Spa Party Lunch

Food for the Spa

Spa Spread

For my daughter’s spa birthday party, we were taking a trip to a hot springs and I knew the girls would be hungry! Rather than plan a big meal or have pizza, we decided to go with the theme and make it a bit more….well… like. I took with us two picnic baskets full of goodies.

Sparkling cider was a hit! I bought plastic champagne glasses at Party City. They come in an 8 pack. Then for 4 girls I took two bottles of cider. They had so much fun with their flutes! On this one it’s better to have too much than not enough. Believe it or not 4 girls drank all of 2 bottles….well, maybe I had a little.

For the “meal” I had fancy cheeses, sausages, fruit, crackers, bread…..any finger food that they don’t normally get in their lunch at school if fancy. This really was the easy part. Pack a cutting board and some grocery bags from the local grocery cheese shop and I prepared it all on location. Oh my. Easy. Threw it all back in my bag after we left and we were set!

As kids get older, they do appreciate having a nice meal. Don’t cop out by just ordering pizza. Although, they sill love it. Make your child’s birthday party and especially a spa party special with some fancy food as well.

Cupcakes & Icing


If you like to give personal touches to a birthday party, making your own cupcakes is an excellent way to do it. The cake part is important that it tastes good. But I can’t stand a cupcake that has horrible icing. Now, I know that some cakes use fondant to have cool images and that they don’t all taste good. That isn’t what I’m talking about here. Sometimes you just can’t get away with using anything other than the rolled out icing. What I’m referring to is the icings that come on many of the store bought cupcakes and cakes.

I LOVE to make my own icing. I have posted the recipe before and you can find it under recipes. You’ll make way more than you need… problem. Put the rest in the fridge and it will keep for months! For my son’s outdoor birthday party, I made cupcakes out of a box. Yes, out of a box. It tastes just as good as home made vanilla cake does. I used these reusable cupcake cups. The jury is still out on these as it wasn’t the easiest thing to get the cupcakes out to each them……it just makes you feel good. Then I always, always use food coloring that is in a concentrate. It lasts forever! And you don’t have to mix forever to get the color you wish. If you are still using the liquid kind, switch! Concentrated food coloring is the way to go. I purchased this at Michaels, I believe, but you can get it in most grocery stores that carry cake decorating supplies.

Have fun and enjoy icing!

Providing a Healthy Snack

Healthy Snacks

Providing a healthy snack at a birthday party is a welcome sight to most moms. I know, I know, It’s a birthday party or a get together. But as your kids get older you will find that parents use any excuse to have a party for the kids and almost never are the snacks healthy! Snack after every sports game imaginable. Treat when you get out of the pool during a swim meet. Party when you loose. Party when you win…, party, party. Don’t get me wrong. I love to have fun but it gets a little much.

So! When you do have a gathering and you can help it, at least try and have healthy snacks. Especially at a birthday party when you know that there will be cake and/or ice cream involved.

Eating Healthy Snacks
Here, we simply had a bowl of watermelon out. When I cut watermellon, I try and cut the pieces thin and not too big. That way more of the fruit gets eaten and there is little waste. Everyone had already had lunch so I wasn’t even sure if it would draw attention. As it turned out only 5 kids ate an entire watermelon!

It’s fun to have special food but since this party wasn’t about that, I didn’t plan any. You just never know what appetite the kids will have so be prepared…..always.

Halloween Birthday Party Kid’s Food

Ghost Sandwiches

Ghost Sandwiches

Food for your child’s birthday party need not be elaborate! The kids don’t really care what the food is……as long as you feed them. Ha! I didn’t want anything like pizza in my house to get all over everything. So, I opted for sandwiches and fruit. You could have a couple of different kinds of sandwiches but really keeping it simple, makes it just simple. There is no time taken up by them making a decision. There are no hurt feelings if you run out of one type of sandwich. It’s just the way to go.

Easily Prepared Fruit for Parties

Easily Prepared Fruit for Parties

Halloween Birthday parties lend themselves to a great deal of creativity in all areas.  I decided to spice up the sandwiches a little by cutting them into ghosts. These are PB&Js. You’ll want to insure there are no nut allergic kids coming to the party before going this route. Luckily, we didn’t have any! They were made and cut and laid out on the platter first thing in the morning. With a little plastic wrap, done! There was a bit of waste so insure you don’t slather your peanut butter and jelly all over the bread but get a feel for where the cutter will be and cover that area only. AND it’s best to put on the peanut butter and jelly before cutting rather than after which will cause a mess and the ghosts won’t look near as cool. Then with the fruit, go ahead and cut them apart and have it ready to pop right into their mouths. I wanted the least amount of time to be taken eating and I didn’t want a mess of food trash. But if you ware trying to eat up time at the party, then by all means, let them peal their own tangerines and you could even have the kids slather their own sandwiches. Provide a number of cutters for them to select from and let them create their own sandwiches. Just depends on what your plans are for the party. But that would be fun for the kids to do. Just more time and messier.

All and all, you don’t need to stress over the food at a party. It is the least of your worries. And if there is a kid that doesn’t like what you are serving…..because there will be…..just move on and tell them there are no other options.

Pirate Birthday Party Food

Pirate's Booty

Pirate's Booty

What kind of pirate birthday party do you think you’ll have without a little Pirate Booty????? I’m sure that there are more snacks out there that include the word pirate. But this one is an all natural snack for your kids. And at a party, the kids will devour it!

Pirates in general didn’t have the best diet…..or I would imagine. All the photos I’ve ever seen their teeth are all gnarly, skin atrocious and overweight. Who knows, they may have been healthy guys but all the photos and drawings like to show awful portraits of the pesky fellows. But that doesn’t mean that your kids have to eat trash at your child’s pirate birthday party.

I’ve never bought Pirate Booty online. We have it here at our Trader Joes. If you don’t have a Trader Joes, there are tons of places online that sell the yummy snack. The full name is Roberts’s Gourmet Pirate’s Booty. Comes in cheddar, bbq, veggie and others. Just do a search for the name and you’ll get lots of results. Enjoy!

Playdough Recipe

Kids Making Playdough

Kids Making Playdough

Making playdough can be a rewarding activity for kids of many ages no matter if it’s at home or during a party. I make playdough with my kids all the time. They love working with the dough. I just make sure to plan the activity on a day that I don’t care if my kitchen gets messed up!!!

Following are some recipes that I’ve accumulated. My favorite is recipe #1. I would recommend you try them all and see which one works best for you. All the recipes for the playdough are very similar. Only slight variations but as with baking, slight variations will make very different playdough.

Play Dough Recipe #1

Mix together dry ingredients:
2 Cups White Flour
1 Cup Salt
4 tsp Cream of Tarter

To 2 Cups of Boiling Water, add:
4 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 tsp Food Coloring

Pour liquids into the dry ingredients and stir well. When slightly cooled, knead for a few minutes until smooth.

Hint: Use and electric mixer and it’s sooo easy. If you are doing it by hand and the kids are helping, you might choose to put the food coloring into the dough after it is kneaded. And the better or more concentrated the food coloring is, the brighter the color of play dough you will get.

Play Dough Recipe #2

Mix together:
1 Cup Salt
3 Cups Flour
4 tsp Cream of Tarter
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 1/4 Cup Boiling Water
Food Coloring

Makes 4 small plastic containers of Play Dough

Play Dough Recipe #3

Mix Together in Saucepan,
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
3 tsp Cream of Tarter
2 1/4 Cups Water

Cook above over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes until batter is like mashed potatoes. Pull of stove and let cool. Add food coloring into the mixer or add later when the kids can knead it in.

Be sure and keep the playdough in an airtight container or a plastic storage bag and your playdough can last up to a month!

Princess Party Food

Princess Party Food

Princess Party Food

As you all know, kids with full tummies are happy kids. Or at least it is one of the elements to keeping them happy. So, the most important thing is to feed them things that they will and want to eat!

Mask any sandwich in an interesting design and kids will eat them. For a Princess Party, cut your sandwiches in a crown design. These were cut with a cookie cutter in the shape of a crown. There were two choices: a cheese sandwich and then a peanut butter sandwich.

In addition to the sandwiches, the Princess Hostess served platters of fruit and cut veggies. That always keeps the moms happy. And it’s very easy to cut up and have prepared ahead of time!

Resources: If you put in a google search “Princess Crown Cookie Cutter” you will come up with many results for the cookie cutter that was used here.

Photo taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Kids Party Food

Kids Party Food

Kids Party Food

Food is always a tough thing with kids. Is someone alergic to peanuts, do the parents let them eat pizza, will they be hungry? It’s always tough.

There are some simple food plates that you can prepare for a birthday party for kids that will always be a hit. The party that these plates were served at was in the middle of the afternoon and the kids still ate!

First let’s talk fruit plates. Fruit can be prepared ahead of time and easily refrigerated prior to the party. Everything you see here is perfect. Grapes, orange slices, strawberries are all great. You could also do any kind of berry…..blueberries, blackberries. Apples and pears are a little tougher but with a lemon bath, they could be done as it will slow the browning process.

Birthday Party Food

Birthday Party Food

Sandwiches….basically any sandwich cut in a shape is popular amongst kids. Be creative with your shapes and use cookie cutters to follow the theme of your party. That is if you can. If not, the kids don’t really care. As long as the crust is cut off and it’s in a cool shape they will eat almost anything! It’s really funny.

Great sandwich toppings: Cream Cheese and cucumber, cream cheese and strawberries, egg salad, chicken salad, pb&j (of course), mayo & tomato….pick a couple of these and you will be good to go in preparing the food for your kid’s birthday party.

Top photo taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Providing Drinks for Guests

Drinks Bucket

Drinks Bucket

It’s always good to have drinks at a level that all guests can access them. You will have enough to do during the party. So, you don’t want to have to act as bartender as well. Whether your party is indoors or out of doors, it’s always good to have drinks on ice and it’s always festive to have a “drink bucket.”

Fill your bucket with big and small water bottles, juice boxes or other drinks you want to provide. The great thing about individual bottles and boxes with drinks, is that you don’t have to provide glasses or cups as well. But it’s also not always considered “green.” You’ll have to decide yourself which one has more or less impact. We’ve always felt that it’s better to recycle plastic bottles than to be throwing away waxed cups.

Photo taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Melting White Chocolate for Cream Cheese Frosting

Melting White Chocolate for Cream Cheese Frosting

This Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe is great for cakes and cupcakes where you want a really moist yummy frosting. It won’t do as well on cupcakes or cakes where you want the icing to have perfect corners or shapes. I use this icing a great deal because I think it tastes divine and that trumps the decoration being perfect. I want the best of both worlds. Who doesn’t? And I find that I don’t like the icing that you use to cut shapes out of nearly as well.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 oz cooking white chocolate
(1) 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbl Heavy Cream

Sifting Powdered Sugar for Cream Cheese Frosting

Sifting Powdered Sugar for Cream Cheese Frosting

1. In a double broiler, melt white chocolate over low heat and let stand ’til room temperature. Note: If you don’t have a double broiler simply put a metal mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. This insures that you don’t burn your white chocolate.  And you don’t have to sit and stir it the whole time.

2. Sift and measure confectioners’ sugar and set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the white chocolate and vanilla and beat until mixed well. Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar and mix until the batter is nice and fluffy. Beat in the heavy cream.

Hints: This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. Don’t tell anyone but I’ve kept it longer than that and it works just fine for those small batches of cupcakes you make for your kids. Make sure you let it warm up to room temp before trying to frost cupcakes.  And after cooking cupcakes, let them cool to room temp or the icing will slide off the side!

Photos taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.
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