Turning two: an unfussy fiesta
Kids’ parties don’t need to be flash or fancy. We love this unfussy fiesta for birthday boy Benny.
Meet Benanaiah James (otherwise known as Benny J, Benny, Beans or Little Buffalo), a pensive, observant little boy who loves books. “He has a very soft, sweet way about him, especially for a toddler boy, but he’s still all boy when it comes to building blocks and the need to annihilate” says his mother Ashley. “And when he warms up to you, he’s really quite a people-person.”
When Benny recently turned two, a party was definitely in order, but for the Amaral family, that didn’t mean it had to be elaborate or extravagant. “We love to entertain and grab any excuse to get together, break bread, and enjoy the people we love! For birthdays, we keep it pretty small and intimate – just grandparents, siblings, niece and nephew. The main idea behind his party was just to be together, enjoy some food and music, and simply commemorate Benny turning another year older.” Even the birthday boy was on board with that: “Benny requested tacos, cake and Johnny on the turntable to celebrate.” Johnny Cash, that is.
A fuss-free feast
Tacos are a family favourite for the Amarals, especially when throwing events. They enjoyed simple shredded chicken tacos with white corn tortillas fried in coconut oil, topped with shredded cabbage cilantro slaw. As for the cake, Ashley whipped that up. “It was just a very simple gluten-free/dairy-free chocolate cake with coconut vanilla icing, which turned out very moist and tasty.” Not all the family has the need for allergy-friendly foods, but the cake was enjoyed by everyone – especially Benny. “One of the cutest moments, I think, was when we sang Happy Birthday to Benny” recalls Ashley. “He was at least polite enough to wait until we were done before putting his face in the cake!” That was it for the menu: one savoury, one sweet. “We didn’t have any other food besides cake and tacos. But what else does a person need?!”
The general atmosphere was one of just relaxing, enjoying food and music, followed by an impromptu dance party – “to get all the wiggle out for the babies before nap time!” – with Johnny Cash on the record player, of course. Little else was necessary for entertainment. “Who knew balloons were literally going to be the gift that kept on giving?”
Photography & styling: Ashley Amaral, Instagram: ashleyamaralphotography
We get it. When you’re a busy mama, it can be hard to find the time, energy and budget to pull off an elaborate event for your little one’s birthday. But there are stress-free, manageable ways to mark the occasion, and create beautiful memories of the milestone. All you really need are a few key ingredients:
Chrome gold balloon, $1, and number two foil balloon in gold, $19.99, pixiepartysupplies.co.nz; 60 pack of pom poms, $2 from Kmart; Honeycomb ball garland in gold, $8.95, and chevron cups in gold, $9.95 for ten, sweetpeaparties.co.nz; Arbor cake stand, $119, nood.co.nz; Letter board in mint, $33, littlewhimsy.co.nz; Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera in smokey white, $129.99, harveynorman.co.nz.
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 42 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW