Let’s Taco ‘Bout It!

This is the first birthday party that almost didn’t happen.

We planned really well, ordering fun items from the US in time to be hand carried by my Mother-in-Law who came to visit for East’s first birthday. She arrived the end of February. Not 2 days later, East started coughing and came down with a cold, so bad her chest was rattling. Then my Mother in Law fell ill. By the weekend, a week before the party, I succumbed. My husband held out, making me a short time believer in the flu shot. But we forged ahead planning, thinking we’d be better in a week.

We weren’t. My glands were still swollen a week later and I had no voice. East was probably the best, but she still had a cough. My Mother in Law was ill, and my husband was starting cough. But the real kicker was Friday afternoon, the day before the party, the cat got sick too. With running all over town, going to vet and the pediatrician, still not full recovered, we decided to postpone the party a week.

I’m glad we did– we ended up with more babies able to come in the end. We lost some people, gained some, and fun was had by all. My sweet MIL made 2 pinatas and supervised the food, I had a voice and could talk to guests and give instructions, my husband managed the drinks and the non-baby friends, and East was able to play and have fun. Some people may have thought it was a bit odd to have a taco and margarita party for a 1 year old– but I think it was just perfect for us.

I dreamed of having a park party– a common US kids’ party location– but the weather in Hong Kong is too variable. You don’t know when it might rain, or be cold or crazy hot. So we settled on the common rooms of our building (our apartment– and most apartments– are much too small). Thankfully this offered us flexibility in terms of the date– although not much of the decor. It’s what I call medieval Vegas– but there is a kids playroom, a kitchen, a bar, and a couple of sitting areas. We made it as festive as possible, with tons of papel picado, balloons, flowers, and pinatas.

When guests walked in: DSC_0134

You can just see the sitting area to the right, with the baby food (veggies and no salt food) to the right. And you may be able to make out the taco pillow! (These quesadillas were popular!)

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Also some fun hanging elements in this room. DSC_0142

This was outside the kids playroom, with the first pinata. DSC_0157

We put out mats for the little ones to crawl around. I also found taco and burrito felt toys to get the kids in the mood. (The birthday girl trying them out!)

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Heading the other way, towards the food, stopping at the bar is mandatory! DSC_0111

 

And chips, salsa and guacamole, of course. I love those pineapple plates!

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The obligatory letter balloon– which is still inflated! East loves playing with it!  You can also see the papel picado  and the cake in the background.

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We had an a regular full sugar cake (lemon with blueberry filling) as well as no sugar banana cupcakes for the babies. East ate a whole cupcake herself.

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The taco menu–

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Can you believe we didn’t end up with any pictures of the tacos?? What’s wrong with us?! But we do have a pic of the taco pinata!

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For activities, we had story time, read by my husband. Appropriately, Dragons Love Tacos. East loved it. easts birthday party

 

And we made maracas! Using just plastic eggs, beans, wooden spoons and tape, I think the kids (and parents!) had a good time. And it was a good take away.

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Lastly, cake time!

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And the next day we left for Perth!

Sending Invitations…via What’s App

East’s first birthday is nearly upon us, and we are deep in planning mode for her party. For as much as I love paper and would have loved to send out (or deliver!) gorgeous invitations, I communicate almost entirely by Whats App these days. Not only to talk to my family back home, but to schedule play dates, learn about events, or share baby stories with other moms. So when it came time to getting out the word for the party, I wanted the fastest, most effective way to get on people’s busy calendars. So via text it went!

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Mamas have to be adaptable, even party planner ones!

Update: Motherhood

Why do pregnant women always think they will get tons done during their maternity leave? I’ll be home, they say, I can organize the kitchen, look for a job, find the perfect table for the living room, all while taking care of the baby! No problem!

Ha! At four months, and with tons of help, I barely have to eat somedays (and I don’t even have to cook it!). My little girl is wonderful– happy, playful, alert, a good sleeper at night (naps we are still working on), really a delight. And even when I just do feedings, that’s still at least 6-7 hours of my day right there. Lovely, sweet time, but time none the less. Time I wouldn’t give up for the world, but will have to when I go back to work.

If you want to see how I’ve spent the last four months, here’s a peek.

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I still have plans to post more regularly. Is that a pipe dream?

Baby East’s Modern Nursery

If you’ve known me for 5 minutes or longer you will know that I don’t like pink. I am the youngest of 4, all boys proceeding me, so the family was pretty excited when a girl finally came along, drowning me in pink.  Finally at about 12 I said no more pink and I haven’t looked back. So there was no question my daughter’s room would not be pink.

I wanted to create something peaceful and modern using mint, gold and a touch of coral. {please forgive these iphone photos. I had hope to take some better pictures, but it’s just not happening!}10854864_10152449123636216_9018783072522979469_o

I ordered the fabric from spoonflower and got it made into a cushion, some bedsheets, pillows and a changing pad cover. I applied the decals on the wall over 2 weekends– it really didn’t take too long, and I’m hoping it comes off easily when we move.

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We added a bar to the shelf to create some hanging options {and who doesn’t like to look at cute baby clothes?}. That cute picture on the dresser is her daddy when he was a baby. His mom sent this, along with his childhood bunny. 10900068_10152467660051216_1563751980564133319_o

I love this quote from Kate Spade– I can only hope that she will embody these qualities! I couldn’t find it in print any longer, so I ended up making this. I cut out the letters with my Silhouette, painted them gold, adhered them to painted cardstock, and framed it.

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Our little girl was due right around Chinese New Year (a big deal here in Hong Kong) – although she ended up being a bit late. This year on the Chinese zodiac is year of the sheep {or goat, or ram, depending on how you translate it} so when I saw this big fluffy stuffed animal I couldn’t help but get it for my little sheep. The turtle and the rabbit were given by friends.

She’s still sleeping in a bassinet in our room, but I’m hoping she loves the room as much as we do when she moves in.

She’s here!

Our baby girl finally joined us! She was a little late, and after about 24 hours of labor we couldn’t have been more excited to meet her. Born March 10 this little baby with all the dark hair is ours. 

I promise I won’t go all baby all the time, but I am planning a peak at her nursery. And I’m sure there will be some cute birthdays in her future. But for now, we are just spending time getting to know each other. 

Modern Gold Baby Shower

The other weekend I had the most wonderful baby shower. My good friend (who also took these pictures) and my husband worked together to throw me and our soon-to-be baby a lovely tea party. I couldn’t help but get involved with decorations and I think it all came together beautifully.

My friend found this gorgeous space in Central Hong Kong. It was open and lofty and gave plenty of room for food, mingling, and activities.

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My husband was the caterer and made all of the delicious food, including homemade cherry pop tarts and chicken and waffles.

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One of the crafty activities was decorating iron-on onesies. These were such a hit– and turned out so cute. I can’t wait for her to wear these awesome designs made by friends.

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Along with a fun best wishes mad libs, we played a pub-style quiz in teams. We had 2 teams win– but thankfully we were prepared for that!

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Guests also got a take-away of kettle corn with a “corny” message.

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It was such a great party. I felt so loved. I can’t wait for the baby to meet all of her fantastic aunties.

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Modern Grateful Dinner Party

Happy New Year! I hope you all had wonderful holidays and wish you all the best for 2015.

Ok, so it’s taken me a long time to post these — but rather than feel guilty (and share that guilt with you) I’m going to be happy to share this bit of fun that I had over Thanksgiving. While its certainly a fall themed tablescape, I hope some of these ideas can inspire you for a variety of entertaining.

As we had fairly recently moved and didn’t yet have an oven, we went over to a friend’s house. She has a bigger apartment with a nice long table. My hubby cooked 4 dishes and I decorated. While I can’t quite seem to give up black and white, I wanted to add in some natural, earthy elements.

I started with a banner, naturally.

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We had a runner on hand (old Crate and Barrel) that worked with my natural theme.

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I had some fun with pumpkins and used them as vases.  We cut a hole in the pumpkins and filled them with flowers in a couple of variations, along the length of the table.

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And, of course, I had to add some gold with votives and christmas ornaments (always preparing for the next holiday!).  I added some rosemary (it smelled so good!) to the napkins, tied up with gold twine.

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For some interaction, I made this poster for people to write the things they are grateful for this year. Some of the foreign guys thought this was weird, so it wasn’t as popular as I would have liked, but I thought it was fun.

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And you may have seen this pie on Instagram. This was a great cut out. I’m definitely using this idea again.

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All in all, I think it turned out pretty well. I hope you enjoyed it, even a bit late. xoxo

A Little Update

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I haven’t posted much lately  and I’m sorry for that. I have so many ideas that I want to share– and not the energy to implement them. But here’s the reason behind my radio silence — we are having a baby!

I could not be more excited for this little girl and how she will change our lives. I can’t wait to see her smile, her eyes bright with curiosity, and, of course, throw her some fabulous parties! Right now, though, between moving, setting up our new apartment (including the nursery!), my regular work schedule, and lots of rest and naps on the couch, I’ve been a crappy blogger. Other than the fury of thoughts, emotions, worries, and excitement in my head, the miracle of life is a bit of a snooze fest. {I’m sure that will change as she gets more and more active– and as the birth gets closer. eek!}

I’m not going away, by any means. I still have tons of parties in me! I hope you can be patient with me as I make this life transition.

Campfire Treats

Doing any camping this summer? If so, you might be looking for some tasty treats that go beyond the basic s’mores. Kick it up a notch with some of these campfire baked snacks.

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1. Bake muffins in an orange! What a great camping hack.

2. I love these elevated s’mores. Belgian cookie crackers, giant marshmallows, chocolate, and strawberry sauce.

3. Skillet brownies . (yours don’t need to be so healthy. Unless you want them to be.)

4. Baked apples, rolled in cinnamon and sugar.