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And Then She Was Three...

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It feels like it was only yesterday I was blogging about Elnora's second birthday.

They say time moves so fast when you're a parent, that you turn around and your kids are going off to school. It never feels that way when you're up with them in the middle of the night dreaming of the day you can sleep again...but then the sun rises and you're packing lunches and getting them dressed for pre-school.

How does that happen?

She turned three last weekend. (On the same day Greg turned 35..."Happy Birthday" old man!) She spent a full week walking around the house saying "birthday cake, birthday hat" over and over and over. I'm not sure what sparked the hat bit...but I imagine the cake talk was sparked by how much she loved Emmitt's Cookie Monster cupcakes.

So, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday cake.

"Me want cupcakes." (Hey, remember when we thought she'd never talk? Progress!)

Me: "What do you want on your cupcakes?"

Her: "Know...." (translation: I have no idea...)

Me: "Would you like Blues Clues? Sesame Street?"

Her: Hmmmmmm

Me: "Maybe Curious George?"

Her: "Uh huh!! Me see monkey cake!!!"

This is the point at which I had a *headdesk* moment.

NEVER suggest a cake unless you know you can make it!

I spent the next two days pouring over Flickr feeds looking for ideas. The PBS site was a big let down. They show a fairly lame looking circle cake with two cupcakes tacked on for ears. It looks NOTHING like Curious George. Then I found this absolutely amazing Curious George cake on Flickr.

Now, if you've read this blog for any length of time, or follow me over at my day job...you know I'm fairly creative.

If you've ever browsed The Lactivist Store, you know that what I possess in creativity, I completely make up for in severe lack of artistic talent. This is why all of my shirts have text based slogans on them. ;)

So, I did what any good mother would do. I pulled down the image of that cake, opened it in Photoshop, created an outline of each part of the monkey, blew them up to the proper size and printed them out on my computer to use as templates. (What, that's not how YOU make cakes?) It was a good idea in my head, but ya know...you can't really use paper templates with frosting.

So I did the best I could. I showed it to Elnora and she immediately started shouting "Monkey cake!" so I figured that was a good sign.

The thing I really do like about this cake is the cupcake aspect. If you haven't seen these yet, you'll love the idea. A few months back, I noticed our local Meijer was doing cakes made of cupcakes set next to each other and frosted as if they were a layer cake. (You simply let the frosting flow over the cracks.) So, I decided to give it a try. I simply set the cupcakes next to each other while they were still a little warm. That let me push them close together to leave as few a cracks as possible. As you can see from the picture, the "frost it like a cake" idea worked pretty well.

When it came time to eat them, you simply grab a cupcake by the base and pull it apart from the rest. Voila! No cake cutting!

Of course no birthday post would be complete without at least one shot of a kid playing with their new toys. So...introducing, Elnora's kitchen. I think this may be the most excited I ever was to give a kid a gift. I just knew she was going to love it.

She's always migrated to kitchen sets and when I spotted this one, I knew it was perfect. It's just the right size, has plenty of storage for toys and is made of wood instead of plastic. (That way, when it's done being passed along from person to person, it can be burned rather than added to a landfill.)

I can't even tell you how many imaginary meals I've eaten in the last week.

And so, on November 11th, I officially became the parent of a preschool girl rather than a toddler girl.

Three today, 18 tomorrow. Right?

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  1. Blogger K | 4:56 AM |  

    Happy Birthday Elnora!

    Moms to three-year olds? That's us? Really?

    :-)

  2. Anonymous Jenna | 7:06 AM |  

    Today is my son's second birthday. Good times. :)

    Cute cake! Good job!

  3. Anonymous Debby | 10:15 AM |  

    Just for your future cake-making endeavors, here's what I do to make VERY nice renditions of whatever I want to print out from my computer. Take the print out, (make sure you reverse the image if there are any words or anything that needs to be the 'right way'), put it on a cookie sheet, and then - here's the good part - cover your paper up with a sheet of wax paper. Pipe your image right onto the wax paper, using the image underneath as your guide. Then, pop the paper and cookie sheet into the freezer for about 10 minutes to solidify it. Then, carefully peel the design off the wax paper and put it on your cake. Finish it by piping more frosting around the image. As the picture de-frosts on your cake, you can make sure there are no cracks, by filling it in with extra frosting.
    Works GREAT! I did this for the first time four years ago when my daughter turned two and wanted a Finding Nemo cake, and this was before you could find Nemo designs at every cake store in town.
    Hope that helped! Your cakes did look great, though! Good job!

    My baby's first birthday party us tomorrow. I'll be trying my first tiered cake. I'm going to give her the whole top tier to smoosh to her delight. I hope I can figure out the pillars! :-)

  4. Blogger Sarahbear | 3:42 PM |  

    You know, I watched a wedding cake competition on Food Network a couple months ago and they DO make edible printing supplies. The woman who made the cake used an art program (probably photoshop) to replicate some stained glass windows in the venue where the reception was going to be held and then she printed them out and peeled them off and stuck them on some of the cake layers. It was absolutely gorgeous when she got done.

    Happy Birthday to Elnora and Greg. The cake looks yummy.=D

  5. Anonymous Mama Bear | 7:19 PM |  

    She looks like she had so much fun! Happy Birthday, Elnora! :)

  6. Blogger Crunchy Domestic Goddess | 8:15 PM |  

    you did a great job with the cupcakes. yummy! and i love her kitchen set.
    happy 3rd birthday, elnora!

  7. Blogger Jess3kids | 8:25 PM |  

    I think your cake looks amazing!! I took the Wilton class at Michaels (if you havent taken it you should definately take it at the one on Brice Road...Tyrea is so fun...we had a blast!!!) Anyways, she tought us that what you do is print your image (or use a coloring book) and trace over it on wax paper w/ the "gel icing." Obviously if theres a "right side" you reverse the image first. Then flip your wax paper over onto your cake and trace it in! You can use clear gel or a light color that will be covered over. Its super simple and very easy for even those who arent professional artists lol! Anyways, just an easy tip in case you wanted to use it in the future. I think your monkey cake looked great and as long as the kids love it, thats all that matters!!

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