Saturday, November 9, 2013

Canon's 4 Years Old Now!

Canon turned 4 on Nov. 1, and I threw him his first real birthday party ever... not including just family...  I let him invite 4 friends because he's turning 4.  Well, since 1 of his friends he wanted was Cameron&Megan&Lily (his cousins) I decided that letting him invite only 1 other "friend" would make that one friend feel a bit out of place.  So, I let him think of 3 other friends to invite.  When all was said and done we had 8 kids attending his party, but only 3 were not Dahls.

I made invitations to his "Finding Nemo Party" and made 3 activities to go with that theme:

1. I made star-shaped sugar cookies so they could decorate their own starfish.

left to right: Sam, Zack, Canon, Mommy, and Ralph.
Canon was the only one who ate more than 3 bites of his cookie before getting down to go play.  Geesh, and I made enough cookies for them each to have 2.  Oh well!
Canon with his cousins Megan and Cameron, with Ralph hanging out on the left.
2. I printed and cut out a picture of Nemo so we could hide it somewhere in the living room to play a version of hot and cold.

    My Nemo cut-out that they searched for.

    3. I took a blue piece of fabric and a "fishing pole" and let them fish for a prize, which was from Cadence's Halloween candy.

    Overall, the party was a success.  Mark went and got Little Caesar's Pizza and they ate every slice.  Then we had Canon blow out the candles on his cake and opened his presents.  With all of the Spiderman toys he got, you'd think I was throwing a Spiderman party.  Oh well!

    The whole party crew, except for cousin Lily and sister Cadence.
    left to right: Ralph, Megan, Cameron, Canon, Sam, and Zack
    Canon is so happy about his birthday presents, even though he doesn't show it much here. :)

    Now, let me tell you about all the hassle I went through for Canon's cake.  I had searched on for an idea and Canon told me he wanted this cake:

    There were tons of much more complicated cakes that I knew I would not be able to do, but this was the one that Canon chose, which made me happy because I thought that I would be able to work with that idea.  However, to make this cake, I'd need a football shaped cake pan, and I didn't have one.  I decided I'd try to cut a round cake into this shape and use extra pieces for the fins, but when I experimented with a paper circle, I knew that it just wasn't going to work.  So I decided to just cut it our of a rectangular cake and use the left-over cake to make cake pops.

    On Wed, Oct 30th I decided to bake the cake and cupcakes at my friend Eliza's house (Ralph's mom) because she has an extra fridge and extra freezer where I can store it all without having to transport them back and forth.  (Since Halloween was the day before his party, and I would have to babysit both Thursday and Friday, I figured it was best to do them early and freeze them for Friday.) 

    So I started by baking the 2 boxes of confetti cake mix into 12 cupcakes (to serve the kids on Friday) and make the 2 rectangle cakes.

    The materials I used to make my least, what I intended to use.  I drew this Nemo by tracing it from my computer screen.

    Baking 12 cupcakes and 2 rectangle cakes at the same time.  Eliza has an awesome oven!

     Everything seemed to be going according to plan until the bigger rectangle cake stuck to the pan.  It broke into a bunch of pieces and wasn't even salvageable as a single layer.  So I needed to bake yet another cake, and I had more left-over for cake balls than I anticipated.

    This was going to be the bottom layer, so I couldn't start frosting the upper layer until I had another cake baked for the bottom.  Eliza and I did a double batch of a yellow cake from scratch, but that ended up being too much cake, so she made a bunch of cupcakes for herself.  My smaller rectangle cake, the upper layer, broke a little too, but it was still ok for my Nemo shape.

    By the time 4PM came around, all I got to do was bake, not decorate, and I had to leave for a dentist appointment.  At least I had gotten this far, though. (Although, I did decorate the cupcakes with frosting and fish.)

    We had gotten everything in the freezer for me to work on them later, but once my dentist appointment was over, I had to take the kids home to make dinner.  When they were put into bed, I was able to clear a shelf in my own fridge and collected my cakes from Eliza's house.  I was able to frost the cake without any major embellishments and get the kitchen cleaned up by midnight.

    Step 1

    Step 2
    Step 3
     On Thursday I had to babysit, but I was still able to do some embellishments on the cake.  I think it turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.
    The seaweed was from green fruit roll-up that I just cut with a knife.
    The sea anemone is from a red fruit roll-up, but I don't think it turned out as well as the seaweed.
    The rocks are candy coated chocolates a friend pointed out to me while I was at the store. 

    I think I like my masterpiece more than what I saw on Pinterest.
    Here you can see how thick it turned out. :)

    I also had to do something with all that left-over cake: cake pops...but I don't have sticks, so cake balls instead.  I crumbled the cake and mixed the left-over frosting with all of it.  I was able to create 24 balls of mushy cake goodness, but even these couldn't be made without at least one disaster.  I melted white chocolate chips with a few other things to make a chocolate shell.  I dyed it orange to make them look like pumpkins for Halloween, but the chocolate was not the right consistency.  It turned out to be more of an orange gooey glaze.  It didn't look that appetizing, so I made another chocolate glaze from milk chocolate and dripped it over them.  They had to be eaten with a spoon, but they turned out to be pretty awesome too.  (With so many left over, I sent 12 of them with Canon to preschool the next Monday as his un-birthday snack.  It was supposed to be with the theme of Letter D, so I called them "dessert balls" and they were apparently a hit!)

    So, they're not gorgeous, but they still look delicious!

    Friday was the day of Canon's party, and when I saw the condition of his cupcakes, I knew I had to do something about it.  The frosting was just too soft and it started to ooze all off the cupcakes.

    Do these look very appetizing to you?

    How about these?
     So I came to the conclusion that I would be too embarrassed to hand these out at his party, so I scraped off all the frosting from the cupcakes and out of the pan, whipped it with more powdered sugar and a little more milk and food coloring, placed them in new baking cups, and redecorated them.  The end result:
    Much more appetizing, I think!

    Ok, so after having the bottom layer fall apart, too much cake, the chocolate turning to a gooey glaze, and the frosting oozing all over the place, the end results still were pretty good.  I just wasn't planning on spending 3 days to make all the cakes.  Canon, I sure hope you know how much your mommy loves you!!

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