And so it begins… It was Louis 2nd birthday on Saturday, and so, on friday, I started getting the cake organised.
I made my go-to lemon yogurt cake because I know Louis likes it and I’ve made it enough times that it feels pretty fail-safe.
I thought the butter and sugar looked pretty… but you’ll have to wait to see the cake in all it’s finished (clue: red) glory.
Other than a general clean and tidy, I just did the cake and one other sweetie on Friday – cut marshmallows sitting on dollops of melted dark chocolate… that were sort of meant to look like bus-driver’s hats. Why bus drivers? You’ll see.
Come Saturday there was lots to do. I had grand plans (thanks to pinterest) of making delectable but also healthy party food. Louis’ palate is rather underdeveloped but there could be a few favourites for him and plenty of deliciousness for everyone else as well… right?
One of my favourite discoveries this past summer was caprese salad: essentially tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with a little balsamic and plenty of salt and pepper on top.
Confession: I probably ate a good quarter of them.
Now, something for the big 2-year old. The good ol’ classic, fairy bread. Can’t go wrong there… unless he accidentally inhales at the wrong moment and chokes on some sprinkles.
White bread, buttered and then sprinkles on top. Cut or use cookie-cutters like we did. Nutritional value: zippo. Fun value: heaps. Flavour: butter and sugar.
Now for something a little more substantial. The party was from midday till three so this was to be everybody’s lunch. One of my favourite lunches is quiche, and I’m a pastry fan so I’m all for a high pastry:filling ratio (for parties, when calories don’t count). Voila: mini quiches, fresh from the oven.
And the last of them were still good for breakfast on Sunday! Perks.
More delicious food: salmon, avocado and cream cheese are a heavenly combo, and on fresh baguette: délecieux!
So here it all is, the buffet! Chippies and mini-cheeses, a feta cucumber thingamabob, cheese/ham/pineapple bites, carrot sticks with hummus, and there were meatballs and chicken nibbles in the oven. No one went hungry.
But it’s not all about the food (believe it or not). Games for a group of kids who are really young women as well as a couple of toddlers equals difficult. So we skipped the traditional games with prizes in favour of chaos and craft!
One of Louis’ favourite things is busses, so we collected a bunch of empty boxes and a variety of other bits and bobs from the recycling bin… and, here you go girls, fashion the birthday boy a bus!
He destroyed the steering wheel within seconds, but was fascinated by the toys/passengers and keeps looking inside the roof-bit. Well done, ladies!
We sang ‘the wheels on the bus’ and made his day.
Activity number two, which was probably unnecessary but I had lots of red icing left over… decorate biscuits to look like busses (noticing a theme?)
I gave the kids rectangular shortbread biscuits, red icing, cheerios (breakfast cereal) for the wheels and an assortment of sprinkles and glitter-icing-tube thingys. They decorated and then passed them around to the adults, who were very glad of the coffee to go with these sugar-hits.
And then there was cake… which was very nearly too much (as cake usually is, after all the other party food, at any given birthday party, I suppose. The second cup of coffee helped.
Bus! Bus! Said Louis.
Yes! It’s recognizable. Thought Mummy.
Two puffs dealt to the candles (and only because they were at opposite ends of the bus.) We’ve come a long way, wee man.
And then Louis helped cut the cake.
And rather than eat it, he played with it. Then ate a choc-marshmallow bus driver hat (which somehow had no photos taken of them.)
Then there were presents! The unwrapping took a little coaxing at first, but he got a handle on ‘rip! rip! rip!’ much faster than last year.
Car! Said Louis
(you know it’s a good choice of present when the two year old can name it, and does so with enthusiasm.)
Louis’ very first remote control vehicle – a digger.
(Okay, so he’s a bit scared of it, but likes other people to play with it while he sits up on the couch, where it can’t get him, and watches from a safe distance.)
Getting into it now… what could it be?
Forty eight hours later and I’m happy to report he has stopped bursting into tears every time there’s a derailment (which is why it’s not set up in a figure-8: the train needs a long straight after coming over the bridge, or else it topples).
Lucky last present: a doctor’s kit. He loves putting on the glasses and getting all the bits in and out of the doctor’s bag. But mainly playing with the glasses. Trop Mignon! (which means too cute – this is the most common phrase with which French people respond to Louis. What a charmer.)
So that was Louis’ second birthday party. It was full on, but we had a lovely lazy day afterwards and didn’t do the clean up till Sunday morning (which is perhaps why I dreamed about a mouse or rat that night… rodents would have had a feast if they’d discovered our apartment Saturday night).
Mum and Dad depart today, heading back to NZ, so we said goodbye last night and were all very restrained (no tears at all. Close, but no cigar.) Louis’ birthday was a lovely, festive send off. Gran and Grandpa will miss a few things, but they didn’t miss that.