Why, Hello, Week of Christmas

Good morning, lovelies! How was your week last week? I’m so glad I took a little break from the online world, it was definitely needed to get things somewhat put back together ’round these parts.

Is it me or does it seem like the blogging community is waking up a bit these days? It seems like no one has blogged in years, and suddenly there’s all of these “coming out of hibernation” posts popping up and oh my goodness, it makes me so happy! My heart loves blogging, first and foremost. Instagram is great and all, but reading through people’s thoughts and decision processes, accompanied by good photography…that is my jam. Give me thought-out content that’s worth my time, not some silly little reel stitched together in fifteen seconds.

My crafty thoughts for this week:

  • I’m really hoping to get the Patchwork Forest quilt done.
  • I don’t think Sew Many Stars will get finished this year, and that’s OK.
  • The “Fair Isle” knitting project won’t get even get started this year.
  • “Stripes” and “Pattern I Don’t Like” are more than halfway done each; I think I can only finish one before Christmas, and I’m paralyzed regarding which one to pick.
  • I am going to bake some Christmas cookies this year, darn it. I had a day set aside last week, but the Universe really conspired against it happening, and by the time I could finally embark upon said baking, I was way too tired to even start. I do have a whole day set aside this week to bake with the kids, though…fingers crossed!
  • I had THE BEST IDEA while I was laying around in my sick bed this month, and I’m excited to share it with you later this week!

I hope you have a fantastic week, friends. Opt for the more restful options and just enjoy this season without taking on the things that stress you out. You’re amazing and strong, and I hope you find some beautiful crafty time to fill your soul.

Meal Planning and Sharing Cooking Responsibilities with Teenagers

I’ve noticed an uptick in views on my two autumn meal planning posts in the past couple of weeks, and I thought I’d take a moment to write about how we’re doing dinner in our home these days with four relatively kitchen-ready kids. Quarantine really had the kids baking and cooking a lot out of sheer boredom, and I’ve had a lot of back and foot pain for the past year, so we’ve morphed into a more “all hands on deck” meal preparation group.

Summer Recipe Master List

As summer was beginning this year, I put in three zucchini plants in the garden because our one zucchini plant in 2020 failed and I didn’t want to run that risk again. I then decided to go through all my cookbooks and find every zucchini recipe I could so that I’d have an arsenal of ideas for dealing with the very likely avalanche of zucchini we’d encounter. Whilst perusing zucchini recipes, I noticed a lot of fantastic vegetable recipes that I’d always wanted to try every summer but had never gotten around to preparing, so I decided to make a giant master list of summery recipes in my bullet journal. I tried to choose as many recipes from this master list over the summer, and the kids got caught up in the novelty of it and started helping me prepare dishes. By the end of the summer, we often had four different people working in the kitchen at once and could get a full, vegetables-included dinner on the table in about forty minutes.

Another recently-added consideration is that I’ve developed a soy allergy, which means I can eat very little processed foods anymore. Soy is in freakin’ EVERYTHING, people, UGH! So we’ve had to start making a lot of stuff from scratch, which means more cooking and time in the kitchen.

I decided to invest in a 24″x36″ whiteboard at the beginning of autumn and drew in gridlines. With school and after school activities returning to something resembling normal, I knew I was going to become very busy very quickly and that we were going to need a dinner command center that the kids could consult if I wasn’t home when it was time to start cooking dinner.

I went through my cookbooks again, this time for autumny recipe goodness, and now I spend a little time each Saturday morning while Michael and I are catching up and planning out the next week to write down each day’s activities in the top boxes on the meal plan board, and then I use my autumn recipe master list to plug in some dishes in black ink. (Or, for busy weeks, we just have easy-to-make foods, obviously.) As the kids wake up, they come along and write a star in their personal color next to the dishes they’re going to make, keeping in mind what they’re going to be up to that particular day in regards to music lessons and the like. (Don’t volunteer to make anything if you’re not even going to be home at dinner!) It’s been a godsend with my foot surgery recovery…very little standing in the kitchen for me anymore.

Last week’s meal plan, with activities blurred out because it’s a bad idea to post your kids’ schedules on that internet.

It’s interesting to read through the many iterations of meal planning that I’ve done over the years. It just goes to show that we’re always adapting to new circumstances and abilities, and if it works for you in that moment, then it’s the right choice. I used to get critical of myself for not doing things the way I saw other adults doing things in their homes, and it’s only been recently that I’ve really figured out that it’s ok to change the way you do things and it’s ok to not take another person’s advice if you have a pretty solid expectation it will not work for you. You do you, and I’ll do me. But share what you’re doing so I can steal the ideas that will help me out, and I’ll keep sharing what I’m doing in case you want to steal some of my ideas, too.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closure



The kids gathered around the dining room table for their first formal day of “online learning” this morning.  The girls were left to their own devices (and I only had to reprimand one of them during the course of the day for goofing off before they were done with their schoolwork) and I had Nathaniel work on his stuff in my craft room so I could keep an eye on him, which was needed a few times.



00100sportrait_00100_burst20200318095105345_coverBecause I was waiting to see if I’d get a package from Jaftex today, I didn’t want to start cutting out a dress or anything big, so I whipped up a couple of hair scarves from a pattern I bought when I went to Sew Expo a couple of weeks ago.  (And I have no idea why my hair looks so short in that photo, but it’s definitely making me think that a chop-off would look super cute!)

The kids were all pretty much done with their work by the time the “school bus lunch” alarm went off at 10:35am.  Our district is making sure all the kids eat during this break by delivering breakfasts and lunches via the bus routes, so we headed over to the bus stop and the kids were happy to say hi to their bus driver when she came ’round.

While we were waiting for the lunches to arrive, the FedEx truck rolled on up to my house and I had to wait a whole ten minutes before the bus came and I was able to retrieve my package from the front porch!  The agony!


Because, yep, that package contained fabric.  Adorable farm animal fabric that will work spectacularly well for a baby gift for a friend and her impending arrival:


So. cute.  I love those little sheep, and that green print that just begs for some fussy cutting.  I think I’ve settled on a pattern, which won’t be as involved as I would like; but, I wasn’t planning on making a quilt in the next six weeks, so it’s got to be a bit of a quick sew so I can still fit in all my spring clothing sewing.  Whew!  Busy hands leave little time for wandering thoughts, so I’m thankful for the plethora of projects at this anxiety-provoking time!  It’s going to be a cute little quilt.  Plus, this collection–“Best Friends Farm”–has both a quilt panel and a soft book panel to sew up, too.  Lots of cute little projects to share with you over the next little while!


Well, good night, dear readers.  I hope this is a peaceful time for you; a time to reconnect with family and a time to spend in a little bit of self-reflection.

And if it can’t be that, then I wish you wonderful success with whatever it is you choose to use to diffuse your stress.  Lucky me, I’ve got a kid who stress bakes, and she made some absolutely delicious soft pretzels this afternoon.  I wish you the kind of happiness that comes from eating a soft pretzel on a sunny day with your family.  Whatever that is for you, I hope it’s happening.  Stay healthy and safe!


Autumn Meal Planning

The kids are back in school, the house is quiet enough to allow for thinking again, and the mornings are getting a little cooler.  This means that it’s time to think about food.  I don’t know what it is about feeling the weather start to change, but some impulse just gets switched on in me to start reorganizing my pantry and kitchen cupboards…and then I start to think about soups, and roasts, and spices…and then I can’t stop myself from poring over my cookbooks.

And then the Autumn Dinner & Breakfast Menus happen.  Mmmm, apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon.

I was talking about my method of meal planning with a friend a few days ago and she demanded that I share it once I got it typed up, so here it is…enjoy!

Autumn 2015 Menu (Dinner)

So, yes, a month’s worth of meals…and then I repeat it TWICE so that it’s actually three months’ worth of meals.  Favorite foods go into the “Week #1” slot because a quarter is actually 13 weeks long, so that week gets four times at bat.  I like my autumn meal plan to end with the week of Thanksgiving, so that I can start my winter meal plan with the Christmas season, so that means this year I’ll morph into my autumn cooking on Monday, August 31st.

Mondays and Tuesdays are all crock pot meals because we’re busy after school or have something happening close to dinner time.

Wednesdays are “easy to make” or “uses leftovers” because I have church responsibilities on some Wednesdays, so I need extra time for last minute prep and the like for that.

Thursdays are my “I have time to cook awesome food” days.  (I really like good food.)  I try to choose one weekday each quarter that I’m going to zealously protect from outside interference, and I really like it to be Thursday.  Then I’m home all day for the most part, I have time for more involved recipes, I do a lot of my crafting, AND Thursday is the night before all the week’s homework is due, so the kids need to be home for that.  No outside activities on Thursday, and our tummies are full with good food so we can crank out a solid homework session after dinner together. (I also try to have a dessert on-hand as well…it works well as a carrot for tough homework sessions, or as a treat for us all not killing each other over math homework.)

Friday is Date Night, either at home or out on the town, so Michael and I eat grown-up restaurant food and the kids get to have the food they love that Michael and I don’t want to eat.

I love alliteration, so Saturday is “Soup, Salad, or Sandwich” dinner day.  I usually make some sort of soup stock on Saturday morning from all the peelings and ends of vegetables I’ve used in the past week (I keep them in a container in the fridge), so soup is a natural next step for dinner.

Sundays are “Mexican Sundays,” which is something we started while we were in Australia and couldn’t find any decent Mexican food.  It was such a huge hit that we’ve kept it up since we’ve returned, even though I’m getting a little sick of it.  The kids love it, so it keeps being a thing.

And I’m trying something new this autumn by having a breakfast menu too:

Autumn 2015 Menu (Breakfast)

I don’t have a breakfast listed for the fourth Saturday, mostly because I can’t think up another potato-based breakfast, but also because I’ve decided that a “free day” might work nicely.

I do have themes for each day, which has worked well enough in past years, but I find that I’m in a bit of a rut with breakfast now, and there’s always some really great recipes that I just don’t think of at 6:30 in the morning, or while I’m making up my shopping list, so this menu plan will help me realize my dream of pumpkin waffles and apple cinnamon everything in the mornings.

Mondays: Oatmeal.  I don’t know why, that’s just how it’s always been in our house.  The kids don’t like it much anymore, so I’m trying some new flavors and combinations in the hope that they’ll re-convert.  I try to serve some sort of yogurt or nut alongside for extra protein.

Tuesdays: Eggs

Wednesdays: WAFFLES.  I’m obsessed.  (And, hello, alliteration!)  We usually have some bacon with them, too.

Thursdays: Omelettes

Fridays: Pancakes.  And sausage links.

Saturdays:  Potatoes.  Michael loves potatoes for breakfast, and I don’t, so this is my special “I love you/Happy Getting to Stay at Home Today” gift to him on Saturdays.

Sundays:  Muffins or quick breads.  I love muffins and quick breads, but I’m too busy during the week to make them, and they’re not the most filling, but I do have time on Saturdays to bake and then they’re a lifesaver as we’re getting ready for church in the morning.

AND, because I always get to the end of autumn and realize that, once again, I did not make that scrumptious-looking Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, I’ve made up a treat plan, too:

Autumn 2015 Menu (Treats)

I’m pretty excited about the pumpkin cheesecake and the crème brûlée–I have wanted an excuse to buy ramekins and a kitchen torch for so long!

It’s a lot, I know.  And usually by this point in the conversation people ask me why I do this, and the answer is super simple: So I have more time to craft.  And I get to eat good food.  I’ve found that the more organized I am in regards to the daily things–food, clothes, cleaning–the more time it frees up for the creative things, which are some of the more exciting parts of my life.  I don’t see the need to re-think dinner every day, and I’d rather use that brain power for creativity.  My kids are better behaved when they’re well-fed, I feel and think better, and we’re a much happier family.

BUT…I’ve also learned to be very realistic with myself in regards to meal planning.  There are (usually, about four) back-up meals in the freezer for days when everything falls apart (read: sick kids, and I’ve been washing sheets continually since 3am).  And if I notice that a day in the week ahead is all sorts of busy, like those freak show days that end up having dentist appointments and parent-teacher conferences together, I schedule us to hit a drive-thru because it’s stupid to make things harder on an already difficult day.  Then I don’t buy the food for that meal at the grocery store that week because we’re not going to use it.  Good adulting takes a lot of work, but also a lot of honesty with ourselves, and the ability to cut ourselves a little slack when things get a touch crazy.

So that’s it for now.  I do still have to come up with sides and the weekly grocery lists.  (All my grocery lists DONE for the next three months!  Woo hoo!)  I’ll work on those over the next week when I have spare moments.  Food, done.

Appreciating the Teachers

The girls’ last day of school happens today, so I put together some gifts for their teachers and a couple of other staff members at their school.  I trolled Pinterest for inexpensive gift ideas that were easy to assemble because I don’t have access to my gift wrap vault, which is a little sad-making.

Undaunted, I pressed forward and decided upon dressing up regular ol’ paper bags with some paper Christmas doilies, which was ridiculously easy.  The girls were so excited to take “their” gifts to school–there was a little bit of bickering about who would carry the box containing all the bags as they headed out to catch the bus.

I kept it simple, gift-wise.  I baked up some soft ginger cookies and then piped a simple snowflake on top of each one and added some foodie pearls at the various snowflake junctions:

I don’t even know if ginger cookies are something Australians even like, but it was from the heart.  (FYI, Peanut Butter and Jelly isn’t a thing here.  My neighbor asked me what PB&J actually was…”Just peanut butter and jam?  On bread?  Do you toast it first?”)  I’ve questioned a lot of my food assumptions in the past months, especially after having the missionaries over for Thanksgiving.  I’m constantly amazed by how different two first-world, English-speaking countries that stem from the same mother country can be.

I put two cookies in each bag, along with a gift card to a popular chain of stores around these parts.  Simple, looks and smells good, done.

Michael and I were talking about the irony that this is the first time our kids have given teacher appreciation gifts, and how it really was too bad I never received any teacher appreciation gifts while homeschooling.  And then, at the same time, we both laughed aloud and said, “Yarn stash!”

Now that I think of it, a lot of my yarn was purchased at the end of trying school days…

Merry Christmas, Educators!

Bonus link:  Doilies to dress up plain ol’ chocolate bars!  Squee!

Something Beautiful

This is my friend Rachel.  We’ve been friends for a few years.  She’s the friend who “tutored” Bluebird in Latin when we were first starting out two years ago, we embarked on a lofty 72-hour kit creation kick a year ago that she kept up and I did not, and we get to rub elbows a lot in musical pursuits.  I think she is one of the coolest people in the world.  She’s funny, she’s intelligent, she’s…Rachel.

About a year ago we started a short-lived ritual of walking our dogs during my family’s morning recess break.  During this ritual walk each school day (for however long we kept up with it) Rachel and I talked.  We talked about religion, briefly visited politics, talked about the books we were reading, and shared childhood memories regarding various subjects that came up.

We also talked about infertility.  My dear friend wanted to become a mother, and was having a hard time realizing that dream.  I listened as she described what tests and procedures were coming up, I listened as she talked through how she felt about the results, I listened as she thought out loud through something I wished I could fix for her.  I had suggested herbs in the very beginning of her struggle to conceive, but it had become apparent through the years that herbs weren’t going to fix the issue.  I watched her struggle to control her emotions after a round of fertility drugs; she’d wave it off and shrug, saying, “It’s just the hormones.”  So much time and effort to bring into creation a child.  Why wasn’t it working?!?!

I prayed for her and her husband.  My children prayed for one of their favorite people that she could be a mommy like she wanted.  Our family prayed together, out loud, every morning and night, remembering her alongside our cousins and siblings.  “Please, Heavenly Father, if it be thy will, allow Rachel and her husband to become parents.”

I just got home from throwing my friend a baby shower.
She’s due to give birth to a sweet little girl in June.

During those walks and talks I made up my mind, should God bless Rachel with a child, that I would throw the biggest, most beautiful baby shower I could muster in celebration of her impending motherhood.  To work so hard for something deserved a huge to-do!  As luck would have it, other ladies in our neighborhood wanted in on the fun as well, so we went all out.

At Rachel’s request, we had a tea party baby shower; which is funny, because we’re Mormons.  As a collective group, we’re not really known for our tea party-throwing skills.  Therefore, all the “teas” offered were herbal:  Lemon Chamomile, Peppermint, and a rooibos-based Tulsi Dosha Chai.  (I made a little announcement at the beginning of the party that there was no actual tea in any of the teapots, and that no one had to worry that I was enticing them to disregard the Word of Wisdom.)

And it was lovely, oh so lovely.  The looks of delight on the ladies’ faces as they carried their delicate cups of “tea,” the “oohs” and “aahs” over the finger foods…it was pretty, it was refreshing, and it was just wonderful.  I think I’ll be pleased with how well this baby shower went for a long time.  It was one of the nicest things I’ve seen in a while.

Seriously, always throw a party with multiple hostesses.  There were five of us altogether who put the food together, and it went splendidly.  (I didn’t have to touch the Egg Salad Sandwiches or be anywhere near them at all!  Score!)  We all made what we each liked to make, and everything was taken care of.  I was in charge of the tea and scones.  That’s it.  I also made some macarons on a whim, since I’m obsessed with the recipe from Martha Stewart Living and have been waiting for an excuse to try it out just because.

I don’t have a picture with the mom-to-be, but I do have this one with my fellow hostesses.

I told her that I needed a picture of her
with all her swag, and she obliged me so fittingly.
Love her!

There was a good attendance, and we had fun with the various (non-annoying) shower games.  Rachel received some lovely gifts for herself and her daughter, and I saw her make multiple trips to refresh her tea cup.

I took pictures of everything.  I knew I would write a blog post about this awesome party that I helped throw, and I wanted some beauty shots to accompany the play-by-play.  But as I look through the photos, I’m disappointed because they don’t capture the true beauty of the occasion.

Because what is beautiful about all this, after all the tea and finger foods are gone, is that we’re celebrating a miracle.  We’ve watched a heart-wrenching struggle turn into something so joyful that it makes our hearts hurt with happiness, like when you’ve smiled for too long and your cheeks ache.

We gathered together today to bask in the glory of our friend’s answered prayer, to sit together as women and cheer on another one of us who will soon enter the ranks of motherhood.  We thought of our own miracles at home; far, far away from the breakable china we balanced in our hands, while laughing at the realization that we celebrate the arrival of motherhood with delicate servingware and dainty foods when the realities of motherhood dictate that we eat PB&J and drink from plastic cups soon after we are initiated.

We hugged each other, placed hands upon each other’s shoulders in concern, smiled, laughed, and nodded our understanding.  We shared stories of our experiences–stories about our fears of motherhood, our disappointment with some of our parenting choices, amusement over what children say, gratitude for the help we receive and the lessons we’ve learned, and love for our families and friends.  And amidst the clinking of tea cups upon saucers and tearing of wrapping paper, we shared one more thing:  A quiet sense of excitement for Rachel.  She got her wish, her prayer, her love:  She’s going to be a mother.

Which is one of the most beautiful things that this world has to offer.

Cookies & Cocoa

One of my Wise Mama bits of advice:  When you send your (young) children out to play in the snow, set a timer for 30 minutes when the youngest goes out the door.  When the timer goes off, start the kettle.  It usually works out that I’ve just finished mixing up everyone’s cocoa when some of them start heading back in, pink-cheeked and in need of some refreshment.  So much easier than having them clamoring around my knees and telling me how cold they are while we’re waiting for the water to boil.

Autumn Quarter Meal Plan

I used to follow an elaborate method of meal planning until a few years ago when I just couldn’t keep up with it anymore.  My weekly menu planning time ceased to exist for some reason, and we’ve been in a bit of a free fall ever since.  I’m not one for chaos, so I’ve decided to give a quarterly meal plan a go.

I’ve planned out four weeks’ worth of meals, and we’ll go through the rotation three times:  October, November, and December.  I’ll get good at making the same things over and over again, and I won’t have to sit down to plan out the next week anymore.  It’s just done.  Go shopping and cook.

Here’s what I’m planning on making (over and over) for the next three months:

(CP) = Crock Pot

That’s just dinners.  I’m very intrigued by this method of preparing lunches for the week, and I’m going to start planning to implement the practice in the coming weeks.  Food is too basic, too…easy?…to be stressing over.  I’m tired of trying to decide what’s going on the table anymore!  I need to reserve my energy for conversations, teaching (so mentally exhausting) and just enjoying life.  This is something that can be simplified that won’t cut corners because it’s simplified.  I’ll let you know how it’s going as we go along.

Junebug’s 5th Birthday: Snow White Party!

Junebug’s Snow White birthday party is officially over and done with, leaving us only with apple-filled memories and hordes of Disney Princess paraphernalia.

The Snow White theme emerged from the very first thing Junebug blurted out when I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted:  “A Bambi party!”

Me:  “Bambi?  As in, the deer?”

Junebug:  “Yep.”

Me:  “Why Bambi?”

Junebug:  “So we can play ‘Pin the Tail on Bambi!”

After a few more minutes of brainstorming ideas for a “Bambi birthday party,” Junebug mentioned how much she loved it when Bambi showed up in the Snow White movie and helped clean dishes.  I pounced, and we agreed upon a Snow White party in the next few minutes.

Pinterest gave me a lot of great ideas for this party; we decided to decorate crowns, paint with apple halves, make caramel apples, paint fingernails, and play “Pass the Poisoned Apple.”  (After playing “Pin the Tail on Bambi,” of course…)  Junebug had a blast and came over to me to give me a hug and kiss on my leg a few times because she was so happy.  (Awwwww.)

The Invitations

The Food

I made little apple cupcakes, based off of the pumpkin cupcake instructions in Hello, Cupcake!  (Love that book.)

We also served Broken Glass Jell-O in Snow White colors, pigs in blankets (because that’s what Junebug wanted to eat!), veggie sticks, and chocolate-dipped strawberries with cheesecake filling.

The Fun

As guests arrived, we had them sit down to decorate crowns.  (Burger King crowns, spray painted gold by yours truly.)  They had glitter stickers and gems, which stick on incredibly well if you use “glue dots” instead of white glue or anything like it.  (I wish I could remember where I found the glue dot idea because it is wonderful!  I found our glue dots in the scrapbooking section at Wal-Mart…yeah, that easy.)

Next, they used apple halves to paint apples onto tote bags:

We then played “Pin the Tail on Bambi,” and I have no pictures of it!  That might be a blessing for you, because my drawing of Bambi has been mocked by almost every family member as resembling either a:

A.  Fox
B.  Dog
C.  “What is that?

After “Pin the Tail on [Whatever That Is],” we herded the girls into the kitchen where we made caramel apples.

One of my trusty helpers returned for Birthday Party 2.0.

Then we had lunch, and opened presents, and ate some cupcakes, and painted nails.  And then we danced.  Because all the cool princesses dance at parties.  🙂

The End

Bluebird’s 9th Birthday: Baking Party!

It was during the week after Christmas–you know, when you’re fighting the urge to be sad that the big day is over, and you’re kind of euphoric with all the lofty New Year’s Resolutions to which you’re thinking about committing–that I found myself obsessed with the idea of throwing each of my kids their dream birthday parties in 2013.  We don’t do a lot of birthday partying in Brooketopia, mostly due to cost and logistics (newborn babies every two years will do that to you), but here we were going into a new year with no new babies…the idea sounded feasible.
Bluebird and I sat down to gorge ourselves do a little research on Pinterest birthday ideas, and we happened across a pin of a baking birthday party and she was awestruck.  Culinary celebration, commence!

First, we raided the fabric stash and picked out fabrics that somewhat coordinated with each other, and then I settled in for three weeks’ of sewing aprons for Bluebird and her guests:

Apron B from Little Retro Aprons by Cindy Taylor Oates
(Yes, you’ve seen this pattern on the blog before, both the child’s version AND the adult version–I’m totally in love with it.)

Then we hurried about with all the other preparations (amidst all the ear infection fun we were also dealing with at the time) and Bluebird bounced off the walls as she counted down the days until her party.

Finally, the Big Day of Baking Fun arrived…

…but first the girls had to stop and adore Baxter for a few minutes before I could entice them towards the birthday fun.  (After insisting they wash their hands after touching the dog.)

First, they made cupcake liner flower pins to adorn their new aprons, then we gathered in the kitchen to make mini pizzas for lunch.

While waiting for the pizzas to bake, the girls made fruit kabobs which they then drizzled with milk and white chocolate:


I had hired two of the young women in our ward to help me out, and they cleaned up the lunch mess while the party girls watched Bluebird open her presents in the living room.  Then, while the party girls decorated cake boxes, my helpers finished tinting batches of frosting for the finale of the party:

Man, a gang of 8-9 year old girls can pick up the basics of cake decorating pretty quick!  Candies, marshmallows, sprinkles…we had it all and they had a blast creating their own dream cakes.

After decorating cakes, we sat down to enjoy Bluebird’s actual birthday cake, complete with raucous singing and laughing:

Hardly anyone wanted any cake after the candles were blown out because they had just spent the past three hours stuffing their faces with candy, pizza and frosting.  No biggie, just more left over for the other Brookelets when they returned home!

Nine years old.  Bluebird, you’ve been with us for almost a decade!  You bring me so much joy, and I’m happy to indulge your lofty ideas.  You are such a creative spirit and I look forward to fleshing out more of your big birthday plans in the future.