A Luau Birthday Party

This past weekend, Tyler turned 4!  I simultaneously love seeing him grow and want to freeze him at this age.  He constantly surprises us with his thoughts, has started pre-school, loves reading books with us at bedtime, and enjoys helping in the kitchen.  And as always, he loves anything pink and princess-y, and wears his tutu around the house at all times.

For his party, we chose a luau theme which incorporated some of the things he loves: flowers, water, and wearing skirts.  We got him a grass skirt, but he didn’t like how it tickled his legs.  I tried not to go too crazy with the decorations or the food. There were flip flop sugar cookies, a shark tank, and Samoa popcorn (caramel, chocolate, and toasted coconut)….

….ocean blue lemonade, surfboard cupcakes (coconut lime flavor), fruit skewers, and a ginourmous batch of pineapple fried rice.  There also were coriander chicken wings, but I was too busy enjoying the party to snap a photo of them.  Suffice it to say, the wings were the hit of the party.  I could easily have made another round of them and still have had no leftovers.

Tyler eschewed the grass skirt and wore his pink tutu for the party.  Here’s a shot of my pimped out boy.

A surprise guest hung out by the food.

Tyler had so much fun with his friends!  They played in the pool, got play doh all over the living room, and ran around eating cookies, gummy sharks, and cupcakes.  Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy – you’re growing into such a cool kid!


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Winnie The Pooh Birthday Party



Today is Tyler’s 3rd birthday! Sometimes the chaotic newborn times seem like yesterday. How did three years fly by this quickly?!


Tyler loves reading his set of Winnie the Pooh books. Each book is a chapter from the original A.A. Milne classic. His favorites are Eeyore Has A Birthday, and Winnie the Pooh and Some Bees. So I figured a Pooh-themed birthday party was meant to be. He especially loved the blue balloons.


I had activities for the kids planned – pin the tail on Eeyore, a beehive pinata, create your own set of pooh ears – but with the weather still over 90, we ended up just having a pool party.


It was easy to find sweet food to incorporate into the theme, but I also wanted to include savory food as well. The falafel pockets were supposed to be reminiscent of Kanga and her pouch. Hubs had to remind me to misspell some of the words.  The vegetable tray came out better than I had anticipated, thanks to my wonderful friend Jennifer who put it together while I was rushing around like a madwoman making the frosting. The cake pops were a huge hit (wish I had made more), but my absolute favorite were the beehive cupcakes.


Tyler liked them a lot too. Happy birthday, squirt!

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A Very Yo Gabba Gabba Birthday Party

We celebrated the tyke’s 2nd birthday this past weekend! I guess I can start using his real name, since it shows up in the picture. Now, I’m not one who usually likes “themed” things. There was no theme for his birthday last year. Nowadays, he LOVES Yo Gabba Gabba. Once I began brainstorming things to do for a Yo Gabba Gabba party, the ideas kept coming. So, a themed party it was. It’s hard to see, but Gabba Land provided the background for the food spread.

First were the cupcakes. I made toppers out of fondant to resemble each of the five characters. The shapes were easy to cut out and put together. I loved that I could make these well in advance of the party, so that all I had to do was put them on top of the frosted cupcakes. This meant that I could make the cupcakes just before the party, and they would be uber-fresh. The cupcakes and smash cake were both homemade funfetti.

Then I came up with a snack food for each of the characters:

– Muno, “He’s tall and friendly.” These homemade fruit roll-ups were long and red, just like Muno.

– Foofa, “She’s pink and happy.” This refreshing watermelon basil water was just the right shade of pink.

– Brobee, “The little green one.” This hummus and veggie tray was a bit of a stretch, but I loved making the cucumber skewers with alternating slices so they looked like Brobee’s stripes. I didn’t get a picture of the whole tray, but it was a colorful array of baby carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, and the cucumber skewers.

– Toodee, “She likes to have fun.” There was an episode where Toodee didn’t want to eat her snack of yogurt, because she didn’t think she’d like it. Once she tried it however, she discovered she liked it. (Try it, you’ll like it!) I realized I spelled “fruitty” wrong. I wanted it to sound like “tutti fruitti,” but I messed the card up.

– Plex, “A magic robot.” Hubs came up with the idea of having “Plex” mix. I decided to add the yellow candies. This was a big hit among both the kids and the adults. Recipe coming soon! (update: recipe link)

DJ Lance. Can’t forget about him! I made a smash cake and decorated it to look like his boombox. Normally, I’m philosophically opposed to smash cakes. Why waste all that lovely cake? But like I said, once the ideas started rolling, I couldn’t help myself.

There was also more substantial food for everyone. There were a number of vegetarians at the party, so I made sure to use vegetarian sausage and vegetable stock in the red beans. The gumbo was for the meat eaters. There were also make-your-own shrimp po boys, but they were eaten so quickly I didn’t get a picture of them.

My favorite part of the party was watching Tyler blow out the candles. He made a loud “ffffff” sound and shook his head back and forth, like when he blows on hot food.

And of course, he loved digging into the cake.

There were also cookie favors for the guests. After the party, Hubs asked, “What are we going to do next year to top this?” I’m sure I’ll think of something!

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Taco Party for 25

The squirt’s birthday is coming up in a few days. We had a party for him this past weekend. Hubs and I put together a taco spread – beef, chicken, and veggie fillings, veggie and non-veggie refried beans, guacamole, red salsa, and green salsa, and cupcakes.

The squirt liked his cupcake, especially the frosting. He carefully picked all of it off the cake. It eventually got all over his face. There was very little smashing, unfortunately. Once he wiped his eyes and got frosting in them, the fun was all over.

We put together a homemade taco seasoning for the beef filling. It tasted so much better than the packaged variety (usually the case), and had way less sodium. I’ll never buy the taco seasoning packets again!

adapted from Annie’s Eats

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning


4 tbsp chili powder
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp. paprika
3 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. To season ground beef: Brown 1 lb ground beef in a skillet. Sprinkle 2 heaping Tbs of taco seasoning over the meat, add 1 c of water, and stir. Let the meat simmer until the liquid has cooked off.
  3. Store extra seasoning in an airtight container.

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