This weekend we held a taco-themed first birthday party for Gus. It reminded me that birthday parties are so. much. work. But it was so fun, and we’re so glad friends and family came out to celebrate! Everyone ate tacos and cookies and had a blast.
What went well: The amazing local taco cart from Luis Maravilla. This was pretty much the cornerstone of the party so it’s really good this worked out! Nothing got broken (that I know of). That’s good! We didn’t run out of anything, and I think everyone had fun. I know I did. The kids were wrecked after the party, and they had a great time. A huge plus about having a party is that you’re forced to clean your house and get little things done, like hanging things up, fixing up the yard, etc.
What did not go well: I labored over these cookies, y’all. I love making decorated sugar cookies a la Alison’s Cookie Party so overall I’m very happy with how these turned out. BUT I almost cried when I realized I forgot the ‘R’ in “Happy Birthday” after I had baked four batches of cookies and washed and put away all the baking stuff. I was ready to move on with my limited time. Then it got worse. I gave in and made a tiny cookie batch just for the ‘R,’ but the kids distracted me while it was in the oven and it burned. I used it anyway. After all that, I forgot to put the HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUS cookies out at the party! They’re still in a Pyrex on my counter. Ughhhhh. Anyway. The ones that did make it to the desert table were great. I also wish I would have decorated more, and that the Balloon Time helium tank I got would have worked! Taking that sucker back to Michael’s. I forgot to turn on the bubble machine I got nearly three years ago for Ruby’s party. I was finally going to use it at a party. I also just realized we forgot to play music. Oh well.
Without further ado, here are some select pictures from the party:
Yeah these didn’t make it out. On the plus side, I get to eat them all myself now. Except the burnt ‘R’. (Don’t look at it!)
Favors: Gus straw cups and maracas.
I don’t care if the tablecloth is wrinkled; I will never iron a tablecloth.
I borrowed these! Thanks, Jenny.
Ru and her beloved cousin Isa
Love these guys! Somehow we coordinated outfits. Ru and I wore vintage dresses and Gus wore a taco shirt from Target. I know at least three little boys with this shirt; it’s great. Nate is wearing… I don’t know.
Mom/Nana at the drink and side table. The margaritas were very popular… with me.
The real star of the show: the vintage Corona cooler that Nate’s parents brought us. It was full of Modelo, Corona, Mexican Cokes and Jarritos sodas.
I didn’t get any pictures of the tacos!! But they were delicious. Thanks, guys!
Obligatory monthly-photos-with-clothespins setup.
Showing Gus his cake! Pineapple cake from Ruby Bakery in Eagle Rock.
Ladies! My aunt, mom, and Nana.
Cousin Ella, Mom & Sam
Papa’s side of the family photo!
No, we’re not at Coachella, but baby parties are cool too, right?
Allyce and sister-in-law Julia.
Grandpa and Gus Gus
Waiting patiently for cake.
It’s Poukhan! (And Ryan and Ellis.)
Adorable fiesta invites from Etsy shop CherryBerryDesign.
I feel sort of bad; this gray mess is what I fed my children for dinner tonight. (Well, part of it, they also got chicken burgers, avocado, and tomatoes so it wasn’t TOTALLY disgusting.) As I was just putting away the leftovers — AKA nearly all of it — I laughed loudly to myself because this mushy blob looked so, so gross. No Pinterest-worthy spreads, here, guys! Also the picture makes it look much more appetizing than it is. So if you’re wondering, don’t add the Trader Joe’s Mushroom Medley to the Corn & Black Bean Quinoa Blend. It just doesn’t work. Plus, I got the added surprise treat of a PINEAPPLE bite amongst my savory, soggy mushrooms. No bueno. Generally I love everything at TJ’s; I pretty much shop there exclusively. Because I’m lazy and it’s a much more manageable grocery experience, but also because I think they have delicious offerings. Plus they give out stickers. And “scamples,” as Ruby calls them.
Here are my top TJ’s picks:
1) Frozen Indian food. Duh, everyone knows this one. Oldie but a goodie.
2) Bruchetta sauce mixed with steamed lentils and feta — delicious dip. This is definitely a go-to, and sometimes Nate and I eat this as a meal. It’s great to bring to parties, or to serve. Shout out to Mommy2Mommy, the Facebook group where I learned about this! (And OMG more on mom Facebook groups later.) Here’s the “recipe.”
3) Arugula pizza. A dinner fave! Makes me feel like I’m back in Brooklyn, living life as a young, childless hipster. Not a disheveled mom bribing her two year-old with gummy probiotics and trying to find out why the kitchen smells like pee.
4) Mochi ice cream. Yum.
5) Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler. Great for snacking, or for having for dinner with a large glass of wine.
6) Frozen Hashbrowns. These patties are just like McDonald’s! Which in this case is a compliment. They feature frequently in our morning routine.
7) Creamy tomato soup. Make some grilled cheese sandwiches!
8) Chocolate-covered marshmallows. SO GOOD. Marshmallows are just the best. I like to bring these camping with graham crackers – easier s’mores!
9) Frozen fettuccine with shrimp, artichoke hearts, & spinach. Solid meal. Makes me feel like I cooked. I love this because it features many of my favorite foods.
10) Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip. With some bread or chips! Apparently the serving size is 2 tbsp, not 8.8 oz. But I still had the whole container, plus half a baguette, for dinner the other night.
Also good: milk, fruit leather, Spanakopita, sesame cashews, Two Buck Chuck, taquitos, Gyoza potstickers, peanut butter mini sandwich crackers, chicken broth, Tandori Naan, Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies, turkey stuffed peppers, turkey deli meat, cranberry almond cereal, all the pre-made salads.
Things I avoid at TJ’s:
1) Mandarin Orange Chicken. It just doesn’t taste good! What’s wrong with me? I’ve tried this a few times, thinking I might have just gotten a bad bag. No, every time it’s just as bad. Like a dried-out, sour taste. Just me?
2) Speculoos Cookie Butter. I don’t get it. And I LOVE cookies. I mean, what is a Speculoos? What is this? I tasted it and it was not delicious.
3) Organic ketchup. This does not taste like ketchup. Don’t do it.
4) Curry Chicken Tenders. So gross. These come raw in curry sauce. I thought I would be fancy and “cook” these. Bad idea.
5) Corn & Black Bean Quinoa Blend with pineapple. See above. This is the Devil’s handiwork.
6) Mac & Cheese Bites. These aren’t terrible, they’re just not good.
7) Hummus. I don’t care for it. I’m more of a Sabra girl. But I get it for my kids because … I’m already at TJ’s.
8) Apple pie. Just because I ate multiple pieces for lunch today doesn’t mean I think this is good. Because it’s not good. OK?
9) Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms in Emmental Cheese Sauce. Does this sound delicious to you? Well it actually did sound good to me, so, my bad.
10) Organic Mayo. Just stick to Best Foods.
P.S. After we put the kids to bed I fed Amos my Mushroom Medley and Corn & Black Bean Quinoa Blend and ate an ice cream sandwich. From Trader Joe’s.
My little Trader Joe’s buddy, before she had to give up the front seat to her chunky little brother and start riding in the basket with the food.