Firefighter Birthday Party

Hey y’all!  (Do you hear my southern twang?) There’s been a lack of posts because… I’ve moved back home to Atlanta!  It’s been a whirlwind of moving and settling in.  Thank you to all who have followed me in Tokyo.  Although I’ll be posting less on Japan, there’ll still be lots of parties, food, travel, and DIY.  My first project back was my dear friend’s son’s firefighter-inspired 4th birthday party.  It was peak summer in LA so I had decor to match – bright, happy, and fun-filled!  There were separate tented areas for the kids and adults, brought together with yellow and red decor.

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What kind of cake do you have for a firefighter party?  A fire engine of course…

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.. topped off with adorable minions.

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And matching water bottles!

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I’m kicking myself for not taking photos of the party favors – fire house books and Diddy Reese cookies in custom-made fire engine canvas tote bags.

dallas birthday party

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The topping of the party?  A real fire engine complete with real firemen from 5 Alarm Fire Engine.  These guys were awesome – great with the kids, prepared with tons of activities, professional, and patience galore for the 40+ (yes FORTY!) kids that attended.  I highly recommend them if you’re having a similar party in the LA/OC/Inland Empire area.  The kids and many of the parents were thoroughly entertained with fire hose water shooting, tug of war, dressing in all the gear, and fire engine rides around the neighborhood.  Fun for everyone!

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Tomorrow, the adult tables! :)

Happy Birthday, Hubby :)

Man untying his bow tie at a wedding

Today, my hubby celebrates a big something-5 year birthday!  It’s been a good year, and our little life has changed quite a bit.  In the past year, he was able to achieve his dream of starting his own company, we hosted our long-awaited wedding in Hawaii, he dealt with my endless need to throw and host parties, and he’s grown closer than ever to my two little ‘pets,’ making us more of a family.  This week, we’re meeting up with our family for a Japanese traditional photo shoot and a few birthday dinners!  Can’t wait to share the festivities with you all :)

Daikan & Shinnenkai Parties

(From a great Tokyo photography blog, Tokyo Luv here)

This past week was the coldest week of the year according to the traditional east asian calendar, and it proved right as the ground was covered with snow!  This time of the year (usually from January 20th to February 4th) is called Daikan – aka “Major Cold.”  As much as that makes me want to cozy up in a blanket at home, we have a packed weekend schedule filled with birthday parties and shinnenkai (pronounced: shin-nehn-kie; meaning: new year) parties!  What are your plans this weekend?

“Thankful for Birthdays” Dinner Party

It’s mid-November!  Are you hustling to get your Thanksgiving menus prepared?  Most Japanese people are not knowledgeable of Thanksgiving culture or customs since it’s a very American holiday (remember the pilgrims and Native Americans?).  For me, it’s the start of the holiday season, and I am a big believer in the camaraderie and food that goes along with it!

– Easy “Give Thanks” banner made with materials around my house –

This past weekend, I wanted to test out some new recipes before the official Thanksgiving dinner, and it happened to coincide with our friend’s birthday so we made it into a dual celebration!  All of the pretty decor and styling courtesy of Little Projects in Style. See more amazing pictures of the night on her blog!  I give you our “Thankful for Birthdays” Dinner Party menu:

Truffle Mac & Cheese: adapted from Ina Garten
Sausage, Apple, & Cranberry Stuffing: adapted from Stacy M. Polcyn
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: adapted from Ina Garten
Lawry’s Inspired Creamed Corn: adapted from Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Rosemary, Lemon & Garlic Roasted Cornish Hens: adapted from Moonandback
Apple Pie a la Mode: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Strawberry Shortcake: purchased from Takano in Shinjuku

– Menu template courtesy of Martha Stewart

– I love the colors of this stuffing before it’s mixed and cooked –

– Cornish Hens (Photograph courtesy of Little Projects in Style) –

– Our finished dinner table (Photograph courtesy of Little Projects in Style) –

It was my first time making most of these recipes.  Everything came out well although I would have liked to cook the stuffing a little longer and the hens a little less.  Timing is really important when you’re using a Japanese oven since it’s 1/8th the size of the ovens in the US.  Only one large dish will fit in the oven at a time so make sure to prioritize the cooking of the dishes beforehand and cook as much as you can using your stove top!

For dessert, I felt very inspired by Brown Eyed Baker so I made apple pie from scratch!  More about that endeavor tomorrow :)