a very bonsa birthday

I know what you're thinking.
Another birthday post?!
And to that, I say: Yep. Embrace it.

We celebrated Bo's birthday over the weekend with a combined family party.
My mom & Ethan were in town, and Doug's mom & her husband and our niece & nephew came over.

As soon as we found out we'd be bringing Bo home before his birthday, the wheels started turning.
I figured out pretty quickly that I wanted to do a "coffee themed" party, 
since the coffee ceremony is so integral in Ethiopia.

We incorporated the Ethiopian flag colors, which was great, because they're nice fall colors.
Um, the pumpkins? Well, it's fall!
And of course, we had to do a modified Ethiopian coffee ceremony. With our camping grill.
In Ethiopian culture, the ceremony is performed by a young woman in beautiful Ethiopian attire.
In Michigan... well...
While the beans were roasting, we took some pics of our boy in his traditional clothing.
Um, I don't really think high white socks are part of the traditional garb.
Unfortunately, mama didn't realize she was hiking her poor boy's pants up so high.
Beautiful Grandma & her first grandson.
Zooey oversaw the coffee roasting, while also keeping an eye on the neighborhood.
Starting to get some color!
Part of the tradition is to walk the beans around so each guest can get a waft of the aroma.
Here's Griffin, taking it in.
We wanted a family shot...
The delightful irony is that my poor husband has no sense of smell.
We borrowed a mortar and pestle from our friends, the Schupras. This was used to grind the beans.
Okay, well some of the beans.
We did the rest of them in the electric grinder.
I mean, after all, we are celebrating the merging of cultures here, people.
Once the beans are ground, you put a few tablespoons in that black coffee pot, a jobana,
fill it with water, and put it on the coals to bring the water to a boil.
This took longer than we anticipated, so we went ahead and ate some cake and opened gifts.
The birthday boy had fallen asleep, but we sang to him anyway.
He woke up and was understandably confused.
Probably about why his pants were still hiked so high.
In keeping with the coffee theme, I made Annie's Vanilla Latte Cake.
Oh Annie. You've done it again.
Bo got some help from his cousins opening his gifts.

Finally, the coffee in the jobana was boiling. 
Then you have to let it set for about 10 minutes so the grounds settle to the bottom.
At this point, I had been planning on making some delicious kettle corn, 
because popcorn is always served with the coffee ceremony.
However, I looked at the time and grabbed a bag of good ole Orville Redenbacher.
Again, that celebration of the joining of cultures!
Zooey was very excited about this aspect of the coffee ceremony.
Finally, it was time to serve our coffee.
It was very strong (though still not as strong as the stuff they make in Ethiopia!), 
and overall, we were pleased with how it turned out.
And even though I don't like regular coffee, I had a cup. 
OKAY. I had a few sips.
We had such a fun time experimenting with the coffee ceremony and celebrating Bo!
Next Ethiopian experiment: injera!


  1. Love it! :) You are so creative. I've had "injera" and thought it was very good! Of course it was at a local Ethiopian restaurant - so not sure how authentic it was. . .but it was yummy. Very cool!

    1. I'm so impressed that you guys tried it!
      We had it at the Ethiopian restaurant in Plymouth, and it wasn't made with teff.
      Did it taste vinegar-y??

  2. Bo is so lucky to have you. I'm so enjoying your posts!

  3. Rachel, you make me laugh so much. What a fun birthday. And I love the blending of cultures ;)

  4. Oh my - I was laughing so hard through your comments on the pictures. You're hilarious. It looks like things turned out well for the party! I love your ethiopian coffee cups. Did you buy those when you were there? They're adorable. I might need to pick me up some of those.

    1. Our driver bought them for us!
      Seriously - request Solomon. He's awesome.

  5. What a great celebration! Did you get your black coffee pot in Ethiopia?

    1. We did! There are tons of places to buy them - markets and random piles of them outside coffee shops. :)

  6. so awesome that you did this. i love you guys.

  7. ahh - i love this!! and i feel like i need to try roasting my own beans...like right.now. and also go make that cake....like right.now.

  8. such a sweet party!! pretty sure i need a coffee ceremony party. love the cups! and that cake...yeah...