February 24, 2015

Summer in the Winter

"Always maintain a kind of summer even in the middle of winter" (Thoreau).

This girl does it with ease. She jumps with joy, literally, all the time.  When she is happy, the whole world knows and is happy right along with her. Every day is a summer day with this little one.

 A dress with stockings in the morning makes her laugh out loud and happy for the rest of the day.  The pink plate, pink bowl or pink cup makes any meal just perfect. Seeing us enter the room makes her run and jump and squeeze our legs. A bath with bubbles induces squeals.  I have a lot to learn from my kids, and each day I have to remind myself to be a little more like them. Find my summer, even in the winter.

A Frozen Queen Elsa Birthday Cake Tutorial (sort of)

In case any of you parents out there have children as obsessed with Frozen as Lily, I figured I could share a teeny bit about how to make a Queen Elsa Birthday cake. But be warned, there were tears when we had to actually cut the cake.

To start, I made a homemade strawberry cake using this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen. I poured the batter into a special Wilton Cake Pan, but I found tutorials online that showed people using mixing bowls to make the shape. I followed the cake pan cooking time vs the recipe cooking time, and it took over an hour!

 I let it cool for about an hour while I made the strawberry cream cheese frosting. For the frosting, I pureed 1 cup of frozen strawberries, mixed them into 8oz of melted cream cheese and half a stick of butter. Then, using my mixers, I added about 1 box, or 4 cups of confectioners sugar and some blue food coloring.

I used a spatula to glob the icing on to the top of the cake, and let it run down the cake naturally instead of smearing the icing down, which worked great! I added some pearl sprinkles I found and some snowflake icing decorations I found as well, then inserted an Elsa Barbie doll. Now, here comes the embarrassing truth.... When I insert the barbie doll, the cake didn't even go up to her thighs!! I was so upset and didn't want to make another cake to go under the dress part so I pulled off her legs. Yup. I ruined Elsa. I am still trying to figure out how to glue them back on in a way that they can move. But hey, it worked! Yeah, I am crazy. This is what happens when you bake a cake at 11 at night and have a perfect mental image of what you want.

And besides, this little three year old was over the moon about her Elsa cake, and I'm over the moon about this little girl.

February 19, 2015

Lily is Three!

My little girl is three today! Three folks! Three years ago we moved to Germany, and this baby was still in my tummy. Now she dances, talks, sings, and brings us so much laughter and joy every single day. Tonight we'll have a frozen party complete with a homemade strawberry Elsa birthday cake, presents, and dress up and dancing. Can't wait to hear her giggles and see her jump for joy tonight. I love this girl, my Lily Kate.
This Week's Lilyism:
We have some pretty drawn out conversations in the bathroom sometimes... this one really made me giggle.
"Why is my poop brown? I don't like brown. I want purple poop." As I laughed and kissed her head "No mom! You can't kiss me while I poop. That's icky".

February 11, 2015

A little game

Lily is really cracking me up these days with the way her little mind works. So, here is a little game for you.

What movie is Lily referring to with these titles:
  • Apple Pussy
  • Mousetrap
  • Peabobobby
If you can guess any of them, you are a genius.

Give up yet? Well here you go:

  • The Little Mermaid (Apply pussy is actually Octopus)
  • Feivel Goes West (there is a big mouse trap at the end)
  • Mr. Peadbody and Sherman (this one was the easiest eh?)
Oh, and when something hurts her ears she yells "It's making my ears loud!"

Gotta love this age!

February 9, 2015

Star Wars Birthday Party

Cooper turned six on Friday! How can this be!? I remember six literally being my favorite year of life until I was about 14. Not sure why, but it must have been a pretty good year! I hope this year is as great for Cooper as it was for me. He was so excited for his party and friends to come over on Saturday, he woke up before 5am.

Right now, we're on a big Star Wars kick. Ever since he received the Millennium Falcon as a Christmas present and we watched Episodes 4, 5 and 6 together, we've been on a big Star Wars kick. So, I was happy he was excited to use that for his birthday theme. I found a gazillion websites and pinterest ideas online that made the planning so easy.


I was lucky and found star wars themed plates, cups, napkins, the banner, masks, and the tablecloth at the Euro store Tedi down the street. I hung a big fleece blanket over the dessert table with duct tape, added some streamers, and the number 6 with balloons on our chimney. For food and drinks, we kept it simple. Mixed sandwiches, fruit kabobs, chips, juice and water. I decided not to go overboard and name the foods funny star war themed names because the kids can't read yet and I think Cooper was the only one at the party who had actually seen Star Wars!

What I did go overboard with was the cake!  I used the tutorial from this blog to create the Millennium Falcon cake, but I made a yellow cake using a recipe from the Joy of Cooking, and a Marshmallow fondant from this recipe.

The fondant was actually easy to shape. Under the fondant I also made a butter cream frosting to hold the pieces together. I used gel icing pens for the black and red details.

For the games, we started off with "Don't fall in the Lava" which consisted of the kids jumping from rock to rock (paper plates) on hot lava (red blanket or red tablecloth). I forgot to take pictures.

 Each Jedi was then rewarded with a robe! I stayed up the night before the party till midnight making sure each kid would have a robe. I used this tutorial to make the robes and used brown felt ($3 a yard) and an old torn curtain for the white fabric. Each one was quick an easy, but I should have worked on them earlier in the week.

Then each kid had to save princess Leia from the Storm Troopers by knocking them all down with a dart gun. The kids loved this game and wanted to keep doing it over and over.   I tried to keep them 10 feet away, but they kept creeping closer. Honestly, my windows are not that dirty. It was snowing!

Then we played "Watch our for Asteroids" and each kid had to train up on using their new light sabers! I kept seeing pool noodles online that people converted into light sabers, but these are even better! They have LED lights that can do 6 different light variations and I found them here on amazon for less than a dollar a piece! I added duct tape to make handles. The kids had to keep the asteroids (balloons) in the air either as a team or alone.  This was a fun activity, but only kept their attention for about 4 minutes total.

Our next game was "Unfreeze Han Solo"! The night before, I stuck 2 figurines of Cooper's in water with a little green dye added in. I set up 2 trays with spoons and a glass of hot water for the kids to use. This game was a huge hit! They loved it and it took the longest of all the games to complete. I found the idea here.

Our final game was to "Destroy the Death Star"! Frank and I made a Pinata a week before the party using a balloon and old paper. The kids each got their turn at hitting the pinata, and it broke open for Cooper on the third round of smacking. After this, each kid was an official Jedi and received a certificate in their goodie bags, candy from the Pinata, their light saber swords and Jedi robes to take home.

I think they all had a pretty good time. These pictures below are of Cooper waiting for the kids to come down from all over our house (I think they had more fun actually playing with Cooper and Lily's toys than during the games) to eat cake. The series of photos cracks me up!

Lily enjoyed having her hair done by a friend during the party and sat perfectly still. Why doesn't she do this for me! She runs away when I pick up the brush.

I love birthday parties. Cooper was so sweet the whole time I was preparing and kept telling me how good everything looked and thank you. He was very impressed by the iced Han Solo and the cake, and asked me at the end of the day what my favorite part of the day was. I told him it was seeing him so happy.  I hope he knows just how much we love him!