Easy 1st Birthday Cake

I’d highly recommend a cake like this, not just for a 1st birthday, but for older children as well.

There are two great things about this kind of cake. First is, it’s fairly easy to make and decorate. Secondly, there is no cutting of the cake, nor plates and napkins to organise. Guests simply grab a cupcake as they wish!

My husband made the cupcakes using coloured cupcake papers in a muffin tray, and a chocolate cake recipe. Then I iced them using the icing recipe on the pure icing packet. I even got blisters on my thumbs from mixing it, that’s a dedicated mum for you! Then I used writing icing in bright colours to decorate the iced cupcakes. I highly recommend that product because it was so easy to write his name, I just needed a steady hand and sat calmly on a stool at the kitchen bench. It was easy to simply put one letter of his name on six cupcakes, making the cake nice and personal.

On a whim I decided to decorate a few with pink icing! I decided there was nothing wrong with having pink icing on my son’s cake, especially his first birthday cake, as it was us who were celebrating, and as his mum I decided I needed some pink! It has certainly been a hard year that I am glad to put behind us.I’ve been looking forward all year to seeing Thomas eat a chocolate cupcake on his first birthday. For a couple of months there I was worried he wouldn’t be able to do it. Feeding my baby and making sure he ate enough has been my main worry all year, although he’s never been technically underweight he’s always been a small baby and small eater. I was so happy when he finally devoured his cupcake for all to see, making a very big mess!

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, the pink cupcakes went first. Most of the guests were mums, and we all like a bit of pink sometimes. They were very, very yummy!!

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Homemade Gift Tag for a Young Child

I love this home-made gift tag made by our friend Lyndal for this year’s Secret Santa!

Isn’t technology great? To make this simple gift tag, perfect for a young child, all you need is a colour printer and access to the internet. Lyndal found a picture of Thomas on my facebook page, and printed it up along with a picture of her daughter, Isabella. And I just love the cheeky grin in this photo, when Thomas has chocolate custard smeared all over his face! This kind of gift tag is perfect for young children who are learning to read.

Thanks for this wonderful idea Lyndal, I think I might just have to use it myself this Christmas!

How to have a simple wedding

David and I decided early last year that we would get married, after he romantically proposed during a holiday at a place called Secrets on the Lake in Montville. The how and when of it was all up in the air. The thought of organising a wedding was very daunting for both of us as we have become real hermits in recent years! But it was pretty obvious to us from the onset that whatever we did, it would have to be very simple and low stress!

By holding the ceremony in the cute and quaint backyard garden of a local celebrant, and only inviting parents to witness it, a relaxing lunch for 6 topped off the day and rain by no means dampened the mood.  The day was all about David and I celebrating our love and making our marriage official, skipping a lot of traditions but keeping the few that were meaningful for us. Below I outline the details of our little wedding for future reference, and how we organised it in about 6 weeks and for a cost of less than $1200 (if you don’t count our rings!).

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Red Hearts of Love

All these photos were taken last Sunday morning. When I saw them in my pictures folder together I realised they were all red so that gave me an idea for a post to join in with Ruby Tuesday hosted by Mary at Work of the Poet!

After a couple of hours of me checking the Pink Saturday blogs and he playing a computer game, we got peckish for some breakfast. We were in the mood for our favourite lovey dovey breakfast, sausages and tomato with love heart eggs and mushrooms!

On Saturday, David took me to a Salvo’s store (Salvation Army charity shop). We hadn’t been there before and there were lots of bargain treasures to be found, some of which I decided I coudn’t bring home. One thing I did grab was this very good toy for developing fine motor and hand-eye coordination in very young children. It’s pretty solid, not flimsy, so I grabbed it for $3. In the background you can see a red love-heart bag. I can’t remember where I got it from but I keep some Barbie things in it, it’s so cute. Also in the background you can see my tiny teddies where they live now, sitting on one of the vintage doll’s chairs to keep Barbie company. The doily you can see I believe was made by my great-grandmother, which I hope to try copying one day.

Another bargain treasure we found at the Salvo’s store on Saturday were this pair of lovey dovey coffee mugs. We’ve decided to collect coffee mugs with love hearts on them, as well as other things with love hearts because we are sooo lovey dovey! /awwww… lol! These are probably not so great because the shape means that one is smaller than the other. I don’t like the idea that to be in love one person must be smaller.

Our first love heart coffee mugs we bought were these very cheap ones we saw at the supermarket a couple of years ago. We got four, one broke and has been thrown away. That’s a shame, I really must remember to keep broken crockery for my mosaic projects I hope to do one day. Two of the remaining three mugs have broken handles, so one is now used as my pens holder by my pc. That’s why I’m afraid to use the 3rd mug for drinking as I have a terrible vision of someone spilling hot coffee over them when the silly handle breaks! But they are just too cute to throw away, they are too lovey dovey! When a coffee handle breaks, it can still be recycled into something useful.

I also took a photo of this very cute red chocolate tin. It cost me $5 full of chocolates from Coles online last Valentine’s Day. I havent’ decided what it will be used for yet, but I’m sure it will turn out to be nice. It’s sitting on top of the table my great-grandfather made, which I will do a post about one day.

I didn’t realise how many red love hearts I have about my house!
❤ ❤ ❤

Be sure to check out other Ruby Reds at Ruby Tuesday!

Highlights from this week’s party

Feast for a Day – Valentine's (part two)

After much planning and a full day of preparation yesterday, this is what we actually ended up having for our special day-long celebration today for both Valentine’s and Chinese New Year.

breakfast
Love Heart Fried Eggs with Smoked Salmon, generous dollops of hollandaise sauce and a sprinkling of fresh chives
Homemade Tomato, Capsicum, Chilli and Garlic Pull-apart Bread
Peppermint & Lemon Balm Tea with honey
Chocolate Coffee with cream & sugar

mid-morning snack
Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch
Poorman’s Caviar with Corn Chips
Lemon Myrtle & Pistacio Biscotti dipped in cinnamon honey

lunch
Smoked Salmon & Carrot Sushi
more Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch

afternoon desert
Love Heart Icecream Cake with strawberries, chocolate sauce, and crumbled pink merringue

dinner
Lemon Myrtle & White Fish Cakes with Sweet Chill Sauce and Basil Fried Rice

How to make

Icecream Cake
6 scoops of strawberry shortcake icecream mixed with 6 cut up caramel chocolates, a handful of crushed cashews, 3 crumbled chocolate biscuits, press into a cling-wrap lined heart-shaped small cake tin and freeze overnight

Mint & Ginger Fruit Punch
1 can of fizzy soft drink (we used Lemon Squash), a tablespoon of fresh ginger juice (grate and mix with a little tonic water then strain), add cut up 2 nectarines, 1 orange, a handful of strawberries and love-heart shaped ice cubes, a handful of fresh mint leaves, top up with Mango Juice as required

Last Night's Cooking Adventures

After my failed attempt at making a crochet shrug yesterday, last night I was ready for the day to have some success. Nigella Lawson’s instant chocolate mouse seemed really simple and I had all the ingredients ready. I was also going to give making a spinach and cheese filo pie a try, too. Surely the recipe on the packet would be one with a high success rate. They want me to buy their product again, right? Something was bound to succeed.

I just love the sight of the marshmellows melting with the chocolate and butter. Gorgeous, that’s art right thar! And it was yummy, too. Dave was in charge of whipping up the cream, as we don’t have an electric gadget for that. After finding a suitable bowl, the cream frothed up nice and goodly, this was bound to work out right. It was when we folded the chocolate into the cream that things went south. Down it flopped! The mixture was very runny, and after reading the written version of the recipe at Nigella’s website, we worked out we should have waited a lot longer for the chocolate mixture to cool. But we had only watched the utube video, when the whole thing took just a few minutes, and she told us that it would. Anyway, now we have several ramekins full of a very yummy, very rich chocolate mixture that almost resembles mousse that we need to consume in the next day or two. And we are supposed to be on a diet! Making this was fun, but I don’t think we’ll be doing it again in a hurry. I have a feeling its going to make me put on 10 kg, just like that yummy baked cheesecake David made for my birthday 18 months ago. But I just Love Nigella Lawson, so much so that I think I can forgive her for not telling us more clearly that we needed to let the chocolate cool!

At least the spinach pie looked appetising enough when it came out of the oven. Admittedly, I did a real rush job on the pastry. It was all falling apart from being folded, so I put whole wads of it in, and didn’t seperate the pieces properly by spraying each one. The filling turned out nice, just some of the pastry wasn’t great due to my hurriedness. With the spinach, I just got a packet of baby spinach and wilted it in some boiling water from the kettle. No need to cook spinach, imho. Hopefully next time I make this, we’ll be able to use the homegrown greens from our garden. We’ve been able to eat a few leaves of rocket on our lunches for the last couple of days, and they are very tasty! Recipes and fillo pastry hints below. More