A crappy celebration

My beloved husband turned 30 two weeks ago! The big 3-0! I think I’ve mentioned before that we had been planning on going on a “big vacation” this year to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and Mark’s 30th birthday. January (the month I usually get the most stir crazy and want to escape the cold!) 2013 I was thinking of where we should go. And then I got pregnant! We were overjoyed, but we knew realistically the big vacation wouldn’t happen. Instead, we had a child and bought a house this year – two huge accomplishments Mark wanted to achieve before turning 30, and he did it!

I wanted to throw him a small party to celebrate his big birthday and show some friends the new house. We invited a small group of people, and I planned a “Toronto Maple Leafs” themed party. Now – for those of you who know me – you must realize that I love my husband very much to take the time and effort to throw him a Leafs party when I am a die-hard Habs fan. But I love my husband more than my Habs (I hesitated only slightly typing that…) and had some fun thinking of how to cook and decorate for the get-together. I’m also busy with work, in the process of trying to finish up my first draft for my Major Research Paper, and taking care of a child who has finally learned to crawl (beyond army crawling) in the last month (she loves exploring!) so I didn’t want party planning to take too much of my time (when, in fact, that’s all I wanted to do to escape writing!).

Mark's birthday copyI’ve really been enjoying playing around with Photoshop lately (working on our Christmas cards right now! And had a blast designing A.J.’s first birthday invitations). FYI, Kabel Pro Black font is the closest (free) font you can get to the font used for the Toronto Maple Leafs!

For me, one of the highlights of any party is food. I love me some good food… Being a hockey-themed party, I wanted food that you would typically eat during a sporting event (think Super Bowl!). I made some homemade pizza (using my favourite pizza dough recipe) and decided I wanted to make chicken wings for the first time. Seriously, what took me so long to cook my own chicken wings??? I think because they tend to be a little expensive to buy them boxed and premade in stores, I figured that meant they were hard to make. FYI: they’re easy! And soooooo good! I used this recipe as a base and tweaked with some different measurements and brown sugar.  I didn’t get a picture of the final product because I was too busy eating them.

Let’s back up a little… The week prior to the party, we noticed that we were having a couple plumbing issues… We weren’t impressed – we had just moved in about 6 weeks prior and already dealing with a couple of unexpected surprises (to be expected I guess with moving….). Mark took the day of his 30th birthday (the day before the party) off work to deal with the plumbing issue – a portion of blocked pipe in our basement running to the septic system. Spending the afternoon of his birthday dealing with crap (litterally), he was happy to have “fixed” the problem so he could spend his time the next day (Saturday) with other odds and ends around the house while my dad came over to deal with some electrical issues. Saturday morning comes, and we realize the plumbing is not fixed… My dad and Mark spend the entire day fixing more portions of pipe and finally “fix” the issue(s). My dad goes home, I’m busy prepping the house for the evening’s get-together with friends and we realize….. none of the toilets work. The problem still isn’t fixed. There are more blockages throughout the pipes in the basement. We start to panic thinking “how can we have people over if our toilets don’t work!” And – more importantly – we need the toilets to work! Mark called a plumber that he has worked with in the past to ask if he’ll come over to snake all the pipes right away, but the plumber was busy and told us that if we get any plumber over on a Saturday night, we’ll be spending a small fortune and that renting a snake from Home Depot is much cheaper.

Can I just say: I am so lucky to be married to a carpenter! Along with having an electrician as a father (and a mom who loves to paint… new renovation post coming soon!), I am one lucky girl (living in one fixer upper of a house…). So Mark runs to Home Depot at 5:30 PM. We are expecting people to starting coming at 6:30. And those who have dealt with plumbing issues in the country before…… you’ll understand when I say our house stank. So while Mark took off for Home Depot, I threw A.J. up on my back (thank you again, Ergo, for saving me!) and finished cooking, cleaning and lighting candles/spraying essential oil throughout the house.

Mark was busy for most of the night snaking the drains. During his own party. Love that man… He didn’t even get any of his birthday pizza because I cooked half of it for the rest of us (we were starving!) and then once he was done I cooked up the rest for him. Except I forgot to turn down the oven’s temperature from cooking the chicken wings…… So I burned the pizza. I felt so bad, but I’m so lucky to have a husband who sees the best in everything and just laughed at the humour of it all. He was finally done “working” by the third period and got to spend some time relaxing.

I wanted to take the time to make a cake in the shape of a maple leaf, but instead I just used sprinkles…

IMG_0543 I found a Canadian knock off of Hostess Ding Dongs to look like hockey pucks and Dare leaf cookies to go with the TML theme.

IMG_0545And I used this recipe to make an awesome cream cheese/peanut butter dip! I loved it… I was going for the look of a hockey puck… But after dealing with plumbing issues for days, something else only came to mind…

IMG_0552In all, it was a nice night with friends! I am so thankful for my husband, and maybe for my 30th birthday, we’ll go on that vacation (and not be dealing with plumbing issues instead…)!

And just because – an A.J. picture! I think she thought all the people were there for her… But her birthday is less than a month away! I’ve been having a blast planning her party!

IMG_0554

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