In honor of Finn, we host a backyard bbq birthday partay! Here he is on his big day with his “2” shirt that we picked up from our Minneapolis neighbor over at FOX AND OWL. He managed to get mustard all over it within the first 3 minutes of his party. What can I say, we have one of those “always-messy” kids.
The party planning all started a few weeks ago with an invitation. Finn’s been in love with a red wagon down at the neighborhood hardware store and I’ve known for a few months that it was destined to be his 2nd birthday present. I’m not such a huge fan of themes so I tried to be subtle about it.
I gocco’d these FINNvites myself. You can see more about my process over here at my Yo!, Gocco Flickr set.
I don’t know what it is about me and baking. I am a good baker, but any time I try to do something it always takes me twice as long as it would for anyone else. I always have screw-ups and end up sending my husband out for late night butter runs, and somehow in the end it always turns out okay.
For Finn’s party we had velvet cupcakes with vanilla frosting, homemade vanilla ice cream, red wagon sugar cookie party favors, and an arsenal of hard candy.
This is not my first frosting rodeo. I have made the vanilla frosting on the cupcakes before, and I was commanded that for this post I include the recipe as it was deemed “the best frosting ever.” So here you go, now you never have to worry about frosting again.
This recipe was found in “More From Magnolia: Recipes From The World-Famous Bakery and Magnolia’s Home Kitchen” via epicurious.com
Yield: Makes enough for one 3-layer 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.
Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer—set a timer!). Use immediately.
When I was searching the internet for party ideas I came across a red wagon cookie cutter, I knew immediately what I must do with it (and this from a girl who isn’t big on themes.) Since I already had one dessert, I decided the next best thing is sugar cookie party favors. I set to work on 24 of these bad boys on a Monday night and voila, I finish my masterpiece on Thursday night, 10 hours of hard work later. Thanks to Emily the pastry queen for holding my hand through this whole process, I don’t know what I would’ve done without her help.
Here’s a close up of the finished product. I tried three different cookie recipes before I settled on this one from Martha Stewart. I should’ve know, Martha knows all.
During a slow afternoon at work I was able to pop out 10 handmade paper pinwheels in no time. A speedy cheap way to liven up a party. In my version I used wooden dowels and basic thumb tacks. I’ve also seen this done using pencils and eraser ends, but I would recommend my “wooden dowel” version to anyone interested in trying this out.
These looked great as bouquets and in the garden.
During Finn’s birthday last year my husband Jeff and I decided that we wanted to make Finn a different kind of baby book. Instead of going the more traditional route we have decided to archive each of the first 3 years of his life in a photo book format. In the first page of each book we have included a letter from us for Finn with reflections on that year of his life. I hope that this will become something Finn enjoys looking back on as time goes on.
And just in case anyone might be wondering, we had these books printed via blurb, a really easy way to make cool books.