Updated: Dec 10, 2019
The little things in Bali (sourcing greek yogurt!) can be ridiculously complicated while the big things (throwing a birthday party for 50) are surprisingly easy breezy.
I live to throw huge birthday parties. But in the Palisades, planning a kids birthday bash was a major time suck. Secure the location, hire a food truck, rent the bounce house, vet the petting zoo, manage the production of an overpriced theme cake, browse headshots looking for the perfect actor to play the character de jour and, of course, endless hours stuffing goodie bags. But here in Bali we breezed through all the party planning and just had a super fun, low stress fest.
But first, can we talk about those rainbow chickens?
Neon colored baby chickens were the undeniable hit of the party. They were too freakin' cute. The kids gave them cuddles, fed them cake, and named them as you would if you're 3 years old: Dirty Diaper Face, Pee Face, Senior Poo Poo...and you can imagine the rest. Their neon beaks and tiny peeps were adorable and I can only assume they hatched from Easter eggs because any other explanation breaks the magic bubble. Raising chickens has been on my to-do list and I had visions of collecting fresh eggs and tossing around chicken feed while wearing cute overalls. I'm a mother earth type but the real mother nature had plans for those chickens! Turns out that huge lizards who live in the river running behind our back yard can smell baby chicks and hunted them down until there were none. End of chicken story.
Magical birthday fairies live in our villa
Birthday parties in Bali are easier than anywhere else for the one obvious reason that we have a large staff whose lives revolve around celebration and ceremonies. My villa staff did all the decorating, made all the food, cleaned up before and after. The day before the party my staff got together and wove these beautiful coconut grass decorations with flowers and hung them around the villa. The handicrafts the people in Bali make for celebrations and ceremonies are just amazing.
Bali Budah's got cake
I'm not a believer that baking a cake is worthy of my time or that my kids give a crap about store-bought versus home-made. In fact, they probably think I love them more if I buy it. Considering I have 5 little humans competing for my attention, spending hours in the kitchen over a nightmare of a cake seems like a bad parenting choice. I love the hunt for a local person with a fabulous home business, but I couldn't find a local cake lady. I priced a rainbow cake from one local baker and it was about $280 usd and another local lady came back with a quote of $300+ and neither used real butter. Ugh. I can't explain why the cakes came back so pricey because they were pretty basic. Weird.
Maybe I gave up my baker search too quickly. But regardless, Bali Budah had my back. I got 3 flourless chocolate cakes for about $50. I coated the tops with Chuck's favorite sprinkles and voila! perfect chocolate cake.
No gifts, please. Seriously.
At home in the Palisades I literally have a gift wrapping shed next to the house. It's not Pinterest worthy and it will not satisfy anyone's org-porn lusting, but it is stocked (messily!) with unwrapped toys and a zillion ribbons and paper wrapping options. In Bali, folks really don't do gifts aside from a flower or homemade card. Chuck got a gorgeous sunflower and a stuffed monkey made from recycled materials and everyone else came empty handed, which was awesome. As someone who loves gifting, I'm here to say that no-gifts is actually the better way to go. It's a relief to show up for a party and know that your presence is enough. And it's a relief to not deal with your child after they get a bunch of gifts that turn them into a greedy monster. And, of course, and on a fundamental level, there is nothing kids need aside from love, laughter and cake.