Yesterday we had a birthday party for Tabitha’s 2nd birthday (which is actually still 2 days away.) Last year we had a small brunch, but this year decided to have a few more people, even though we knew that with the iffy weather it was likely everyone would be indoors. They were, but that was fine. In fact, I’d have to say the whole party was a nice big fun raucous success. And cozy, too, because we had a nice fire going. Raucous because there were ten 3-4 year olds running around, not to mention four 1 1/2-2 year olds.
Here was the menu:
Hors d’ouvres: Hummus, Pita and pretzels, Carrot Dip, and pigs in blankets. What is carrot dip, you ask? Only the most delicious dip ever. An old friend of mine used to make this and I swear we could just gobble up a bowl and a bag of pretzels while eating a movie. The recipe is simply 2 carrots in the food processor, then add an 8 oz bar of cream cheese, whiz it around until nice fluffy, add in a dash of garlic powder, a good tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp (or more) of minced dried onion. You can add milk to think it out, but I had some extremely juicy carrots so didn’t add any. It’s a beautiful pale pinky orange color and it is very yummy.
Main food: a ham. Everyone loves a ham. And I had little rolls so you could make little sandwiches. Then I also had macaroni and cheese, sweet spinach salad, oriental salad, deviled eggs, and a green salad. No one touched the plain boring green salad, but they gobbled up the other two. The spinach salad was great-a recipe from Taste of Home and it had an orange poppy seed dressing. The oriental salad was that salad with the broken up ramen noodles in it, shredded cabbage and carrots, and the sweet tangy dressing. (I used a recipe from Cooking Light, but this is a pretty common recipe you could probably find anywhere.) I thought it all went nicely together.
The cake: First, in addition to the cake I made brownies and lemon bars. I tried a new lemon bar recipe-this one had cottage cheese in the filling. They were fantastic. So, on to the cake. This was a decorating thing I saw in a magazine and saved for quite a while. Unfortunately the pictures are not great (we have many wonderful photos of our family, but never great pics from our parties. I guess we are too busy hostessing and I finished the cake so late in the day I didn’t properly photograph it.) Basically it is frosted white and then there is pretzel fencing and little frosted animal crackers grazing on the top (on green coconut grass.) (Also, apparently the lens was slightly smudged. Really this was a cute cake, much cuter than the picture makes it out to be!!!)
Hilariously, it had not occurred to me that the animal crackers would be a huge draw. As soon as the cake came out five little boys started shouting “I WANT ONE OF THOSE!” and reaching out to the flaming cake. Good thing we had extras. The birthday girl enjoyed her cake very much, especially getting to taste frosting and the custard filling at many stages along the way before we actually cut into it.
As for party favors, I made caramel apples and tied them up with red ribbon. They came out beautifully but I will admit that when I went to eat one today it was a huge mess and the caramel was too gooey and I suspect that no one enjoyed theirs at home either. (But hopefully everyone will be too polite to say so. 🙂
My favorite part thing was the “Happy Birthday” display pictured at the top. This was in this month’s Parents magazine as a Thanksgiving decoration (spelling out “Give Thanks”.) I gathered sticks, painted them, and then drew and cut out the circles and letters and hot glued them to the sticks. The vases are filled with split peas. I am so taken with this decoration and indeed going to use it for Thanksgiving and spell out a different message.
*In fact, she did not cry at all, but had a very good time. She celebrated her party day by not taking a nap and instead climbing out of her crib for the first time (and somehow lifting her doll’s stroller up into her crib.) Very pleased with herself about that. Here she is all worn out after the party and opening her presents: