Tag Archives: birthday

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

What a wonderful crazy week it has been! Not only did we celebrate Christmas multiple times and get to spend time with my parents who were in town, yesterday was my daughter’s birthday and today is my hubby’s birthday and New Year’s Eve! What a great way to end 2010.

Have you thought of your New Year’s resolutions yet? Every year I make a big list of things I want to accomplish. This year, I’m sticking to three resolutions. These three things are so important, that I decided to stop the list there.

1. Lower my blood pressure.
This was, of course, my number one resolution for 2010 and I made a lot of progress on it. At the beginning of the year, my blood pressure was upwards of 170/120. Over the first six months, I managed to get it down to an average of 150/100. But, it’s been stuck there since June, with the occasional reading slightly lower. I still have a few things I want to try, and my diet will be modified again to see if that helps.

2. Lose 20 pounds.
I know…everyone puts “lose weight” on their list of resolutions, right? This will become my top priority — not only so I look and feel better, but because I think this might be what’s keeping the blood pressure from dropping any further. In 2010, to lower my blood pressure, I went vegan. I assumed this would cause me to lose weight effortlessly, and yet I weigh exactly the same as I did last year on New Year’s Eve. Not a pound more, not a pound less. So exercise will have to become a higher priority in my life (which kind of stinks since I hate to exercise).

3. Say “no” more so I can say “yes” more.
I volunteer…a lot. I give time to the kids’ school, the PTA, the football team, the theater, and various non-profit organizations that need graphic design help. I love to help people and I rarely say no when asked to volunteer, but it’s starting to take time away from my kids, my husband, my clients, and my “me” time. Yes, I will continue to give of my time, but I will work on saying “no” a little more often so I can say “yes” to other things a little more often.

So there you go. My three resolutions for 2011. Although I have lots of little things I want to accomplish next year, these will be my main focus. I’ll be blogging as often as I can with successes, failures and many, many new recipes.

I wish you all a fun, safe New Year’s Eve and a happy, healthy 2011. I’m heading to the annual family New Year’s Eve celebration with a variety of appetizers, biscotti, and these fantastic little no-bake treats I made (since my oven is dead).

Rachael Ray’s Pretzel Turtles (recipe here) — a pretzel nibble wrapped in caramel, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with toasted pecans. Yum-O!

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Birthday Fun

8 Jun

It’s hard to believe my oldest son is 9 years old already. Where does the time go?

On Sunday, we had the usual big birthday celebration with friends, family, pinata, games and fun. Brady chose a football theme and the boys had a blast seeing how far they could throw the ball, playing football cornhole, making pennants for their rooms and kicking the ball through the mini goalpost Jason made out of PVC pipe. One boy told Brady at school yesterday that it was the best party he’s ever been to!

Birthday cakes in our family tend to be a big deal. My sister and I both love cake decorating and we go all out. (See below for some of my past creations.) This time, though, Brady asked for one of those giant chocolate chip cookies from the mall that they simply decorate with vanilla and chocolate frosting. Someone had brought one to school a few months ago and he wanted that instead of a traditional cake. I’ve never made one before, but I found a recipe online and decided to give it a shot.

A few days before the party, one of the moms called me to let me know that her son was highly allergic to dairy. She usually sends a dairy-free cupcake and vegan ice cream with him to the party. The thought of a little boy not getting to enjoy what the rest of his buddies were having made me sad. I told her I was vegan and would make the cookie-cake dairy free. I also had three flavors of vegan ice cream in my freezer that he could choose from. She told me that Kroger’s value bag chocolate chips do not contain dairy so I used those and simply substituted vegan butter in the recipe. The recipe called for two eggs, which I used, making this not 100% vegan. The eggs came from our local farmer’s happy chickens and the cookie-cake made about 20 servings, so I’m not too worried about eating 1/20th of an egg. It came out beautifully, but I think I’ll attempt the egg substitute next time just to see if it works.

As for the frosting…piece of cake, as they say. I have a fantastic recipe for vegan buttercream frosting, but I discovered that Duncan Hines’ classic chocolate and vanilla frostings are accidentally vegan. I thought they would taste more like the actual mall cookie-cake, so I scooped those into piping bags to decorate.

On party day, as I was cutting the cake, the friend with the dairy allergy looked at me with a smile and said, “I can have a piece, right?” You betcha, buddy! Right alongside your vegan So Delicious Mint Chip ice cream. I love a happy face. And there were lots of happy faces here on Sunday.

Here’s the cookie-cake:

Here are a few past cake creations:

Brady’s “Camp Spears” Cake – everything on the cake was edible, including the camper, canoe and lake
Logan’s first (of 3!) Thomas Cake – everything on this cake was edible, including the Oreo cookie wheels
Madison’s Swan Lake Barbie Cake – I slid a naked Barbie into the baked cake and then added her dress with frosting and fondant

Here are some additional photos from Sunday’s big bash.


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