Saturday, December 10, 2011

Double-Digit Birthday Boy Celebrating!

My son is double digits! His birthday was Friday.  It’s hard to believe.  I can’t really remember life before Asher, but I certainly can’t believe I have a 10 year old, and that we are fast approaching adolescence!  I debated on whether or not to post about his birthday celebrating because I have already written about Strawberry Cake, his cake-of-choice.

But because he is my child who most likes a celebration in our family, I thought it would be fitting to share some of what we did for his day.

Our goal is to try to celebrate in a way that really honors the child, and isn’t too much work and doesn’t cost too much.  Intentional and simple is the goal.

We had a few of his friends over and had a scavenger hunt in the city. They set out into the city to FIND THE MISSING MUPPETS! (Asher loves the Muppets and loves adventure so it just made sense)! It was crazy-fun, 10 year old boy style. 

Gonzo, one of the "rescued muppets"

And they returned home for pizza, fruit kabobs and strawberry cupcakes (read HERE if you want the history of my son and strawberry cake).  This year I attempted to bring the theme into the cupcake by making these little Kermit toppers with an image I found online.  It was funny to see 24 little Kermits sticking out of pink cupcakes.

For the past few years, Asher has asked that I make a giant cookie (cookie cake) to take to his class on his day.  So, I made the requested giant cookie and we took it to his class to celebrate with his classmates.  The children were so fun and cute and excited.  One boy said, “truly, this is the best cookie I’ve ever had in my entire life!” “Wow! I’m so glad!”, I replied.  It's really the easiest thing to make.  I gave that little guy the scoop on how to make one at home.

Do you ever make a giant cookie?  They are so great because most everyone loves a chocolate chip cookie.  And what could be better than a giant one?  Well, I guess that chocolate chip cookie being topped with buttercream frosting!

I use the basic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that’s printed on the back of the yellow chocolate chip bag.  I make one alteration, that originally my friend Melissa B. suggested.  Instead of the ¾ brown sugar, ¾ white (granulated) sugar, I usually use 1 cup brown and ½ cup granulated.  It just gives it a little more toffee-like flavor. 

As I was cutting the cookie in the classroom, I told the kids about the MATH that I was doing, trying to figure out the division of the cookie, to cut enough pieces that were the same size.  I asked them to help me think through the math.  Then I told them of the math I had used when making the cookie to change the sugar proportions and asked them to solve the fraction problem.  It was fun and his teacher was glad for proof that MATH IS USEFUL in life!

Making the cookie is so easy.  I made it in a pizza pan.  I lined it first with aluminum foil, (main reason being that my pizza pan has holes all through for even-pizza-baking, and I didn’t want gooey cookie dough oozing out of the holes).  Of course you can use a rectangular jelly-roll pan instead.

I blob the dough out with my small cookie scoop and wet my hands with water to pat the dough evenly, without it sticking to my hands.

Bake until golden.  The edges have to brown in order for the middle to be done enough.

After cooling, frost a design with buttercream frosting, making sure you put enough frosting that every slice gets a little frosting!

Asher loves green (especially lime green) so I colored the frosting lime green. I have to recommend that if you have never used food coloring gels, you need to try them.  They now come in squeeze bottles, which are really convenient and not messy.  They make all kinds of colors and I got this set last year at Michael’s Craft Store, when I was making the Dia de Los Muertos cookies and needed bright colors!  Two drops make a lime green.

We also did a couple of things to start his day that I found through PINTEREST.  (If you haven’t discovered Pinterest, I’d love to introduce you to each other).  They seemed very "Asher" and he did love them.

We put streamers all across his door, early in the morning, so that he woke to a streamer-web.  My thought was that he would bust through in the morning, as a passage of entering into his double digits of life!  To my surprise he said, “WOW! This is cool!” and got on the floor and shimmied UNDER the web on his belly, as he didn’t want to mess it up.  I didn’t see that coming! And during his party, with boys in and out of his room, they were all crawling their way in under the streamers.

We also made a sign of 10 things we love about him on his 10th birthday on butcher paper to hang on the hall wall outside his room.  (We saw this idea on Pinterest too).  It was really fun to make and fortunately, it was not hard at all to come up with 10 qualities that we love about him.
He loves the banner.  It was fun to make a list of qualities that we love about him, that we wanted to make sure he knew were big deal qualities that we admire.

We had a couple of adult friends help out with the scavenger hunt.  When I asked Will and Rich (who drove and led one of the cars of boys on the hunt) what the highlight of their team was, Rich said, “The Banner.” And he shared that Asher had told the group of guys in the car about the "10 Things We Love About Asher" banner and the guys all responded, “Oh, that’s sweet”, “Oh, that’s great!”, "Oh we did that for our Aunt when she turned 50".  Rich and Will expected the guys to make fun of it, to give him a hard time. But rather, they thought it was cool.  This is in juxtaposition with the following events, a few minutes later, when they were hanging upside down on the monkey bars reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and drinking coke until they burped.  Perhaps this is the beauty of ten-year-old boys, I am learning.  


  1. I absolutely love the banner idea! And his friend's reactions show how much kids desire for their parent's to tell them what they love about them and how they're proud of them!

    My best friend "tried" making me a giant cookie for my 17th birthday a couple years back. Bless her heart, she ended up bringing me the 4 failed attempts in a huge baggie that said, Happy Birthday...remember it's the thought that counts.
    We will have to try again together over Christmas break!

  2. We love Asher and I'm so glad you posted about his birthday. Julie, you have taught me more about valuing and celebrating birthdays than anyone in my life! I'm thankful for that. I got all choked up just now thinking about the "beauty" :) of 10 year old boys hanging upside down, drinking coke, and burping! I love it! What a fun, simple, and memorable day for Asher! I hope that this year is his best yet!

  3. I second all of Melissa's sentiments! I'm so thankful for the friend Asher is to my boys...he really is such a great kid. Yay for double digits!!!

  4. This is a great idea, Julie! I'm going to bake one for Ellie's class on Friday in honor of her birthday!

  5. I made this last week and was surprised by how much it grew. I left about an inch around the edge of my stone, but it spilled over the edge when I baked it. I cut off the mess and the rest was great. Just leave some room to grow when you try it!