Friday, April 11, 2008

The Party

It is amazing how excited children tend to get anticipating their birthday parties. Not only do they become a year older (which when you are less than 18 - gaining a year is always a big deal) - but they get presents too! Sure they get presents at Christmas, but on their birthday - the gifts go to them alone. Big deal when you are 6...

In our family, we don't really have a set way of handling birthdays. Seems like I remember when I was growing up that we got to choose the flavor of the birthday cake (I liked choosing Confetti Angel Food Cake With Vanilla Betty Crocker Icing/Frosting), and usually had some friends over for a party.

Last year the birthday boy had some friends over - this year he had some relatives over for his birthday. His grandma was in town so she came, and his aunt and two cousins also came over.

One thing we've done somewhat consistently, is let the birthday girl or boy choose the party "theme", the cake and choose the menu (within reason). Ds choose a spice cake - he must have had spice cake sometime in the last few months before the party b/c he declared that was the best cake and that is what he wanted. He, with a little assistance, decided on a caramel frosting.

I have sometimes made the cakes from scratch - but I decided to go the easy way this time - enlisting my friends Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker.

You know I have never been successful at cake decorating. Decorating cakes to me usually means frosting a cake with a tub of store-bought frosting and then placing plastic decorations on top that fit with the "theme".

A few years ago ds received some cowboy cookie cutters (cactus, cowboy boot etc.), and then a year or so ago I purchased a teepee and cowboy cookie cutter while visiting Silver Dollar City.

I decided the kids could help make some cookies and we'd use those to "decorate" the cake. There were also extra cookies that they could eat before, during, and after the party.

The cookies may look a bit darker than usual because I was following a recipe from a new magazine I received "Seasons at Home", and when I came to the flour part of the recipe I saw it was whole wheat flour. Now I've been trying to fit in more whole grains into our diet but hadn't thought of using the whole wheat in sugar cookies. And actually I was a bit scared - so I didn't use all whole wheat flour.

Well the kids loved them. Of course you add some sugar sprinkles and or frosting to anything (including cardboard) and the kids will love it!

Ds also requested a fruit "bouquet". A fruit bouquet is pieces of fruit cut in different shapes, skewered, then poked into a basket. Generally you'd want to use cutters shaped like flowers, hearts, stars etc. But since this was a C&I party - the shapes were things like cowboy boots, cowboys, horses, cow heads, sheriff stars etc. I just used regular cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.

At the bottom of the basket you place a head of iceberg lettuce to anchor the skewers. Since I had the top of a pineapple and it looked nice and green and leafy - I decided to cut out the center of the lettuce and poke in the pineapple top. Seemed to add a nice bit of leafiness.

The main course that the boy choose was corn dogs and cheesy shell noodles.

Last year for my dd's birthday I had bought something called sparkler candles. You use them instead of candles and they are similar, but smaller than the sparklers you might use on the 4th of July (or Canada Day for you Canadians).

Well this year I bought some more. Or so I thought. When I was reading the instructions on the back of the package it said "for outdoor use only". I thought that a bit odd. It was also strange that they took so long to light, so that one was practically burnt out before I got them all lit. Makes me wonder if the ones I bought last year were meant for cakes and the ones I bought this year were indeed meant for outdoor use only. No fires were started - so no problem.

As part of his special day - ds also got to choose a special activity for the family to do, or a restaurant for us all to go to for supper. Fitting in with the cowboy theme he choose Bandana's Bar-B-Q.

When I was getting ready to serve the cake, ds announced that he was not wanting any because "I'm not feeling well and I wasn't feeling well in the night". This announcement came, incidentally, after he sprayed his germs all over the cake trying to blow out the sparkers.

Thankfully that announcement seemed to be a "false alarm" b/c there was no further indication of illness yesterday or today. I think he was probably too excited to eat - he just wanted to continue playing with all his birthday loot.


Heather said...

That is great! My kids can't eat anything with dye or preservatives so cake decorating is an interesting problem. I like the cookie cutter idea--will have to use that one. Also love the fruit bouquet--will show my daughter--she will love making that.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen such unique cookie cutters ! The fruit bouquet was lovely !

Mrs. Mordecai said...

That's quite the spread! I hope he said thank you.

The Correspondent said...

What a fun party! I especially love the cookies on the cake, the fruit bouquet, and the sparkler candles -- Thanks for the ideas.