Well that’s proof that prayer does work – the weather held and we had an absolutely glorious afternoon at the park.
The Pooh Eco-Picnic was a resounding success on all counts.
Ari was surrounded by family and friends, he stuffed his little maw with cake and snacks, and had a rollicking good time chasing the birds across the lawns. He was showered with attention – which I think most kids prefer even to presents! – and he got to wear a special glittery crown. I mean, what more could a kid want?
All set up and waiting for the guests to arrive – except for our very punctual cousin! Setting/packing up took under 20 minutes each, and everything fitted in the boot of my hatchback (the table-chair sets do fold up very small, though).
Birthday boy tucks into Nana’s cupcakes. Instead of throw-away plates, cups, party boxes, etc, we used food to carry the Winnie the Pooh theme. The Gingerbread Poohs were made with a standard teddybear cookie cutter and red icing T-shirts; the cupcakes were decorated with Poohs on toothpicks, and the Pooh cake (see below) was ordered in.
The fruit and veggie shapes were a hit – a nice, healthy addition to the cookies, cake and sarmies (which also went down a treat!)
Every item except the paper serviettes was recycled and/or recyclable – from the reusable plastic glasses to the juice cartons and water bottles to the yoghurt tubs of popcorn to the goodie bags to the banner in the trees and the crown on his head.
Feeding the birds with the stale bread eco-”goodie bags”. I love that nature can be as entertaining as a man dressed up in an oversized cartoon character suit.
One, two, three, BLOW!!!
Oh to be two – when a cupcake makes the world a wonderful place!
“Too… much… cake…”
And so the afternoon drew to a close with the whispering of a breeze in the trees and piles of stomped-on icing running a sweet little path between the picnic tables. The guests departed and we packed everything back into the car and headed for home.
Within half an hour of being home I’d loaded most of the plastic cups and platters into the dishwasher and thrown the sarongs into the laundry. I’d put the leftovers in the fridge, and the juice/yoghurt cartons in the recycling (after a quick rinse). I looked around my relatively clean kitchen and thought to myself, “Now that’s the way to have a party!” No mess, not much fuss, and 1GB of memories ready to be reviewed at leisure.
The waste generated by this kiddies party?
1 pack of paper serviettes.
4 or 5 matches (couldn’t get the darn candle to light…)
About 20 toothpicks.
I honestly think that’s it!
I can barely believe it! When I think back to how I felt a few weeks ago, standing in the party shop surrounded by mountains of plastic and polystyrene, I didn’t think it was possible to show kids a good time without a heavy toll of Disney detritis. But I think we succeeded.
Sure, it would have been simpler and less time-consuming to purchase a pile of plastic Pooh decorations than making my own. It would have been easier to buy chips and sweets than to cut shapes out of fruit and veggies. But it was well worth the effort.
The whole event was special. It was unique. It radiated the love that had been put into it. Factories can’t produce that.
And the party’s low eco-footprint is something of which I am particularly proud. Not only was the final waste extremely limited, but we also saved the carbon required to manufacture, package, and transport all the items we did not purchase. And I’m sure we saved a packet of cash too.
If we don’t take care of the earth, we’re doing our children (and grandchildren, and their grandchildren) a great disservice. So I think it’s fitting, when celebrating the life of a child and all the promise that the future brings, to do it in a way that honours the planet on which that destiny will unfold. Maybe I’m a bit sappy, but what the hell – today I am one very proud Veggietot Mom!