I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I really love Independence Day. It’s even better now that I’m a mom, because watching O get into the festivities was really entertaining this year (last year he slept through most of it).
Friday, O and I went to my mom and dad’s house so I could work on an article. O decided to fall flat on his face while on a walk, and ended up with a festive firework right on his forehead.
Not that it bothered him. He apparently popped right up, started to cry, and then noticed some dogs fenced in a neighbor’s yard. Suddenly, all was well.
After The BF finished working, we made a trip to a local fireworks store and picked up enough for a little backyard display. It was still pretty bright out when we started, but O really loved watching his daddy light the fuse and run away.
Once it got darker, we went to the front yard and watched the big fireworks displays that were going on around us. I think at one point I counted five different displays that we could see… we were surrounded! O ran around the front yard catching fireflies, occasionally stopping to point out fireworks and yell, “BOOOOOOOM!”
On Saturday, we headed to our little lake property. At the last minute, I decided to make a flag cake… Mostly because I wanted cake. For making it up as I went, I think it turned out well!
It’s a layer of sliced poundcake, topped with a whipped cream/ cream cheese/ powdered sugar/ vanilla mixture, topped with fresh berries. Then top with another layer of sliced poundcake, more cream cheese mixture, and berries arranged to look like a flag. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve…It’s delish!
Once it started to get dark, we headed down to the lake and boarded The BF’s uncle’s boat (ours is in need of a repair or two before we can get it out). The older kids had a ball swimming around the boat, while O enjoyed checking it all out.
I bought tons of glow necklaces and bracelets at the Dollar Tree, since I didn’t want O getting too close to sparklers. I think the adults had more fun with them than the kids!
After the fireworks, O fell asleep. We tucked him in on the couch and then hung out by the fire and ate s’mores.
Sunday was a pretty lazy day. Once O was down for a nap, I finished my article and sent it off to the client. We grilled cheeseburgers and corn on the cob for dinner, with cole slaw, potato salad, and some cantaloupe that we picked up at a roadside stand.
It was a great weekend…I definitely wasn’t ready for it to end.
How did you celebrate the 4th?
My Mamaw’s birthday was on Sunday.
We had a cookout, with hamburgers and hot dogs and loads of other goodies.
I made the birthday cake. I really like making cakes for our family gatherings, but it presents a bit of a challenge. Two people in our family do not get along well with lactose, one of which happens to be Sunday’s birthday girl. I typically spend some time the week before, researching ingredients to make sure that everyone can enjoy cake without worrying about a nasty reaction. It’s a fun challenge to try and come up with something other than a plain white dairy free cake.
This one was such a winner, that I’m thinking I may need to make it again very soon.
Lactose free strawberries and cream cake
For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3 ounce package strawberry gelatin
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lactose free buttery spread
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs (you could use egg substitute if necessary)
1 1/4 cup lactose free milk
Preheat your oven to 375 ° and spray two 8 inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy. Line the bottoms with parchment and set aside.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and gelatin in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat buttery spread until fluffy, then add sugar and vanilla and beat some more. Add eggs and mix until blended.
Alternate adding dry mix and lactose free milk a little at a time until everything is combined and you get an even bright pink color (no white swirls). Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about five minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
For the icing:
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup buttery spread
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup lactose free milk
About 2 pints fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut in half
Blend the Crisco, buttery spread, and vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Once combined, add milk a little at a time until you have the consistency you want.
When you assemble the cake, top the bottom layer with icing and arrange strawberry slices in an even layer. Pop the second layer on top, frost, and then use the remaining strawberries to decorate the cake.
The cake was so good it completely disappeared. That middle layer of icing and strawberries is magical. Unfortunately, it was pretty warm and a smidge humid on Sunday, so my decorative strawberries started to migrate south before I snapped a pic. It was still a really good cake.
I was a bit afraid to really go for it with the strawberries in the middle, because I didn’t want it to be soggy… Turns out, it wasn’t soggy at all and I wish I had used more strawberries. That was pretty much my only regret…Besides forgetting to tell my mom to put bacon in the broccoli salad.
And then I bit into a cherry tomato and it squirted the birthday girl right on her white shirt, so basically I’m saying you just can’t take me anywhere.
So the boy’s first birthday was Saturday.
I think the party was a success. Good lord, I hope the party was a success. I think I have bald spots from pulling my hair out over details that, truth be told, people probably didn’t even notice.
The monster pops were a huge hit.
Everyone loved the food… Ham, pork loin, roasted chicken, sandwich fixins, broccoli salad, potato salad, cole slaw, pickles and olives, cocktail weenies, party meatballs… We even made green punch with lime sherbet and ginger ale.
We made about 144 cupcakes. By the end of the day on Friday, I didn’t want to even look at another cupcake.
Ok, not true. I just ate a cupcake.
Then there was, of course, the cake. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of this cake. Not sure that I’m a fan of the garbage can lid, though.
The boy had a blast. I think he really enjoyed smashing the cake once he figured out what to do.
This party wouldn’t have happened without help, of course. The BF’s mom and my parents were kind enough to give up a Friday to help me with food and general party prep. I can be a bit of a Nazi about stuff when getting ready for something big, so they all get big props for putting up with me.
Well I expected to be posting again by now but apparently I’m a horrible judge of how long it takes to move. Then again, I’ve never done it the grown up way… my favorite way to move is to sell everything that doesn’t fit in my car. Pretty easy!
Unfortunately, when you get a BF and a baby you can’t do it that way… or at least, that’s what everyone told me.
The BF and a crew of big strong men moved everything from the old house to the new one last weekend and I’ve been unpacking and cleaning and arranging and pulling my hair out ever since. Moving is fun!
As annoying as the whole moving process is… I’m so happy we did it. Of course, it happened during the same week that O had a very minor surgical procedure… so I had to put some of the unpacking on hold to administer TLC for my sweet boy.
Anyway, I’ve been incredibly busy this week so I had to take a break from posting. I did have time to make a lactose-free cake for my Mamaw’s birthday and a couple of crafty things for the new house.
Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with a cake and icing recipe for y’all… but for today, I think I’m going to take a break from everything and just relax.
Right after I do the dishes, fold some laundry, and go to the store…
My favorite little girl on earth turned 1 on Sunday. I was certain it was a mistake because I swear she was just born yesterday, but her mother assured me it was true.
What does she know?
So, before I say anything else about the cake I do want to mention that I am employed again. Hooray! I got the job through a temp agency here in town and I’ll be the receptionist for a woodworking tools company for the next three months or so. Paychecks are neat.
Ok, the cake.
I offered to make this cake because I thought it could be a lot of fun… Miss Mally is in love with Mickey so Brette (her mother, my friend) and I looked at a few different pictures until I got a good idea of what she wanted.
I went through a lot of what The BF would call R&D (research and development)…
The cake itself was…well, a piece of cake. Sorry, couldn’t help it. In the top left of the picture you can see a few of my many attempts at getting Mickey heads just right…
There were some mishaps… I had to eat a couple. Rooty even got one. I iced the ones I liked the most with black decorator icing.
Ok, I realize they don’t look exactly like Mickey… But at this point I wasn’t even sure they’d make it on the cake.
R&D, folks. Tasty, tasty R&D.
I cut the cakes into smaller mini-cakes, stacked the layers and crumb-coated them, then put them both in the fridge. After the first coat set up I tried and tried and tried to get a smooth final layer of icing on them.
Guys, I just couldn’t do it.
I thought all was lost until I realized I had everything I needed to make marshmallow fondant.
And seriously, I don’t know why I’ve been against fondant for so long. This stuff is an absolute dream. I love it.
Side note: If you decide to make your own marshmallow fondant make sure to really grease up your hands, counter and rolling pin. A bench scraper is also great to have on hand because even if you do coat every surface with Crisco it still sticks on occasion.
After two days of work and much rolling and shaping and cursing I ended up with this:
Honestly, for my first attempt at working with layers and fondant…I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.
After destructo-baby got a hold of it, we ended up with this:
I’m not sure, but I think that’s a sign of a satisfied birthday girl.