So what can I say? I aim to please! Here are the cakes:
For Evie's first birthday, I had found these cute and colorful first birthday invitations and paper products at a party store that was going out of business and I couldn't resist them. For the cake, I scanned the invitation, enlarged the image of this little...bear? I think it's a bear. Anyway, then I traced the image onto waxed paper, cut out each individual piece from the waxed paper, and traced each piece onto a white-iced sheet cake with a toothpick. Next, I carefully died icing to match each portion of the invitation and used a tiny star tip to decorate most of the sections (a few were just piped and smoothed into their areas, I think). It was a long process, and by the end I was exhausted. I think that might help explain that random yellow strip piped around the bottom. Hmmm...
When Evie turned two, I had this idea to do a ladybug party. I combed the internet for ladybug cake ideas, and eventually I combined several ideas to create this cake. I was really, really pleased with how it came out! I think my favorite detail is the black candles (two of them, because she was two) as antennae.
For her third birthday, I was excited to make her this Cookie Monster cake in the same Wilton cake pan my mom used to make birthday cakes for me and all of my sisters. The decorating was actually so quick for this cake that I had time to make some Elmo and Big Bird cookies. I also created some fun Sesame Street games for the party, including Pin the Nose on Elmo, Cookie Monster bean bag toss (with cookie beanbags), and Oscar's Trash Cleanup. (I can't just simply go to bed early before a birthday party, you know!)
Birthday number four: Strawberry Shortcake. Now, I'm usually not into characters at all. The Cookie Monster thing was totally a nostalgia thing for me, but Evie totally used it as leverage to have a Strawberry Shortcake party, which meant a Strawberry Shortcake cake. This one wasn't really hard, but it seriously took hours--partly because it was warm and my icing kept getting too soft to work with, and partly because I only had one decorating bag at the time, so I had to clean it out after each and every little step. I've since invested in a few more bags, just in case.
Evie turned five just eleven days after Audrey was born. We waited about a month to have her party, but it probably wasn't long enough for me, because everything is a big blur in my mind. We went with a flower/garden theme, and she and I had decided on this "window box" cake. I think it was a great idea, but I took a few shortcuts, including using refrigerated cookie dough for the flowers and butterflies. Believe me, that cookie dough tasted awesome, but I think it was more dense than the sugar cookie recipe I usually use, so the cookies themselves, which we baked on sticks, were too heavy. As they sat in the cake, the weight of the cookies caused them to either fall forward or backward in the cake, or fall off their sticks, or both. It was definitely a cute idea, and I was so thankful to my sisters who helped me by icing all the cookies, because I was totally busy making these fruit and veggie bouquets, which--in my postpartum mind--were extremely, extremely critical for a five-year-old's party:
Okay, on to Eloise! When Eloise turned one, I didn't have any great theme in mind, but I made these super cute invitations with lavender and yellow scrapbooking papers, with a yellow birthday candle tied to the front of each. I was so excited about them, but I didn't even think about having them hand-cancelled by the post office, so the candle was completely demolished by the time the guests received them. My mom actually thought there was some kind of strange, waxy confetti in the envelope, but she couldn't figure out why I'd tied the thick string (the wick) to the card. Bummer.
Anyway, I just made some lavender-iced cupcakes for the party. I printed pictures of Eloise from throughout her first year in little circles, mounted them on lavender and yellow paper, and stuck them in the cupcakes (my sister, Molly, created the little picture holders for me). It was pretty quick and easy, and it looked cute. Plus, Eloise will never remember either way!
By the time she turned two, Eloise definitely loved kitties and the color orange, so I tried to combine them to make this cat cake. My mom had made me a kitty cake for my second birthday, and I looked at pictures to get ideas for Eloise's, but my mom's was definitely cuter. Fortunately, it had been a long, long time since my second birthday, so not many people remembered the cake to compare...
Keeping with tradition, I made Cookie Monster again for Eloise's third birthday. I think I got the "fur" effect a little better this time. This party was pretty easy, because I had saved all the games from Evie's party. I wonder if they've held up well enough for Audrey's third birthday...but now I'm getting ahead of myself.
This year, Audrey's birthday is going to be a farm theme. It's hard when they're turning one, because what can a one-year-old really "be into," you know? But she really does like trying to imitate animal sounds, and she loves playing with the little Leap Frog Fridge Farm while I work in the kitchen, so it seemed like a good choice. Plus, I found a cute idea for a cow cake, and even a sheep cake if I get ambitious and feel like making two, or if the cow doesn't work out and I need to transform it into a sheep or something.
Evie is going to have her first-ever friend party. It's a really, really big deal, and you should see the "plans" she has made. I've had to remind her a number of times that we will not be able to do everything on her list...it might be a bit much to go swimming, go to Chuck E Cheese, have a sleepover, and make a plethora of craft projects. She has chosen to have a "Little House on the Prairie" themed party, so I'm not sure how most of those things tie into "Little House" anyway. I don't recall Pa and Ma loading the girls into the wagon and making the journey to Chuck E Cheese, do you? I'm not really sure yet what I'm doing for her "Little House" cake. Any ideas? Leave me a comment!