Just over one year ago we had a new addition to our grizzled old family - my little nephew Alby was born. Alby is the first grandchild for my parents and my sister-in-law's parents, and his arrival was quite exciting for everyone - particularly as it was a somewhat difficult pregnancy and he came out to say hello to us all a little bit before he was fully cooked.
Luckily for him, a healthy appetite seems to run in our family and he's been growing like a champion since that day. He also managed to figure out the whole walking thing before his first birthday, probably in order to get himself to food more easily.
One of the highlights of my trip up to Geraldton over the Easter weekend was Alby's first birthday party. I was beaten to volunteering to make the birthday cake by my sister-in-law's mother, and a first birthday party is perhaps not the ideal environment for a baking showdown so I agreed to bring along some cupcakes. I soon got planning.
Sometimes there is no getting past the fact that I'm an engineer. I may not be the type of engineer that designs roads or calibrates engines but give me an opportunity to create a spreadsheet or draw up a plan and I'm all over it. Exhibit A:
The cupcake blueprints
Choosing the type of cupcake to make was pretty straightforward. Alby had never eaten cake before, and if he was going to eat any on his birthday it was definitely going to be his birthday cake, so the cupcakes were made with the adults in mind. Carrot cake is one of the favourite types of cake for my brother and sister-in-law, so it was an easy decision to make my tried and true carrot cupcakes (from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook).
After a manic morning, I was glad that most of the people at the party would be either very little, or very related to me, as decoration of the cupcakes took precedence over decoration of myself. This also came in handy when the food came out, as I did not feel inclined to be dainty and ladylike when presented with chicken wings, triangle sandwiches and saucy pastries. I don't eat this type of food very often, so I made sure to eat enough to keep my going until my next such affair. I also have to to say I was much more impressed with my sister-in-law's doily effort than the ladies at the bowls club for my Nanna's 80th.
Sliced veges, crackers and dip, fairy bread, triangle sandwiches (mock chicken and cheese & ham), mini quiches and sausage rolls, chicken wingettes, buttered hot cross buns
Soon it was time for the birthday cake, so out came Mr Teddy, brought to life by Alby's maternal grandma. Poor Mr Teddy didn't know what he was in for. Alby may not have tasted cake before, but it didn't take him long to figure out it was a good thing. He managed to get a good few fistfuls shoved in before Mr Teddy was rescued, put out of his misery and carved up for the rest of us.
After his exciting cake experience, Alby got back to what he does best - hooning around and playing with exciting things like pegs and rocks. He had been pretty quiet for a while, which some of us had noticed but noone had mentioned. The reason behind his quietness was soon revealed however when my brother realised he had something in his mouth. The mystery item was quickly fished out, and discovered to be a chunk of well sucked chicken gristle from the end of a chicken wingette. A chicken wingette that he had been sucking on TWO HOURS BEFORE.
Yes, my little nephew had spent two hours cruising around, drinking from his little water bottle, shoving fistfuls of cake into his mouth, and all the while was hoarding some tasty gristle in his cheek. Learning from the ways of the chipmunk, he realised it was probably a good idea to keep some tucker handy just in case you got a bit peckish while having a good game of grab-the-peg. Clearly there had not been a mixup at the hospital - Alby was fitting very nicely into our family of gluttons.
Little Master Farter seemed to enjoy himself immensely on his big day, and I'm already looking forward to the next one when he'll hopefully be able to identify the strange creatures I make in his honour and be able to fit even more secret food in his little cheeks.
Why didn't I think to make a water monster and a monk to go with the monkey and pig?
Chicken Little - red and orange jelly beans, brown mini m&ms, orange m&m
Bunny/cat - white marshmallow halves with pink sugar, brown m&ms, pink jelly bean, chocolate sprinkles, flaked coconut
Pigsy - pink marshmallows, brown icing nostrils, brown m&ms
Monkey magic - quartered Kingston biscuits, halved chocolate digestive, chocolate and red icing, brown m&ms
Today also happens to be the birthday of my little blog! Unfortunately I have been drowning in marking this week and so haven't had a chance to bake anything to mark the occasion, but I shall be having a wee tipple tonight in celebration. Thanks so much to every one of you for reading, keeping me excited about writing, and helping keep this creative outlet alive. Big slappy perfectly timed high fives to you all! Woot!