If anyone is following me on twitter this morning, you’d see that our internet at work was down. Always a super-productive start to the day. Luckily, my phone still functioned, and while writing a post with my thumbs isn’t ideal, I’m putting myself out there for you guys. And even more lucky for me, I wrote about half the post, and the internet came back to life, allowing me to write more easily. So – on to scheduled content!
A few months back we were planning the birthday pool party for H, making cupcakes and generally enjoying the start to summer. Poor E (whose birthday is in the winter) began to complain about how she never got to have a pool party and so the Boy and I said, “You can have a pool party too if you want!” A weekend where her sister would be out of town at camp was picked, and invitations sent, and a pool party was planned!
In the early stages, I had asked E what she wanted to eat at the party. “Sushi!” was her immediate reply, because she is a ridiculous suburban child who actually LOVES to visit the local sushi restaurant, though she still tends to stick to spicy tuna and California rolls. I knew that an actual plate of raw fish in the heat of summer was probably not the best idea, so I kept thinking.
It was during this time that I remembered reading a section in my new party planning book about pool parties, and how to decorate and theme everything for one. Fish was the theme – with fishy cutouts for streamers, goldfish to eat, and the suggestion of…candy sushi as a treat. I ran this alternative idea by E – there wasn’t a specific recipe, so while she was excited, we began to brainstorm exactly how it would come together. You’ll find our “recipe” below.
But now that I’ve thrown about a dozen pool parties at our house, I figure I can give some basic tips on that too (and the Kitchn has me backed up).
- The most important thing to keep in mind is timing. As a redhead, I know that it’s important to avoid the sun when it is at its peak. So while it might be tempting to schedule a noon start so you can jump in the water while it’s hot out, it’s best for your skin and that of your guests if you start a little later. We like a 2pm “party start”, which allows people to arrive (sometimes late), put on sunscreen, grab a snack and chat a little before actually going outside closer to 3pm, which is after peak sun time. There’s also a convenient amount of shade on our pool at that time which makes it easier to stay cool and covered even while you’re already swimming.
- Related to the peak sun-time: make sure you have extra sunscreen on hand. Sometimes people forget to bring it with them, or applied before heading over and don’t have enough to reapply later. I like to buy the big bottles of No-Ad – it’s well reviewed, inexpensive, and easy to buy anywhere.
- Make it a “Bring Your Own Towel” event. We have a lot of pool towels, just because they get used a lot over the summer, but if the host is responsible for everyone, it makes things a little more difficult come laundry time. Be sure to remind everyone to bring their own towel – and not to forget their suit!
- Make food easy – with kids, we like to order pizza, and maybe have dessert. It keeps things very simple. When your guests are other adults or families, I love to make pool parties potluck. People will generally be excited to get to hop in the pool, and happy to bring a dish as their “entrance fee”, and you aren’t on the hook for another thing before the party. Just make sure you’ve got lots of beverages – we like to splurge and get fancy bubble waters (either La Croix or just flavored bottles from Trader Joe’s), in addition to beer and wine (go for white or rose, which are more refreshing when served cold on a hot day).
- Switch out your “glassware” for the pool. No one wants to deal with broken glass, so I have collected a bunch of outdoor safe wine and water glasses. I have both Tervis wine glasses and some Taza shatterproof wine glasses which are multifunctional and great. Make sure you’ve got a more basic cup (like my Nats Tervis tumblers as well), and you’ll be good to go without worrying about bare feet and broken glass.
- Keep the decorations to a minimum. Literally the only decorating I’ve done for recent pool parties has been switching out a reusable message garland to read “HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY” or “POOL PARTY”. If the entry way and path from pool to the bathroom are clean, people aren’t going to notice a whole lot else.
Yield: at least 20 pieces of “sushi” and 12 pieces of “sashimi”, plus extra rice krispy treat material
10 oz bag marshmallows
6 cups crisp rice cereal
Fruit leather (the thinner the better)
Make rice krispy treats according to the directions on the box (or as found here). Instead of pressing into a 13×9 pan, press flat onto a jelly roll pan. Aim for the thinnest layer you can possibly achieve. Once spread out, allow to cool, but not completely.
Cut slightly smaller than the size of your fruit strips. I used fruit strips from Target, which were a great size, though if you can find green ones, all the better.
Place a swedish fish on top of the strip of rice krispy treat and fruit strip, and then roll until the fish is contained. Fruit strip may not stay closed. Slice each “sushi roll” into appropriate bite size pieces. Shake a small amount of orange sprinkles on top as “roe”.
If you run out of fruit rolls for the sushi, you can make “sashimi” – simply shape the rice krispies until they are in a small oval mound, and then press a swedish fish on top.
Serve with chocolate sauce for dipping instead of soy sauce.