Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Annabelle's 7th Birthday: Strawberry Pops, Rock Climbing, Heart Rose Cake, Cafe Rio, Pizza

Annabelle's birthday was on President's Day this year, Monday, which meant the kids were out of school. The week prior, they had parent teacher conferences so we also didn't have school Friday, so we got a nice long weekend. It also meant that the kids classroom Valentine's parties were held that Thursday, so after school Tuesday, Annabelle's teacher followed her out to our van to let me know that they'd be celebrating her birthday that Thursday. I said okay, and smiled, and then quickly added, "Wait, am I supposed to do something or be there?" They don't in my older kids classes so I assumed it'd be the same. She said that I didn't have to, but that a lot of the parents bring in a treat like cupcakes or cookies etc. Since it's optional, I figured I'd just leave it since I was sure they'd be getting sugar with their Valentine's cards, but Annabelle had heard the conversation and instantly started chattering about all the fun treats she thought would be nice to bring. I reminded her that they'd be getting Valentine's treats and suggested that if we brought something, it should be somewhat healthy. Annabelle LOVES strawberries, so we decided on strawberry pops. They turned out lovely and I was grateful to Elisabeth, for her help, and she helped a lot.
Nora, Jane and I brought them to the cafeteria Thursday while the kids were eating lunch and Annabelle handed them out to her class.
Sunday Annabelle was worried she wouldn't be able to fall asleep that night in anticipation for her birthday which was the following day. But she did, and we're grateful because they had a fun and exciting weekend with a sleep-over babysitter and but their lack of sleep was making mom and dad wish for earlier bed times over the next two nights :).

When Annabelle woke we had her special requested cereal for breakfast (Peanut Butter Panda Puffs), and then she opened her gifts. She got the dog with a leash from Patricia Murphy, we got her an art messenger bag that she colors with markers, clothes, a book and an Elenco Electronic Snap Circuits.
 Granny sent her a dress with a matching one for her doll.
 Here are Annabelle and Elisabeth working on coloring in the purse.
 Charles was invited to a movie with a friend that afternoon and while he was there we went to Cafe Rio for lunch and then came back home, laid Nora down, and the girls watched the American Girl Doll movie, Saige Paints the Sky (which Annabelle had requested I put on hold at the library the week before and it thankfully came in that very morning!).
 While they watched the movie, I frosted and decorated the cake. I made a heart-shaped vanilla cake from scratch that morning, and I had made a butter cream (all butter, no shortening) the day before which I had colored and I also made a few roses the day before which I stored in the fridge.
 Because in the past, I almost always use a cake box mix and I always use a Crisco based frosting, I'm still going through a bit of a learning curve. Because the frosting is made with all butter, it gets super hard in the fridge, and I have to massage it in the decorating bag for awhile, or stir it up, before it's soft enough for me to use. And if I've been working with it for awhile, decorating, it gets so soft that I was worried my decorations, like the roses and the border, wouldn't hold their shape. But they did really well.

 I wanted to make the entire cake the day of because when I made Charles cake, I stored it in the fridge since I finished it a day early, and I took it out of the fridge 30 minutes before we were going to it it and the frosting and the cake were so hard that the boys plastic forks couldn't really cut through! Lame! I'm wondering if the cake was so hard because I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil...I thought the property of coconut oil would change(hardens once it's below 76 degrees) once it was mixed with other ingredients and baked, but maybe not. But I was also worried that my butter cream decorations wouldn't hold up over night, and I was afraid my roses would melt and wilt. So, I made the cake the day of which was a little more stressful, but it turned out great and everything went smoothly. And, we had over half the cake leftover which I just covered and stored on a counter in the kitchen, curious to see if my roses would still be in tact the next morning, and they were! So now I know I can safely make and decorate the cake the day before even when the frosting is made with all butter.
 Annabelle had hand-picked this cake design the month before when she saw something similar in the bakery of a grocery store. She loved it!
 And I filled the middle with leftover chocolate butter cream frosting I used on Charles cake last month, and since I don't eat chocolate, I made a cupcake for myself.
 Scott came home from work at 4pm and Myra, Annabelle's bff from school, came over and we ate homemade pizza, cake and ice cream.



Once we finished up, we headed to the rec center where all the kids got to harness up and do some rock climbing. 
 It was a first time experience for all our children, though Myra was a little pro. I think I mentioned in a previous post that Scott went for a date night a month ago and Myra was there climbing.
 Nora looked so stinkin' cute on that wall. She did great, though she didn't get up very far. I'm sure next time she'll go higher.
 Jane did great too, and started off really fast, but as soon as she slipped the first time, she got freaked out and wanted to be done. Her and Nora each just did one climb. I'm hoping next time they'll do a couple. There's a learning curve when it comes to using the harness and they didn't have much faith in it :).
 Jane got higher than Nora. Annabelle, pictured a few pictures above, got about half way up the wall both times she climbed.
 Elisabeth and Charles did 4 climbs I believe, and they LOVED it and got to the top every time! Nice!
 They asked if for our next individual date night with them, if we could go back and rock climb, which I think it brilliant!


Annabelle, you are a dear with such a kind and gentle heart. We love you dearly and are so happy you were born into our family 7 years ago. Love you Lady!

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