It is safe to say that birthdays are a “gather around the table” event. They are honored with gifts and hoopla, cemented in our memories with photos and, these days, if the parents are really irresponsible, they can even make a TV show about your birthday.

We haven’t gotten crazy with birthday parties in our house…but I do make birthday snacks to send to school.

A little muffin with your monster truck?

This year was all about monster trucks, including the red velvet cake and most of the gifts. These monster-topped snacks were actually applesauce muffins with a thick glaze instead of cakes with icing.  The chocolate sprinkles helped make them look a little more like regular cupcakes.

And, let’s see,  last year I sent little mice. These were really fun to make.

Mini chocolate cakes with white icing piped on…mini ‘Nilla Wafers for ears, M&Ms for eyes, a mini kiss for a nose and long chocolate sprinkles for whiskers.

Let’s talk about birthdays…not the food part, but the other part. The tradition and celebration part.

The older our boys get the more I think about how much we, as parents, are in control of their experiences and memories…that the traditions we create will be the background for their childhood memories and the launching pad for their own adult perspective. Several years ago I was taking a class at our church and the instructor told us about the birthday breakfast tradition in her family. After hearing her explanation, I realized it was genius and promptly stole it as my own.

Our first Birthday Breakfast in '08

Her reasoning for the family celebration happening at breakfast was that it becomes nearly untouchable. I mean, even when the kids are 16 and 18 and wanting to have parties with their pals and take trips…are you ever going to have to give up the family birthday breakfast? Probably not. Chances are good that’s a meal they’ll still have at home.

Birthday Breakfast in '09...getting fancier with the pancakes.

Breakfast is one of the easiest meals of the day, too…and it’s not a stretch to get most breakfast staples to feel like dessert.  Hello? Belgium waffles. French toast…  a la mode.   See?

Also, decorating is a snap because you can do it the night before and have it be a fun still-groggy-stumbling-into-the-kitchen surprise.

Birthday Breakfast '10 with monster truck pancakes, chocolate chip hubcaps.

And then really fast-forward to the years where there are girl/boyfriends involved, wives/husbands and kids of their own – chances are still good that the birthday breakfast tradition will continue, if they live close enough.  The instructor of that class was telling us about it because she had just had a birthday breakfast that morning with her oldest son and his wife and their three kids and she was so delighted the tradition was holding up.

A mom can hope, right??

Not so sure about this whole party thing...

We’ve extended the breakfast celebrations in our house to the adults, too. (Confession: I’m a more savory breakfast kind of girl, so I usually request eggs benedict instead of monster truck pancakes…but really as long as there is caffeine, I’m happy.)

So, I’d love to hear about other family birthday traditions…really, do tell. I’m not above stealing ideas from you, too.


10 thoughts on “Birthdays!!

  1. Selena Shelley

    You are seriously the cutest and most amazing mom ever! I love the idea and love the sequence of Lincoln breakfast birthday pictures. But I think the mice cakes is what did me in… I think I would be the coolest kid in my preschool if I brought treats like that. Do you deliver ?? 🙂

  2. gatheraroundthetable

    Aren’t those mice super cute? I stole those from a website I can’t remember…or I’d have given credit.

    You are sweet, as always. So, let’s have it…any birthday traditions???

    1. Selena Shelley

      I don’t remember any super cute birthday traditions as a kid, although I can guess my dad made pancakes for me every year since they are (and always have been) one of my favorites. I like the idea of a tradition like that and will remember that when we have kids.

      As an adult, I had a run of probably 10 years where I went to a different sushi restaurant in Seattle with a bunch of friends for my birthday. Rotated it almost every year, until I ran out of good ones and then started going back to my favorites. 😉 That was fun and I think Michael and I went to sushi last year here in CO!

      1. gatheraroundthetable

        This makes me realize that I haven’t had lunch yet and sushi sounds so, so good. (and birthday pancakes rule!)

  3. Christy Nielson

    Cute! My family did something similar with dinner. And, way back then, we didn’t celebrate b-day dinner with anyone but our family. There were additional celebrations at other times, but birthday dinner was family time.

    I’m married now and we’ve carried on the tradition and upped the ante. Now, it’s dinner *out* and it’s all about the birthday spouse being completely surprised by the birthday dinner location. If they happen to guess, the reservation is cancelled and the search begins again for a surprise locale. (We’re getting smarter about *not* trying to guess – we ruined some good ones before we wised up!)

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Oh I would have a hard time with that – I hate surprises! I suppose you could always just guess the places you DON’T want to go, just to be sure. Fun! (And now that you are in a new city, you have a whole host of new choices!)

  4. Jen Hannah

    LOVE the idea of birthday breakfast! And the monster truck pancakes… those rock! 😀 We did a party when we were younger, then birthday dinner as we got older. The one constant? One of the presents was always underwear. Even in public. With all my friends watching.

  5. Selena Shelley

    LOL. When do sushi and pancakes not sound good? Those are always on the top 10 (separately, of course ;))!

  6. Pingback: Birthdays – I have to share now! « Gather Around The Table

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