Sarah’s Second Birthday Party

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Sarah’s Elephant Cake (tutorial from My Cake School linked below).

Sarah turns two today, but we celebrated her birthday this past weekend by inviting 40 of her closest friends over. I know that sounds extravagant for a kid’s birthday party, but one, we often have even more over for brunch (does that sound smug?), and two, at this age, the party is more for everyone else (all of our friends with kids). When she’s older, I’ll cut it down to her actual friends. Maybe.

The party was actually pretty simple to set up: I basically made a birthday cake and what I call TFAW food. When I worked for Things From Another World (the world’s finest online and brick-and-mortar comic book shop), I catered all of our signings. I started out with superhero-themed quinoa salads and fancy canapes. After being overloaded with leftovers (no one wants to eat quinoa at an Avengers signing), I ended up making simple food everyone likes–dips, fruit, veggies, and cheese–with a firm plan for anything left over.

This menu is simple, relatively inexpensive, and perfect for almost any casual gathering. The birthday cake is a bonus! If you’re not throwing a birthday party or just don’t want to make an elaborate cake, I suggest cupcakes or (even easier) brownies.

Sarah’s Second Birthday Menu

  • Elephant Cake: This tutorial was great, and not too difficult
  • Nathan Fillion’s Seven-Layer Bean Dip of the Gods: This is seriously delicious–I spread it in a 10″ x 15″ glass Pyrex dish, so it’s easy for people to dip through all the layers
  • Salsa and Tortilla Chips
  • Veggie Platter with Spinach Dip: My mother’s specialty
  • Fruit: I went with grapes and watermelon)
  • Cheese Platter with Crackers: Since this was a kid’s party, I kept it simple: a wedge of Brie, dilled havarti, some sharp cheddar, and string cheese

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures because my phone died the morning of the party. We served lemonade, Arnold Palmers, flavored seltzer, and sparkling wine.

But as important as planning a menu is, it’s even more important to have an exit strategy for the leftovers. Here’s what I’ll be doing:

  • Cake: Gone, suckers!
  • Seven-layer dip: I made ersatz migas for breakfast the other morning with some tortilla chips thrown in. I’ll be adding taco meat and making burritos with the rest.
  • Veggies: The cut veggies have been going into my husband’s lunch, and Sarah and I have been snacking on the dip. Fortunately we didn’t have a lot left over–if there were more, I would have made “Free” French Vegetable soup.
  • Fruit: Lunches, breakfast
  • Cheese platter: If you know me at all, you know I have no problem taking care of extra cheese. The slices have been very convenient for sandwiches!

Do you have any go-to party food? Post below!

Happy Monday! Links to Make Your Day Brighter

Hello and welcome to a new week! How was your weekend? I was a little worker bee, getting ready to celebrate my husband’s birthday (it was officially yesterday–see the cake, pictured) and get the house ready for guests: my sister-in-law and her boyfriend. Since we no longer have a guest room (that baby took it for her nursery!), we use our family room, which means a lot more cleaning and organizing was needed.

ScottBDayCake2015So before I get to links, I had a question: clearing out the family room showed me that we have a lot of baby proofing to do–and soon. Sarah is already rolling around everywhere. Does anyone have any advice/resources to share? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Of course I know to lock up all of the dangerous chemicals, but what are the most important things to keep in mind? What surprised you? I’d be grateful for any advice–post it below!

Pictures of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, on the cover of Vanity Fair debuted today, and I’ve got to say–wow. She looks gorgeous and refined. Of course I knew she’d have great legs, as an Olympic athlete, but I’m so glad her transition has been handled with dignity and sensitivity. I’m finding her story really touching, and I think anyone can relate, on some level, to the challenges of embracing your true self.

On to recipes! I’ve got three to share from Scott’s family birthday party. One, the Mile-High Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Glaze, from Baked: Elements. It wasn’t difficult to make, but it was a showstopper–and it will feed a lot of people.

Now, I am not a salad person, but my mother brought an incredible Mexican Chopped Salad, and I immediately demanded the recipe. It’s hearty and tasty, with beans, avocados, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pepitas, and more. I’m keeping this one in my back pocket for when the weather gets really hot: with a little grilled shrimp, we’ll have a satisfying and delicious dinner.

And finally, this Grilled Three-Potato Salad recipe is an old favorite: really yummy, and visually appealing with the Yukon gold, sweet, and purple potatoes (I’ve subbed red when I can’t find purple). Also great for hot weather, since you cook everything out on the grill.

Fight Club 2

Fight Club 2 #1 cover by David Mack.

On to the nerdy stuff! Fight Club 2 debuted last week from Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart, and the comics world went nuts for it! I can personally vouch for the series: it’s gonna be really, really good. But the AV Club has a nice writeup, too.

Three Wolverine Moon shirt at Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men by Tyler Crook.

Everybody loves wolf shirts, right? What about . . . Wolverine shirts? Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men have an epic Three Wolverine Moon shirt by the incredible Tyler Crook. It’s only available until July 1, 2015, so get on it!

That’s all I got for now! Hoping to post some more recipes as well as an article about how to decorate a nursery this week–see you around. And don’t forget to share your baby proofing tips! Help.