The heaviness is over and the only heaviness left is the extra weight gained after eating three days of eating gourmet three course meals. All the meals are clearly not enough for me. I’ve planned both of my Princes birthday parties for this week. Today was the first. Right after Shabbat. Was I ready? Well lets just say it was 930am and the table wasn’t set. Did I keep  my temper – nope – and I readily recommit to calmness and serenity in the face of crisis – how to do that well that’s another story. I’m told that breathing helps I just forget to do that in the moment.

So my Prince had his Reptile party and everything did come together and I realised something extraordinary – I’ve cracked the party formula! It’s really, really simple and fun. Cracking it gave me enough time to make a properly iced birthday cake and even cupcakes which the kids decorated in the morning. Yes I’ll be honest it was work, but it was fun and joyful. So I thought I’d compile my party menu and tips and hints to make it the easiest party ever!!! Because once you plan your menu, commit to it and shop you’re half way done.

Okay food glorious food. What’s a party without yummies. I always go to party’s with a bit of room for cheese cake. Although to  be honest my party today didn’t have one (I always cut out the hard bits last-minute. Believe it or not a Pavlova is a 10 minute affair compared to a cheese cake.)

My Yummies: Adult (I always cater for the adults and figure the children will take from the adults table anyway. Notably by the time kids are older 5 and up or so, parents don’t usually hang around so you just need for friends and family.) Prioritised in order of importance.

Fruit Platter – Big One – It just fills the table and is great for all of those adults on diet. I’ve had parties where nothing is touched but the fruit. If you’re lazy and don’t have time go to a fruit shop like Freshfellas or Oaklands, they fill up your dish with beautifully cut fruit at quite a reasonable price. (You can even treat yourself to a coffee whilst you wait.)

Pavlova – Well you all know about that one. A beautifully impressive dessert in minutes. (It was recalled Strawberry Cake  by my brother-in-law today. I think I prefer that name.)

Cheese Platter – Easy peasy dish. A collection of Woolies cheeses, Camembert, Brie, Blue Cheese (If any of you like the smelly variety – I still can’t get used to it.), a yellow cheese, a goats Chevin, Kiri cheese. Any amount is fine. Decorate with grapes (okay I don’t do that, but those who wish to look fancy and French) and serve with a variety of crackers, my latest favourite is the Carrs plain ones. Do refill as the party progresses – I forgot to today.

Dips – Egg (always disappears), tuna, avo, Hummus, tahina – one or two or three. Feed the healthies!

Peppermint Crisp Pudding – This is always fun to serve. Adults and children alike love it. It’s not a must but it is delish and so, so simple to make. See below for recipe! 

Scones, Cream and Jam – Lovely to have and you can premake them and freeze. Although I prefer to make them fresh and freeze left overs. Have a great parve recipe.

And the Rest – Chips, Tea and Coffee, Home made Lemonade, Bar One Biscuits, Iced Cupcakes (with theme if you can be bothered, I could be bothered my kids had a blast covering cookies with snakes, smarties and chuckles, and they looked awesome.)  Kiddie treats – choccies etc

Birthday Cake – You can always buy and they do look great. I’m very old-fashioned and I make mine. I know I’m wonderful but actually it’s not as it seems. Ice cream cake is the easiest trick in the book. Buy vanilla Country Fresh or Woolies and have fun colouring it and shaping it into whatever you desire. Okay the ice cream melts a bit but it’s fun, fun, fun especially if you do it with your child. And yes if you do it with your child it won’t look perfect but it’ll definitely look more fun and be a precious memory. I’ll never forget making an awesome fire truck cake with my then 6-year-old. He made it magical – no joke.

Birthday Tips

– Ask for HELP – Grannys, Sisters, Sister in Laws, Cousins – everyone likes being part of the party and let them make their ‘special’ dish. Less work for you. And ask for set up help. It’s terrible to be alone wishing you could be cloned. (My husband’s family made the party today with all their special touches – like bringing a reptile jungle gym (it was a reptile theme).

– Book entertainment – Borrow equipment – Plan something for kids to do. Even if you hire some highschool kids to entertain them with old-fashioned games. I love animal farms, today we did a reptile park theme with real snakes and a baby alligator educational kind of exhibit. The kids loved it so that was a good idea, playball, little champs, beading, painting, pizza making, jumping castles, cookie making. Anything you can think of. I once went to a party where the kids potted their own flowers. Whatever is easy and works for you.

NB I don’t think the best parties are themed – I never theme mine really it just sort of happens organically like today was just all about snakes, and we kinda got carried away… (in a good way.) A party with love and joy is all that’s needed. Fancy isn’t necessarily the best. Although if you want to go all out great everyone will enjoy it.

KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart – I’ve had parties where I put SSSOOOO much effort that it wasn’t worth it. I was at the party but wasn’t because I was EXHAUSTED. Not a good idea. Mummy martyrs don’t enjoy parties.

 Party On – Just load your camera and enjoy your child’s smile as they appreciate the precious gift they are as the only one of them in the whole wide world!!!!

Obviously the above is not the last word on parties – the last word is Women’s Weekly Party book – just kidding it’s a brilliant book though – my kids love looking through it and choosing their cakes, and their recipes DO work.

Peppermint Crisp Pudding

Ingredients

Tennis Biscuits – about 2 packets

Cadbury’s Peppermint Milk Block – 1

Tin of Nestle Caramel – 1 – 2 (Depending how big.)

Cream – 250 grams beaten or more if you making bigger

(I know I’m going to drive you crazy but it’s such a simple recipe that you can’t go wrong with measurements – trust me. Although don’t put too much chocolate it’ll be too strong.)

Method

1. Beat Cream

2. Grate Chocolate

3. Line a square or rectangle tin with whole Tennis Biscuits. Layer on the Caramel. Then layer on Cream. Sprinkle Chocolate on top. (Some people only sprinkle chocolate at the top at the end.)

4. Repeat the layers as much as you want in terms of how big you want it. 2 or 3 layers will do. I love lots of layers. End with chocolate on top!!! You can grate a bit of the chocolate with a knife on the top to give it a rougher texture.

Ready to Serve. Otherwise keep in fridge till ready.

Bon appetite!