Monday, October 26, 2009

I love a good party: He's Three!

"Happy birthday to you"

It was all trains for Pete's third birthday party.

The cake was a success (and the frosting, too, which I find utterly miraculous). I am not good at decorating cakes. Like those little roses and writing and, well, creating anything with frosting that is supposed to look like something? Not my forte. I had to be outside the birthday cake mold on this one.

It was to be a mountain cake with a train comin' round it.

Do I think too much about this stuff? Last night, I was thinking, what if I had a boss who told me that I had to do this stuff as part of my job. I would think she was totally nuts as she explained: "So, tomorrow, I need you to figure out how to make a mountain need a domed cake mold, but don't pay a lot of money for it. Just find a cake mold for, hmm, maybe one dollar. And then, in a couple weeks, figure out how to make your newborn look like a banana..." More to come on the banana baby later. I just keep telling myself: I'm using the same skill set as my former professional, blow-dried, black-suited, put-together self. It's just a different application of my skill set. Right? riiiight?

Anyway, I found my one-dollar domed cake mold. I baked the cakes a few days earlier and froze them (using this favorite cake and frosting recipe which I will now always use for yellow cake and chocolate frosting)
Why pay for one of those white-noise machines when you have a perfectly good KitchenAid?

I then left the actual construction up to my very capable husband. Shaner is a procedure man; one who has sutured and poked and extracted. I leave the fingernail clipping, the bath giving, and the cake constructing up to his steady hands. The results were my vision realized! I patted myself on the back for delegating this task to just the right hunk of burning love.

And the only thing left to do for Pete and I was to adorn our mountain with little lego pirates and knights and trees and horsies. I call this cake a success!

Ok, so maybe not suitable for the cover of Martha Stewart Living, but Pete thought it was awesome.

We had a modest spread of train-shaped pb&js, popcorn, and crackers with apple juice. I tried to keep it all low-key this time around, given the recent events (that is, bringing baby brother to this world a couple weeks earlier. oh man.)

And, for party favors, I found these little engineer hats and train whistles at Oriental Trading. Pete likes his homeboy style.

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Happy Birthday, Pete! Love, Mama

Pete turned three!

For his birthday this year, I really tried to think of something that would grow with him and put his fantastic imagination to good use. I remembered one of the most highly coveted toys from my grandma's house: the flannel board.

It's simple--a piece of felt stretched taut and stapled to a wooden board. I chose to frame it for better looks and the hopes that we'll be able to hang it low on the wall in our next place. After researching online for flannel board kits, I was quite appalled at the price--really, $20 for a few little felt-backed pictures? Instead, I made my own little flannel board kits, with the help of some adhesive-backed felt I found at Michael's. At that point, the options were limitless! I used the images from books bought at DI (our thrift store) and suddenly, I had a great assortment of pictures for our board: cars, planets, animals, the Nativity scene, and even photos I printed up of our family (this was a huge hit!). I also cut out felt shapes for Pete to make pictures out of and my attempt at felt continents for a future geography lesson. Asia is quite unidentifiable and none are quite to scale, but it's the spirit of the thing, right?

Figuring out how to store these pictures was tricky--I ended up sewing some 'pockets' out of scrap fabric and put zippers on them. I lined the inside of the pockets with different yet oh so coordinated fabric just to make myself crazy. I think I was watching Martha Stewart when I thought that would be a good idea...that show makes me feel waaaay too ambitious.

So far, Pete likes it. I've already received requests for more felt board pictures: trains and Santa Claus, please. And more photos of friends, too!