Birthdays and Puppies and Cakes … Oh my!

Birthdays and Puppies and Cakes … Oh my!

I am obsessed with birthdays!  So obsessed in fact, that when my firstborn turned 6 months old I decided to start a tradition of celebrating half birthdays. From then on, every time my kids’ half birthdays roll around, I make them half a cake, and we sing half of the Happy Birthday song. We don’t sing just the first half of the song. We don’t sing just the second half of the song. No, no, no. That would be too simple. I like to complicate things (it’s a natural gift I’m learning to embrace), so we sing every other syllable of the birthday song…or half of each word – whichever sounds more ridiculous in the moment: Hap___  Birt___  to  ___.  ___py ___thday ___ you….

Here are a few half-birthday cakes I’ve made for my kids…

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You may think I’m nuts for celebrating half-birthdays. I, on the other hand, think I’m nuts for not celebrating quarter birthdays.
This last month we celebrated a full birthday. My little girl turned eight (I’m still confused as to how my tiny baby grew up so fast), and for her big celebration she requested a puppy themed party. Here’s what we did…
For the invitations, I took photos of the birthday girl with our two dogs, Brownie Sunday and Nutella…

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I hit up the dollar store and bought a bunch of dog bowls to serve the food in…

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I made bread dough and shaped it into puppies (using chopped olives for eyes and nose). After the dough was baked, I sliced the mouth part open to create hot-dog buns…

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I filled a large glass decorative jar with dog treats, and had each child guess the amount. The kid who guessed closest to the correct number of treats won a little prize…

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I bought a bunch of stuffed puppies, printed out adoption certificates and had a puppy adoption center. Each kid got to pick out a puppy, name it, and promise to give it a good, safe, happy home…

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I painted the kids’ faces (birthday girl was the only kid who didn’t want her face painted)…

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And, most importantly, I made a puppy shaped cake. Every single year, the night before my kids’ parties, I stay up until early morning, pulling my hair out trying to create a cake my kids will adore. By the time the cake is done, I’m so tired and sick of frosting and food coloring and fondant, that I don’t even appreciate my creation.

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There is such a sense of relief when the cake is finally done (I think I finished it around 4 am)…

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And I love the reaction I always get from my happy kiddos…

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My birthday girl did not want me to poke the sweet puppy with candles, so we put her birthday candles in a cupcake. When I started slicing the puppy cake, all the kids looked at me like I was a puppy killer (the sick, demented part of me had actually contemplated making a red velvet cake…but I refrained). Thankfully, the cake was so tasty that as soon as the kids had their first bites, they completely forgot all about the fact that I was a puppy cake murderer.
Here are a few other cakes I’ve made for my kids’ full birthdays…

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My son’s birthday is coming up next (in August), and he’s already got his requests.  An airplane cake that can actually take off?  Yeah, kid– I appreciate your confidence in me, but let’s stick to something simple. I know! How about a cake that looks like a rectangle? That way, for the first time ever, mommy won’t loose her mind making a cake, she’ll actually get some sleep before your party, AND she won’t be accused of murder…or crashing a plane.  I hear that rectangles are sooooo 2013.

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