Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gabriela's First Birthday Party

In Brasil, kids' birthday parties are really big deals. Parents will often rent special party places or else have a bash at their home. Either way, it's usually complete with elaborate decor (more decorated than some wedding receptions I've been to), a hired entertainer for the kids, lots of beer for the adults, and enough candy and sweets to cause dentist everywhere to cringe. The birthday parties we went to were a lot of fun, but we couldn't help but wonder how much money parents were dropping on a party that the kid will never remember (in the case of a one year old.) An expat friend in BH had a really interesting take on the birthday parties in Brasil, it's worth a read!

Eric and I wanted to do something fun for Gabriela's first birthday, but nothing too over-the-top. We decided to take host a churrasco, a Brasilian-Style Cookout. The menu included:

On the grill: pork loin, beef, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, and sausage.

From the kitchen: feijoada (black beans cooked with meat), rice, vinegrette, couve (collard greens lightly cooked in a cast iron skillet), along with some fresh strawberries and carrots for munching.

For the celebration: Homemade ice cream (a churn of strawberry and one of Oreo), a giant caterpillar cake with two chocolate cake sections, two strawberry cake sections, and a special apple cake with apple juice-sweetened cream cheese icing section for the birthday girl. (I wanted to be able to turn her loose with the cake, let her eat as much as she wanted, and not have to worry about her getting a bellyache from consuming too much butter and sugar!)

The things we forgot to put out included farofa, potato chips, and a pineapple we were going to grill. Oops. (The day was a little busy, and there was a lot of food, so I don't think our forgetfulness was too noticed!)

The weather cooperated beautifully and we had an awesome sunny, still, and not-too-hot day to spend out on the deck with family and friends. There were 25 of us all together, and we had a great time!

The morning of the party: decorating the cake. I would say I procrastinated on that one, but actually it was just the first chance I had to get it done. (Note to hubby and self: next time we're having weekend house guests and a cookout for 25 people, let's not try to complete a dozen home-improvement projects the week of.)

Eric's assigned station for the day: the grill. He didn't complain about spending his time in front of fire surrounded by dead animal parts on long spears while wielding a large knife. It made him feel all caveman-ish. (If cavemen had fancy stainless steel propane grills.)

Where I spent the first half of the party: in my favorite place, the kitchen! I love cooking for a crowd! (It makes me feel all grandma/Paula Deen-ish. I like that.) I love it even more when my mother-in-law is there and she cleans up behind me the whole time! I don't think I washed a single dish the entire day! (Thanks Nena!)

Both sets of grandparents with Mamae, Papai, and the birthday girl

The cake! Let's overlook the fact that I forgot to put the mouth on the caterpillar. Instead, let's pretend I did that on purpose. (Have you read The Very Hungry Caterpillar? I couldn't risk him eating all the food. Without a mouth, he can't do that. See? I'm not forgetful. I'm just a forward -thinker.)

Digging in to her cake, icing first! (Well, actually she spent the first 5 minutes eating the green-dyed coconut "grass". Then, she moved on to the icing.)

We hated for Gabriela to be the only Brasilian at her Churrasco, so we invited the other two Brasilians that live in Burlington. They play basketball for SEC, the local community college. They're both seriously like 12 feet tall or something. They made me nervous (and it had nothing to do with their giant stature.) I never make Italian food for Italians, and I never make Brasilian food for Brasilians; it's just a rule I have. I also very rarely make anything Eric talks about his Grandma making. I just can't handle that kind of pressure. The boys were most complimentary of my food though. And since they came back for more about three times each, I suppose they weren't just being polite!

Taking her first tricycle out for a test drive. (Thanks Grandpa and Momo!)

I used to think gift bags were boring for little kids and that wrapping paper was the way to go. Now that I have a kid myself, I must say gift bags rock. Gabriela LOVED digging gifts out of the bags!

Gabriela's friend, K, showing her how to ride a tricycle. (and licking some left-over frosting off her face?)

Friends A and E giving Gabs a hand with opening gifts.

We had Gabriela's birthday party on Sunday. April 18. Which just so happens to be someone else's birthday. I couldn't let the day pass without at least a little recognition! I baked a Truffle Cake with cherry topping for the big birthday boy and made him blow out candles too!


brii said...

Wish we could have been there! It looks like it was so much fun, and Em, that cake was amazing!!! I need you to move back to Georgia so that I can learn how to do all these awesome, cute things before we have kids! :-)

Love you guys!

Btw, we love Gabi's dress! lol

Emily said...

Thanks Brii! We thought the dress y'all gave her was perfect for a spring-themed party! It also sort of put you and Uncle Travis there in spirit! Can't wait to see you next week!!!

Jane said...

So true about Brazilian 1st B-day insane! My husband, though, happens to agree so for our little guy's 1st B-day in a couple weeks we are just makeing a cake, probably dinner, and inviting the family (maybe a few friends) and keeping it simple. But I have to admidt, everyone asks what we're doing like we should be doing someting grand.

We'd rather save a big party for when they actually have friends to invite ;)

Gabriela is too cute! Looked like a great day!

Rogério Penna said...

birthday parties were NOT like that when I was a kid. I find ridiculous the amount of money today parents throw at these "social events" aka kid´s birthday parties.