I don’t know why it has never occurred to me before, but we decided to have a patriotic themed birthday party for my son’s birthday this year. His birthday is just a few days after the Fourth of July and so we decided to host a backyard barbecue for our family and friends.
We kept the decorations simple and I tried to buy a lot of things that we could reuse for future parties. These paper lanterns offered a little festivity to our space and I found blue star garland to decorate around our patio doors.
To save on drinks, we used this tin bucket and filled it with a huge batch of birthday punch instead of cans of soda. For each of the kid’s birthdays, I try to do a festive punch to go along with our food and a batch of strawberry punch was a perfect accompaniment to our fun little barbecue. I filled this tin clear to the top and my husband laughed and told me there was no way all of that punch would be drank. He was wrong and we had enough for one glass left at the end of the day. It is always amazing how quickly you can go through things like that!
Instead of buying paper cups, I got plastic cups in red & blue that we could use for all of our parties. The price was right at Walmart (in their summer supplies- only $1 for six cups). They will definitely come in handy for playgroups and future birthday parties.
I rolled all of the silverware in paper gingham napkins. I had yarn leftover in my yarn stash to use for tying the rolled silverware sets. When I hosted my last party, I found inexpensive sets of silverware at our wholesale club in the restaurant supplies. They aren’t the best quality, but they work so wonderfully for occasions like this. Thrift stores also sell silverware and you can often find bags of it very inexpensively. Rolling these into sets made it easier for everyone to grab what they needed and kept the line for the food moving a little quicker.
Each year I make a little slide show for the kids that the family can view before we cut into the cake. Amazon sells songs for $.99 and I try to pick one great song to go along with their three minute movie. This year one of our son’s favorite albums is Justin Roberts, “Meltdown” and his, “It’s Your Birthday!” song fit the bill perfectly. The grandparents love this and I think my kids watched this movie sixteen times before the guests arrived. There is nothing like seeing tons of pictures of themselves set to their favorite tunes to put a smile on their faces. I recommend saving this and putting it on when you need to get your party preparation done- it works like a charm!
I found these adorable mini burgers at Walmart and they had 24 in a package for $7.00. I got wheat and white rolls in the bakery and got a variety of cheeses and toppings to make a little burger buffet for our guests. We also grilled hot dogs for the kids, but I have to say the mini-burgers took center stage. People could really load their plates up with the sides or have a burger and a hot dog on one plate.
I served that Pesto Pasta Salad which was a hit again at another get together. I also found an amazing recipe for Hot Potato Salad from French Knots (hat tip to Make & Takes for sharing this one) that had everyone talking because it was so different. I followed her recipe, but omitted the green onions and substituted those with fresh chopped flat leaf Italian parsley from our garden. I also added 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese on top before I baked it and substituted the regular sausage with Italian turkey sausage to cut down on the fat a bit. By substituting with these flavors, it gave it more of an Italian flair and everyone really seemed to enjoy it!
In case you missed the post yesterday, this was the big birthday cake- an Oreo Fudge Ice Cream Cake. The patriotic pinwheels were a steal at the Dollar Store. They had six in a package for $1 so I used three of these as a cake topper for his cake and cut them in different lengths to add a little pizazz to the cake. The best part about these is that when Ethan blew out the candles all of the pinwheels spun around too. I wish we were able to capture that in motion because it was really cute.
As our party favors, we gave each of the kids a bag with a pinwheel, glow-in-the-dark bracelets and little patriotic bracelets, and some candy all courtesy of the Dollar Store.
Recipe Highlights From Our Patriotic Party:
3 cups bowtie pasta (about 8 oz)
1/4 cup pesto (Sam’s Club has pesto for really cheap, if your garden isn’t ready for pesto-making yet)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (about two medium)
1/2 cup halved pitted black olives
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
Cook pasta as directed. Drain and rinse under cold running water and let cool. Place in a salad bowl. In another bowl, mix the pesto and sour cream together and add to the pasta, tossing to coat. Add the tomatoes, olives, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts and toss to mix. Serve.
Patriotic Strawberry Punch
1 (2 liter) bottle strawberry-flavored soda (I found this at Walmart)
1 liter (half a bottle) Sprite or 7-Up
1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (12 ounce) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
2 (1 liter) cans pineapple juice
Mix all the ingredients together for the punch. This will fill one large punch bowl or two smaller ones.