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Belated 1st Birthday

So I confess, life back in St. Louis hardly seems blog-worthy these days.  Eric teaches two days a week, during which he has our only car, and keeps a pretty rigorous research and writing schedule the other three-to-four days, so mostly I hang out with Everett, try to keep the place liveable amongst a mess of stuff that has been displaced from the lowest shelves, and try to find things to keep both of us occupied, inside or outside the house.  This does not often include world-class museums, monuments, or even shopping that is not necessary for survival.  And it rarely leaves time anymore for creative endeavors.  Eric’s mom was visiting us for awhile back in September, which gave me some extra time, and planning and preparing for Everett’s first birthday party–which we held a week and a half after his actual birthday–has been my main creative outlet recently.  I thought it would be fun to have a travel-themed party, given the fact that Everett spent more of his first year outside of the U.S. than here, so we had some travel themed activities, favors, and food from each country we visited.  Both sets of grandparents were here, as well as my brother, and we had an absolutely perfect day for the outdoor affair.  I think it was a total success!

Little sketchbooks made to look like passports ("PASSPORT" is stamped in gold on them but it was pretty hard to see), along with stickers that looked like passport stamps

Our favor boxes, meant to look kinda like suitcases, with some luggage tags made from leftover oilcloth scraps--tutorial anyone? They were super easy to make! Inside were European candies (from World Market) and space for their activities like. . .

these little wooden airplanes from Oriental Trading Co., easily "painted" with crayola markers!

Some decor--simple flags cut from an old U.S. road atlas and sewn together at the top--also super easy!

The cake--maple walnut with maple cream cheese icing--to represent Canada (along with the moose finger-puppet-turned-cake-topper)

The birthday boy with his first taste of cake

Our earliest guests enjoying themselves--eventually the backyard was full of toddlers and older sibblings and parents and it was fantastic!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of the food table, I was too busy trying to get the food finished and out and keeping cool or warm!  But we had dutch pannekoeken (pancakes, a lot like crepes) with nutella and other spreads, scones with jam and cream mini steak and ale pies, chips (fries) with malt vinegar (English style) and mayonaise (Dutch style), salad with our favorite L’Abri recipe dressing, and Icelandic skyr (yogurt) that I managed to find at Whole Foods.

Everett opened presents with just family after everyone else had left, at which point he was totally overwhelmed and a bit glassy-eyed so the pictures are more amusing than adorable, but he got lots of good stuff, and we are grateful for lots of new toys to keep him occupied (we had painfully few after all the traveling!)

I am hoping to participate in a couple of craft shows coming up, and I also want to add a few things to my currently inactive etsy shop, so keep an eye out for a possible giveaway as I attempt to draw more attention to myself:)

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Fun with Everett, My Projects

 

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Occasions worth Celebrating

In addition to Valentine’s day, Eric’s birthday is Feburary 12th, which also happens to be the anniversary of our first date (wonder why!)  This year that marked 6 years for the date, I won’t tell you how old Eric is, and I realized that it also means we’re coming up on having known one another for a full decade!!  I got very excited about having friends here and thought this past weekend would be the perfect occasion for a little party.  I spent practically the whole week getting ready, as I recognized the fact that everything takes several times longer than it used to with the little man, and since it was a brunch get together, I knew I could do nothing the day of (Saturday).  I’ll include a few select pictures, but you can see more HERE at Flickr.

The cake was from this amazing recipe at Smitten Kitchen.  Some notes in case you’re interested: I made a couple simple changes just b/c of what I had available to me:

  • First of all, the cream cheese I used in the icing wasn’t as, well, creamy as I’m used to.  I bought a cheaper products labeled “soft cheese” that said it was ideal for baking, but it had a little more liquid in it than I expected.  When it didn’t whip up right away as I expected, I got really nervous–then I turned my dinky little hand mixer up to high and whipped for awhile and suddenly I had this amazing silky creamy perfect icing!
  • Second, I used crunchy peanut butter, and it worked just fine and added some nice texture, I thought.
  • For the glaze, I used Lyle’s Golden Syrup, a British tradition, instead of corn syrup.  I didn’t even bother looking for corn syrup b/c I’d been wanting an excuse to try Lyle’s anyway and I was pretty sure it would work.  It did, yum!
  • Also for the glaze, I only made half the batch b/c I didn’t have enough chocolate (for shame!) but it turned out to be more than enough.
  • I also couldn’t find 1/2 and 1/2 so I used some single cream and regular milk, just adding until it seemed a good pouring consistency.

The other dessert I made were lavender sugar cookies from this super simple recipe. So yummy–perfect with a simple confectioners sugar glaze (try the recipe on the box!) on top.  They’re a little bitter without icing, and the sweetness just brings out the lavender beautifully.
I think the food was the prettiest part of the party, but you can see pictures and descriptions of some decorations over at Flickr.  That link again is right HERE.

Furthermore, I’ve started a YouTube channel as we love taking videos of Everett, so there are about three of them over there now.  Here’s the LINK.

 

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