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.
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.
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.
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.
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??
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.