Not your traditional 1st birthday party

Gone are the stressful preparations of a noisy, too colorful, too much activities,  handful of performers, magicians, type of 1st birthday party.  I’ve done that before and probably won’t do it again.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, guests enjoyed it, but the celebrant, I can say, not too much.

So for A’s 1st birthday, I decided to have a simple lunch buffet at HEAT in Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.  I din’t have to worry about the food since there’s a wide variety and guests could just take their pick from the buffet.  The best part? no food getting cold!  No matter how late a guest would arrive, he would still be able to eat fresh, hot food.  As you all know, food is something that’s always remembered in a party.

Din’t have to worry about the rent of the place.

No fuss in decorating an entire plain boxy area.

No parking problem.

All I needed was a cake to blow, a gift table, and a little table decoration to make it a bit special.

Here are some personal touches I made.  Not extravagant.  Just right.

heat

centerpiece
DIY pinwheel centerpieces.  Covered sola bottles with burlap and organza ribbon.
centerpiece again
Table numbers so guests can easily be directed to their respective seats.
Table setting: personalized placemat with celebrant's bits of info., place cards.
Table setting: personalized placemat with celebrant’s bits of info.  We also put name plates as an added personal touch.
ribbons on glasses
ribbons on glasses to put some color in the area

 

cake table
decorated cake table a bit…cake is from Whipped by Diane and decor from Regalong Pambahay.
cake table 2
personalized m&m’s (which I ordered online) were in the martini glass and chocolates in the small bin.
gift table
gift table had a big letter “A” made of styro which was borrowed from a friend.
invitation front
This was little A’s invitation.  Just had it printed at FANS, then laminated in National Bookstore.  Punched a hole and put ribbons on top.
I decided to make an invitation that doubles as a calendar for it to be useful.
I decided to make an invitation that doubles as a calendar for it to be useful.  They were also individually personalized with the guest’s name printed on top.
frame
Our DIY photobooth frame
picture taking
kids enjoyed picture taking
Heat area
We got an area on the main floor good for 100pax since function rooms could only accommodate 30pax. 
The cake table was meant to be a place for picture taking...this is how it would look like.
The cake table was meant to be a place for picture taking.
Some just carried it around...
Some just carried it around…
Our portable picture frame was a hit, so as the pinwheels :-)  They were made to be brought home to the kiddies.
Our portable picture frame was a hit, so were the pinwheels 🙂 They were made to be brought home to the kiddies.  I just had some nephews and nieces go around with a camera, passing the frame to guests while they took pictures of them.  No need to wait in line in photo booths, we brought the photo booth to our guests 🙂
And there you have it.  A simpler, stress free, first birthday party.  The most important thing that happened was that our celebrant had a wONEderful time!
And there you have it. A simpler, stress free, first birthday party. And I could say, our celebrant had a wONEderful time!

Have you also veered away from the extravagant 1st birthday parties?  Please do share your ideas 🙂

 

 

 

Chinese Resto Dinner with a Twist

We celebrated the birthday of my MIL at Choi Garden in Greenhills.  Before the day of the celebration, i decided to take a look at the room that was reserved for us to see if it needed some decorating.
And it did!  The room’s walls were all black and it was small.  Literally one table for 12 and a small cake table in one corner.  The rest of the space was enough for ONE person to walk around the table.
Anyway, here I am again being the “frustrated decorator” trying to make a place look a bit livelier with simple things.  Nothing extravagant.  Mostly DIY stuff.

Things I did:
1.  Chose a theme…Royal birthday. Decors/designs were colored pink and purple and a crown drawing.

2. Got 10 five-inch & 8 eleven-inch balloons with currling ribbons. Only pink and purple.

3. Made a happy bday banner, cupcake toppers, drink labels, and welcome sign.

4. Ordered a small fondant cake for blowing and a bigger strawberry shortcake to serve.

Mission accomplished.  It really looked better!

Behind the scenes in making the birthday banner, drink labels, and cupcake toppers.
Balloons taped on the black walls, Birthday Banner up, and Welcome sign on the door.  Can you imagine how small the room given to us was?
The crown for the “Queen of the night”. And our Royal drink for the night (aka Sola iced tea hehe)
Cakes: Bunny Baker themed cake, Baby Yulo’s Strawberry Shortcake (810-8078), Estrels Caramel Cake (372-2965), and Caramia cake with jello on top (sorry I forgot what the name was). Then mini and super mini cupcakes (Red Velvet and Moist Chocolate) by Roan Ang-Ngo.

My mother-in-law said it wasn’t really normal for chinese families to have something like this as they just go to the restaurant, sit down, eat, then go home.  No wonder all the waiters and managers were all peeking inside the room and smiling.  Maybe wondering what’s this crazy pregnant lady doing!?  Some even went inside the room and really looked at every detail.  The manager even thought I made the “royal drink” myself not knowing it was just Sola iced tea, lol!

Anyway, MIL was happy she felt like a kid again during the dinner with all the decors (well, at least that’s what she said …hehe).  She got shocked when she arrived and even asked my brother-in-law why the room looked different from the outside and even left and looked for another room hahaha!  Actually, I got shocked coz she was there early!  I wasn’t done with the decorating, so I din’t let them go in and closed the door 🙂     Then the bunny baker delivery was supposed to be at the venue by 6pm, but my MIL was already there and still no fondant cake which was supposed to be the centerpiece!  …Good thing MIL went to the bathroom, then when she came back, the cake was there. (note to self: always ask suppliers to deliver 1.5hrs in advance).

This also made my kids enjoy the dinner…and I quote “Mommy, I’m enjoying the party coz it looks so pretty!”.  That coming from my 3 year old 🙂   I’m nowhere near an event stylist but I enjoy doing these little things especially if it’s for people close to me.

Back to the old Garage Kiddie Party!

There are some kids who don’t enjoy extravagant parties or kiddie parties with too much people.  Lexi’s one of them.  So for her birthday this year, we had a simple “old school garage party”.

Converted garage into the pool party area.  Inflatable pools can be bought in Toys R Us or Toy Kingdom for 300-2,000Php depending on the size.  I already had the biggest (upper left) and smallest (lower right) pools and boat.  Borrowed 2 more pools from friends.  So din’t need to buy anything.  M&M inflatable orange seats was free from purchasing M&M products in Duty Free.
Pools being tested out by the celebrant.  I added a tent, some plastic horses, and inflatable penguin for for kids to play with.
Also had bikes on the side for kids to have more choices of outdoor fun!
We put tables and chairs outside to be able to watch kids swim.  Had a few refreshments and snacks (wafer sticks, marshmallows, chocolates, crackers).  Bought cloth (14 yards total / diff colors) from Fabric Warehouse for a colorful summer feel which cost P700.  This was also used to cover up all the stuff in the garage.  Cloth can be reused for another event in the future.  
Main food served inside the house to keep flies and mosquitos away.  Not to mention it was too hot outside.  This was also a contingency plan in case it rained.  Simple food was served, all favorites of the celebrant.  Ended the day with a Happy Birthday song and cake blowing.

Food:

Purefoods Drumettes – drumsticks without the bone.  It ended up looking like big chicken nuggets but it tasted good.

French fries – home made.

Snacks – Goldfish crackers, Marshmallows, Caramel Popcorn, Sticko.

Carbonara – spaghetti and twist pasta were used.

Pizza Hut – Veggie Pizza, Hawaiian, & Super Supreme (some had cheese crust stuffing).

Inutak and Ferinos Bibingka – Filipino delicacies for dessert aside from the cakepops and cupcakes.

To sum it up…The celebrant’s “wants” were prioritized and she had a blast!!!

So who said you need to stress out yourself in preparing for your toddler’s birthday?  Sometimes we have to set aside what we as parents want and really do things that makes your toddler happy.  It’s their birthday anyway 🙂

Happy Easter Toddlers!

I’ve been contemplating whether I’d take the kids to Easter egg hunts in hotels or malls this year. But then I remembered our experience last year when I took them to the Easter egg hunt in Edsa Shangri-La Hotel. There were A LOT of kids! The entire Isla ballroom was packed! Then come easter egg hunt time, it was just crazy. Kids and parents were shoving each other. So I decided not to do that this year.  But don’t get me wrong, it was an experience for them to be exposed to that setup as well as dress up in animal costumes as that was the hotel’s theme.  But 300-400 kids was just too big of a crowd for my toddlers.

I also considered the egg hunt in Podium but when I found out yesterday that there were 200 kids, I was more decided to make one of our own and not go through the same experience last year 🙂

Why?

1. My kids won’t be shoved from one side to the other. Given that they are helpless compared to the bigger kids.

2. I have control of what the prizes are. Meaning I’m sure they’ll love the prizes in each egg.

3. I’m sure they’ll get more than 1 egg! (Chesca only got 1 egg from last year and Lexi none!)

4. Saves a ton of money!

5. Less stress 🙂  I don’t have to help them look for eggs!

So there you have it, gives me more reason to have a simple Easter egg hunt just for us.

What did I do, you ask?

I got some of the kids' plastic eggs and put their favorite things inside. Marshmallows and Oreos inside the big eggs. M&M's, Skittles, and stickers inside the small eggs.

I also included our nannies and helpers in the hunt and prepared a little something for them. I put several 20 peso bills in colored makeshift envelopes.  I will hide them after the kids’ egg hunt and let them have their own Easter egg hunt.  A little something to de-stress, relax, and enjoy as well.

My kids are very easy to please and just with these simple items, they'll have a blast! The picture on the right are colored index cards I cut in half and made into Easter envelopes to put the 20 peso bills.
Time to hide the egss!

I’ll keep you posted on the turn out of our little “make-our-own” Easter egg hunt experience.

Gotta go and hide the eggs while the kids are eating lunch.

What are you doing this Easter?  Maybe you can do one of your own egg hunts as well!

Happy Easter!

A simple birthday celebration

I definitely had a HAPPY birthday this 2011.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Simple things make me smile.

This year, it was as simple as having dinner with friends at home, having lunch out with friends, take-out food with family, an afternoon with the kids, a meal with siblings, and a dinner date with my husband.  Of course, it all din’t happen on my birthday, these were spread out throughout the week.

First off, we had an intimate dinner at home with friends for the September celebrants.  I cooked Baked Garlic Chicken and Artichoke Dip served with multigrain chips.  Had california maki from Cold Storage.  Friends cooked baked spaghetti and bought DQ Oreo ice cream cake!

My little helper...Grated the cheese for the Artichoke dip. Then started eating it! She helped with mixing all the ingredients and putting our McCormick spice!
My helper getting bored while waiting for ingredients. She helped with the marinade. Used a lot of garlic, spices, and olive oil for the chicken.
Again, I forgot to take a picture of the food before it was eaten! Aaargh!
So stuffed! (Tin and Jaimes, miss you guys!)
Candle blowing of the mouthwatering cake by the celebrants.

Then early lunch with friends…

Lunch at Healthy Shabu Shabu.
Our meat and seafood combination...we kept eating and eating yet it seemed it was never ending.

Then late lunch at home with family…but of course, I didn’t eat anymore…well, I ate dessert.  I never skip dessert! 🙂  I’ve been wanting to try Amber food since I’ve heard good things about it, so we had that for lunch.  (Tasted their food, wasn’t that great for me.)

The entire afternoon was spent with the kids.  Just playing and having fun.  Oh, let’s not forget, the eating part too!  We had an afternoon snack…cake, pancit, and pichi-pichi!  I know you’re thinking, “eat again!?!”.  I’ll use my birthday pass here 🙂

Kids blew another birthday cake given by my friend Cathy. Lexi accidentally held the fire so she didn't want to go near winnie the pooh candle anymore. Then Chesca started getting some icing using her finger! Lexi loved it that Barney sang Happy Birthday too!
Our little merienda with the kids. Pichi-pichi, Mrs. Polly's choco cake, & pancit...coffee for us moms. Lexi's first time to eat cake, look at her go!

Then off to dinner at Gaudi with Rick as I’ve been craving for their  steak for quite some time.  Just haven’t had the chance to go, so now, we made time.

Started off with bread...then our chorizo pasta arrived...oh so yummy!
Our steak finally arrived! 700+grams just for us!
Want a closer look? 🙂 It's pre-cooked a bit so it doesn't take that much time for you to cook it.

After dinner, we had a short trip to Fully Booked to walk off our heavy stomachs.  We also got some coffee to help.

But then, the night wasn’t over…or shall I say, the eating wasn’t over!  As we were parking our car at home, my cousin-in-law arrived with some goodies! yehay!!!

My cousin-in-law Audrey dropped off my midnight snack! 🙂 I had to make room for these 😛

After a couple of days, my siblings wanted to celebrate too…so we decided to try out Bonchon Chicken.  Too bad I wasn’t able to take pictures of that.

Overall, this birthday celebration of mine was major eating!  Let me rephrase that….major eating and NO exercising for an entire week! 😛   But I’m not complaining…I thank God for all the blessings 🙂

Now it’s double time for me to lose all those extra calories I took in for an entire week.

Wish me luck 🙂

Happy Birthday to all the September celebrants 🙂

 

 

Mrs. Polly’s can be found at the top floor of Robinson’s Galleria.  Real moist chocolate cake.

Amber take-out telephone number: 531-0746, 533-1111, Edsa Branch.  They charge P100 for delivery.

Cold storage has several outlets, got our california maki at wilson branch.

DQ (dairy queen) ice cream found in most malls.

Gaudi at Serendra.

Healthy Shabu Shabu at Robinson’s Galleria.