View Full Version : Please help-need to have B'day party for DD

08-30-2004, 10:49 AM
5 days after we get back from WDW!!! It will be her 2nd birthday. I have all of her gifts and Wiggles party decoration purchased (except for the Mylar balloons). I have not yet sent out invites, but it looks like there will be about 19 people total. The only thing not figured out yet is the food and how in heck I will have my house ready for a party that soon after we return.... I have already started cleaning, but I work FT with 3 DDs, and DH is working 12 hour midnight shifts all week. For the food, DMIL suggested I get the ready made stuff at Costco, like the meatballs and stuffed shells. This would work out great, because 8 lbs of ready made frozen shells and a large bag of meatballs would cost approx 25. bucks. She was going to make chicken parm, and I would buy a few other things, and that would be that. Now today, she brings me a catering menu from their favorite Italian/pizza place, and says I would be better off catering from there. She says a small tray of chicken parm would be 45, and it would cost her 42 to make it, so maybe I should cater. Does this sound accurate? I know chicken and cheese are expensive, but 42 for a tray sounds pretty steep to me. I could get the Tyson cutlets from Costso for 3.??/pd. Am I way off? DMIL is set on the thought that only Polly-o can be used because it tastes the best, etc., and only shops at one supermarket chain. (No, she is not rich by a longshot). What would you do? I'm thinking it would cost 300-400 to cater, and about 150 to use Costco and homemaid. Am I dreaming?

Cindy B
08-30-2004, 10:58 AM
You could also do cake and punch and the total cost could be around $50 total.

Personally, nobody eats at parties around here. They are too busy playing. I have never seen kids eat at parties!

If its a kids party, the parents that come for the kids, hardly ever eat either. (strange!)

If its a family party, that would be different.

Personally for 19 people I could cook that. You can make meatballs in the crockpot, and it can be done.

08-30-2004, 11:08 AM
there would only be two 2 year olds (including mine) and the rest of the people eat as adults. I am only inviting one friend, the rest is family. My family and DH's always eat at parties. Dh's family usually keeps their parties simple with a cooked ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, and a few other sides -or- some other home cooked stuff. So, why all of a sudden does DMIL think it is necessary for me to host a catered party?

08-30-2004, 12:00 PM
I guess it depends on what time of day the party is. If you can hold an afternoon party why not go with some nice sandwhichs, sides, etc. We went to a wedding and they did that and even though it may sound cheesy it was good and everyone said how nice it was to have "easy" food to eat when dressed up, busy dancing, etc.
I would think you could have sandwhichs, salads (macaroni, potato, fruit, slaw, etc) and chips or other side for under $50.00 or so.
If it is at night then maybe you want something more filling. If you don't want to cook, then you could always order 20 or however many adults to go meals at a nice local restraunt, also make a big batch of salad to go with it. I figure $7.00 each person or so...
Or BBQ, hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage, etc isn't too expensive.

It's up to you. But I think $300-$400 is outrageous... even $150.00 seems high.

08-30-2004, 12:28 PM
Why don't you do a bbq. Just marinade some chicken ahead of time and freeze it before your trip, get the premade hamburger patties, and hot dogs-just buy the buns and fixings for it, and gets some mushrooms or marinade some shrimp in italian dressing-have your DH take care of that. Then you can make some tossed salad-the premade ones at COSTCO are good, or make some potato salad, chips and salsa, and other premade items at COSTCO along with the cake. As for decorations, put them up in the morning if your kids will not touch them so that you are not in a rush right before the party. You could also make some rice or get a big bag of rolls from COSTCO.
Good luck with your party.

08-30-2004, 02:24 PM
with summer birthdays. Plus, I live in NY, so the weather at the end of Sept may not be bbq friendly anymore. I would rather plan on doing an inside party, but find a happy medium on the food. I would prefer to do hot food as opposed to sandwiches, and am open to suggestions. I would love to make things that look like I spent a lot of time/money, but didn't! Hell, why couldn't I take a few boxes of pasta, get some vodka sauce (either by the quart from the pizza place or in the jar) and add maybe add shrimp from Costco? Or without the shrimp, it would still only cost about 23.

08-30-2004, 02:30 PM
One time when really pressed for time we did a "pizza taste-off" party--ordered pizzas from 6 different pizza places, cut them into small slices, then everyone voted on best crust, best sauce and best toppings. It was cheap, and people got so into arguing about "sweet" and northern sauce that they didn't notice I hadn't cooked!:jester:

08-30-2004, 03:13 PM
A suggestion: this is something that I frequently do for parties. It is easy and good. I buy a spiral ham, do scalloped potatoes and different kinds of vegetables. It is easy to make and you don't have to fuss with it while your guests are there. I put the scalloped potatotes in first, usually take about 2 hours, then an hour into it I put the ham in and then about when a half hour is left I start the water for the vegetables, steam them and then put butter and garlic salt on it. It is not very time consuming at all and everyone raves about what a great meal I've cooked. I've found that both kids and adults like this meal.

08-30-2004, 03:23 PM
A large ham would do nicely. We have about the same amount of people for our family parties and that's what we did for dd7's last party. We make homemade dumplings but that takes time because we have to make so many, but you could have any kinds of side dishes with ham. And ham is so easy, Pour a can or two of Dr. Pepper over it, stick it in the oven and leave it alone. Cut up some fresh bread. The premade salad mix is great. I'm sure Costco also carries veggie trays like Sam's. That helps to fill people up and they're not that expensive.

My brother just serves cake and ice cream sometimes. I can understand that; it gets expensive feeding large families. But, a lot of the older family members don't like it. :rolleyes:

Now in DH's family, food is expected. Period. One year, my mil was not invited to dh's cousin's daughter's (still with me? :teeth: ) birthday party. She was sooooo upset. We tried to explain to her how expensive it is even when people bring food (DH's cousin ends up with about 40-50 people with both sides of the family).

But mil didn't understand. And she's going to be upset again because I just got the invitation for this year and she's just doing a kids party at the bowling alley, no family party.

Oops! mrsboz beat me to the ham suggestion.

08-30-2004, 04:08 PM
Sounds like the party is for the adults, not the birthday girl! She is only 2 after all. Spending $300 -$400 to feed all these adults at a child's party is ridiculous. I'd go with the frozen meatballs with a sweet & sour sauce, some rice pilaf, maybe a cooked ham and a turkey (could both be made the day before) with fresh rolls, and the salads the others have mentioned. If DMIL needs chick. parm, let her make it and bring it along.

08-30-2004, 04:16 PM
The spiral ham is easy.

My Italian side will just make a huge bowl of pasta and sauce with some Italian sausage, a salad (Romaine, onions, mushrooms, peppers, cheese, dressing) and a few loaves of garlic bread. Even easier than lasagna - and cheaper. Jarred sauce is as good as anything I ever make (and I'm pretty good at sauce).

I'd never go as fancy as chicken parm to feed 19.

08-30-2004, 04:23 PM
Stouffers lasagna. That's my advice. With extra sauce, and some meatballs, a big green salad, and really good garlic bread.

Your MIL sounds like an interesting person . . . :teeth: .


08-30-2004, 04:34 PM
Frann...you have some great ideas...I would stick with the meatballs( you could always do side of spagetti for kids/ buns for heros for adult). To that I would add a large Cesar type (or Chef) Salad (and again I would add grilled chicken or cold cuts) Kids would also like cold cuts (and adkins adults would like the non carb option). I even think a cold cut platter with sandwich fixins is always great...or even thouse big sandwiches are great too...(again you could make your own for less the night before). I also like to do Finger sandwiches (tuna, egg salad, and cucumber), again the night before.

As to cleaning your house...I would keep the party confined to as few rooms as possible, Dining room, Kitchen, Bath and Family Room. But if you have a family room (or basement) with a bath near by I would try to keep the guests there. I have even seen great parties in a Garage, with a bathroom near the kitchen. (The Garage party had a Pinata, and it was a lot of fun inside due to rain). The secret to keeping others out of the rest of the house, is to have everything set up the night before(music, games, paper, garbage, chairs, except the food. Add a cooler for drinks and food. I played Blues Clues Bingo, and we had a party gift table for winners (all low cost items...dollar store/Christmas tree shop).

Do I think the $45 is too much, no..usually it would come with bread, etc..but they are preparing it for you. I feel that you can throw a great party for 150-200(poss. less) at Costco or even local supermarket (check out their party planning books for more ideas).

Just don't forget to order the cake BEFORE you go on vacation(I did forget) so the store/Bakery is ready. Have someone pick it up for you if you are short on time.::yes:: :cake:

08-30-2004, 04:41 PM
Originally posted by frannn
with summer birthdays. Plus, I live in NY, so the weather at the end of Sept may not be bbq friendly anymore. I would rather plan on doing an inside party, but find a happy medium on the food. I would prefer to do hot food as opposed to sandwiches, and am open to suggestions. I would love to make things that look like I spent a lot of time/money, but didn't! Hell, why couldn't I take a few boxes of pasta, get some vodka sauce (either by the quart from the pizza place or in the jar) and add maybe add shrimp from Costco? Or without the shrimp, it would still only cost about 23.

That sounds awesome! You could really do a great pasta spread cheap. Maybe do a pesto based pasta, spaghetti w/meatballs (in the crock pot), that wonderful sounding shrimp pasta. All you need is some garlic bread and a big salad and you're set! If you really wanted to go all out, you might make a big green salad and then a tomato/fresh mozarella salad too. You could also go REALLY simple and get some pre-made frozen lasagnas. I definitely wouldn't cater a b-day party for a 2 year old. That's a huge expense for a party she won't even remember.:D

08-31-2004, 12:17 AM
What about mostaccioli?? It is really easy to make and you can bake up as much as you need. Add some salad, maybe a veggie and garlic bread and everyone will be full. I usually either fix that or pork roast. Cook ziti/mostaccioli noodles, add some browned meat (italian sausage, ground beef, etc) , spaghetti sauce (to taste--usually about 24-48 oz per lbs noodles) and 3 cups of mozzerella cheese. Put in a lasagna pan, ton with more mozzerella cheese and bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes. You can add veggies, spices, etc to make it your own.

We usually have about 10-12 adults and 6 kids and one pan feeds everyone. Cost is dirt cheap but it doesn't taste it. You can even make it up the night before and set it in the fridge and bake next day.

08-31-2004, 12:57 AM
Something that would be more on the simple side would be to made a bread bowl, add in some store bought spinach dip and put some crackers around it.

Pasta salad-Boil the colorful spiral pasta, add in sliced olives, steamed brocolli, sliced tomatoes, shreadded cheese, and mix it with italian dressing.

Lasagna-You can make it ahead of time and freeze it or put in the refrig. the day ahead.