A Birthday Feast on Epiphany

It’s hard to write about a celebration on a day like today, but regardless of what is going on in our country, today is Ryan’s birthday, and we still wanted to celebrate him, even though we spent most of the day glued to the news. So, while we watched in disbelief, I carried on with the special dinner I had planned for him, starting with setting the table. (At one point while I was preparing for our dinner, I yelled so loud at the TV that I almost shattered a glass!)

The meal included a standing rib roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans with almonds, Brussels sprouts, rolls, and spiced apple rings.

It was a nice meal, in spite of everything:

For dessert, he asked for Oreo truffles. Since I didn’t have a cake to decorate, I made a fancy display for them, which I was pretty happy with.

I even found a fun star-shaped sparkler (that’s what happens when you have an Epiphany birthday), to top the truffle tree:

It wasn’t the birthday celebration he wanted, but it certainly will be an unforgettable one.

15!

Today is Moose’s 15th birthday!

We started the day with a breakfast of his choosing…toaster strudel:

He did have school today (which was a bit of a disappointment after the unicorn that was the birthday long weekend last year!), but since he’s doing distance learning, he was able to open his presents at lunchtime, which is way better than waiting until after the school day is over!

For dinner, he requested White Castle, which is easy enough to carry-out:

And he wanted a chocolate cake with m&m’s…I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

Now all five children have celebrated their birthdays in the time of COVID-19, from Turkey’s 17th birthday in March the week the stay-at-home order was announced to today, at a time when we’re wondering if we’re going to see increased restrictions again. We haven’t been able to go out to eat, or have family and friends over, or even go somewhere fun for any of the birthdays, but I think we’ve still had special celebrations, and it’s certainly a year of birthdays we won’t forget!

Sweet Sixteen

Today is Bunny’s 16th birthday!!! It was our fifth family birthday celebration in the time of COVID-19, and while things are more open in our area, we’re still mostly staying home, so we didn’t have company, we didn’t go to the spa (which had been our original plan when we talked about her birthday months ago), and there was no dinner out, but I think she still had a fun day!

We started with presents, of course:

After opening her gifts, we spent the day watching some of Bunny’s favorite movies: Field of Dreams, Zootopia, Spies in Disguise, The Sandlot, and Hamilton (of course). I made one of her favorites (Stromboli) for dinner, which I hope made up for us not going to a restaurant.

This year’s bunny cake was modeled after Bunnie from Animal Crossing…I think I did a pretty good job, although I wish I had gotten a brighter yellow dye for the frosting.

The one silver lining in the cloud that is COVID-19 is the everyone was home to celebrate Bunny’s birthday with her. Originally, Ryan would have been traveling for work this week, and Turkey and Ladybug would have been at RSCM camp, so she was very happy to have us all together to celebrate her!

My Third 39th Birthday

Today is my 3rd 39th birthday, and the fourth family birthday we’ve celebrated since the pandemic began. It was, as the other three have been, a slightly different celebration from what we’re used to, but still fun!

I started the day with a birthday greeting from Roald in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Since I still haven’t gotten Roald to move to my island in New Horizons, this was very exciting, because I love it when Roald wishes me a happy birthday!

My animal neighbors in New Horizons did have a party for me at Antonio’s house, and there was cake and presents, and even a piñata. As far as birthday celebrations in the time of COVID-19 go, this was really fun!

After church in the living room (again), I got to open my presents. And one of those presents was extra exciting, because it means I can invite Roald to my New Horizons island!!!

My other gifts were wonderful, too:

Since we couldn’t go anywhere, and I because I love Christmas so much, I even wore a Christmas print skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing:

The day was spend watching some of my favorite movies (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and A League of Their Own) and TV shows (I Love Lucy, Everybody Loves Raymond, Rick Steves’ Europe, Downton Abbey, The Golden Girls, and M*A*S*H), and baking cookies, as we always do on Sunday afternoons now.

For dinner we had one of my very favorites…Reuben casserole.

And a tiramisu layer cake for dessert, topped with 39 candles in the shape of a question mark!

We didn’t get to leave the house like we did last year for my birthday, but we had a really fun day!

Thirteenth Birthday, Isolation Style

Today is Ladybug’s 13th birthday! We now have FOUR teenagers in the house!!!

We started the day with cinnamon rolls, per her request. They weren’t homemade, but honestly, the ones that come in the can are pretty good!

Present-opening was up next…I think she was happy with the gifts she received!

We spent the afternoon watching some of Ladybug’s favorite movies (Spider-Man: Far from Home, Spies in Disguise, and Tron: Legacy), while she worked on her new Lego set. We also had a socially-distant visit from our pastor, which really brightened her day, especially since she couldn’t have her grandparents visit or go anywhere interesting.

Speaking of not going anywhere, since we couldn’t go out to the Bosnian restaurant Ladybug had originally been planning to visit for her birthday dinner, I attempted making cabbage rolls for the first time. I think they turned out ok!

Ladybug asked for a guitar cake, and I think it also turned out pretty well. The strings were even straighter than I usually manage! As always, I was tickled that the words “Happy Birthday” have exactly 13 letters, which makes for the perfect candle arrangement on a 13th birthday cake!

This was our third birthday celebration in the time of COVID-19, and at this point, I’m guessing it won’t be our last. I think we’ve managed to find fun ways to celebrate, even if it’s not the way we would usually do things!

It’s Great to be Eight!

Time for another birthday, self-isolation (family-isolation?) style! Hey, at least the last one was less than a week ago…this hasn’t been going on that long (yet)!

Today is Chickadee’s eighth birthday…I can’t even believe it! It was kind of a strange birthday, starting with church live-streamed into our living room, plus an unexpected snow shower. And of course she opened presents this morning, too…she got a lot of fun stuff, and I’d like to play with it all, too!

Since we couldn’t do the things Chickadee wanted to do on her birthday (particularly going to the zoo), we spent the day watching some of her favorite movies and TV shows…both Frozens, Harry Potter, The Lego Movie, and Sailor Moon. And of course we couldn’t go out to dinner, so Chickadee asked me to make a family favorite: breakfast for dinner. She picked breakfast sandwiches on bagels, which is a real treat!

For her birthday cake, Chickadee chose sticky toffee pudding instead of the elephant-shaped cake I’ve made for the last few years (that hurt my heart a little!), with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream. We all really enjoyed it!

So that’s another birthday celebrated in a very unusual fashion. At this point, I’m wondering to myself how many other family birthdays/special occasions will fall under the shadow of current events. One thing is for sure…we certainly know how to celebrate at home!

Seventeen?!?

The world is crazy right now, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating Turkey’s SEVENTEENTH birthday today! An added bonus: Moose was with us all day, as he’s now doing school from home!

We started the day with gifts. There were quite a few Lego sets, which Turkey started building right away.

We spent most of the day watching episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. All while enjoying the scents of…Thanksgiving? I had an extra turkey in the freezer, and Turkey asked if we could have a mini-Thanksgiving dinner for his birthday!

Instead of pie for dessert, he went with birthday trifle, topped with what has turned into an alarming number of candles:

I think he had a nice day, even with all of the uncertainty in the world around us. I know I had a great time celebrating him!

Dinner for a Monumental Birthday

Today is Ryan’s 40th birthday (and Epiphany), so of course I had to make a special dinner!

He hadn’t yet decided what he wanted for his birthday dinner when I ran across whole beef tenderloins on the cheap at Aldi, so I made an executive (chef’s) decision, and bought one, telling him he could choose what I would turn it into.

He picked Beef Wellington, which I’ve only made once before. I think I did an excellent job this time, from the trimming to the preparation, and the sides of mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, asparagus, and sautéed mushrooms were the perfect accompaniment!

It really was a lovely dinner (if I do say so myself):

Ryan requested birthday pie for dessert, so I made the peanut butter pie that has been a new favorite this holiday season, and our family’s favorite s’mores pie. It’s hard to see, but the candles even “spell” out 40!

Thus endeth another season of festive meals. I’m both relieved and sad that I won’t have another fancy dinner to make for a while…as of now, the kitchen is closed!

14!

Today is Moose’s 14th birthday! We started the day with gifts (of course!):

He spent most of his day assembling Lego sets and playing the new video game his siblings gave him…it’s the perfect birthday for Moose! He was especially excited to build in front of the Christmas tree, which I made sure was up in time for his birthday…that was really important to him, and it makes the rest of us happy, too!

He wanted a chocolate cake decorated with Star Wars light sabers. I’m not terribly happy with how it turned out, but he liked it, and I guess that’s all that really matters:

This birthday was extra special, because for the first (and only) time, he has a five-day weekend because of the way teacher conferences and Veterans’ Day landed on the school schedule. I’m really enjoying spending his long weekend with him!