the green party

invite

I can’t believe it’s true.  Toddler L turned two yesterday.  And with kids’ birthdays comes birthday parties.  Luckily for me Toddler L doesn’t have a favorite cartoon character or TV show (he says TV when we turn on the radio, no TV may just warp his mind).  He doesn’t have a favorite book and he hasn’t requested his room be covered in dinosaurs or cars.  So for this year at least I got to choose what his birthday party would look like.  What was the inspiration?

Beans.  Yup, Heinz beans.

Not just any beans though, the baked beans in tomato sauce that are imported from England.  (Yes, a U.S. company makes a product only available in another country that is then brought here and sold as an import.)  When we found a big tin of them I thought they would be good for the party.  Then I looked at the tin and found inspiration in the colors.

We used Pingg for the invitations.  As much as I would have loved to send out handmade paper invites to all the kids we did the responsible thing and used their parents e-mail instead.

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We were at a fabulous wilderness park with some less than fabulous metal picnic tables.  Decision 1 – cloth or plastic?  I heavily considered renting tablecloths but couldn’t justify the expense for a 2 hour party.  So we went with plastic that could at least be recycled after.  (I’m kicking myself for not bringing them home and using them for kids’ craft days.  I blame lack of sleep for that faux pa.)

Table decorations were kept pretty simple.  Beans tins (lots of beans were consumed in the making of this party) with flowers – some real, mostly paper – and a picture of Toddler L that I printed at home and attached to skewers.  The pictures are already being recycled into another project.  I also put out some rice filled bean bags I had made using the circles on a pillow case found at the thrift store.  The colors matched the tins perfectly.  The bean bags were later used for games.

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We borrowed two canopies and put up some paper poms.  They were pretty easy but very time consuming.  The banner was printed at home and I strung the pieces on ribbon.  It now hangs in Toddler L’s room.

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The food was kept simple.  We served pretzel Goldfish (Toddler L’s favorite food), pb & j sandwich cutouts, fruit, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (lovingly made by the husband), mini burgers made with organic beef (not pictured as they were cooking) and, of course, beans.

All of the serving dishes were from our kitchen.  We used compostable plates, cups and cutlery.  And thanks to some friends they actually got composted.  Along with the pillow case I found a sheet that matched the teal color.  I cut it up to make napkins which have since been added to our home collection.  There can never be enough napkins with kids around.

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These are the burgers.  Aren’t they cute?  I think they were a big hit with kids and adults.

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We did have bottled water as it’s a must for these hot summer days.  We had some large bottles for the adults and these smaller bottles for the kids.  I’m not a fan of plastic water bottles anyway but half full ones left lying around really get my goat.  We also had Sprecher root beer.  It’s the best root beer I’ve tasted, it’s from the husband’s hometown and it comes in glass bottles.  As a final option we made an apple, peach lemonade.  (It was delicious.  And it made me break the Compact.  I just didn’t have a pitcher big enough.  So I bought a beautiful glass dispenser with a tap.  I’ve never seen one in a thrift store, I’ve wanted one for years and I know I will use it forever, so I don’t feel too bad about the purchase.)

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I don’t know many toddlers that need to be hyped up on sugar, they really have enough energy already.  (At least the one that lives with me does.)  So I thought mini cupcakes would be perfect.  For the kids at least, the adults got regular size indulgences – I need a full chocolate fix.  They came from BabyCakes Baking Company and were amazing.  I rented the cake stand from the shop so no added waste from making or buying one, and it was way cute.  The cupcake toppers were printed at home and will be recycled into whatever projects I can come up with.

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The true highlight of the party though was the pond.  We bought a bulk supply of ranger approved food and handed it out to the kids to feed the ducks, fish and turtles.  It was better than any games or activities we could have brought with us.  It might have been better than the cupcakes.

All in all I’m pretty happy with how green the “teal” party was.  I don’t know that we had any trash as everything was either brought home for another use, recycled or composted.

Could we have made less of an impact and stayed true to the Compact?

Yes.

Would it have been as fabulous and beautiful?

Nope.

So in this give-and-take life I’m pretty happy with what I did to get what I got.

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3 Responses to “the green party”

  1. It was a perfect day. Even the squirrels and birds cooperated. Thanks for inviting us to such a fun party. The photos are great and show the beautiful color of the cans. Good pick! And I finally got a taste of the fabulous cookies. They really are superb. However will you manage to match this celebration for Baby S’s First Birthday?

  2. What a beautiful party! And so environmentally-friendly! It looks like it was a lot of fun. I’ll have to keep a lot of your ideas in mind for future birthday parties for my little one.

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