How many of you still make homemade birthday cakes?
Whenever it comes up in conversation, it seems like we’re the only ones, or one of the few families who doesn’t resort to store bought or custom-order. Those custom cakes are fun and cute and I actually know a few people that make beautiful ones, but I like to bake too at the risk of dreaded Pinterest Fail. I like to think that there’s a logical cost-to-perceived value-to-saved time three-way ratio in effect here, but in short, we’ve really enjoyed making our own birthday cakes and treats, especially for the girls, who will undoubtedly be able to reflect upon our bizarre creativity through their adolescence and adulthood.
We’re embarking on the cake to suit Julia’s 9th BD; she decided on an “Under the Sea” theme after having been on a myriad of beach vacations this summer (also because she thought these Octopus cupcakes were hysterical). We’re not making those little octos, but are probably going to spend most of the evening elbow deep in Rice Krispie treats to execute her surprise cake. You see, unlike traditional cake which I think is kinda messy when you’re trying to cut it into various shapes, the Krispies chilled to form make for an excellent dimensional dessert – basically, you can mold it anyway you want. I tested it last year and intend to make Krispie cakes religiously until I find a better idea, or until my kids tell me that they never want another Rice Krispie treat again. (Throwback to yesterday, when I showed the treats for Cody’s birthday.)
Case in point (or “Cake in point”)? Last year we made a crazy toad to match her theme of “Our Backyard.”
What could be more theme-appropriate than sculpting a toad and covering it with homemade fondant? If the inside of toads aren’t pink, consider this is a honest factual error because we didn’t do a lot of research, but it was much to the delight of our kid that isn’t squeemish (it did really skeeve out the Grandmas).
If you’re not looking closely, we placed him on a bed of chocolate Krispie treats, and made a few random fondant covered pebbles and rabbit poops for classy effect. Big hit, friends with nature-loving kids.
Psst: For more cakes, here’s a Wow Wow Wubbzy design that Pete did a few years ago. He also did a My Little Pony cake (A for effort, but ultimate fail), and that same link includes a photo of his Pachycephalosaurus cake. Once upon a time when we had enough time to celebrate personal achievements with custom desserts, he even surprised me with an M for Merrypad cake.
I found ~40 rectangular concrete pavers curbed by someone in our neighborhood recently; is it a law of nature that you’re not allowed to pass by freebies like that? The hoarder in me who struggled to find in-stock Home Depot cinder blocks during college with which to loft the XL twin still insists that things like that still possess great value. Gimme all of the cinder blocks.
They’re heavy to transport and stack, and they made the trunk of the Jeep look as though I was hauling 10 adult men, but if you have a way to move them and the space to store them, cinder blocks and 24″x12″ pavers like these are nice products to have on for the super un-sexy projects. Examples? When you need to weight down that tarp covering your firewood. Or raise bins a few inches off the ground in a wet basement. Keep your boat from rolling down the driveway. For when you want to create a landing pad for rainwater that pours off the angled roof of your treehouse (possibly unique to us), and also, when you want to make a 30-minute patio. We had a serious excess of concrete blocks after this recent haul, so we extended our barn entryway by a few feet in all directions to create more of a landing/standing pad. Also, there’s no gutter on the roofline, so the rainwater has been gouging a channel in the soil; this should help divert the water from the foundation. The barn itself also needs a lot of work if you couldn’t tell–adding free pavers to the doorway doesn’t even fit the lipstick-on-a-pig analogy–but other repairs can happen in due time.
And as a not-so-subtle nod to another project I did recently for DIY Network, the peroxide/dish soap stain remover spray completely removed all evidence of dirt play from Hattie’s filthy shorts. Fist bumps.