Friday, October 03, 2014

Birthday Babies

I am so behind in posts. Trust me, I'm feeling the anxiety, as I look at the photos I haven't shared and the recipes I haven't written about.

But it's been a busy few weeks - not least because we had back to back birthday weekends. First, my mom turned 65 and we celebrated by throwing a small party for her, at her house. My brother and sister and I collaborated (with help, of course, from Cooper, Clark and Cail), making way, way too much food and having a lot of fun.

Then, this past Monday, Dixon turned eight. Over the weekend, we had two parties - a boys-only get-together featuring a video game truck, lots of pizza, and a boatload of Nerf weaponry, followed by a tamer Sunday party with our little group of friends and a lot of cheeseburgers.

The parties:
Clockwise, starting at the top left: My brother's perfectly cooked tenderloin (#nofilter!!!); Dixon just before school on Monday morning; Cail's very simple, very delicious crab; the inside of the video game bus; the singing of happy birthday; a monster antipasto platter; Erin's homemade cheese straws at my mom's, 

At my mom's party, we started with a cocktail, dubbed "The Medicare Eligibility Elixir" - it was a combination of vodka, sparkling clementine juice, ginger beer and pomegranate juice. To eat, we had the crab, antipasto platter (lots of hearts of palm, which we all love), cheese and crackers, cheese straws, heart of palm dip, and parmesan and celery stuffed dates. THEN we had cider-braised pork with caramelized onions and Cooper's barbecue sauce, Tom's grilled tenderloin, Cail's garlicky mashed potatoes and a really bright cucumber and cabbage slaw by Erin.

At Dixon's party, the menu was not quite as fancy. Pizza from Pizans and some chips. 

They were equally well-received.

And of course, at both parties, there was cake:

For my mom, my sister made a chocolate hazelnut cake with buttercream frosting, topped with candied hazelnuts (Hazelnut and chocolate are my mom's go-to flavors. If she had a blog, it would be called Chocolate and Hazelnuts.) It was awesome, both flavor-wise and texturally.

For Dixon's birthday, he and Alicia collaborated on the main cake - for the fifth year in a row! This year's extravaganza was a camo cake made using Duff's cake mix (which I made), with buttercream frosting and silver sprinkles, topped with a giant Xbox controller made out of rice krispie treats and covered in fondant. It was impressive.

For Dixon's party #2 - the Sunday friends and family celebration - AKB made vanilla bean cupcakes with buttercream frosting topped with purple Ravens sprinkles. Some of her best work yet.

Two big weekends, back to back, can be exhausting. And it's not over yet! Yesterday was Cail's birthday and next Monday is Cooper's mom's. It's birthday season chez Pollard. Good thing we always have room for cake.

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