Mimi Turns Five

Last week Mimi turned 5. FIVE!!! Why does five seem so much older than four? Maybe it’s the specter of Kindergarten just around the corner, maybe it’s that the years fill up all the fingers on her hand now. But whatever it is, five seems to shut the door firmly on babyhood and it’s turning out to be a little hard for me.

But so far being five is working out marvelously for Mimi 🙂

Mimi and E clowning around for her 5th birthday
Mimi and E clowning around
Mimi Playing with her new Calico Critters
Mimi playing with birthday presents

We like to stretch birthdays out around here. For a special treat my friend Amy and I took Amy’s daughter E.S. (who is Mimi’s best friend) and Mimi to Build-A-Bear.  We had scored some gift cards at a discount around Christmas and saved them to celebrate the girls’ winter birthdays together.  They had a blast, but wow.  If she plays her cards right maybe Mimi can get another one…instead of a car after she turns 16.

Mimi and her bestie E. at Build-A-Bear
Mimi and her bestie E.S. at Build-A-Bear

Later that evening I made Mimi’s requested dinner of Korean food (bulgogi with lettuce to wrap it in and kimchi) and baked a vegan chocolate cake and she opened gifts from N., E., me, and my parents.

And then on Sunday we went up to N.’s parents’ house for dinner and ice cream brownie sundaes and a few more gifts including the sweetest sweater from N.’s mom.

Ice cream sundaes at Grandma and Grandpa's
Ice cream sundaes at Grandma and Grandpa’s

Recently Mimi has attended a few birthday parties for cousins and friends so she was very keen on having a friend birthday party this year–with a piñata. Since our house is decidedly not piñata-friendly I reserved the gym at our church and we’re going to do it up this Friday 🙂

So for the rest of the week I’ll be alternating between running all over getting ready for the party and tearfully sniffling into my sleeve that my baby is growing up too fast.

Mimi at 3 months
Mimi at 3 months *sniff*

E’s 8th Birthday Party


20151107_0012_zpsau21qxcp-1 E turned eight at the beginning of the month.  We had a friend party for him at the Discovery Space Center which lets you go on a simulated space mission: piloting and navigating your space ship, encountering aliens, communicating with mission control, etc…  It’s basically like being on the bridge on Star Trek.  The kids really loved it.

Our house is on the smaller side and I wasn’t thrilled about having a pack of 8-year-old boys bouncing around it so the cost seemed very reasonable, especially since I used a $50-off coupon I received on their mailing list.

E’s dairy/egg/nut-free cake from City Cakes

20151107_0034_zpscsihhc6i-1The following day we went up to N’s parents’ house and had dinner and another cake and opened presents from family.  We really like birthdays around here 🙂


Mimi’s Rainbow Cake

At the end of last month Mimi turned four.  It was a crazy time with Sundance going on and N being out of town for work but we made sure to celebrate and had a birthday dinner for her with N’s parents.

I’m not sure where she saw one but when I asked her what cake she wanted Mimi immediately replied, “a rainbow cake!”  Since all our birthday cakes need to be vegan because of E’s food allergies I ended up using a white cakemix with Vegg egg-replacer and then tinting the batter with food coloring.

Mimi was ecstatic to help shake on the sprinkles and had such a good time that I didn’t even mind the almost constant pinging of sprinkles as they hit the kitchen floor and bounced away 😉

She was really, really excited about the cake (And lately the kids have gotten into mugging for the camera, sigh.)

Trendwatch: painting your dining room to match your children’s eyes is all the rage for spring!

I’m so grateful to have this little one in our family.  She is full of joy and sweetness and sass and her laugh is the best sound in the world.

Omakase at Naked Fish

N and I have been wanting to try the omakase (chef’s choice tasting menu) at Naked Fish Bistro for a while and my birthday seemed like a great excuse to do so.

To order the omakase you make a reservation in advance and let them know if there’s anything you don’t eat (we said there wasn’t).  And then when you arrive you’re presented with several courses of with delicious, beautiful surprises.

I don’t know if I remember the details correctly, but starting at the top and left to right:

  • hamachi / angel hair seaweed in vinegar / Kumamoto oyster
  • sashimi: scallop, hamachi, otorro, salmon
  • tempura sweet fish, mushrooms, and okra
  • egg custard with unni and crab
  • miso cod with pickled ginger root
  • lamb with mushrooms and potatoes
  • nigiri: torro, mackerel, gizzard shad
  • azuki bean mochi
The food was wonderful and it was felt luxurious to be able to enjoy it in such a leisurely manner (the meal lasted over over 2 hours) with N and our friends Satomi and Jens.  It was a memorable evening.  

Birthday Dinners

My birthday is later this week so tonight we went over to N’s parents’ house for a little family dinner.

It was delicious and we finished the evening with two (!) birthday cakes, one from our favorite vegan bakery in Salt Lake, City Cakes.  Ever since we found out about E’s food allergies all of our family’s birthday cakes have been vegan and City Cake’s lemon cake is my favorite.  It’s incredibly moist, almost like pound cake, and has a great flavor.  I wish I had the recipe.

We’ll probably take the kids out for a low-key dinner (maybe fish tacos?) on my birthday and then on Saturday N and I are going out to eat at a Japanese place I’m excited about.

I always try to take full advantage of any excuses not to cook dinner 🙂

Mimi’s other birthday party

On Saturday we went to N’s parents’ house to a low-key birthday dinner for Mimi. Mimi loves Minnie Mouse and my mother-in-law decorated to make things extra special. 

My mother-in-law also made a delicious vegan chocolate birthday cake. It is so nice when E with his food allergies can enjoy the same tasty dessert as everyone else.

Everyone had a nice time, especially our newly-minted two-year-old.

Mimi’s Birthday Party

Mimi turned two at the end of January but we just wrapped up the celebrating. We had a couple family get-togethers spread out over a few weeks. My sister and my cousin live nearby, as well as N’s parents, and since it would be hard to cram everyone in our smaller-sized house we met up at a local trampoline place.

I’m so grateful for this funny little bug.  She is such a joy.

Bowling Birthday Party

We’re lucky to have family near by: N’s parents as well as my sister Jan and my cousin Youngshin and their families all live close by. Since E loves bowling we invited everyone to join us at the bowling alley to celebrate his birthday.

I wish I could take credit for the cake but I ripped off the idea from Amalah (1. the design works better in fondant and 2. you should read her blog) and had our favorite vegan bakery make it. 

I could go on and on about the dynamics of E and Mimi’s relationship but that pretty much sums it up right there. 

5 Years

This little guy turned five years old today–craziness!  

We’re still getting back into our routine after being out of town (i.e. our suitcases still need to be put away and the house is a disaster) so we’re having our little family party on Saturday which conveniently gives me enough time to order a birthday cake from our favorite vegan bakery in Salt Lake City.  Yum! 

I’m working on a gratuitously sentimental photo slideshow that will be finished sometime this week if I can buckle down and focus instead of just wistfully staring at photos and sighing.

The kids, they grow so fast.  *sigh*

My Vegan Birthday Cake

my slightly-smushed vegan birthday cake

Because of E’s food allergies he can’t eat traditionally-baked goods but there’s a great bakery in Salt Lake, City Cakes, that specializes in vegan items. We stop by whenever our family is up in Salt Lake and it’s become a family tradition to order our birthday cakes from them.

When I ordered my cake over the phone it when a little something like this:

Store clerk: “Do you want anything written on the cake?”  
Me: “Happy birthday Faith.”   
Store clerk: “And what’s your name?”
Me: (long pause) “…um…Faith?”
(Awkward laughter.) 

The cake was worth that little bit of social awkwardness though because it was DELICIOUS!  Dense, moist lemon cake with raspberry filling and lemon buttercream.  Better than most normal store-bought cakes I’ve had.  Their buttercream icings are great but, word-to-the-wise, don’t get their “cream cheese” frosting.  Real vegans are probably fine with it, but to anyone who likes normal cream cheese it’s just not worth it.  Buttercream is the way to go.