It’s not a bad idea to do a bit of exercise before a big birthday feast! It’s my nephew Caleb’s first birthday party.
“Hi girls,” I greet my nieces.
“My daddy built this!” almost 3-year-old Zoe says importantly.
“Daddy built our sand pit too,” 4-year-old Ruby says.
“Your daddy’s very clever, isn’t he?” I say.
“Yes!” They chorus proudly, with upside-down grins.
Meanwhile, Caleb’s enjoying a game with one of his grandmothers. I’m very impressed at his hand-eye coordination. According to his mum and dad, he loves playing ball games and will do so for hours. You will get sick of it long before he does!
As usual, the catering is courtesy of family and friends.
We have mini quiches with sundried tomato, one of my favourite ingredients.
There are honey joys and chocolate crackles.
Jac’s and my contribution is a platter of pork and beef chipolatas cooked in the oven and served with tomato sauce and BBQ sauce. These plump little sausages have proven to be a party favourite.
There are sandwiches, fresh and toasted.
Juji’s made a batch of mini sausage rolls, tasty little meaty bites wrapped in flaky puff pastry.
There are raspberry jelly shots (non-alcoholic so they are kid-friendly).
I think the jelly shots are the item both adults and kids are most excited about.
There’s fresh fruit, sliced into bite-sized servings, cheese and crackers.
There are two platters of pikelets, another favourite with adults and kids alike.
My sister CW has cooked chicken poached in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, Chinese black vinegar, fresh garlic, chilli flakes, orange juice, star anise and cinnamon stick (recipe from The Joy of Cooking). The chicken is tender and delicious, with a touch of heat from the chilli flakes.
A family birthday party wouldn’t be complete without my mum’s noodles. This time, fried rice noodles with pork and carrot, served with a generous topping of thinly sliced omelette.
There’s fresh chilli on the side for those who like their noodles with a little more kick.
It doesn’t take long for the noodles to all be eaten. Some of us go back for seconds.
The birthday boy has a great brunch of toasted sandwich, chipolata and quiche, all washed down with plenty of water. With the arrival of the pikelets, he finds a new favourite.
For Ruby, chocolate crackles are the most wonderful birthday party food of all.
After brunch, it’s playtime. Or time to make banana muffins, if you’re Ruby.
Zoe is more interested in blowing bubbles with her Auntie Juji.
Zoe is yet to master the art of bubble blowing, but she is determined to keep trying. And trying… and trying! She walks slowly, a look of absolute concentration on her face, gripping the bottle of bubble mixture in one hand as she blows gently, trying to make her own bubbles.
Then it’s time for Caleb to open his birthday presents. All the kids are eager to “help”. Uh-oh – looks like the first day of the post-Christmas sales. Caleb doesn’t stand a chance among these older girls! Luckily, his mum and dad are on hand to intervene before things get out of control!
One of Caleb’s gifts is a new bear. Zoe and the new bear play us all a little tune on Caleb’s new xylophone (with Zoe giggling the whole time).
With brunch eaten and presents opened, it’s time for birthday cake. Caleb’s mum has made him a beach ball cake. It’s chocolate cake covered in butter cream icing and M&M’s.
We all gather around to sing “Happy Birthday”. The girls (especially Zoe) are thrilled to help Caleb blow out his candles. The look of concentration is back on Zoe’s face.
Hungry eyes watch from all sides of the table as the cake is sliced.
And then little hands creep onto the table to claim pieces of cake.
This is all that is left of the beach ball after everyone gets a piece of cake. By the time we leave, there is even less left!
Ruby looks deep in thought as she eats her piece of birthday cake. If you’ve read previous birthday party posts you’ll know she’s always preferred a slow approach to eating and enjoying birthday cake.
Zoe, on the other hand, throws herself right into the cake eating experience!
After birthday cake there are icy treats for everyone as Angela hands out Frosty Fruits.
Caleb shares a tropical Frosty Fruit with his dad. It’s Caleb’s first time trying an icy pole/ice lolly/popsicle and the look on his face is hilarious! But after the initial shock, he returns for more!
Zoe eats her Frosty Fruit while riding her bike (with a chocolate crackle carefully placed in the basket for later). Sadly, her Frosty Fruit meets with a tragic end on the patio. Never mind, Zoe!
It’s been a lovely birthday brunch. Happy birthday, Caleb! Naps all around!