So what do you do when BOTH of your parents turn 50 in the same month? Throw one big blow-out bash, evidently. And what do you do when they turn 50 in September, and they are both farmers, therefore going to be REALLY busy during their actual birthday month? You throw said big blow-out bash a month ahead of time. In August. And because they both grew up in the same small town area that they currently reside and work in, said party needs to be ENORMOUS, necessitating that the party be held at an appropriate location, in our case, my aunt and uncle's lake home. And because I can't have a party without a theme, we're making it a tiki party at the lake! This is convenient because we used to hold tiki parties in the summer at our house, so we have a few decorations stowed away that we can use. Other than that, though, we needed to come up with a party plan. The party will be held outside at the lake, however, we did rent a large tent in case of rain (weather outlook for the party at this point is a possible chance of isolated thunderstorms, but temps between 60 and 80, which would be perfect!).
Since we're dealing with a potentially large crowd of people, we had some of the food catered in by my good friend, Lacey of Lola's Larkspur Market in New Ulm, MN (look it up for lunch or supper if you ever head down to tour Schell's Brewery!). In an attempt to stay with the tiki theme, she's making pork satays with mango salsa and jerk chicken wings. Then we're supplementing the meat with various salsas and dips (tapenades, spinach artichoke, bruschetta, queso) for bread and chips. Luckily we have some wonderful family and friends that are helping out with some of those! Meanwhile, I was able to mix up one batch of green olive tapenade last night, and plan on making Kalamata olive and roasted red pepper batches tonight. For desserts, I'll be making a bunch of different bars and cut them to bite-size pieces. I had a grand scheme to try to do mini pineapple upside down cakes (altering this recipe a bit, using a mini muffin tin) and mini chocolate lava cakes (same goes, here), but they proved to be a little more tricky than I liked so I scrapped that idea. Lucky for my girl friends, they got to have the "failed" attempts at girls' night last night. So instead, we're doing Rice Krispie bars, Special K bars, cream cheese brownies, Kraft caramel bars, rocky road brownies, and key lime bars. Maybe this fudge that I've been wanting to try out, too. We'll see.
Additionally, we're making a s'mores station! I somewhat ridiculously excited about this. I saw this photo on Pinterest,
originally from a photographer's website, and fell in love! Since we couldn't find the right size/shape trough to hold the sterno cans, my little brother ended up making a 5 ft long holder out of wood, which will have circular cutouts that just fit the individual cans along the length. I then convinced him to spray paint it black (his response originally was "this isn't hgtv"). But I think it's going to work out great! I found little lime green plastic bowls to hold the graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey's bars, and will use a ceramic volcano cup to hold bamboo skewers for roasting the marshmallows. Pictures to come, I promise!
Most importantly, the beverages! We've got two kegs ordered because beer is always necessary, however we're also doing 2 cocktail punches. Mai tais (lots of rum!) and sea breezes (vodka, and cranberry and grapefruit juices). We're mixing these up by the gallon and serving them in plastic pitchers, which will stay cold in a tub of ice. We have enough pitchers that we can always have another gallon ready in the fridge to exchange out. I think this will be an easy way to serve the cocktails since having a staffed bar was simply not an option (but would be totally fun!).
We found the parents some retro tiki outfits after scouring the local mod/vintage/thrift shops. Dad got a shirt, and a beachcomber hat, which I'm sure he's super excited about, and mom got this dress, although it was a little too much of a mumu, so she chopped it up and made it into a tunic. Mia got a matching skirt out of the deal, so I guess I can't be too mad that she cut it up.
All in all, we're busy taking care of the last minute details. Thankfully our friends, Laura and Gabe, are coming down for the weekend to help out at the party (and then enjoy some lake time the rest of the weekend!). They can help keep the food and cocktails stocked and deal with any other details if we're busy with guests. T minus two days until we head home to start the official party prep! Here's hoping it goes off without a hitch!