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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy birthday (and a coffee cake)

My daughter turned 11 during the middle of the craziness that is the last week of school. I feel bad for her, having her birthday on June 10. Having my own birthday on June 9, I fully understand how it can get overlooked because the schedule on June 10 is more likely than not to include some sort of end-of-year performance, banquet, awards ceremony, or good-bye party. We happened to add in a family reunion with 40 of my husband's relatives on her birthday.

That meant that her party was delayed a bit. And so, today, she is having a couple of friends over to spend the night. We are going out to dinner at a Japanese teppan-style restaurant, and to Hollywood to see Brave at the El Capitan theater. She keeps worrying that I am spending too much money and making things too fancy for her birthday. But that's the kind of kid she is. She is thoughtful and modest and just plain old nice.

She is starting to grow up a lot. I'll admit it scares me a bit. She is gaining independence, staying home alone and starting to go places by herself. I know the purpose of raising kids is to give the tools to be great adults, but it just seems like it goes so fast.

She is extremely intelligent and creative. She loves to write stories... 10-15 pages at a time. She is gifted with descriptions and dialog. Her stories read very smoothly and make you feel like you are right there with the characters.

She loves to read. As a matter of fact, we have had to severely limit her reading time, since she won't quit on her own. She tends to get melancholy after spending too much time with her nose in a book. Often I think she prefers the fantasy worlds she enters more than this one.

Above all, she is unique. Almost everything she does is outside the box (for Halloween she made her own costume... a carrot). Her birthday cakes are no exception. Last year instead of a cake she wanted layered jello. This year, a coffee cake. I had to make it somehow birthday-ish, and so I baked it in a cake pan instead of a bundt pan, which allowed me to frost and decorate it.

This recipe is really good as a bundt cake... the layers of crumble at the bottom and middle give it a little bit of fancy good looks, as well as a delicious twist to each bite. I just put all the crumble in the middle this time, and it turned out great that way as well.

We are celebrating the beginning of summer vacation.... so even though my little girl really wanted a coffee cake, I couldn't resist the urge to "birthday" it up a bit.