Lightning McQueen and a House Full of Four Year Olds

I can’t believe my baby is four years old!  His party was a smashing success.  This was his first birthday party where the house was filled with almost as many children as there were adults (almost).

Car Races & Water Fights

While the kids ran races in the cars my husband made out of old boxes and soaked each other with the water shooters my parents brought, the adults sat around on our decks, enjoying the view and the company, and eating “Luigi’s Lasagna Bites” and “The King’s Kale Salad.”

The weeks of planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, creating and decorating were exhausting and overwhelming, but completely worth it when the first child arrived and my son, in a voice filled with awe and pride, said, “Come see the Lightning McQueen cake my mom made for me.”  Then they stood and stared at it for quite some time.  Actually, I think that was one of the only times the entire day that I saw Ollie stand still.

I was so pleased with how the cake turned out, and I couldn’t have done it without my mom, who stayed up until midnight with me the night before the party, mixing colors for the frosting, helping put the “road crumbles” and white lines on the cupcakes and generally cheering me on.

She often goes on about how she doesn’t like to cook and how she’s not so good at it, and this always make my sister and me roll our eyes.  First of all, the vegan dishes she has been perfecting over the last year are delicious.  But more importantly, when I think back on my childhood parties, the main thing I remember are the cakes that my mom created for us.  Beautiful hand decorated cakes or ones with the most delicious butterscotch frosting that my sister and I still make for each other’s birthdays. Home cooked meals are alive and well in my house, and despite the protestations I know I will hear from my mom, they are because of her.

PS – I would be quite remiss if I didn’t thank my dad as well.  Not only for enthusiastically eating everything my mom, my sister and I have ever made for him, but also for the incredible amount of work he also did to get our house and yard ready for the big party.

Fluffy Vanilla Cake

Please visit sweetapolita’s blog for the recipe I used for Ollie’s cake.  It is by far the most moist, delicious white cake recipe I have ever found.

Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Butter Frosting

adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

1/3 cup soft butter

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 – 3 tablespoons milk (add 1 tbsp at a time to check consistency)

Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer.  Add the vanilla and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.  Add more milk to thin out frosting for spreading if necessary.