Hi, have we met? I’m totally lazy. If I can find a hack or an easy way around something, I’m totally going to take it.
I was, however, raised to be gracious and appreciative and to say, “thank you.” That means thank you phone calls for birthday cards and thank you cards for birthday gifts. And seeing as Holdy’s birthday was a few weeks ago, it was time to say thanks for the ridiculous amount of stuff she got.
Guess what: I hate writing thank you cards. They’re time consuming and I always get such horrible writer’s block and then I end up writing really stupid-sounding messages. The worst. But necessary, of course.
So I decided to cheat a little when it came to Holdy’s thank you’s. The idea was this: add a fun picture from the party, have a cute ready-made thank you poem printed inside and then write a super brief message that acknowledged the gift.
For Holden’s first birthday party, I wanted to fill the house with color to celebrate the little girl who has brought so much joy (among other things) into our lives this past year. I started with a plan and an idea board. Here’s how it all turned out.
Yes, I actually made those tissue paper pompoms! I totally lucked out by finding those gorgeous rainbow-dyed flower poms (at the grocery store, no less!)
I added fruit of all colors to my beverage dispenser to make “Rainbow Water” (that tasted awesome, btw). Sand buckets made great impromptu wine buckets!
Guests signed a copy of Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss with special messages for Holden.
It’s almost here! It’s almost here! I can’t believe it. Holden will be one year old. Tomorrow. Tomorrow!
I’m bummed because I have to work tomorrow, but I figure… she doesn’t know it’s her birthday, right? Plus, her party is on Saturday, which I’ve been spending all week getting ready for. Including an epic trip to the grocery store tonight (shout out to my MIL for watching her).
I’ve been thinking back to where I was this time last year. I worked late, then went for a long walk in the park with my dog (trying to get that baby out!). At this exact time last year, I was probably lying on the couch, propping up my humongous feet. My feet were so swollen toward the end of my pregnancy that a random lady stopped me on the street to point them out to me. Yes, lady, thanks. I was fully aware.
From Oh Happy Day’s tutorial, it looks like the mini cake should go like this:
Regular box cake mix
Empty a soup can. Clean it out. Flour it.
Fill the can halfway with batter.
When the cake is finished and cooled, cut it into layers.
Frost in between the layers.
Admire the cuteness.
Did it actually work out that way? Spoiler alert: no.
So I mixed up the batter and floured the can. I think I went wrong right from the start because I used a larger pineapple-chunk can when I probably should have just stuck with a little Campbell’s can. Why do I always try to go bigger?
Then I filled that can halfway (the rest of the batter I used for my rainbow cupcake win):
And I baked it up. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t looking good:
My cute little cake was looking a little… deflated in the middle. Not wanting to make the same mistake I did with the first batch of rainbow cupcakes and overbake, I took it out of the oven. Oh hey, look at that: the cake isn’t cooked at all in the middle, yet it’s baked on the outside! It’s a big hollow ring o’cake!
So clearly the cutting-into-layers-and-frosting-them-with-cute-rainbow-icing part didn’t work out. Again, pretty sure this whole fail is due to the fact that I consistently choose the wrong cake mold, haha. Now you know: it is possible to pick the wrong kind of aluminum can.
It was late so I got lazy with the icing and just went with Betty, but I’ll make my own for her actual party. I usually make Magnolia’s vanilla buttercream icing, but I may try something new. I’ve had my eye on that coconut milk frosting that’s all over Pinterest (another fail on the way?)
So this is how I eat a cupcake:
Tear off the bottom, plop it on top. BOOM: cupcake sandwich.
If you were hoping I’d screw it up again so I had another Pinterest fail, don’t be sad: I also tried Oh Happy Day’s Mini Cakes last night. So yeah, I have another fail to tell you all about. But we’ll save that for another post.
Holden’s first birthday is less than a month away. I’m still going with a bright and colorful first birthday party theme, though I’ve adjusted a bit to be less “rainbow” and more “You are my sunshine,” whatever that means. These puppies hit mailboxes last week:
I went the Tiny Prints route because I find them and Shutterfly to be the most stress-free for invite (and announcement, Christmas cards, etc.) shopping.
Mr. B told me that including Holden’s clothing size and things she likes on the back of the invite was rude. I thought of it as being “helpful.” What do you think?
I think it all started with me attempting to go right for the smash cake with my Wilton Giant Cupcake Cast Pan. So that’s a no-no right from the start.
But I digress, here’s what I did:
I used a regular ol’ box of Betty Crocker white cake mix. Shari recommends using a recipe that uses egg whites and oil instead of butter (your colors will supposedly come out better and cupcakes will brown less – ha!)
Divided the batter into six bowls.
Added the food coloring to each bowl. I used McCormick’s neon pack for my pink, green, blue and purple. Per Shari’s instructions, I mixed yellow from a regular dye pack with the pink to make the orange (which was really more of a salmon).
So pretty! I totally stole borrowed the idea for those gorgeous shots straight from Shari (seriously–check out her post!). So far so good, right? Here’s where it all went wrong.
Rather than lining my muffin tin and going for your standard cupcake, I had to be a showoff and go right for the big guy. Okay, so here’s what came next:
I used a rubber spatula to fill the giant cupcake bottom and top with each color, layered on top of each other: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink. Shari recommends using a fork to layer the batter if you go the preferred regular ol’ cupcake method. Pshaw.
Then I baked the cake as directed by Mrs. Crocker. However, once the timer had gone off and I peeped at my creation, I started to get a bit concerned: it seemed the inside of the cake wasn’t baking as quickly as the outside. I decided to leave it in a bit longer.
Oops. So as evidenced by the brownish-pink exterior, I left the bad boy in too long.
I was about to chalk this up as a massive, massive failure, but as I was picking the cake up to trash it, I noticed something beautiful:
The inside of the cake was filled with gorgeous, vibrant layers of color! Hope had been restored!
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try again, this time with regular-sized cupcakes. I think being able to control the temperature in smaller batches will make this a success. I have a whole month until her party to try again. I may need to come up with an alternative for her smash cake, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
And yes, you better believe I still ate the crumbled-up cake. It was delicious; don’t judge me.
The other silver lining? I didn’t mind clean-up because it was so pretty!
I may be kicked out of Florida for posting this while I’m in Disney World, but I wanted to share the cutest Sesame Street-themed birthday party my friend threw for her daughter, Grace, for her 2nd birthday.
I’m loving the Elmo and Oscar veggie trays! And the bow wreath is so cute–and looks easy enough for even me to make!