A (mostly) sustainable birthday party

Aidan’s birthday party is Saturday. In my ideal world, I would be making all the food from scratch or buying all-natural or organic food to serve. We would use real dishes, silverware, and cups. I would bake and decorate the cake myself, make the ice cream, cut up the veggies, make the dip, etc. We would serve only homemade soda, juice, water, and tea. We would decorate with homemade, recycled things.

OK, time to wake up from the dream and be realistic. Maybe someday this will work for a birthday party, but not this year. Tim and Tom have both been working long hours and my mother-in-law is sick. I’ve had to pick up the house and the outside and do the cleaning with only a little bit of help. In fact, it’s still not quite done. I’ve been picking up one room at a time, but of course the rooms get messed up again quickly. It’s unrealistic to expect the kids to not get toys out for two days or to not make messes. And we still need to use the house until the party. So it won’t be perfectly picked up and clean, but it will be better than it was. And, as always, the house cleaning is done without chemicals, mostly using vinegar and baking soda.

Yet I’ve had to compromise on a few things. I think it’s safe to say that this will still be a mostly homemade, sustainable birthday party. I’ve done my best, while also not putting too much on my To Do List (who wants a party to be stressful?) since I do also have two kids to play with and feed.

Here is what I am making or planning on making from scratch:

  • mayonnaise
  • ranch dressing
  • ice cream
  • tea and coffee
  • egg salad
  • popsicles

Here is what I am planning on buying from the Farmer’s Market:

  • fresh fruit, probably apples and raspberries since that is what is in season
  • any vegetables that can be served raw for a snack tray
  • tomatoes for the sandwiches

We considered getting platters of sandwiches from Jimmy John’s, but I thought buying stuff at the store would be more frugal. I’d have to actually do the math to make sure, but I am pretty sure that I paid less for the amount of food that I got at the store than I would have for the same amount of food at Jimmy John’s. The other things I’ve had to get from the store:

  • carrots, which are not quite in season, and possibly more veggies for a snack tray if I can’t find them at the Farmer’s Market
  • lettuce for the sandwiches
  • lunch meat and cheese
  • bread, though I considered buying this at the Farmer’s Market, but didn’t want to slice it all or make everyone slice their own
  • the cake
  • juice and/or soda

As far as decorations go, I tried not to buy too much but I did end up buying some things at the dollar store. Honestly, I’m just not that crafty. Maybe for Mo’s party in January I’ll try to make some homemade decorations. We will also get a few balloons on Saturday when we pick up the cake.

I am proud to say that we have enough silverware that we won’t have to use plastic, especially since we will only need silverware for dessert. I bought plastic cups that are recyclable and I bought dinner sized paper plates and dessert plates that can be composted. Any food waste can be fed to the cats, chickens, or compost heap accordingly. So the only waste will be wrapping paper and packaging from gifts. The toy I bought Aidan came in a cardboard box and had very little plastic to throw away, and it was not made in China, though Italy is still far away.

What I have realized (or confirmed) is that we have way too much Stuff. It’s quite easy to just see the toys and think we have too many toys, which we do. However, it’s more than that. It’s too much clutter and too much stuff or not places for the stuff we do have and want to keep. I try to declutter and donate things all the time. It just seems that things come in faster than they go out. I have been telling the kids that we won’t buy something if we already have it at home or can make it at home. It’s time to seriously start thinking about all our purchases and questioning whether we really need that item.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday.

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11 Responses to “A (mostly) sustainable birthday party”

  1. Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen Says:

    Beautiful! Homemade birthday parties feel so special! It’s like a gift in and of itself. We recently held my son’s 4th birthday party and it was all homemade but for the gifts.

    • hippygirl Says:

      Yes, Mo’s birthday is in January so I hope to do even more for her birthday party. I really don’t feel all that crafty, but fortunately I know people who are so I can pick their brains and websites. :)

  2. hippygirl Says:

    Here’s an update!

    I’ve peeled the eggs for the egg salad, which is a pain in the butt since they are so fresh.

    I tried making mayonnaise yesterday afternoon and it did not work. It seems that when I try to double a recipe like that (or the bread recipe I tried to double) it does NOT work out. So I’m afraid I will be buying mayonnaise at the store tomorrow and I’ll have to try that again.

    I’m going to work on the ranch dressing now and see how that turns out.

    I made another batch of ice cream from a recipe I found from Fight Back Friday. Hooray for ice cream with raw eggs!

  3. tipper Says:

    Hi! Just found your blog through Salt Creek Life. Been looking around-and enjoyed my visit.

    • hippygirl Says:

      thanks for the comment. :) i mostly write for my own enjoyment, but it’s nice to hear that others occasionally enjoy my ramblings. :)

  4. chris Says:

    I have an easy, cute idea for decorating Mo’s party. you can make these large tissue paper ball/flowers that you can hang from the ceiling at different lengths. i will get a website and send it to you. if you have any tissue paper left over from your son’s b-day, save it for this craft. Or just buy it in the colors you want – she could use them in her room or for other craft projects.

  5. hippygirl Says:

    yes, chris! i want to do that. it sounds like something mo would love.

    i was thinking that for aidan’s party we can do something with pumpkins and leaves and maybe dried corn stalks? those are all readily available. :)

  6. MARK KIRK Says:

    HI. Hippy woman – I miss the country and have lived and worked on multiple farms. How lucky you are to be there. I always thought we needed a local type “hippie chick” from the country in a martha stewart roll. Keep it up!

  7. Abendkleid Says:

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  9. Fight Back Friday September 25th | Food Renegade Says:

    […] time!2. ElizabethG (spicy chili)3. Amanda @ Rebuild: Foods do fight depression4. TwirlandTaste5. hippygirl mostly homemade/sustainable b-day party6. Cellulite Investigation: Hidden Dangers in Homemade Stock (1st FBF post)7. EKT – Adventures […]

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