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A Very (Dairy Free) Hungry Caterpillar

Today was BabyGirl’s birthday party! Her birthday isn’t for another week but we decided to have her party today as it fitted in well with shift work, etc.

The theme of her party was, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Such a fun theme for a first birthday party! Well, for any birthday party!

I had a lot of fun planning her party. The thing that really limited me was money – we don’t have a large amount to throw at parties, so I did everything as minimal and budget as I could. And, I was really, really proud of the result.

  • Decorations

To decorate, I bought a red table cloth, red napkins, green and white plastic plates, and green and white plastic cups. I think I spent around $20 all up on these and they can be re-used again for another party. When I was pregnant with BabyGirl, we didn’t find out what we were having and one of the only things I bought was a second hand three-pack of Hungry Caterpillar onesies. I pinned them to the wall above the table as decorations which was pretty cute, they are so tiny!

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I also made a balloon caterpillar which I hung from the ceiling – four green balloons and a red one with card stuck to it! So simple and really, really effective.

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And, I made some bunting with BabyGirl’s name in green and red card. This was fun to make with Princess’s help – we cut out trianges and glued them together, then printed her name and cut and pasted that to the card. We strung it up with green ribbon and pinned it to the wall.

  • Food

I wanted the food to be simple, but I also wanted it to be Dairy Free so BabyGirl could eat everything. I decided that I would serve all of the food that the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats on his last big binge (the Saturday). I copied and printed the pictures of the food from the book, and pasted the images to red and green card, then sellotaped them to ice block sticks and put them with the food, to label it.

Saturday

So, the food we had was dairy-free chocolate cake, ice cream cones with marshmallow inside, sliced pickle, sliced cheese (cut to look like swiss cheese – this was the only non-dairy item on the table), sliced salami, lollipops, “cherry pie”, cheerios (small sausages), dairy-free cupcakes, and slices of watermelon.

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The dairy-free chocolate cake was the same recipe that I used when I made Mr T’s cake last week, only this time I chose to simply sift icing sugar over it rather than buttercream icing.

https://havekidstheysaid.com/2014/04/14/happy-birthday-mr-t-and-happy-takeaway-day/

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Particular mention to my fantasticly dedicated friend, who punched holes in the gherkin and cheese!

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The “cherry pie” was a funny one – we don’t eat cherry pie here, I’m not even sure I know quite what cherry pie is! So, my Mum had the great idea to make little “pies” – she used pastry, cut it into a circle then baked it. When it was cooked she sliced it six ways (like pie) and iced each segment with raspberry icing then topped with a glace cherry. Genius and everyone LOVED them!

  • The Cake

I made a dairy-free rainbow cake which was really easy and came out brilliantly. The colours were superbly bright and the cake tasted really nice. I am completely over my skepticism about dairy-free food. Dairy was not missed today!

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  • Activities

Being it that this was a first birthday, I knew that BabyGirl was going to be perfectly happy playing with her toys and friends without the need for extra activities. However, there were a lot of kids aged 3-6 coming so I came up with a simple activity for them – making caterpillars from egg cartons. I piled the craft table in the play room with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue, glitter, crayons, stickers and felt pens and let the kids go wild. They loved it!

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The finished products were pretty cute! And, I also printed off some free Hungry Caterpillar printables that I found online, so the kids could colour in as well.

(found here –>) http://tertuliadofado.com/very-hungry-caterpillar-coloring-pages-printables/

 

This was a really easy, really successful party which I’m sure BabyGirl loved, considering it is now 11:35pm and she is still running around, oblivious to the fact all her guests left hours ago and her Mummy is nodding off in her chair. Ode to be nearly-one again.

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday, Mr T! And Happy Takeaway Day!

Well, we did it. 35 days of No Takeaways. Tonight, we got our celebratory meal of fish and chips, and it was pretty darn good, I won’t lie.

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Followed by a lovely dessert of dairy-free chocolate cake, iced by Princess herself

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And, we didn’t even mind that, in her enthusiasm, she dropped the cake clean on the floor. Messy on the floor? Either way, we had a lovely dessert of floor-cake and it was good.

As we ate our dinner, we reflected on 35 days of No Takeaways. I am really, really proud of the effort we have made, and it is something that I am definitely determined to continue in the future. Have we saved money? I’m sure we have, though I have no idea how much.

Best of all, I walk away today having learned so much about myself, cooking and food in general.

I have learned

  • How to make a chicken stock
  • How to make risotto
  • How to cook sauces without using packets
  • How important potatoes and onions are in our diet
  • How to adapt a recipe to fit based on ingredients
  • How to convince my husband that real food really is better than takeaways
  • How to cook a complete meal on 3 hours sleep, and then blog about it
  • How to engage a 4 year old in cooking meals, and
  • How to get a 4 year old eating things she normally wouldn’t touch

I’m sure there is much more that I can’t think of right now (still on 3 hours sleep but YAY, BabyGirl’s tooth came through!), but at the end of the day, I did it, and that is something I am very, very proud of.

Tomorrow, I start afresh. Because, I have a freezer full of potential meals, a cupboard full of ingredients and components, a family who need food and an enthusiasm for cooking like I’ve never had before. I challenge each of you to try something like this. See how far YOU can go without buying takeaways, and let me know!

And, of course, because I wouldn’t feel right leaving you without a recipe, here is the recipe for the Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake that we made for Mr T’s birthday tonight.

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

2 C Sugar

1 C Cocoa

2 C Flour

2 t Baking Soda

1/3 C Oil

2 eggs

2 t Vanilla Essence

2 C Water

Add all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine. Mix in a separate bowl all of the wet ingredients, whisk then add to the dry ingredients. Combine and bake for about 45-60 minutes on 150C. We iced with basic buttercream (margarine beaten until nearly white, then mixed with icing sugar) and lots and lots of sprinkles.

A delicious, heavy, rich chocolate cake. Yummo!

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