We really enjoyed celebrating Rainer's birthday simply this year. I'm not against children's birthday parties at all--I do think the birthday child should be specially celebrated--but I'm not a big fan of the huge parties that seem so common these days. Nor am I a fan of the piles of presents that come with them.
I have done a lot of children's birthday parties in the past (mostly for Faith and Jacob over the years--some really cute ones--and a small party for Dieter last year), but more and more I am warming up to the idea of not having a birthday party for them, other than the family party of course, and then just doing various seasonal family parties throughout the year to foster a sense of community and fun (without all the birthday party stress and expectations). That sounds just about right to me.
So we kept things simple this year and it was really great. Breakfast, cookie decorating, a swim, and having the grandparents up for dinner. You should have heard the boys shouting for joy when their Gam and Papa arrived! Such a sweet sound.
Thanks so much for all of your sweet birthday wishes for Rainer! In answer to your questions: the morning present he opened was Tegu blocks. They are wooden magnetic blocks. I think magnets are so fun the play with and do you think I could resist magnets encased in beautiful wood? No way. Rainer has been having lots of fun with them so far. They're a success.
Our cookie frosting sets nicely in about an hour and the cookies can be stacked and frozen after that. Best of all, they contain no raw egg, so there are no worries about that. Here's the recipe:
Best Sugar Cookie Icing
1 c. powdered sugar
2 t. milk (I always have to use more than this, maybe like 2 T.)
2 t. light corn syrup
1/4 t. extract (vanilla or almond)
food coloring per your preference
Push the powdered sugar through a sieve to remove lumps. Blend powdered sugar and milk with a whisk, then whisk in corn syrup and extract until smooth and glossy. Divide into ramekins and color as you wish. We apply the colors mostly with a spoon and spread them around with the back of it. Allow cookies to set in a cool place.
Rainer had hoped and dreamed for the "duel action lightsaber" for months and months and was so excited when he got it. I love keeping the gifts simple. He got the Tegu blocks and the lightsaber, a new blank sketchbook, and my parents got him a board game and some clothes. Truly, a boy does not need more than that.
Brotherly love! (Except when they are fighting over the new lightsaber. Dieter can barely keep his hands off it).
How do you handle birthdays at your house?