An (Almost) Real Food Summer Pool Party

My little V is now an official two year old! My son really wanted to have a pool party for her birthday. I know, I know- it wasn’t his birthday, so why was he picking? Because he’s nearing five and has ideas and opinions about these things, and V doesn’t know the meaning of a birthday yet. 😉

So I ran with J’s ideas and said we could do a pool party with our inflatable kiddie pool. It turned out to be a smashing hit with the kids, and the brain work required for planning games and activities was almost zero. These guys were having a blast.

V's B-day 2015 033Our ingredients for success with a small group of toddlers and preschoolers? (This post contains affiliate links.)

The only “game” we planned was a water balloon fight. Which is very easy for kids this small. Just give them some buckets filled with balloons and let ’em have at it!

V's B-day 2015 029(Ready for war.)

V's B-day 2015 045(Soaked and loving it.)

woodland fire pit

We set everything up in the backyard, with the adults mostly centered around my hubby’s home-built fire pit, and the kids playing with all the water stuff right nearby in our only semi-flat stretch of grass.

Now that I’ve properly digressed from the title of this post, let’s address the food.

Most of you know that I try to eat relatively healthy, and our big passion is sourcing a lot of our food from our own backyard, local sources, or at least with healthier versions of the prepared stuff. But we are also on a journey– and we most definitely aren’t whole-food-traditional-diet-only-perfectionists!

The party was no different for us. We tried to serve up a lot of healthy options and avoid most of the junk that comes with typical kids’ parties. (Plastic-tasting pizza and lots of Coke at the bowling alley, anyone?) But I didn’t panic if I used a couple of prepared sauces and crackers. For me, balancing health-consciousness and sanity was key in preparation for this party. And a couple prepared items really did save my sanity. 😉

Here’s what was on our menu:

  • Grilled chicken, four ways: BBQ, Buffalo (using this recipe), Teriyaki-ish (with my dad-in-law’s homemade “Piggy Pork Sauce”), and plain-ish, with only olive oil and spices.
  • Grilled veggies with olive oil, salt, & pepper.
  • Corn on the cob.
  • Summer salad: Greens (some store-bought organic spinach and some homegrown arugula), sliced organic peaches, crumbled feta, pecans, and this homemade balsamic vinaigrette (with the olive oil cut in half).
  • Pasta salad: regular old bow-ties, lots of veggies, pepperoni (gasp!), cheese cubes, and Italian salad dressing. (At least the dressing was organic?)
  • Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, crackers & cheese, plus a few other snacks.
  • Lemonade, water, & homemade iced tea

For dessert, we used the basic chocolate cake recipe found in The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (using our goat’s milk & pastured eggs!), topped with homemade whipped cream and pureed strawberries and blueberries.

cakeFor the kids, I made some of the cake batter into cupcakes, and tried to turn the fruit purees into a ladybug design. Tried being the key word.

ladybugcupcakesDon’t laugh.

These guys donned chocolate chip spots and candy eyeballs to turn them into critters. (Remember, real food compromise, people. 😉 ) We also made homemade frozen yogurt from our goat’s milk to go alongside the cake.

Overall, I felt like we did a fair job of offering healthy options for food without killing ourselves making absolutely everything from scratch. And I’d say the kids had a lot of fun, too!

What are your favorite real-food party options? Share your recipes below!

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How we formed a (mostly) real food menu for a kids' party that we felt good about.

2 thoughts on “An (Almost) Real Food Summer Pool Party

  1. Andrea

    Fun party! I had no idea they made biodegradable water balloons…my kids will be happy to hear it, since I banned the regular ones! Nice job keeping the food real at the party. I struggle with that. I spend a lot of effort preparing whole, real foods for our family, but when we have get-togethers I too often resort to cheap party food that I know everyone else will enjoy. I will keep your menu in mind the next time we have a party, because it sounds delicious.

    Reply
    1. Abi Post author

      Yes, it can be hard preparing for a crowd! That’s why I didn’t go ALL out with all homemade dressings, sauces, and crackers… but tried to keep it from being completely processed too! 😉 Thanks for the encouragement!

      Reply

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