Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy Birthdays, Annie and Laurel!

Laurel and Annie’s birthdays are just a few weeks apart, with my birthday in between, so we’ve been eating a lot of cake lately. In mid-August Laurel turned two, and on Sunday we celebrated Annie’s fourth birthday.

One birthday tradition we have is to go pick out a Happy Birthday balloon from the Dollar Tree every year. Laurel picked out a cupcake balloon with purple on it. It was perfect for her. In this picture she's pretending to call Collin to tell him about her new balloon. The phone call went something like this: "Hi Daddy! I two. Hupcake bawoon! Purple. Bye."

Laurel is really into anything purple, so I made her strawberry cupcakes with purple strawberry frosting on top. On top I tried making some fondant laurel flowers and leaves. It was my first experiment with fondant, and it isn’t as easy as it looks on Cupcake Wars. (Incidentally, Cupcake Wars is the girls’ and my favorite TV show to watch together on Hulu.)

These cupcakes won't win any decorating awards, but they were delicious!

Of course, we had to find some purple ice cream. I was about to grab a container of blueberry pomegranate chocolate chunk, which is sort of purple and very delicious, when I saw this berry parfait frozen yogurt. It was the exact same purple as the cupcake frosting, and turned out to be quite tasty as well!

For Annie's birthday we decided to make a sunshine cake. It's just a basic 2-layer round cake (lemon, of course), but the second layer we chopped into six pieces, turned them around, and frosted the whole thing in lemon and orange frosting. Add a smiley face and some fondant eyes (I saved some of the fondant from Laurel's birthday for decorations on Annie's cake) and you've got a happy sunshine!

Laurel had to lick the frosting to see if it was any good.

Then Jenny wanted to get in on the action, so while Annie was saying "Cheese!" and Laurel was trying to lick the candles, Jenny did a face plant on the closest sun ray and licked the frosting. Mmmm.

Annie and Laurel are both like, "No, Jenny! Don't eat the cake!"

We were traveling on Laurel's actual birthday, so we decided to save her presents and let Annie and Laurel open them together. Annie got the light purple fingernail polish she'd been asking for for months, while Laurel got her own pair of sunglasses since Annie was given a pair earlier this summer and the girls are frequently fighting over them. Yesterday I painted 40 toenails purple, and there was a lot of happiness on that account for the rest of the day.

Laurel's main birthday present wasn't finished in time for her actual birthday, which was the other reason we postponed giving her presents until Annie's birthday. I made her a quiet book, which she is unwrapping in this picture. She likes it. A lot. I took many pictures of the quiet book, and I'll put up a post about it soon. It's really cute, if I do say so myself!

Annie's main birthday present was a big set of cookie cutters, something else she's been begging us to get her. Our big project in preschool right now (year 1 of 2, since Annie won't be starting kindergarten until 2015) is to learn the ABCs. We're learning a letter a week, and happily this week we're on C... which is for cookie cutters! We've already made ABC biscuits for dinner last night, and today we made ABC oatmeal raisin breakfast cookies for Collin's morning microbiology class.

Preschool meets Microbiology

Oatmeal raisin cookies don't lend themselves to getting cut out with cookie cutters, but I more or less used this recipe, substituting raisins for the dried blueberries, and added a pinch of nutmeg and 3/4 c. flour. I had to thoroughly chill the dough before rolling, and then several times again as I cut out the letters. It was a lot of work, but the girls and I had fun using the cookie cutters, and how many times can you safely eat E. coli?

Now that birthday season is over and we're settling into more of a regular routine, I hope I'll be able to post here more regularly. I have a backlog of really fun posts waiting to be written, including Laurel's quiet book, some of the fun projects Annie and I are doing together in preschool, and more pictures showing you our new home and town.


  1. Don't you think eating cookies that spell out E. Coli is sort of like trying to read "purple" written in orange font? Just so troubling! (Very fun, though.)