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Birthday Party Awesomeness…With CAKE!

Hi everyone!  Erin’s birthday celebration is in full swing.  We were so exhausted last night after the party and the evening of family festivities and I zonked out straight away and didn’t get out here to Blogville and share the story and the photos (sorry!)  Erin had a wonderful party at SkateCity, followed by a fun afternoon of opening presents with her grandparents and dinner at the restaurant of her choosing (this year, she chose Old Chicago Pizza – so, so good!)

So, here we are at Skate City…

One of Erin’s best friends, Logan, came with us to the party.  Here’s a shot of the girls goofing off before the party:

It was a “Shake It Up” party through and through, complete with sweet party favor swag bags and awesome tableware…

At Erin’s request, Grandma Gotshall made a homemade chocolate cake (see recipe at the end of this blog post!)

They broadcasted Erin’s name on the big screen out on the skating floor, which was awesome.

Lots and lots of photos were taken…of Erin and her friends, of the cake eating and gift opening, and two shots of the entire group of kiddos before everyone went home.  Here’s one of them:

She got so many awesome gifts from her amazing friends.  “Shake It Up” shirts, CD. and doll, two (!!) gift cards from Claire’s, money, Big Time Rush stickers (Erin’s all-time favorite band!), candy, nail polish, and all sorts of other amazing gifts.  I really loved getting to know some of her new friends, and it’s always great seeing the friends she’s had for so many years and their families.  It was a great party, and she really, really enjoyed it!

Afterward, we went back to our house to open gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Gotshall and Grandma and Grandpa Smith.  Unfortunately. the photos I got of the gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Smith didn’t turn out (grrr!!!).  Grandma and Grandpa Gotshall got Erin something very special.  A trumpet of her very own.  She’s been playing trumpet in band, and the trumpet we have is a rental.  This one is a trumpet of her very own, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.  Here she is awaiting the big surprise…

What is it, Grandpa?

Check it out!

She even played “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to test it out!

Afterward, we went to Old Chicago and the staff there, as always, was wonderful.  (By the way, get their Three Cheese, Tomato, and Green Onion Artisan Pizza!  SO GOOD!!)  Our server brought us a HUGE cookie cake to wish Erin a happy birthday.

It was a wonderful day, and Erin was very happy.  The celebration continued today.  Shopping and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa Gotshall and dinner at 54th Street Grill (sweartaGawd, I am gonna gain 10 pounds by the time Mom and Dad go home!)  We’ll spend more time together tomorrow and Tuesday, which is her actual birthday, and pumpkin bread and school festivities will follow.  :)

As promised, here is the recipe for Grandma Gotshall’s Mexican Chocolate Cake, which received rave reviews from the kiddos and adults at the party.  Enjoy!

Grandma Gotshall’s Mexican Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of shortening
4 tablespoons of cocoa (we used Nestle Toll House)
1 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon  of baking soda

Mix the butter, shortening, cocoa, and water together in a medium-sized saucepan.  Bring to a boil.

Sift the flour and sugar together in a large bowl.  Pour the cocoa mixture over the flour/sugar mixture and mix well (we used my awesome stand-up KitchenAid mixer).  Add the cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, baking soda, and buttermilk and mix well.  Pour this in a greased 10″-by-14″ pan (I used a 9″-by-13″ pan and it was OK).  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Make the frosting while there’s about 10 minutes left on the cake.  Believe it or not, you actually frost this cake while it’s hot!  Melt 1/2 cup of butter (room temperature) in a small pan.  Add 4 tablespoons of cocoa and 6 tablespoons of milk.  Bring to a boil.  Place 1 box of powdered sugar into a mixer bowl.  Pour the cocoa mixture over the powdered sugar and mix well (KitchenAid again!)  Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of chopped pecans (totally optional, and I didn’t use them for this cake) and mix again.  Ice the cake while it’s hot!

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