Gah! Isn't she just the cutest?
My parents came down for my niece's first birthday and my mom had her suitcases packed with pre-made frozen homemade puff pastry dough and filling for Banh Pate So (Vietnamese Meat-filled Pastries) and pre-made frozen banh bot loc (Vietnamese tapioca dumplings with pork, shrimp, and bamboo shoots). Since it was our niece's first birthday, lil' sis and I got a little fancy with our food contributions too.
I had less than two hours' sleep before I was up at 6 a.m. to finish my labor-intensive project. Then I had to go to work for a few hours so I left my mom, with help from lil' sis and oldest nephew, to make the banh pate so.
When I came home, she was finishing up the last banh cuon (Vietnamese stuffed rice noodle sheets). And definitely not from a mix since I had to go out and buy more rice and tapioca flour recently for that.
After finishing up the rest of what I was bringing to the party, we packed up the food to go to my brother's house.
She is just sooo cute!
But no time to waste, gotta get her dressed for the party!
I bought her this ao dai (Vietnamese long gown) before she was even born? I can't remember anymore. Just couldn't resist. My mom and lil' sis picked up the conical hat in Vietnam last spring.
Too bad she doesn't like the hat.
And with all the guests and more guests coming, she just wanted to be left alone in her little play corner.
So you wanna see what lil' sis and I made?
Dessert Sushi with Swedish Fish Candy and Rice Krispies Treats.
Chocolate Pop Rocks.
Banh Bo (Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes). Naturally colored with mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes.
I think this was the first item I've made that my mom actually complimented. My second youngest uncle's wife loved them so much she scraped the wrapper clean and got all excited when I told her to take home all the leftovers.
And the project that had me up past 4 a.m., and again up at 6 a.m. to finish, Hello Kitty red velvet Cake Pops. OK, I have to admit, they turned out pretty cute, but soooo much work!
I think people were afraid to eat them. Or maybe they thought it was all candy and not cake. So that just left a lot more for the family. I had the middle '87 take a bite so you can see the inside.
Lil' sis made raspberry coconut mini cupcakes.
And these tomato, mozzarella, basil, bread skewers that disappeared like hotcakes.
My mom's homemade banh pate so. The banana leaf-wrapped dumplings on the right were the...
...banh bot loc.
Homemade banh cuon.
My brother also got roast pork, roast duck, roast lemongrass chicken, and banh hoi (Vietnamese steamed rice noodle sheets) from the San Gabriel Superstore. My mom does make her own banh hoi, but in this case, it was just easier to buy the noodle sheets in bulk and make the Mo Hanh (Vietnamese Scallion Oil) at home.
There were sooo many people and babies at the party. Pablo was walking around bumping into everybody.
And the niece was still happiest in her little play corner. She doesn't like crowds.
Time to get her changed for the ceremony to see what she'll be when she grows up! She didn't like being moved though, so lil' sis tossed her in the air a few times to elicit some giggles.
Apparently we did this wrong for Pablo's first birthday. I just picked up random stuff that was supposed to represent specific careers ie. stethoscope, toothbrush, law school book, kitchen spoon, hammer, etc. and we let him crawl toward what appealed to him.
My mom said there are only supposed to be 12 objects and they represent general things, not specific careers. No flowers around so cousin Phong thought of cutting off a flower from the paper tablecloth. Wonder what that represents? The items were all placed on a tray right in front of the baby. No crawling needed here.
Hmm. She fondled the makeup, but wasn't that interested in it.
Someone tried to entice her with a cupcake, but she didn't want that either. Guess she doesn't want to become a food blogger? :P
What's this? A computer mouse?
So baby niece is gonna grow up to become a techie like her daddy?
Guess so! Look at the concentration in which she was holding that mouse!
And a calculator too? Nerd!
That's OK sweetie. You'll grow up to be a beautiful nerd and all the boys will be clamoring after you.
Time to cut the cake. My brother's in-laws got it from an Armenian bakery and they completely massacred her name. I thought I'd be clever and suggested reusing the candle from Pablo's first birthday, which was recently reused for the Superbowl party, but my cousin forgot to bring it. So he rushed out to buy another candle. Because you can't have a birthday party, especially baby's first birthday, without candles. Only to find that when we opened the cake box, the bakery had already put plenty of candles on the cake. Doh!
Baby A doesn't like wearing hats either.
Cousin D had to surreptitiously place it on her head.
Aww. Second cousins holding hands.
My brother wanted to commission cousin Phong to paint a mural for my niece's bedroom, but he's busy with a new project. So when I saw this removable, reusable wall decal on sale at Target (only $11!), I just had to get it for her room.
She likes it! Yay!
I know Koreans have a similar ceremony for first birthdays where babies picks items to determine what they will be when they grow up, do other cultures? What are your culture's first birthday traditions?
Happy birthday darling niece!
1 year ago today, Goi Cu Sen Non Tom Thit (Vietnamese Young Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork).
2 years ago today, Bonneville Lock and Dam - Cascade Locks - Oregon.
3 years ago today, even old canes still have life.
4 years ago today, Pad See-Ew (Thai Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce, Broccoli, Chicken, and Eggs).