Monday, June 6, 2011

The Garden Party

On Sunday we celebrated Meredith's second birthday with family in our backyard, making use of our newly planted vegetables and flowers by having a garden party. This suits Miss Meredith because she's is quite the little gardener herself, helping in all aspects of keeping up our yard. She loves to mow, weed (sometimes not the right "weeds"), and she especially loves watering, but what kid doesn't?

But we did more of a "dressy" garden party, wearing nice outfits and drinking lemonade out of jelly jars, and then we threw in the theme of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to help come up with ideas for the food.

This is the happiest, bubbliest baby you'll ever meet--Miss Maggie, my goddaughter. She and her sister Gracie were wearing matching outfits that had flowers on them and they coordinated well with their cousin!

I got this idea from one of the many sites out there that used the book for a theme. I really wanted the menu to include food that didn't require a lot of heat (the oven or the grill), so we made deli sandwiches and because the caterpillar ate sausages, I used the slowcooker to make a peppers, onions and sausage recipe. Easy, and it did make anyone too hot (poor Kev, always stuck with the grilling!).

Instead of individually serving it, we cut up the caterpillar's fruit and tossed it in a bowl, except for the watermelon, which the kids love eating by the slice. I saw another cute idea where you use a watering can to serve "bug juice." At our house the "bug" was a lemon.

The caterpillar ate a piece of chocolate cake, so I just threw a box of devils food cake in a bundt pan and then used a 4-inch Pyrex bowl to bake a little topper to make this grassy hillside where paper butterflies hang out. I made some icing for the cake but that did not work because the frosting is supposed to drip over the sides and the stuff I made kind of clumped. What's funny is that I got the idea from a variation of a cake Katie Brown did on her PBS show. Lou and Ben watched it with me and they thought it would be the perfect cake for Mere's bug/garden party. When Lou saw me struggling with the icing he said,"Remember what she said, Mom. Wherever there's a mistake, just stick a flower." Such a smart kid, I have. Unfortunately, there weren't enough flowers or butterflies to cover this cake!

Benny's batteries were worn out by the time we sang "Happy Birthday." We went ahead and sang anyway. (You can see the caterpillar's cherry pie in the picture, courtesy of Grandma H.)

That Mere is one excited little candle-blower-outer! She blew it out a few times before we were done with the song and I had to re-light them.

All in all, we had a nice time and the weather cooperated with us this year, as opposed to the catastrophe that was her first birthday!

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