Kaylee’s first birthday party pt. 1: a series of unfortunate events

We made it through Kaylee’s birthday party in one piece, but there were a series of unfortunate events that almost ruined her big day.

My to-do list was simply too long this year and I had to make some sacrifices due to lack of time and a multitude of disasters. Things that made the chopping block were one of the fruit sauces for the lemonade, owl lollipops, mushroom cookies, wrapped pb&j sandwiches for the kids, owl bean bags for the favor boxes, and a first year banner.

I saved Kaylee’s birthday cake for last, 10:30 pm on the night before the party to be exact because I like to live on the edge. I used a giant cupcake cake mold, and it looked just like the picture on the wrapper when it came out of the oven. I decided to frost the top half and leave the bottom plain. I used a pastry bag to make a swirled top, which wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be for my first time (anxious about the process I watched a few YouTube videos on the topic). I picked out some pink Strawberry frosting and got to work. One tub of frosting wasn’t even enough to get half of the cupcake top iced, so back out to the store I went. It took forever to find a place that was open and I didn’t end up making my way back home until almost midnight. By the time I got back the top of the ‘cupcake’ had squished the bottom and the entire thing looked like the leaning tower of Pisa. Scott helped me trim everything up so it was level again and I finished up the frosting, added a few sprinkles and tossed the whole thing in the fridge. That was the first and last time I will ever use Trader Joe’s cake mix. And, I’m starting to get the impression that while Trader Joe’s has lots of awesome things, baking mixes are not their for forte. I don’t think Betty Crocker would have failed me like that.

The chocolate owl lollipops were a disaster. I started two weeks ahead of time and used chocolate chips for my first attempt, they looked great at first but slowly ended up crumbly with white speckles by the end of the week. So, I pitched those and went back out to the store to buy some of Wilton’s melting chips in ‘chocolate’ (I think they need a new taste tester at Wilton because these chips didn’t taste much like chocolate at all. I can be quite a chocolate snob though so I guess I’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt). While frosting Kaylee’s cake at 10:30pm the night before the party I saw the owl mold and realized I forgot about them. I asked Scott to try out the new ‘chocolate’ for me so we could get a few pops made in time for the party. Left to his own devices, and never having melted ‘chocolate’ before, he ended up covering the back of the mold with so much chocolate that not only did it look like they had been gnawed on by a wild animal, but the little owls refused to come loose. At this point I decided to throw in the towel on the owls.

The owl cake pops, on the other hand, turned out lovely. They looked just like th e picture in the book – except girly – and possibly a little less owl like covered in pink melting chips (Scott thought they were supposed to be cats!?) They even held up on the trip to the forest preserve and looked really cute in the wooden stand (this was also the base for our wedding cake, awwww). Then, about half an hour before the party, after sitting out for an hour or so, they slowly started to slide down their sticks. Turns out 90 degrees plus humidity isn’t really a great environment for cake pops – f.y.i.

Speaking of frosting…I also made mini gluten-free cupcakes (see previous post for details) – which also turned out great. I even bought a special cupcake carrier made by Wilton to transport them in. By the time we got there about 1/3 of them had toppled over – a design flaw in the carrier, I think a box would have done the same job for $20 less. I managed to salvage most of them by piling the icing back on and twirling it with a fork. However, turns out 90 degrees plus humidity isn’t really a great environment for frosting either, and they began to drip all over each other and the brownies perched on the cupcake stand below.

The morning of the party was quite stressful. Scott walked outside at 8am to discover the truck, that we loaded with all of the party supplies the night before, had a flat tire. Really?! He filled it back up with air and said he thought it would be ok for the drive but that I should stop and get a can of fix-a-flat anyway. I have no clue what to do with a can of fix-a-flat, but luckily the in-laws came over to follow me out to the forest preserve to ensure I got there in one piece because Scott was staying home with Kaylee so she could get a nap in before the party. The tire held up and has not had an issue since.

Because of the whole tire thing I totally spaced out and forgot to get the ice out of the freezer or pack tongs for the grill. A quick call to Scott solved that dilemma.

Scott’s parents and I made it to the forest preserve and started setting up all the decorations. Everything was going along pretty smoothly at this point until I got a call from Scott around 11:15 letting me know he’s running late and won’t be there until 12:15 or so. Luckily most of our guests were also running late. Kaylee had fallen asleep in the car on the way over so she was a little groggy by the time they arrived, but was in good spirits and quickly warmed up to all the new faces. She even walked up to several people whom she doesn’t really know very well and asked to be held.

Scott started up the grill shortly after he arrived. When I went over to visit him to see how everything was going he asked me where the food was. I pointed to the cooler. Then he said there was only one pack of brats and a couple packs of burger meat in there. Ooops – the rest of it was sitting in the freezer back home because I got interrupted by the news of the flat tire just as I was packing up the food. And, off the store I went to buy more brats, for the third time (we lost the first stash of party food to the power outage two weeks ago).

So, other than that, everything turned out great. Kaylee had a good time and our friends all enjoyed seeing her walking around and being her happy, independent, little self. She liked it when everyone sang happy birthday, and she dug into the cake with both hands…and her face. Tomorrow, she’s one for real!

I promise to have more party details and pictures posted soon. I just need to catch my breath first.

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