Thursday, March 1, 2012

If it's Shish Ka-bab, it must be February

As my children were growing up, birthdays provided an opportunity for each to set the menu with their favorite meal. Always, my younger son requested Shish Ka-babs and it has become a late February tradition spanning many decades.Sometimes it is dinner at home, prepared by his wife and shared with his children. Occasionally, the family at large manages to turn it into a surprise party. Since there can be no surprise in the fare, we attempt a bit of creativity with the party theme. This year, as spring seems to be getting a jump on the actual season, we decided on a "Beach Bash" complete with anything and everything we could think of in the genre of Jimmy Buffett.
Orginally, we were going to hang a few Haiwaiian shirts as background but I acquired so many at thrift stores (for no more than $1 a piece), that I found myself in posession of a dozen, of varying sizes, in no time at all and decided that we should wear them instead. Washed and ironed, that part of the preparation was complete but we no longer had the needed background. Completely apart from planning and while enjoying coffee on a mild and sunny morning, I noticed my distant stand of bamboo greening with new spring growth. At first my thoughts were only hopes that a late freeze would not damage the tender young leaves. Then suddenly, the bamboo images burst into an entirely different portion of my brain and the issue of a beachy background was resolved. The drab and empty planters on the deck would be filled with cuttings of bamboo, creating walls of tropical flavor. Immediately, I saw the deck transformed in my minds eye. I phoned a daughter and asked her to cut Palmeto fronds from her property to use as covering for an umbrella and to fill in the lower portions of planters. A daughter-in-law offerred the use of a life guard chair, once used as product display.

The tropical coziness of the deck far overshadowed the drab, colorless remnants of winter that stretched beyond. Here's hoping the photographs give you some ideas for your own unseasonal beach party plans.

Here are some of the inexpensive ideas we used:
  • Paper parasols threaded into strings of Christmas lights
  • Hawaiian shirt coozies at Dollar Tree - $1 each
  • Angel Food cake turned into Pina Colada cake. Instruction link HERE
  • Tropical gift packaging by attaching printed computer images
  • Endless MP-3 Beach Music
  • A bar serving frozen, virgin Strawberry Daqueris & Pina Coladas
  • A section of grey, weathered fencing set on saw horses as a buffet table
  • Collections of sea shells
  • Hors d'vores decorated with celery "palm trees" & olive "coconuts"

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