Next weekend my little girl turns 4. She talks about having a party but I'm not in the camp that a child needs a big to-do every year (absolutely no offense to those who do...it's just not for us) and I'd rather she have a bigger party next year. The 5th birthday just seems so much more cooler. :)
I did decide to invite a few close friends and family over to have a small gathering at our home that day. Call it a party, sure...it's a party!...but it's just a little more limited. Because this is a casual event, I'm not going overboard with food and such. The menu is coming straight out of my pantry, freezer and refrigerator so I have a limited amount of things that I will need to pick up at the store this week.
What's on the menu?
Chili in the crock pot - If I can brag a little, I do make some darn good chili and it's super easy to throw together in the crock pot and let it stew away. I have tons of cans of tomatoes from previous sales and some stewed tomatoes from my grandma's garden in the freezer. I may have to pick up a couple extra cans of beans and I need to get some more ground beef (which we need anyway) but otherwise I'm set!
Hot dogs - I know some kids (including my own) will not be too excited about chili so I'll have some hot dogs warmed up as well. I have quite a few packages, in the freezer, that I bought over the summer at .50 or $1. I just need to pick up a few more buns and they are good!
Pasta Salad - I found a quick and easy recipe and all I need to buy is some cucumbers and olives (I bought roma tomatoes 8 for $1 last week so I'm set with those)...the rest is in my panty. The pasta was free and the dressing was probably less than $1.
Everything else...chips, crackers, soda (free 2 liter bottles!), lemonade, desserts...are all here! The paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins and silverware are taken care of also. I have all of that kind of stuff stored away for when I need it. I have some solid color pink and red plates and napkins that I bought on clearance after Valentine's Day one year. They will go great with the Strawberry Shortcake napkins I picked up on clearance at a party store a while back (Strawberry Shortcake will be her cake this year).
Now I gave away all my secrets and it might make me look bad but I think it's pretty darn smart. Think outside of the box! You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to throw together a nice little party, especially if you think ahead when you are shopping year round (i.e. "Valentine's Day" plates for a birthday party). My (almost) 4 year old will never know, neither will she care. She'll be happy to have loved ones at our home...and eating hot dogs, cake and ice cream. She doesn't care how much it cost...but I do. ;)