cake instructions were from here. I'll share more about my experience making the cake in a later (cake/cake cutting) post!
I don't know about you, but I just get a vintage vibe when I think of the circus or carnivals. This was the perfect beverage in keeping with that feel. I found these Sioux city sodas (sasparilla and cream soda) at HomeGoods.
It makes me sad that we didn't actually USE this! We had every intention...but we were running a little late and Joe is the only one who knows how to operate it (I'm sure it's not that difficult but I was too busy running around to stop and figure it out). He didn't get to it before the guests arrived and well...but hey, it's still pretty cute isn't it?! We also had a play list of carnival and circus music playing on the deck so despite it not being used, it definitely added to the vintage carnival vibe.
And Now the REAL food:
I loved these cute ketchup and mustard holders. Another small detail to give the party a vintage feel. For dinner we had sausage, hot dogs, pressed sandwiches (recipe here), grilled veggies, pasta salad, and chips.
And this may be why some of the snacks didn't get eaten. I totally overfed everyone! Ha! I had a nacho bar complete with all the toppings you could want (chili, jalapenos, onions, black olives, sour cream, etc) and plain and spicy nacho cheese. In hindsight, I probably could have stopped there...but due to my intense fear of not having enough food at a party, I decided to feed people dinner also. (And the cute food labels had long since blown away).
I had cute labels for all the food but the wind shattered that dream [says, the drama queen]. Seriously the wind was blowing everything all over the place so when we switched out the snacks for the "real," food, I thought aloud as to whether I should set them up (knowing they'd be knocked over immediately) and my sister-in-law (who designed them) said, "At this point, I'd let them guess." And I laughed out loud. Love that girl!
Cutlery. Wrapped and adorned with twine and tickets! I also added cute jungle animal plates for the kiddos and saved my mom from wrapping MORE silverware by throwing the kids' cutlery into a mason jar :)
This little detail took a. lot. of. time. I have to thank my mama for doing it because it's one of those tiny details that wouldn't have made its way to the top of the priority list!
Besides soda, I also served lemonade as a beverage. I forgot my super cute mason jar beverage dispenser at home; Nevertheless I found another place to use my beloved mason jars: straw dispenser anyone? Okay, it didn't actually dispense them, but how cool would that be?!
One more shot of the cutesy soda.
And all the recipes in one place:
Kool-aid popcorn: Tasty Kitchen.
Candied popcorn: A Mom Not a Professional Nor a Perfectionist.
Classic Caramel Popcorn: All Recipes.
Marshmallow popcorn: Pinterest.
Cake Pop Cones: Pillow Thought.
Pressed sandwiches: Crepes of Wrath.
Circus Striped Cake: Girl. Inspired.
Photos by Captured. Photography.
Stay tuned for posts featuring the birthday girl, the cake/cake cutting, party activities/favors, and the party people! And don't worry, the posts won't all be THIS long. ☺