Saturday, March 8, 2014

True Treasure

Island-theme party food on a real island.

Today we woke up to glorious weather. It was quite a change from yesterday's temperatures in the 30s with sleet and freezing rain keeping the children home from school. I knew the change was coming, of course, because my head felt like it might actually split open for most of the afternoon yesterday. I'm happy for the change, though, because we had an outdoor party planned for our teen's birthday. We decided on a Treasure Island theme and we held it on a real island in the lake.

My poor husband had to into work at 4:30 AM today and yesterday because hundreds of thousands of people have no power due to yesterday's storms. Luckily he was able to find someone to cover for him for a little while so he could attend the party. I woke up when he did this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, which I guess was a good thing since I had a lot to do. Last night around 7 our teen asked if his friend could stay all weekend and if another friend could sleep over after the party, so besides the party prep I had a lot of cleaning to do!


Treasure Map Cake

My sons always request chocolate chip cookie cakes for their birthdays. I decorated this one to look like an island treasure map. I used Playmobil toys from the Viking and Pirate sets as decorations to save time. I'm very big on using small toys on cakes. It's a huge time saver, it's cute, and you can use new toys that become extra presents after the party. Decorating sugars enhance my special frosting. You can find my frosting recipe here: http://mandalineartfulliving.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-companion-and-other-tales.html. The cake recipe is the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe from the chocolate chip bag, baked as bar cookies in a pizza pan or cookie sheet. I was hoping to find grown up pirate-type plates and things, but the ice yesterday kept me confined to our tiny town and the best I could do was camouflage themed. I even found camo balloons! I hoped it might look as if we made the plates and table cloth from leaves!

Trying to split the coconuts open

I had an ambitious plan to serve virgin Pina Coladas in coconut half shells. Guess what? Coconuts don't just split open like they do in the movies! We tried sawing them in half with an electric knife, hammering a chisel into the sides, slamming them on the ground... eventually we gave up and bore holes in each one for a straw. I embellished them with paper cocktail umbrellas and let the kids just sip coconut water straight from the source. We had to settle for drinking our Pina Coladas from plastic cups. You can find the recipe for the drinks in my Pinterest recipes folder.


A serving bowl made from a hollowed-out pineapple.

I did make one giant cup from a hollowed-out pineapple. This is easy to do if you have a pineapple slicer and corer. I got one from Aldi for less than $3.00 and I use it all the time. To avoid arguments, my husband and I shared the pineapple cup. I also made a fruit bowl from another pineapple shell. Besides these, I served cake, crudité with dip, chips and shrimp cocktail. The great thing about finger foods on an island is the ease. We didn't need silverware. The shrimp shells and strawberry tops and even the coconut and pineapple vessels we just left for the wildlife on the island and so they will compost into the soil. Even the cookie cake can be eaten out of hand. I was craving layer cake, but this was more convenient.

Children play on the island.

Our young children dug in the sand and played in a fort built by friends while the teens kayaked. And ate. And ate and ate and ate... I am, in fact, about to go pick up some pizzas to feed this house full of teenage boys! I'm feeling very blessed today, by the lovely weather, and our true treasure: time with these wonderful kids.

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