My youngest daughter just turned 11 and over the years, we've hired a magician, took 25 kids to a movie, went bowling, swimming, skating and last year, I spent over 24 hours held up in a hotel suite with 8 squealing, giddy, somewhat obnoxious, 10 year olds. This year, my sweet, quirky daughter decided that she wanted to have a Luau and Pool Party...in our backyard, followed by a sleepover in a tent also in our backyard. A'ole pilikia....No Problem!
First came the invitations. We wanted to do something a little different than the traditional card invitations and a visit to our local Party City opened a world of possibilities! We settled on 'Message in a Bottle' invitations, complete with beach sand and a few shells. They were irresistably cute, although potential guests had to be cautioned about opening them, or sand would fly everywhere.
Next....decorations. We bought packages of bright colored balloons and streamers, grass skirts and leis, plastic coconut shaped drinking cups, brightly colored plates, napkins and cutlery. The cake we ordered from our local grocery store with an edible Hawaiian print on top. I was feeling good about the direction this was going in!
Then I thought, 'But what can I have for food that a bunch of picky 11 year olds would eat?'. Well, the obvious first choices were Hawaiian Pizza and a tray full of cubed fresh fruit such as mango, fresh strawberries, pineapple, watermelon and cantaloupe with a chocolate sauce for dipping. But the piéce de la resistance? Grilled Ham and Pineapple Skewers! They were so easy to pull together and disappeared in moments - it was a good thing I had plenty on hand. (Two full pineapples yields A LOT of pineapple cubes!). What was better still was that fresh pineapple, regular $5.49 apiece at my local grocery store, were on sale for $3.49!! I just love a good sale! Almost feels like I've pulled off some great coop d'etat!
I simply cut each of the fresh pineapple in half, cut around the segments and scooped out big chunks that were later cubed for the skewers. I then put the pineapple halves back together and voila! Authentic Luau decorations!
I got some thick sliced honey ham at the deli counter of my grocery store, cubed the ham and pineapple. Rather than uncover the bbq and grill the ham and pineapple, I took out my trusty $10 grill pan from Walmart, heated on medium high heat, quick grilled the ham and pineapple, and then threaded pieces of each onto skewers and placed them on a platter. No sauce was needed as the saltiness from the ham and the sweetness from the pineapple were all the flavor that was needed!
My daughter and I had particular fun planning the party games. They did the Limbo, Hula Freeze Dance, Hot Coconut, (the kids passed around a coconut and if you were holding the coconut when the music stopped, you got to tear off a layer of wrapping present from the prize for that game, last one wins the prize), but they had the most fun playing, 'How Much Can You Trust Your Friend?'.
For that game I bought some gawdy brightly colored eyeshadow and equally gawdy bright lipstick at the dollar store, and while blindfolded, you had to apply make-up on your friend. The person who did the best job by group vote, won a prize. Ultimately I think the kids learned not to trust their friends, but they had great fun and there was a lot of laughter playing this game.
They swam in the pool for a few hours, (it never ceases to amaze me the decibels a gaggle of girls can reach), ate, played games and had great fun, so much so that everyone, including me, forgot about opening the presents.
We had lootbags with bubbles, a friendship bracelet craft, small journal and pen, with some candy and of course, each girl got to take home their grass skirts and leis. Only half of my daughter's guests could stay for the sleepover, (THANK GOD!), because due to Hurricane Arthur, they ended up sleeping on air mattresses on our living room floor.
Overall, the party was a great success and I had a very happy and grateful 11 year old. However, I have to admit...as much fun as it was to put this party together for my daughter, I'll be thinking long and hard before I spend another 24, cocktail-free, hours with a bunch of screaming adolescent girls. I swear....I was NEVER like that! lol