Twelve!

Today is Ladybug’s 12th birthday!

We got an early start to the day, so she could open her presents before breakfast. She received a lot of new Lego: Avengers sets, which she was very excited about. She had, however, figured out what our gift to her was before she opened it, which was disappointing to me.

She planned out every detail of her day, which involved watching a lot of Avengers movies (including Iron Man and The Avengers), plus the Lego Movie 2. I was a big fan of the dinner she chose, because it’s also my favorite…Reuben casserole. And she picked a very chocolaty cake for dessert, filled with both dark and white chocolate mousse, and topped with a whipped chocolate ganache. I couldn’t resist adding trick candles!

I think it was a very fun birthday…I hope she had as good a time as I did!

Chickadee Thursday

Today is Ladybug’s 12th birthday, so of course Chickadee wanted to take a picture with her!

We had a very Avengers-and-Lego-themed day, which explains pretty much everything about this picture!

Seven!

This was the very rare year where Turkey’s and Chickadee’s birthdays fall in the same calendar week. Today was Chickadee’s turn…she is now seven!

We started the day early with present opening and cinnamon rolls. Chickadee was very excited not only to receive a new stuffed elephant, but also her first American Girl doll, and some clothes and accessories to go with her:

We spent the morning at the St. Louis Zoo, where we saw quite a few animals, including Chickadee’s favorite…the elephants:

We spent the afternoon watching Sailor Moon. After a dinner of Pizza Hut, we continued the day’s theme with an elephant-shaped birthday cake:

It’s hard for me to believe that my youngest child is seven. The years since Chickadee’s birth have gone by especially quickly, and I’m constantly surprised to realize what a big girl she is now!

SIXTEEN!!!

Today is Turkey’s SIXTEENTH birthday…I can’t even believe it!

He wanted to get up early and open his presents before Moose went to school:

He got a car for his birthday…a Lego car. It’s a huge set, and he’s been working on it for a good portion of the day, and it still isn’t done. It has a lot of cool features!!!

In addition to the car and a Lego Movie 2 set from his siblings, he also received some Lego gift cards, so we went to the mall this morning, and he picked up a set he’s wanted for a long time. That one didn’t take so long to build:

He decided he wanted a trifle for his birthday, which included a homemade chocolate mocha custard…I think he enjoyed it!

I can’t believe we have a sixteen-year-old in the house. I know I say that about every new age, but 16 is getting awfully close to legal adult status, which makes me feel a tiny bit old!

A Markel Family Epiphany

Epiphany has always been a festive day in our house, because it’s Ryan’s birthday. But for the last few years, it’s been an extra big deal, because Epiphany is the biggest day of the year for the children’s choir. This year was a little different because the holiday fell on a Sunday, so instead of the usual evening Divine Service, Epiphany was observed as part of the regular Sunday morning Divine Service, and the adult choir sang with the children on Mendelssohn’s “There Shall a Star.” Ryan even got to be part of the trio in the first part!

There is always a reception after the Epiphany service, but it was different this year, because it was a brunch reception instead of an evening one. The ladies did a wonderful job of decorating the church basement and putting everything together! As for me, my annual contribution is baklava (my signature dish, apparently), and I added in a more brunch-appropriate coffee cake, as well.

We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at home following the service. Ryan picked chili for his birthday dinner, and it made the house smell amazing for several hours!

He also picked a Guinness cake for dessert, which is definitely our family’s favorite!

So this Epiphany was a little different from normal, but all the basic elements were there…a church celebration and a birthday celebration. It’s a fun way to say goodbye to Christmas!

Thirteen!

Today is Moose’s 13th birthday!!! Yes, we now have three teenagers in the house!

He starts school a little later this year than he has in previous years, so he had plenty of time to open his gifts this morning. The humor in him receiving a Lego City hospital from us (which I purchased months ago) was not lost on me, considering the events of the last week.

Things were even more fortuitous than that, though. He told me a few weeks ago that he wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. He didn’t require a cake with a special shape (that would require fancy frosting), or complicated fillings or anything. So it was an easy cake to make, even with a broken ankle, and it looked really fun thanks to the Funfetti frosting! As always for a 13th birthday, I bought candles that spell out “Happy Birthday” because there are exactly 13 letters in the saying:

It was a more low-key birthday than we usually have around here (well, except for the unexpected snow showers, which he was very excited about…I don’t think he’s ever had birthday snow before!), but he didn’t seem to mind, and I was just happy to be able to celebrate with him!

Tasty Tuesday–A Magical Birthday Feast

It’s already been two weeks since Harry Potter’s (and J.K. Rowling’s) birthday! To celebrate that occasion, we tried out some more recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. I can’t recommend it enough…we’ve loved the recipes we’ve tried so far, and it’s so much fun to have themed dinners!

This time around, we tried Gillywater (a drink made from honeydew melon and mint), hot rolls, Brussel sprouts with b├ęchamel sauce, Chiddingly hotpot (a fantastic stew with many sour notes from two kinds of vinegar and green olives!), and Sirius Black’s coconut cake for dessert (yes, I got Hogwarts paper plates from Walmart!):

No, not all of these recipes appear in the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling never explains what Gillywater is, so the author of the cookbook just went with something green and refreshing (which it was!). The coconut cake is also a creation from the author’s imagination, based on the fact that Sirius Black was hiding out in a tropical location, so she decided that when he sent Harry a birthday cake, it would have a tropical flavor. I really appreciate not only the known recipes from the books, but also the author’s interpretation of some of the more vague culinary mentions!

Tasty Tuesday–A Magical Feast

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

We had a special magical feast last week, based on recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Since today is Harry Potter’s birthday, it seems like the perfect time to share our feast, which included pumpkin fizz, a new Irish soda bread recipe, creamy onion soup, beef stew with herbed dumplings, butterbeer, and an English strawberry trifle:

It was a delicious meal…we’re definitely looking forward to trying more recipes from the cookbook!

Bunny Day (Observed)

Since Bunny was at choir camp last week on her actual birthday, we celebrated with her at home today! We started the day by watching one of her favorite movies (The Sandlot) and we also watched a new-to-us movie (Black Panther).

Her presents all ended up. being rather Harry Potter themed…not entirely on purpose, but it was appropriate after our trip to Universal!

We went to Red Robin for dinner…or as Bunny calls it, “Red Pigeon!”

This year’s bunny cake (I’ve been making her a bunny cake every year since at least 2011) was based on a stuffed Bunny she made herself. Her creation is far superior to mine, but I think she was happy with the cake:

Happy 14th birthday (observed) Bunny!

My First 39th Birthday

I’m really lucky, because my first 39th birthday (you know, like Jack Benny), actually started last month when we were in Chicago. My mom took us out to dinner at the Schnitzel Platz, where I had liver dumpling soup, Rahm Schnitzel, and hazelnut cake. And I got to hear “Happy Birthday” played on cowbells! It was a very fun night!

Today, the Fab Five and I took a tour of Mammoth Cave, and then hiked down to the Green River. It was really interesting and different, and we had a lot of fun…we even got to see deer and a turkey while we were out!

White Castle brought back my favorite strawberry lemonade smoothie just in time for my birthday, so I had to get one:

And then Ryan and I went to Gerard’s 1907 Tavern in Bowling Green, where we enjoyed a very nice meal:

We also had a nice walk around Fountain Square Park. I wore Pinup Girl Clothing, of course!

Back at Ryan’s parents’ house, we had a delicious strawberry birthday cake for dessert:

I really enjoyed my first 39th birthday…I wonder what my second 39th birthday will look like?