Graham successfully turned four. Wow!
The surprise arrival of Grandma and Papa went off without a hitch, and both boys were, well, surprised.
We had a fun party, and a great visit, though my dad did throw out his back on Monday. That put a damper on the last couple of days of the trip, especially for my dad, but what can you do? Take muscle relaxers, that’s what!
Here are a few party shots.
I made this fruit salad with a yogurt, honey, vanilla sauce. Just slice your favorite fruit and drizzle with non-fat, plain yogurt, honey and a splash of vanilla, to taste. If you use bananas, squeeze the juice from half an orange over them first, then add the rest of the fruit and yogurt sauce. Any leftover sauce can be saved in the fridge for a few days and used as a fruit dip.
Graham requested fruit, cheese, crackers, salami, and veggies and dip for his birthday “lunch.” Easy.
The real star of the party was the cake. Graham has been asking for the same cake for months: rocks, dirt, grass, and trees. You might remember Garrett’s birthday last August was the first time I attempted an artistic-type cake. It was such a success that I decided to tackle Graham’s cake, and even up the design factor a little bit. I was thrilled with how it turned out, and I think he was too.
Here it is a little closer. The bottom layer was vanilla cake with brown tint stirred in. The rocky top section was made from a couple smaller loaves of chocolate, sliced up and placed haphazardly. Here’s a not-so-secret secret: I use boxed cake mix. Always. I substitute apple sauce for the oil, and do the high-altitude variation, and voila. Yummy, moist cake every time. Why make it harder?
The buttercream is homemade, from a recipe my cake-tastic neighbor gave me. The “dirt” is crushed Oreo cookies, the rocks are chocolate rock candy from a local store, and the waterfall is just tinted frosting. The grass I made from tinted coconut, and my mom piped green frosting on upside down sugar cones to make the pine trees. Bam! Best cake ever!
Seriously though, I realize I’m no pro. One search online will prove there are many folks out there who can do this kind of thing much better than I can. Still, I wanted to try, and I’m so excited about how it turned out. Graham was too, and that’s all that matters.
More exciting than the cake, however, were the presents. And the best one of all? Not the Legos (though those were, of course, a huge hit), not the art supplies (though Graham LOVES to color and was very happy with his art-related gifts), not even the “not too big and not too small” car he asked for. Nope.
Fake grass. As in turf. As in Mike went to Home Depot and bought a square of turf, rolled it up, and wrapped it. Ok, my mom wrapped it, but still. Yes, Graham really did ask for fake grass for his birthday. A strange wish, perhaps, but easy to fulfill.
There he is, standing on his very own patch of turf. Sorry for the terrible photo, but you can’t tell a four-year-old where to stake his claim. Looks pretty happy, huh?
Yup, Graham had a great birthday. Unexpected visitors, a party with family, a “rockin” cake (ha, ha, get it?), portable lawn, and a big brother to help put together new Legos. And by help, I mean totally take over.
Now, it’s back to reality. I’ve got a house to get in order, projects waiting for attention, and a new coaching business to launch. Not to mention I owe you guys some meatier posts. Whew, I need a nap.
Happy birthday, Bubba!