Friday Favorites #46
September 20th, 2019

Birthday Celebration Edition

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."
 - Oprah Winfrey
This issue is about birthdays. In my house, birthdays have always been in September. Both my kids were born in the same month, and I have long loved a celebration, especially surrounding my children. Interestingly enough, my sister and I were also born within the same week. So, I’ve always liked the idea of creating a celebration and doing them together. My kids’ parties weren’t about spending a lot of money, they were about being creative and honoring them and simply about the gift of being together. I love beautiful meals and gathering around them, so every year, the highlight of the birthday was a favorite meal, surrounded by family and extended family.

Our tradition is to go around and celebrate the birthday person, saying some of the things we love most about them and telling the story of the day of their birth and other favorite family stories. Often, it’s really the same stories that we’re telling over and over again, and that’s what makes a tradition: remembering. As our children grew, their dad added the tradition of asking the birthday person to speak about their past year in review AND to create an intention (or two, or three) about what they envision their next year will be like and what they want to bring forward into their life. This is a beautiful thing to do with others, but in truth celebrating ourselves and creating an intention for the next year is important for all of us, and learning to celebrate oneself is fantastic.

But this is how life changes. Parenting is all about hanging on tight and then letting go, because sometimes the best way to hold them close is to let them go. This year I wasn’t with either of my kids on their birthdays, and they celebrated without me with their own community, in their own way, and although I used to be in the center of the birthdays, I’m not anymore--and that is as it should be.


I've celebrated eight of the last ten birthdays in Sicily. Turns out my birthday falls on the day of the patron saint of my late husband's hometown. Talk about auspicious synchronicity! So I attend the annual town procession, then I stand under a star-filled summer night's sky and I toast with a glass of wine in the piazza. I say a prayer of gratitude for the year that was and ask for openness to the year to come.

Tembi Locke, @tembilocke
You can buy Tembi's book, From Scratch, by clicking here.

One of Lucy’s birthday celebrations many years ago was an Inky party. Inky was Lucy’s favorite pink Beanie Baby octopus that is pretty much a favorite member of our family. We always liked a small party with just a few kids, so one year we did a party dedicated to all things Inky, including pin the tentacles on the Inky. It was so fun to use a cotton tablecloth and iron-on markers and have every guest draw and decorate an Inky on the tablecloth, which is now 20 years old but fun to pull out on an occasional birthday.

Another year we had a car wash party, where kids wore bathing suits and we backed the car out, and guests were quite literally washing our car to the song "Car Wash." One year, we did a scavenger hunt party: the kids had 4 or 5 stops in the neighborhood. At each location, the children would have to get their card checked off by a parent before successfully moving on. Some places included our neighborhood Starbucks and the local candy store, followed by a picnic at the park with homemade sandwiches and beverages. 

Patrick, who was all about fish, had an aquarium that he loved dearly, so for one birthday we got a giant canvas, and the entire party was about creating a fish painting as a group. An amazing art teacher from our neighborhood led the kids, who came up with something wonderful. I still to this day have this beloved piece.

Since my kids live across the country, every year on their birthdays, I send a package with cards from me and everybody in the kitchen. It’s a little bit of home for them.

We have a birthday song that we have sung as a family for 20 years. We sing it at every birthday we are a part of, and here’s a real time video from a year ago of us singing it as a group over the phone to a favorite cousin.

The best tradition, since I was little, is that the morning after your birthday you get cake for breakfast!

Crumble -

For birthdays, my greatest joy is receiving garden roses. Every year on my birthday I would wake up to a bunch of garden roses that my mom had placed on my bedside table when she woke me up. We keep it pretty simple and make sure we have a beautiful meal and a walk together in the park, which I love, as the conversation is so different to the one you might have in a restaurant. I feel the closest to my family that way.

My Favorite London Food Muse

Every year on our birthday, my mom would wake us up to her favorite rendition of the Mexican folk songLas Mañanitas,” and each member of the family would come into your room to hug you and wish you a Happy Birthday.  We literally would not open our bedroom doors until the music played, even if we were already up! I no longer live at home, but every birthday she calls and doesn’t say hello...I just hear Las Mañanitas playing on the other end. I cry every time.

Crumble - @damianisandra

Photo credit - image found on Pinterest
I celebrate the literal birth MINUTE for each of my triplets. They have to share a birth DAY but they still get their own parental celebration.

Crumble - @paleo_primal
This week's favorite recipe: Welcome Home Salad
This salad is so fabulous, it's my favorite thing to have when I come home
The juiciness of the chicken with the creaminess of the dressing and freshness of the pomegranate is a perfect mix. 
You should definitely consider this a household staple!!

Lucy - @nocrumblsefts_kid
This week's nocrumbsleft Table Talks Podcast:

 Episode 33:  In this episode, Teri and her friend, Bobbi Anderson, discuss the magic of a great neighbor and supporting other women in this celebration of life.

This week's giveaway!

This week we are giving this gorgeous Staub 4 Qt round Dutch Oven to one lucky winner! (and if you don't can always find it on my Favorite Kitchen Tools!) Click below to enter. 

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