My daughter had her 7th birthday party at Pump It Up, a colorful warehouse outfitted with numerous inflatable jumpy things. This operation is a birthday party machine. Parents need not lift a finger during the party; the children’s shoes and the parents purses are even carted along on a shelf with wheels as the party moves through the facility.

While any sane parent would have simply checked the box next to “ice cream cake” when signing up for the party, I have a tradition of making my children’s birthday treats, though I’m beginning to question why. I don’t have a special aptitude for it. I’ve just always thought it’s not that hard. I make cupcakes from a box and use store-bought frosting, and everyone’s happy and the whole thing costs about $10.

Here are Julian’s birthday cupcakes from a year or so ago.

easy-monster-cupcakes

(Find these adorable googly candy eyes on Amazon.)

Scarlett and I saw this tie-dye cake mix on the shelf at the store and bought it.

Tie-Dye-Cake-Mix-GROC

After adjusting Scarlett’s expectations that our cake would not resemble the picture on the box because a) I did not buy three packages of mix to make three circle cakes that need to be frosted together and b) I am not doing frosting and then fondant and then coloring fondant and then cutting fondant into circles and then poking my eyes out with a frosting knife. I’m just not doing that.

I thought it would be fun to cook it in a Bundt cake pan and then frost it with white and then each slice would be it’s own amazing little rainbow.

We made the mix, and followed the instructions to separate the batter into six bowls, one for each primary color and one for each secondary color. The package guided us to use the enclosed food coloring to turn each segment of batter to its assigned hue on the tie-dye spectrum. To our delight, the color mixing went off without a hitch and we actually made purple from red and blue. Or close enough.

rainbow-cake

 

Next we poured the batter, one color at a time into the non-stick bundt pan.

How to make a rainbow or tie-dye cake

Hmm. It filled only a fraction of the pan. I hoped that it would rise or else I only had enough cake to feed about six kids. We were expecting 15, plus siblings who sometimes show up in time for cake.

After the prescribed baking session, I let the cake cool, but perhaps not enough. When I attempted to flip the the cake over, it completely fell apart. Half the cake was glued to the top of the pan. Oh. Shit.

Tie-Dye Birthday Cake: What to do when it falls apart

I had embarked on this project the day before the party for just-in-case reasons, and now I had to consider my Plan Bs.

  • Do this same project over again and hope for better results. I realize that is the definition of insanity, but I suspected that more cooking and more cooling might produce a more sturdy cake.
  • Revert to my usual cupcake offering, taking comfort in the reliability of it.
  • Dig into my creative brain and upcycle this crumbled rainbow cake.

One of the key benefits of Good Ol’ Cupcakes is that you don’t have to cut and plate cake in front of a crowd of children. No one likes that parent-of-the-party-kid job, do they? After some hand-wringing and swearing and giving myself a pep talk in the kitchen, I came up with a new plan. I sent my husband to the store for whipping cream and clear plastic cups and I shut down Operation Rainbow Cake for the day.

In the morning, with a couple hours to go before the party, I made the whipped cream and put it in a tupperware in the fridge so that we could transport it to the party. I scooped a serving of tye-die cake pieces and crumbs into each plastic cup. We packed those in the car and went to the party. A few moments before the pizza was served, I topped each cup with fresh whipped cream.  Suddenly my kitchen fail was a Pinterest-worthy dessert.

rainbow-cake-cups

Wait, I said Pinterest-worthy, right? Here you go.

when-cake-falls-apart

Bonus: I achieved the easy-to-pass-out dessert status I was afraid I’d miss. No public cake cutting for this party. Each child got a cup handed to him or her.

Next time, I’ll plan for cake cups (like cupcakes but accidental?) from the beginning so I don’t waste time crying over spilled crumbs.

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This post was sponsored by Eppa SupraFruta Sangria and Soybu (who offers a discount below)

My real life is not as glamorous as all this. While I haven’t decided how much to share about the BlogHer14 conference I attended over the weekend because I’m never sure how much you guys care about behind-the-scenes stuff. Though perhaps you would like to hear about me being shoved out of the way by Rev Run from Run DMC or asking a question about motherhood to Kerry Washington in front of a large crowd, I figured we could all relate to the universal favorites of moms everywhere: yoga pants and wine!

The conference kicked off at the NamastEPPA Sangria Sundown Soiree, a yoga-themed cocktail party on BlogHer Eve. It was hosted by Heather Barmore, Jenny Ingram, Heather Spohr, and Morgan Shanahan, with Lucrecer Braxton taking photos.

NamastEPPA party, organic sangria is yummy, OM

Jenny, Lucrecer, Morgan, Heather, and Heather

While bloggers were mingling, yoga poses were being struck. The sun was shining (ok, blazing!) and refreshing sangria was pouring down through a mega-cool block of ice to reach the perfect temperature. I now want this ice thingie for Mother’s Day or Christmas if that’s possible, ok?

NamastEPPA party, organic sangria is yummy, OM

Can I add this to my amazon wishlist?

My favorite of the flavors is Eppa Red made with a blend of pomegranate, acai, blueberry & blood orange. My date, Wendy, preferred the Eppa White with peach, mango, mangosteen & blood orange. Apparently Eppa Sangria has 2x the antioxidants of red wine and 3x the antioxidants of white wine. So there’s that. Available at Whole Foods nationwide.

NamastEPPA party, organic sangria is yummy, OM

Selfie-style with beverages out of view. So classy.

What to do with your bottle of EPPA Sangria?

  • Host a Sangria sipping party in your backyard with other mom friends
  • Binge-watch a new-to-you TV show with your partner
  • Enjoy your summer dinner just a little bit more (does this serving of fruit count as a vegetable? yes, yes it does I am not qualified to answer)

True story. A few weeks ago I invited friends to my backyard for a summery backyard meal. I offered to make sangria — because, you know, over-achiever — and spent nearly an hour looking up recipes, finding a big enough pitcher, sourcing ingredients, chopping fruit, before chilling for an additional four hours. Frankly, I would have much rather twisted open a bottle of EPPA sangria made with all organic fruit juices and then just enjoyed the party. Now I know.

And now for that deal on yoga apparel. Visit Soybu, check out the activewear (including the dress I’m wearing below and everything the bloggers are wearing in the top photo above), and use code #NamastEPPA for 25% off. Limit of one coupon per household. Valid through Sept. 24, 2014.

NamastEPPA party, organic sangria is yummy, OM

This comfy dress is totally made from yoga pants material

[Photos by Farrah Braniff (first two), Heather Flett, and Wendy Copley]

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This is a sponsored post: I received product and compensation from One2One Network. Always drink responsibly.

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Loving on our (germy) local library {Rookie Moms Challenge #18}

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Challenge # 18: Check out the Library is one of 52 challenges for new moms on this site. Easy peasy. After our previous Cruise Director meltdown, I felt sure that checking out the library would prove to be a walk in the park, literally. I am really lucky to live in a town with an […]

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I have tried many things to make mornings run smoother in my house — especially school days — like reconfiguring my kitchen so kids can make their own breakfasts, making lunches the night before, and choosing clothes a week in advance. One of our more successful family hacks is an alarm set to kid-approved music […]

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Activity #25: Host an ugly baby (clothes) contest

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Dress up your baby in the worst, ugliest gift outfit and invite over some other poorly dressed babies for a costume party and ugly-clothing contest. Dorky gifts, ratty hand-me-downs, and hopeless mismatches can finally have their day. Try not to be offended if your idea of cutest-outfit-ever winds up on one of the other models. […]

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Star Wars birthday party ideas on a budget

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What’s the difference between a third child and a first child? The first child has a “Star Wars fourth birthday party” and he’s never seen Star Wars. The third child can hum along the Clone Wars theme song before he can even speak. With a new Star Wars movie on the horizon and Clone Wars […]

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Two kids in a room. Or not.

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We are at a conference for the rest of the weekend, so I am re-posting this one from a couple years ago. Heather and I both live in Berkeley where houses are small, and expensive nonetheless. Our neighboring city Oakland is pretty much the same.  If you’ve seen the show Parenthood, which is set here, […]

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Get kids to listen without yelling {FREE class}

July 23, 2014

We are so happy to tell you that we have partnered with Amy McCready’s company Positive Parenting Solutions to bring a free webinar to you guys on the topic of getting kids to listen – without nagging or yelling. The format includes Amy presenting material and a live chat session where we can all ask […]

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Going all Mary Poppins on my bedroom {Rookie Moms Challenge #29}

July 22, 2014

When school was cancelled for a snow day this Spring (argh!), the first thing I did was jump to the list of Rookie Mom challenges and see if there were any I could complete while home with the boy all day long. There was a perfect one: Challenge# 29, Refresh your bedroom. I took Weston […]

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Activity #24: Be a tourist in your own town

July 21, 2014

Today’s challenge is to strap on your fanny pack and be a tourist in your own town with your little sidekick. Ok, I’m kidding about the fanny pack. But how about you two go somewhere only the visitors ever enjoy? If you’ve never taken the time to see your hometown’s greatest hits, choose a destination […]

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What Not To Wear: Baby Edition

July 18, 2014

Poor Winnie the Pooh. Such a nice guy, but moms are not into him these days. We asked our Facebook page about what types of clothing they refuse to put on their children. While this is a very subjective topic, and I don’t imagine we all share the same opinions on these styles, here are […]

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Bikini at 3.5 months post-partum? Yep! {Rookie Moms Challenge #35}

July 17, 2014

The Rookie Moms Challenge #35 is Buy some new jeans but I switched it up because I needed a swim suit. I should also probably claim credit for taking a baby swimming, but I’ll tell you more about that later. Ok so I confess, I headed out to Old Navy about week 2 postpartum because […]

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