A Jungle Party

This year, we were able to celebrate my oldest son's birthday with family and friends while we were visiting them in California. TJ loves animals and being outside, so I thought that a jungle theme party at the park would be perfect. I've attended lots of parties at parks, but it was my first time hosting a party at the park. The picnic areas by the play area were first-come, first-served; so we arrived as early as we could to grab an area, 5:45am (6 am is when the park "officially" opens) and the party didn't start until 11!

Because I didn't have the comfort of my own home, printer, and supplies, I decided to grab practically every thing from Party City. They had a Jungle Animals theme, and the animals were so cute I went with it! I wanted to keep the decorations simple, so I just bought the letter banner and festive green tablecovers. My aunt kept pressuring me to buy balloons, but my husband and I deprive our children of them ever since TJ's well baby checkup at 6 months when the pediatrician told us to not let him play with balloons because if an inflated/broken balloon is ingested there is NO ONE who could save him. You may think we may be overprotective parents, but our children's lives come first.

If you've ever been to a Filipino-hosted party, then you know there's A LOT of food. If you only have 10 guests, they have enough food for 50. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I'm actually low-balling it. Near the end of the party, you realize that there's still a lot left, so guests are made to leave with food (actually they love it--this was my experience with TJ's baptism reception). Living in Japan, though, I've learned to not be wasteful, so I didn't want to have a large amount of food present. The menu was fruit (strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and cantaloupe), chips & salsa, lumpia (fried spring roll), chinese chicken salad, pancit (noodles), bulgogi BBQ, lechon kawali (crispy pan-fried roasted pork), and rice.


I love Filipino dessert, and because I don't know where to find good Filipino dessert other than Southern California (yes, I know, the Philippines, too, but who knows when we'll visit), I made sure it was on the table, too! On the left is sapin-sapin (a rice and coconut dessert), and on the right is puto (steamed rice cake). These are just two of my favorites! I'm craving them again as I speak, er, type.


I wish I had a better shot of the favors, which is on the right of the picture. I filled the Jungle Animals loot bags with sunglasses, bubbles, a ball, and candy for the kids. I found this cute round bin at Target for only $2.50 to hold them (you can kind of see it behind the cake a 3 photos below).

Probably wondering what the bat is doing on the gifts table? It's for the pinata, of course! It was between the Jungle Animals lion or Curious George, and I chose Curious George because I thought a monkey hanging from the tree made better than the lion (plus, it was bigger).
I must say, this is the cutest birthday cake ever! It reminded me of "Ace of Cakes." My family friend, Roselle, does this as a hobby, and I'm so glad she was able to bake this delicious strawberry cake for TJ. It was more than I could ever ask for! Thank you, Roselle!
Here's the birthday boy! I think the sweat dripping off his skin is an indication of how much fun he had. Happy 2nd Birthday, TJ!
Thank you to all our wonderful family and friends that celebrated his special day with us. And a special thanks to all my "event photographers," especially Uri, for freezing memories for us!

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