Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy first birthday!

I cannot imagine how a whole year flew by since my daughter was born and how much she has grown. She is such a darling kid and wins everyone's heart easily. I wanted to make her first birthday very special and so I started planning a month ahead!
We sent out invites from evite a month ago to get RSVPs from everyone. Once I got a count of all the kids who would be coming to the party we got them return gifts from India. (Cute lunch boxes and books!!!) . I love the panchatantra tales and we got a dozen of them from Naidu hall in chennai.

My husband and I compiled 12 pictures of our daughter (one for every month) and decorated the party hall using them. We had shaved my daughter's head in India just before she turned one and wanted to put up pictures of how she looked very cute with all her hair.

We had invited everyone to the party at 3pm on a Sunday till 6pm. So we were planning on serving some snacks during the party. I put in most of the party effort on having a food theme and a very different spread (a good mix of sweet and savories). Most of the food was based on a disney character or some generic animal character. Around 40 adults came to the party and so the key to the spread was a lot of prep work and easy decorating ideas that would scale :)

Panda sandwich
Panda/Pig/Frog Sandwiches
I got panda/frog/pig sandwich cutters from  Previous day we cut the breads into shapes using the cutter.
On the day of the party we spread chocolate nuttella on the base and made the yummy pandas.We used mint chutney for the frog sandwiches and strawberry jam for the pigs !
Made around 60  mini sandwiches and only a couple were left.

Pig sandwich

Frog sandwich

Mickey mouse kaju katili
This  Indian sweet is everyone's favorite. Since I was very pressed for time and didnt have the bandwidth to make the sweet itself we got 2 boxes from an India store nearby. I combined 3 store bought kaju katlis into one round ball and flattened it with a vessel. I used mickey mouse cookie cutters from to cut the flattened kaju katli into mickey shapes and used edible food markers to draw mickey faces on the sweet. Made 30 mickey mouse katlis!

Mickey mouse kaju katli

Ducks in a bath juice

In between all the yummy food I wanted to serve something to drink too. I got some Hawaiian punch from safeway and filled a brita water filter with the juice so that  guests can take juice from the tap. I put some bath toys of my daughter to take a bath in the juice !
Ducks in a bath juice

Fruit flowers
I got a big pineapple and  a bunch of kiwis and decided to make flowers out of the fruits for all the fruit lovers in the party. I got long bamboo sticks to support the flowers. On the previous day we cut the pineapples into circles and made the flower shapes with cookie cutters. Kiwi looks pretty by itself. So all we needed to do was to cut it into circles. On the day of the party I pierced the flowers into the sticks and arranged them into my daughter's humidifier :)

Fruit flowers

Spongebob dokhlas

Spongebob dokhlas
My daughter was always amused by spongebob and I wanted to include him in the party. I saw a striking resemblance between him and dokhlas! They would make an awesome snack. I had ordered the Wilton candy eyes for spongebobs eyes and got masala tapioca chips to make the hands. I used grated coconut as spongebobs teeth!

Cat pizzas 
Cat pizzas
I wanted to include something that would be a filling snack. The first thing that came to my mind was pizza. I ordered small personal pizzas from hot breads and turned them into cats.
Cut cheese into circles to use as face for the cats. Eyes are made of black olives, used shredded  carrots for whiskers and tomato ketchup for the lips.

  Animal muffins

I knew there were enough sweets in the the spread but I still went ahead and made some muffins just because I had the Nordic ware Pro cast zoo animal muffin pan with me :) The pan is great and the animal features came out very well.
Animal muffins

Alphabet/Shapes maida chips 
My mom makes the best maida chips for me  in diamond shapes. So I wanted to serve that for the party and thought it will be fun cutting the dough into different shapes instead of diamonds. So we used alphabet cookie cutters to make my daughter's name and also made some star and heart shaped chips.
Alphabet chips

Caterpillar  croissant 
I wanted a caterpillar in my spread and felt that indian panner croissant from hot breads looked like one. I used wilton candy eyes for the caterpillar's eyes and tapioca chips for its antennas! To stick the candy eyes on the caterpillar I used yellow mustard sauce.

Caterpillar croissants

Princess cake for my little princess

I knew it would be hard to make a cake that would serve 40 - 45 people! But I really really wanted to make one for my little girl! So I decided to  make a small cake for the kids and order a big one from safeway for the rest of the party.
I decided to make a princess cake and got the wilton mold cake kit to make it. I made chocolate cake with pink buttercream icing for the dress. I made patterns with edible pearls and decorated with flowers. I set the princess on my lazysusan base.. so that we can rotate her nicely during the party!
Princess cake for my little princess

- The main decorations in the room were my daughters 12 blown up photos. 
- I  borrowed some character humidifiers from my sister and friends (spongebob , frog and disney princess) for decorations.
-  I used my daughter's bottle drying rack for holding paper cups.
-  Used our plate holder at home for holding paper plates
-  We arranged the sandwiches on refrigerator glass trays from the fridge in the party hall and the glass turntable from the microwave!
- Used my daughter's rubber sheets/quick dry sheets for table cloth
- Used her white board to write a "happy birthday" message
- Also got some decorations from party city!

Love my little girl and thanks to all my friends , sister and family , cousin and  family and my dear husband for helping me and making my daughter's day very special.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Checklist for India while carrying an Infant!

I took my daughter to India for her first birthday ceremony.  Here is a  checklist of things I had carried on the trip.

 -- Make sure you take your baby's one year vaccinations before you go on the trip. Discuss your trip with your pediatrician atleast 3 weeks in advance.
- Toys !!! Pack toys for the flight journey alone. You dont need any toys for the stay in India. My daughter had tooo many new things to explore and too many people to engage her :)
- Pedialyte freezer pops will be good to have if baby is refusing any food and not feeding milk also. Helps to keep baby hydrated. I don't like them personally as they have too much sugar content and artificial coloring. However I carried them in case I had to use it in flight.
- Diapers and wipes!! The quality of diapers are not so good in India and you wont have time getting them there with your packed schedule! Its best to pack enough diapers from here for the entire trip. Please carry enough wipes too.
- Pack lots of cotton full sleeve dresses. I  covered my daughter from neck to toe during the trip. It helps prevent insect bites and also save the skin from sun. I did not use any baby sunscreen on my daughter.
- If  you plan on  head tonsuring for your baby  it is good to schedule it as soon as you reach India. I scheduled my daughter's head tonsuring the first week we were there and it helped prevent additional sweating due to the density of her hair! Make sure the knife used is washed in dettol and just apply sandal paste on the scalp after the head tonsuring.
- Food:
   -- For the flight journey and for temple trips its always a good idea to carry some organic gerber/earth's best  food jars and  some finger food(rice crispies and corn puffs).  Take more than can return the jars if you didn't have to use it all.
  -- Always carry lots of yogurt! My daughter ate a lot of yogurt  during the trip ...... too much heat I guess!
  -- When at home, I gave her mostly lots of fruits (banana especially) , idli, dosa, vegetable/dhal soup, pongal, sevai, upma, curd rice and chappathi. Somehow she did not want to eat her usual rasam and paruppu rice.
  -- I kept giving her sips of water at frequent intervals throughout the trip. Also its good to let your baby suck on a bottle/feed milk during flight take off and landing.
  -- The stroller was useful only for the flight journey and we didn't take it along anywhere in India.
  -- Carry all the usual baby medicines -  Nasal drops, Infant thylenol, Infant Ibuprofhen, Gripe water, Baby shampoo and moisturizer, Baby vicks and diaper rash cream.
 --  Carry enough bottles/ sippi cups  with you.
 --  Even if you are breast feeding your baby its best to carry some formula from here in case of emergency.
 -- To sterilize the bottles I used a big rice cooker.
 -- Baby monitor !!! I did  not take it but strongly  feel it would have helped a lot. If we put the baby down to sleep in a closed AC room we might not hear the baby's cries from the living room. The downside is that you need adapters for the monitor to work but it is safe to have it if setting up other monitoring techniques like a skype session or a phone call ( they are all charged btw)  does not work well.

Hope this helps! Have an awesome trip. My daughter loved every moment in India and she misses her grandparents and all our relatives very much !