Claire's actual birthday party happened the weekend after we returned from our cruise. I had HUGE plans for this soiree, and I was excited to get going. I will be the first to admit that this party was really for me. After all, Claire will only remember what we tell her and show her in pictures. As such, I probably put in way too much thought and effort, but in the end, I had fun, and enjoyed the heck out of celebrating my big (little) girl!
Food was, of course, a major part of the party planning for me. I tried to keep it simple so that prep was not a problem. It was Claire's birthday, so I thought she should have her favorite. To date, her all-time favorite food is my chicken enchiladas. However, those take lots of prep, so I decided to deconstruct them and have shredded chicken tacos instead. I love that the chicken tastes gourmet, but it's truly a set-it-and-forget-it deal until the very end. (Recipe to come in the next post)
I paired the tacos with black and/or refried pinto beans, and a mixed green salad with homemade salsa vinaigrette. (Recipe found here)
For dessert, I went a little crazy. Originally, Patrick and I planned to make cake pops for C's party. He ended up having a crazy work week, though, and I was too busy to make them myself, so we scrapped that idea. The thought of little cakes on a stick intrigued me, however, and I became obsessed with the idea of a mini-dessert bar. After culling recipes and considering dozens of options (no joke), I went with one new recipe, and three oldies-but-goodies. The winners were: my favorite chocolate chip cookies (Tollhouse, recipe here), yellow cake with choc frosting, brownies, and the new guy, spice cake (Giada's super tasty Halloween Spice Cake, recipe here). All of these are actually full-size recipes, so I miniaturized them by using my tart pan for the brownies, spice cake, and yellow cake, and a super-duper small cookie scoop. Although I typically prefer to bake from scratch, I used boxed mixes for the cupcakes and brownies because I was looking to save some time. The results were tasty, and all seemed to enjoy them.
My favorite were the mini spice cakes. The recipe makes a moist, dark, almost gingerbread-y cake. I topped them with fresh whipped cream and sprinkled them with powdered sugar.
Claire enjoyed some of the treats from the dessert bar, but of course she had to have her very own cake to smash! I used half of the spice cake batter to make her cake. I purchased a cute little cake pan from Michael's (6 inches, I think) and it made the perfect Claire-sized cake. (With whipped cream standing in for frosting.)
C clearly learned from her cruise birthday fete how to man-handle a cake and wasted no time here. (Worry not, I blew out the candle before letting her actually touch the cake.) She dug right in and make quite the mess. Good thing we ditched her dress beforehand.
Before the cake-smashing extravaganza, Claire opened her presents. Claire is a lucky little girl, and got lots of fun presents. Some of her favorites were a See'n'Say (classic), Violet- her own talking puppy, and a Corn Popper walker (I totally remember loving these as a kid).
As with any little one, the boxes her presents came in were equally exciting to Claire. (She's really into climbing things lately)
She liked the bubble mower out of the box, too. :)
No kids party is complete without games, but seeing as the two kiddos at this party are 8 months and 12 months respectively, I decided we'd do games for the adults instead. I know how some feel about party games (cue the eye-rolling from my dad), so I kept them optional. We had 2 games: Guess How Old?, and How Many Are There?. Guess How Old? was a series of Claire pictures from Birth to 12 months. People had to guess how old C was in each picture, and whoever guessed the most right won. (Congrats on the tie, Richard and Angela!)
All, in all, we had a great time.
Many, many thanks to my parents, Patrick, and Claire for the help (and/or good behavior while I worked). I couldn't have done it with out you!