A Year of Picnics


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Wild Child

The “Wild Things” party was an absolute joy. Huxley and I dressed as wild pollinators, he as a bumble bee and myself as a lady bug. Other wild things in attendance included several frogs, a dinosaur, a bat, a spider, some cats, a monkey, several wild rock & rollers, a banana slug (!!!), several lions, and a grandmother in a python skirt and a great-grandmother in a giraffe/zebra/lion ensemble (have mercy!).

I made a tablescape with some wild-gathered items, including tree branches, Rose of Sharon pods, Mimosa tree pods, and berries from our property, and acorns and tiny pine cones from the walk Devan and I took at Biltmore Lake. I added in some apples from Skytop Orchard and a few pears and tomatillos for a bit of green to temper all of that red.

The garland attached to the dining room light is from Retroprint. It was upcycled from pages of a vintage book entitled The Natural World. It’ll go up in Huxley’s room, now that the party is over, to complement the “exploratorium” theme we’ve got going in there. The little animal envelopes (also upcycled from the pages of an endangered animal card set) were take-away favors (along with the Endangered Species chocolates), containing wild bird seed for our “wild feathered friends.”

We decided to really milk the “wild theme,” clearly, (since it’s Huxley’s middle name and his general demeanor, along with a very important concept in Hubs’ and my life-wild spaces, open-mindedness, etc.), and created a “wild” meal. We noshed on the following:

-Wild-caught fish stew with Farm & Sparrow bread
-Wild rice & spinach cakes with lemon ricotta topping
-“Wild” popcorn (I tossed freshly popped corn with a homemade curry blend)
-Wild Things In A Blanket (croissant dough wrapped around Hickory Nut Gap breakfast sausage that Hubs cooked with maple syrup and onion)
-A “Build Your Own Wild Mushroom” cupcake bar

For the cupcakes, I baked carrot cake cupcakes that we then cut the tops off of and inverted onto the bottom “stems” (this was Hubs’ genius idea). I used India Tree natural decorating colors to tint cream cheese frosting light green and orange. Toppings for the “mushroom” cupcakes included: dark chocolate raisins, yogurt raisins, toffee chocolate peanuts, chocolate-covered pineapple, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, dried blueberries, dried pineapple, and natural-dyed milk chocolate “Sundrops” from Sunspire.

We sipped on mulled apple cider (I studded an apple with cloves, sliced up an orange into rings, and tossed several star anise and cinnamon sticks along with the fruit into a pot with fresh cider), hard cider, pumpkin ale, hard pumpkin cider, and several other local beers.

It was a blast. Huxley was so amped from the revelry that he could barely contain his enthusiasm. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the community of friends and family in which Hubs and I have found ourselves. Huxley is one loved little fella, that’s for sure.

I’d really enjoy hosting “wild” parties for him every year, based on whatever wild area he’d like to choose (and, of course, if that’s what he’d like his Papa and I to focus on). I love planning parties and have done so my entire life. Now that I’m a parent, and have a brand new arena of not-yet-explored merriment (i.e. entertaining for kiddos!) to examine, I’m overjoyed!

I’ll end this post with a nod to Duran Duran. I was a HUGE DD fan in my youth and their hit is pretty much Huxley’s anthem for life.

*If you’d like more wild shots, here’s a whole heap of them!

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