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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 15 October 2012

4 Years Old!

My boy is officially 4 years of age. It was exactly four years ago today when our lives were completely changed, and I wouldn't want it anything different. Being a mother has its challenges, and I am being totally honest when I say it is the toughest and most exhausting job I have ever done (and I've done quite a few challenging ones). However motherhood is also the most rewarding, and I am very proud of my little boy. We had an early celebration on Saturday with five of his friends, and it looked like the kids had a lot of fun! With good weather and a couple of great barbecue cooks, even the adults looked like they were enjoying themselves.

We hired out our residence's BBQ Court and rented a small bouncy castle and some ride-on toys from a toy rental shop, which was just right for a small party:

The pre-lunch snacks as arranged by my younger sister (who visited Hong Kong for a few days to also celebrate the boy's birthday):

The BBQ was in capable hands - thanks to my sister's boyfriend who is great at the BBQ (as most Aussie blokes are!):

The table, arranged in an efficient manner by my younger sister who has far more experience at hosting parties and barbecues than me:

The cake, modelled after my son's Playskool's Deci-Bot toy that teaches numbers and counting with fingers that light up. The candles are supposed to represent four of Deci's fingers:

There was a lot of fuss over the cake by both adults and kids alike, which was unexpected and slightly embarrassing for me:

For the cake, I'd baked a Chocolate Butter Cake following this joyofbaking.com recipe using the same baking pan as last year's birthday (which is actually a lasagne pan, but it worked just fine for cakes for the second year in a row). I then froze the sheet cake to make it easier to frost. I drew out a template of the Deci-Bot toy, enlarged the image using our printer/photocopier to a desired size, made some orange-flavoured buttercream frosting, then sat down to carving the cake and decorating it. It took about four hours to assemble and decorate the cake, but I did it with more confidence than last year. I actually wasn't terribly pleased with how it was turning out, but hubby and sister said it looked good, which encouraged me enough to finish it.

A closer look at the cake, shortly after it received its finishing touches of multi-coloured jelly beans, soft jujubes and 'cigar' biscuits:

I baked another Chocolate Butter Cake to bring to my son's school so he could also celebrate with his classmates. I'd actually intended to bake the same marble cake as last year, but the boy was quite clear he wanted the chocolate butter cake. I used the same recipe as above but poured all the batter into one round pan instead of splitting into two. That meant the cake took almost twice as long to cook, but it didn't turn out too badly.

Blowing out more candles at school:

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