First there was my Dad's 62nd birthday. (He is wearing a birthday hat (fully equipped with hair) not a new hairdo-it clearly would be a "hair-don't"!) This occassion deserved a new recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie, a trifecta of my father's fave flaves.
Then there was Dad's (final!) retirement and party, concluding 40+ years of an illustrious, industrious and many faceted career. I called him at work on his last day, to thank him for always working so hard to support us girls, and I started crying, just thinking of all he has sacrificed and done for us...
For those of you who know him, you won't be a be a bit surprised to see what he has already been up to:
So much for retirement! He has already clocked in at the labor farm, tending to his obsessive fire wood habit...Heaven only knows how long that Isuzu Pup will hold out!
Then there was the big one, my first baby's first birthday...It has been a very emotional month so far for me. There have been many preparations, decorations, confections, congratulations and salutations happening in my life these past few weeks, I have been a bit too occupied to post here! My apologies, I will attempt to fill you in! Okay, the birthday cake mushrooms I made came out so well, they will be reproduced in little bunches for Christmas supplements-to add to a wreath, a baked good, or a potted plant or two. Non-edible, but oh so cute!Ava's birthday confectionery buffet required some advance planning, hard work and finger licking...
I constructed Ava's cake top from paper and wire, complete with little fairies riding bumble bees on "buzzing" spiral wires. One little fairy rides a butterfly among the owls and mushrooms. The Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting was a moist and scrumptious success, as were the Monarch Butterfly Cupcakes (with wings made of chocolate) and the Chocolate Owl Cupcakes...You see I really have been busy!
I almost forgot the hollow tree stump backdrop I painted for Ava to sit "inside" whilst opening presents. She loved it so much you would think that was her favorite present...I am not an illustrator by any means, but again, if I think of the style as whimsical, more than artistic and I think I can just get away with it! It was supposed to be a fairy party inside a hollow birch stump and the woodland creatures were assembling under the party lanterns as fireflies illuminated the birthday cupcake, heralding in the first year celebration...
My darling husband took one look and reminded me that birch bark would not be visible from inside the tree...Who made him boss of birch bark anyway!?!
I lined the floor of the hollow stump with my Mother's butterfly quilt she made for Ava when she was born, so she could be with us, though she wasn't able to be with us in person.
My Dad, upon request, made me a birch log base to put her cake upon, so perfect for a woodland fairy cake! I added some cuttings from our yard, some pine cones from my stash and my step-mother's specialty, cocoa dusted meringue toadstools-these are edible!
To a robust and sincere rendition of "Happy Birthday", our one year old "baby" took her first ever bites of cake. With dainty precision, she sampled the frosting first, then exclaimed, "MMMM!!" and proceeded to utilize her pincer grasp to hoist a hunk of cake into her mouth. I think she may have inherited my sweet tooth.
She then rubbed frosting in the back of her hair, with both hands and with vigor. You can see the wild rumpus style she created, above. During the following bath, I found frosting in her armpits... Ava quite enjoyed the fairy planet mobile I made to hang over her new "big girl" high chair for the festivities. There were no birthday melt downs and no crying, just elated joy with each gift and laughing, crawling about and riding her new "quadricycle". Her dad did the filming while I had present assistance duty... The cats performed wrapping material round up.
After this ride, Ava coerced her father into escorting her for a ride all the way into the kitchen where she proceeded to purposefully (look at that face of concentration!) show off her moves, which consisted of riding with her feet on the handlebars?!!? Where did she learn that?!? When you live in a small house and your child is born in the winter months, you have to accept some limitations...I wish we could have had all of our friends here with us, but alas, family alone accounted for 16 of us-and just the right size for this house and for Ava I think. For those of you who weren't with us on this most momentous occasion for us, I hope this post is a juicy enough account for you to feel as though you were here.
Happy Birthday Dad, Happy Retirement, Happy Birthday Sweet Ava, we have enjoyed celebrating all of these great times with you!