Wednesday, November 27, 2013

making sculpted cakes

Since our first sculpted cake (for my 30th birthday party), we’ve come a long way and have learned a whole lot. All the credit needs to go to Nuno who can take anything his imagination comes up with and bring it to life. I’ve also discovered a couple cake recipes that hold up to stacking, sculpting and resist crumbling when coated. 

Now we have Owen helping us. He helped a whole lot with his birthday cake this year in particular by baking all the cakes with me (5 for the ground and 4 for Michelangelo’s head). When baking together I have Owen add all the measured ingredients calling them by name with each addition and then stirring. This time around I added an extra task for him - he got to turn the stand-up mixer on and change the speeds. Boy, was he ever thrilled!

And who could forget licking the bowl and spatula? That’s a very important job as well.

For Owen’s Ninja Turtle cake we had two different cakes. The sewer was 2 layers of vegan chocolate cake with the centre cut out. The brickwork border were broken graham crackers covered in a layer of melted modeling chocolate set over crumpled parchment paper (to give a uneven texture). The idea worked out pretty well and tasted pretty good.

Mikey’s head was 4 layers of 8” Versatile Vanilla Cake.

This was one of Nuno’s easier sculpting jobs because the general shape just needed to be cut away from the cake tower.

One thing that has made cakes a lot easier is to have some non-edible elements. This helps by saving time because sculpted elements made from foam can be made weeks in advance. Last year Owen’s Rex cake had a long tail that was made of foam and then covered with fondant.

This year Nuno made the sewer plate was sculpted from a foam disc. It was then painted and the underside (which actually touched the cake) was covered in paraffin wax to keep it safe for everyone. The really great thing about having these elements means Owen gets a keepsake from his cake to play with. This is important to Nuno because he also hand made his birthday candles but had to abandon that effort. Wiser choice for sure!

Although at times in the past things get a little hairy with these cakes, problems and issues are now down to a minimum. And the cakes are coming together quicker and with more ease. Best of all they are making for memorable birthdays for our kids.

Monday, November 18, 2013

owen's 4th teenage mutant ninja turtle birthday party

This Sunday Owen celebrated his fourth birthday party and asked the theme be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It’s really funny when your kids are interested in some of the same toys and cartoons you grew up with. Case in point being Ninja Turtles.

My husband was a huge fan as a kid so it didn’t take much arm twisting to have him get on board with this theme.

Nuno came up with an idea on how to make the cake and we all loved how it turned out! (my next blog entry will detail the cake construction). 

Owen’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all came down to celebrate with us and what a blast it was!

Nuno came up with an idea of how to turn our punch container into a lemonade dispensing Mutagen Tank.

Yes, Owen LOVES lemonade, but no surprise because he actually sucks on lemons and claims to love the flavour.

Many of the elements of this party glowed. The mutagen splatters on both table cloths were Martha Stewart’s Glow-In-The-Dark paint and the interior of the Lemonade Mutagen Tank glowed (courtesy of glow sticks adhered to the top of the tank).

I baked the platter of cookies with the recipe for soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookies book but with mini M&M’s substituted for chocolate chips.

Being in the last month of pregnancy and holding events (as I learned with hosting Thanksgiving at the exact same time in my pregnancy with Owen) can be exhausting, so this was the year of scaling back. The main way we scaled back was to not make as many handmade decorations and ordering in food. What Ninja Turtle party would be complete without pizza?

We also ordered Dim Sum from Asian Legends. It really made such a difference. I think we’ll end up doing this from now on simply because the cake construction is a huge undertaking in itself.

This really looks like a junk food & sweets overloaded party, doesn’t it? We make exceptions for special occasions in our family. But there were a few healthy options including a veggie tray and fruit skewers on watermelon turtle shells.

We had a Michelangelo piñata smash for the kids which was wild, luckily no one got hurt. And after being showered in taffy and lollypops from the piñata we had cake!

Hopefully the sight of a mutilated Michelangelo didn’t scar any of the kids for life. Thanks to our families for sharing in Owen's special day.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

35 weeks pregnant daily pics

It's time for another week of daily pics. And we're getting bigger by the week here folks. Now, something unexpected happened in the middle of the week this week, the baby dropped into my pelvis. Anyone who's been pregnant before awaits this time because it means the baby's head is getting into place for birth and you can suddenly breathe again - ah! As great as this turn of events was bringing us one step closer to meeting our girl, it also brought uncomfortable nights sleep and well, to be honest, a lot of pain. I'm feeling a lot of pressure in my lower back and pain down my legs. I can't seem to even lift one leg at a time and by the end of the day I need assistance walking. So, I'm looking forward to seeing the obstetrician next week and finding out if this should be of any concern or at the very least if there is a possible plan for relief that doesn't mean having to wait 5 weeks (or more) until after delivery.

Monday - my semi-sheer Micheal Jackson glove top!

Tuesday - navy tube dress - love these!

Wednesday - peplum shirt is cute and flattering with jeans

Thursday - grey tube dress

Smiling extra big because it's Friday!

Everything I wore this week was about comfort. I'm decidedly packing away all the heels now which is unfortunate because I was wearing heels up until the day before Owen was born. I guess you can't expect to have the same sort of pregnancy you had when you were younger.

I'm also trying something new starting this week, Raspberry Leaf Tea. I heard about it on The Social (love this show!) last week and I guess it helps strengthen your uterus to make your contractions more effective. I really like the idea behind this if it in fact works. One issue I ran into when in labour with Owen was that my contractions weren't effective enough and they needed to place me on a pitocin drip. If I can somehow help speed things up when it's time that's a great bonus, right?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween Thor-sday

How was everyone Halloween last Thursday? Spooky? Soaking? Laced with Sugar? Ours was all the above. We started Halloween with Owen finally deciding on a costume. I’m thinking we might have taken the fun out of dressing up by having a tickle trunk filled with costumes for play year round. So Owen kept changing his mind from Willie the Giant, to a Clown, to a Swamp Creature, to Super Mario and finally to Thor!

The weekend before the holiday Owen attended his first kids Halloween dance party at the Niagara Artist’s Company which he enjoyed. Then on the day his school had a costume parade and party. I was shocked at the amount of loot he came home with from school alone! Not only were the school parents generous, a co-worker of mine organized a little desk-to-desk trick or treat for him after school.

When it came time for the evening neighbourhood trick-or-treat the kid was almost out of his mind from the sugar and exhaustion of the day. Eventually as he saw the kids coming to the door he got raring to get out and get ‘em.

I couldn’t let a pregnant Halloween dress-up opportunity pass by. When several of my coworkers told me they were dressing up to the office I quickly put together this 50’s Housewife Costume. Unfortunately heels this high don’t work this far along in pregnancy. By the end of the day I was aching and had to opt to hand out candy instead of joining Owen on his trek through the neighbourhood.

At least I got to see all the adorable kids in costume and enjoy our pumpkin sitting on the porch.