Aaaahhhhh the birthday party....what to do? where to have it? (Not at my house, my daughters Honey and Chase are 4 and almost 3, no way am I letting the likes of their sugar pumped, sticky fingered, deliciously ragamuffin like brood loose in here!) what to serve? and, of course, how to survive?
The list goes on and on. I will confess immediately that the result was not entirely eco friendly, I had to make some concessions to keep the peace on the home front. Despite my best efforts to promote a vegan, zero waste, zero emission party for Honey's 4th birthday, there stood 36" of lanky blonde curly confidence staring me down and sizing me up (replete with a threadbare velveteen puppy hanging from her mouth vaguely reminiscent of the cigarette smoking gourmand grandmother in Sixteen Candles) who was prepared to settle for nothing less than a Pink Princess Castle Jumpy House. And so we begin the journey of the search for the environmentally responsible jumpy house party. Well, it was outside....that's environmentally friendly, right?
We were lucky enough to find a good deal on the dream castle. She was happy because it was pink and a castle and a jumpy house. I was thrilled because it did not have any licensed cartoon characters on it that also sold other products that were not ever going to be in favor with mom. We reserved my favorite little San Francisco Parks & Rec Department Secret Spot for the entire day.....Rossi Annex
across Edward Street from Rossi Park. You get the whole space which felt like a private .25 acre of park land in San Francisco with a giant picnic table and restrooms.
The Menu was the easiest part. We made two kinds of sandwiches, using Ezekiel Whole Grain Sprouted Organic Bread
, Natural Directions Organic Sliced Provolone Cheese
and Organic Creamy Peanut Butter from out friends and partners at Revolution Foods
. For healthy snacks we offered cut organic fuji apples from Washington and Organic Baby Carrot Sticks from California and for the birthday cupcakes...made at home using organic bulk indredients purchased from our green grocer down the street. Where it got tricky was the drinks. We brought filtered water from home in reusable bottles but simply did not have enough stainless steel sippy cups
, for all the munchkins. Off we went, heads hung low, to the grocery store....in search of a thirst quenching solution for our little guests, i.e. no glass, no waste, no sugary soft drinks. My husband Gilbert spotted them like a bell in the night, a beacon to answer our calls, Honest Kids
, organic, low sugar, socially and environmentally responsible juice in a pouch....aka Mana from Heaven.
We brought cloth napkins from home, transported the (all finger) food in our reusable glassware and trays. We cut flowers (7 stems) from the garden at home and brought a little vase. We brought a biodegradable compostable bag for any food scraps. We brought a few rolls of recycled unbleached toilet paper for the loo, a small offering for creature comfort. We made bubbles from biodegradable non toxic liquid soap and it was on!
The good news; see the pictures. We had 50 people and less than a half pound of garbage. All of it coming from random plastic wrapping on some of the birthday gifts Honey received, of course we recycled the wrapping paper. We sent the Honest Kids pouches off to begin their next life. We gave everyone a little Eco Friendly Party Favor from Plan Toys
The bad news.....jumpy houses are made from horrible hideous materials and are suspiciously as germ riddled as the floor in public places AND they require energy to remain inflated in perpetuity. You can choose from a gas powered generator and an electric option. We were forced to go with the horribly un green gas generator. We closed our eyes, bit our tongues and took refuge in the smiley bouncy carefree life of a birthday princess in her pink jumpy castle.
Next year we will self equip with a biodeisel powered generator or jury rig another rechargeable or sustainable power source....tips welcome! We aren't perfect but we did our best and have a plan if the jumpy house is the birthday dream for next year. We feel pretty good about our Eco Kids Birthday Party and know next year we will do even better. Every step towards sustainability counts.
Shop Well, Buy Good.