Last Saturday we did the birthday party thing again. I not only learned from last year. I actually applied the lessons I learned.
Theme: Ben & I thought it was great – halfway (two) one. Nobody else seemed to get it (since Leila is only halfway to her 1st Leap Year birthday. Get it? Nobody else did either.). I tried to carry it through a little bit – timing (halfway between breakfast and lunch), cutting all the food in half, in the party favor theme. I’m pretty sure this won’t be trending on Pinterest, which makes me love it all the more. Quirky and abstruse party themes are kind of my forte.
Food: Tried to make it as organic as possible but let frugality and simplicity win out – drinks (coffee, organic 1% milk boxes, organic chocolate milk boxes, organic juice boxes and bottled water), fresh fruit (organic bananas, organic strawberries & tangerines), muffins & bagels courtesy of Costco and breakfast tacos courtesy of Brother’s Tacos. That is, absolutely nothing prepared by me (or my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, such as last year). Well, I did wash and cut up the fruit. Okay, my mom did that.
Party Favors: I actually didn’t do these last year, and I wouldn’t have again…but $1/each at Target for some activity books? Why not? (In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I did consider making some busy bag activity as a party favor. Thankfully, reason and an understanding of my own limitations did win.)
Decorations: Balloons. Flowers in a vase. Pretty simple. I picked up some more clearance decorations from Target, but they stayed inside since I didn’t figure out how to jimmy rig them before the party started.
Activities: We brought out the bounce house my parents gave Leila for her birthday last year, and I bought four tubs for some sensory play (half were filled with water, half were filled with rice…wait, I guess I kind of carried the theme through here as well). We also brought out Leila’s outdoor/outdoor-friendly toys. Our neighbor had the brilliant idea to ask everyone to BYOB (bring your own ball). Turns out we didn’t really need the extra toys, but it’s such a clever idea I had to share.
And that was it. Everything was ready to go only 15 minutes after the party. I had time to actually enjoy it and take photos. Not to brag, but one of our younger guests even said it was “the greatest party ever.” Most important Leila had the time of her life – jumping, scooping and being outside.
Lately certain members of our household have been not only tolerating but honestly enjoying vegetables that had previously been only my domain. I thought it might be helpful to share the recipes that lead to such a drastic conversion. Ben actually gets excited when I tell him these veggies are in our co-op share.
Banana Peppers – Cooking a la Mel | Cheesy Stuffed Banana Peppers
Bok Choy – All Recipes | Spicy Bok Choy in Garlic Sauce
I add shrimp and toss it with rice for a one-bowl dish.
Broccoli – Center Cut Cook | Broccoli Cheese Soup
I omit the Velveeta for Whole Foods American, but this really does taste like Jason’s Deli.
Cabbage – Real Simple | Cabbage & Sausage Casserole
Cauliflower – Pinch of Yum | Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
The cauliflower pizza crust was a bust, but this is a super easy sauce that was so good I was told it could go “in the rotation.”
Chickpeas – Texan Erin | The Original Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites Recipe
Not a co-op veggie, but this recipe is too good not to share. Even that one person that gags every time they eat beans (and lived an entire year in East Africa without consuming more than two beans) enjoys this dessert.
Tofu – Chocolate Covered Katie | Banana Pudding
Again, not a co-op veggie, but this recipe is the best banana pudding I’ve ever had (and it’s straight nutrition).