A few months back, I’d talked with a friend about the idea of doing a recycled baby shower. Instead of buying the mom-to-be a bunch of new stuff – why not shower her (assuming she was a second-hand lover like us) with high-quality second-hand stuff out of the attics and closets of her mom friends. We’d both already had our second babies and, in my case at least, there are no more on the horizon, so I decided to apply the theme to Owen’s first birthday instead, figuring it may be the last birthday when I can get away with such a concept.
So I sent out e-mail invitations to just a few friends (we'd decided to keep things very low-key for birthday #1) for a green-themed birthday. They starred Owen looking like so….
and at the risk of departing from good old fashioned birthday etiquette we requested either no gifts at all or something recycled – a book, article of clothing, or toy – stowed away in the guests' attic because their own children had either outgrown or grown weary of the thing.
Will and Owen and I wore various shades of green, we tried to compile semi-earth-friendly party favor bags (housed in lunch-sacks that Will decorated with tree and frog stamps and markers) and I made a few homemade pizzas using a recipe out of Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal Vegetable Miracle.” And the few older kids in attendance also played a quick game of pin the can/bottle/newspaper on the recycling truck.
We also wound up with some fabulous second-hand gifts, including one set of old-fashioned building blocks in one of those pull-toy wooden wagons. As my friend who’d brought that treasure watched Owen and Will open the gift, a little light bulb went off in her head and she realized they had been her grandmother’s at one point. So Owen will enjoy playing with that family heirloom for a while, but eventually we’ll be returning them to the proper descendents. Which suits me all the more – nothing like returning recycled gifts to keep the clutter down.
Will was eager to help Owen out with candle blowing on both Owen’s zucchini cupcake and this gorgeous (and delicious) vegan chocolate cake, which our friend Carey made for the party -- and which we lighted just for show.
Our party favor bags included some zucchini chocolate chip cookies, also a recipe courtesy of “Animal, Vegetable Miracle.” In case you’ve got zucchini overflow in your own garden or refrigerator, here’s the recipe:
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Mix in a separate smaller bowl, then
blend into liquid mixture
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz. chocolate chips
Mix these into other ingredients. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet and flatten with back of spoon. Bake 350, 10 to 15 minutes.
*From Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”