Joon’s Racing Unicorns Birthday Party at that amusement park that I hate.

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This latest birthday party for Joon is probably the first party since Bug’s 2nd Birthday  that I have not gone all out. I know! It’s possible. Who knew?!!  Let me just say that it was difficult for me. I had to sit on my hands.

When Joon said she wanted to have her birthday party at the local mini-golf/bumper cars/video arcade amusement park I was legitimately sad. I HATE the local mini-golf/bumper car/video arcade amusement park like the DMV. It is NOT my idea of fun at all. It’s pretty much my worst favorite way to spend the day, right next to bowling or going to the dentist/obgyn.

And that is why Payam and I get along so great. We are opposites and basically Joon is a mini Payam. She likes just about everything I don’t like and vise versa. This goes for food, amusement, songs, clothes…  just about everything. But you know what? I love this kid.

So I put aside my overbearing party planning hat and let her do her thing.

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We started the day off right by making garbage pancakes while wearing unicorn pajamas, like you do. We played dance music and Queen (her favorite band) on Alexa very loud and Bug and Joon chair-danced while they ate.

A side note: Joon is very musical kid. She makes videos on Musically all day long. She’s great at editing, singing, lip syncing, flossing and hair flipping. She knows every lyric to every hit song by heart and she can sing it on key even if another song is playing in the background. Her favorite thing to do is to sing an ear-worm infecting song at the top of her lungs and watch everyone else start humming it against their will. It always works. She’s also a pretty good dancer. What can I say. She’s a walking party.

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So naturally, a loud obnoxious place like Boomer’s (the local mini-golf/bumper-car/arcade) is just her speed. Lights blinking, bells ringing, loud music, kids running everywhere hyped up on sugar without parental supervision..it’s like home sweet home for Joon.

My contribution to this crazy train? Nada. Well except maybe some packaging for slime party favors. I didn’t even make the slime.

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I mean, what else could I do? It’s not like I could Martha-Stewart decorate the underground prison room that they call a “party room.” It was so depressing. Fluorescent light, painted cement walls, plastic table cloths. It could drive a person like me to drink except the wine and beer they sell there was the cheap stuff that I can’t stomach. I just disengaged. There was no Brenda-party-planning-extraordinarre fixing this.

BUT JOON LOVED IT! Because she was with her friends and when you are eleven that is all you really care about. Party favors schmarty favors. Just give us some candy and show us to the laser tag line!

Which by the way, I need to point out that Joon made her own slime party favors  You know me and slime. I hate it. Joon loves it. I just made sure she and Bug were making it at the table on some cookie sheets to collect the mess and walked away. I couldn’t even be in the same room. I had to cover my ears when I heard the sounds of that stuff popping and slurping. All I could think about was how much trouble it would be to get out of the rug. Thankfully, Joon knows how much I hate the stuff and she was very careful and no rugs were harmed.

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But back to the party. Joon was in her element. Her friends seemed to have a really good time too. They didn’t even seem to notice the squad of eighteen-year-old boy hoodlums walking around with face tattoos. Shudder.

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They rode the kiddie rides again and again.

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They raced the go carts. They were magical birthday racing unicorns. I should have made them all unicorn horns but the go carts people have really strict rules about hats and hair and anything that could get in the way of a safe drive.

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Then we had cake in the prison room. Something funny I have to give Boomer’s credit for are these candles that are strung together by a ribbon of paper. You light one and then they all magically light up at once. It was quite impressive! I really have to research a DIY on that.

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We sang, we hugged, we took pictures in the crappy fluorescent light. We ate crappy pizza and bonded over how bad it tasted. Cardboard with cheese, yay!

I hung out with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend all day and I have to say that I really like them! How can you not like a guy who plays Dance Dance Revolution with their kid? It’s pretty cool when the ex’s can all get along and celebrate how much they love their whacky kid.

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We celebrated Joon. She really is a sparkly unicorn of a girl. She is so optimistic and full of life. She wants to have all the fun all the time.

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I love that she and Bug are such good friends. They have their own language of inside jokes. Of course they have their moments when they bicker over what’s fair until my eyeballs are bleeding from rolling so far back into my head BUT they get along most of the time. Joon helps with Bug’s anxiety. She forces Bug to do things she would never do otherwise just by showing up and being competition. She forces me to do things I wouldn’t do otherwise. Joon definitely brings an appreciation of unabashed fun to this family.

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Love you Joon! Shine on sparkle unicorn.

Persian Breakfast

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One of my favorite things that Payam has introduced me to is Persian Breakfast. We eat it all the time. Sometimes even for dinner, which is awesome because it is quite easy to make if you have all the necessary ingredients on hand. But it’s kind of like having enough ice cream to go with your cake in that if you are missing one ingredient, it throws the whole ratio off.

Most importantly you have to have bread, cheese, grapes, walnuts and sabsi. Everything else is extra. Sabsi roughly translates to greens and it usually includes Thai basil (my favorite), chives (not my favorite because of stinky breath) and mint. Extras can include any other fruit, tea of course, coffee (for me) and any other type of sweet you might like to throw in.

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Isn’t this teapot beautiful? I borrowed it from Joon. Her mother brought it over from Iran for her and we keep it in her closet to keep it safe. She let’s me use it for special occasions. The glass tea cups are traditional tea cups.

Persians are very interesting in the way they drink tea. They put a large piece of sugar (like that yellow saffron sugar you see above) in their mouth and then sip the hot tea around it. I’m not a fan because I like my tea strong without sugar but it’s kind of cool to watch them do it.

The rest of the table is set with a basket of hot (freshly toasted) Arabic bread covered in a towel and then a plate with feta cheese, walnuts, grapes and sabsi in the middle.

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The way you eat Persian breakfast is you take a piece of bread and smash some feta cheese onto half of it with a fork. Then you place grapes and walnuts onto the cheese and top that with sabsi. You can put strawberries or candied kumquats on your cheese too instead of grapes, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have a nice balance of sweet to go with your salty, creamy cheese. Then you fold your bread in half and eat it like a taco. It’s delicious!

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A few of my friends have been having Thursday morning get-togethers at each other’s houses because the local tea and coffee shops near us suck. After spending half an hour trying to find an open table big enough for all of us at Starbucks (which ended up being a tall table, two tall chairs and two low chairs and being in the way for everyone passing through) and spending the other morning waiting forever for them to get our various orders right, we decided that we could do a better job having tea and coffee at our own houses! It worked out brilliantly!

We had English Breakfast with fancy tea and crumpets at my travel agent friend’s house and so I decided to serve Persian tea and breakfast at my house!

Don’t be mislead by my friend having her nose down to her phone. She wasn’t bored of us, she was just fielding emails from her busy job. We’re all pretty lucky that we can work from home but that also means taking our jobs with us when we have leisurely breakfasts during the work day.

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A new special treat that I brought to our breakfast are these almond cookies. I can’t find a link to them anywhere and when you buy them from the local bakery they don’t really have a name for them either. They are like florentines but they are very lightly sweet, not your usual heavy caramel or dipped in chocolate. They remind me of a delicate granola. In fact. I put some in a bowl and poured milk on them and they tasted like the best granola cereal ever.

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Decorating for a special breakfast is half the fun. I don’t do this every day but when friends are coming over it’s nice. Payam’s brother brought us these decorative lace table coverings from Beirut when he was working over there. They are perfect for dressing up a table that might have a million scratches on it from all the various crafts I do.

The dangly star candle isn’t middle eastern at all but I like it because it’s cozy and sparkly.

And that’s pretty much it! If you are ever in the neighborhood please stop by and request a Persian breakfast! It’s the best!

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