Twice Baked Cakes and Nineteen Years.

August 25, 2014

Non-riotous. Quiet. Serene.

Those are the three words that best describe Sarah’s 19th birthday last Saturday. Since we did a big party for her 18th birthday party, she requested that this year’s celebration include just Steve and me.

The day started with Steve making her breakfast.2014-08-23 08.02.01

And he not only cooked it, he also delivered it!2014-08-23 08.02.42

After Sarah had finished eating and left the room for a minute,  I took a picture of her empty bed.  It occurred to me that when she was married with a family of her own, I would come across this picture one day and remember the morning of her nineteenth birthday and the sweetness of her presence in our lives.2014-08-23 08.04.39

My cooking contribution to the day was to make Sarah’s birthday cake. I managed to make a fairly big mess in the process, mainly because I goofed something up and had to start all over again.

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Can you tell this recipe has been in the family a long time?  I’ve been making it for at least 25 years.

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After I had finished the second cake and cleaned up the accumulated mess, I collected my sweet girl and took her to lunch–a rare treat since we don’t eat out very often.  On the way to the restaurant, she checked her voice mail and found that Nathan and Meagan had left her a sweet and funny message involving a lot of laughing and comically histrionic singing.

Sarah chose to eat at Lafagotas, a local Mexican restaurant that is well-loved by locals and tourists alike.

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After lunch, we did a little shopping (about twenty minutes worth) and then it was back home for a quiet afternoon for her and work at the church for me.  I got home in time to make her birthday dinner and then it was time for the gifts.

I don’t know about your family but in our house, Steve is the Professional Wrapper of the Gifts.  He is very precise in his wrappingness and is all about right angles and perfectly placed tape and seams being properly lining up.

Me?  Not so much.  I wrap ‘em fast and I wrap ‘em haphazardly and if the whole thing ends up slightly crookedly then–oh well.

Not only is Steve a great wrapper, he also finds unique containers to put gifts in.  He packaged the gold infinity scarf I got for Sarah in a round plastic pretzel container.

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It’s pretty impossible to guess what’s inside a plastic pretzel container but Sarah had an excellent guess on the next gift she picked up. She felt it for a minute and said, “Hmmm. This feels like a small, decorative typewriter.”

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The stinker! That’s exactly what it WAS!

Isn’t it just so cute? I found it at T.J.  Maxx and thought it would be great in her room.2014-08-23 18.33.23-2

Of course, a Sarah Birthday always has to include at least one book.

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And then it was time to bring out my “twice-baked” birthday cake.  Please overlook the fact that the cake sported a collection of mismatched birthday candles; I am an inveterate recycler of birthday candles.

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Sarah donned the Birthday Hat and got down to the business of blowing out those nineteen candles.



Just one more year to have a teenager in the house and then those days will be forever gone. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to have two children who are in their twenties so it’s a good thing I have a year to get used to the idea.

Happy, happy day, darling girl!

We’ll never forget your journey to this place.

1-survivor's dinner

48 responses to Twice Baked Cakes and Nineteen Years.

  1. Happy birthday, Sarah! Sorry I’m late with these wishes. So very happy for you that you got to celebrate exactly the way you wanted!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday! Sarah, you are truly a remarkable young woman! You certainly chose a wonderful, simple way of celebrating with your family!
    Wishing you all the best, during this “College Time” chapter in the book of your life! A very interesting book, indeed. Thanks for sharing it with all of your Smithellaneous family.
    Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
    Linda in Pittsburgh

  3. I, too lovequiet birthdays! I’m glad yours was a good day for you, Sarah! Happy Belated 19th Birthday!!

  4. Happy belated birthday Sarah!! I truly hope you had a great day of celebration with your family. Good luck with college! It’s going to fly by before you know it. Becky – is it possible to have the recipe? I’d like to make if for my family.


  5. Happy Birthday Sarah! You are such a beautiful gal inside and out. Best wishes for the next year too as you finish off your teenage years. Gosh, The years go by so fast.

    • Thank you, Wendy! And yes, years pass quickly because we’re always focussed so much on individual days that we don’t notice them go by collectively. I feel like I should still be a high school freshman, not a college one! 🙂

  6. Happy Birthday Sarah! Looks like you had a wonderful day. I love the way you have decorated your bedroom and all of the colors on the wall and in the bedspread. Beautiful!

    • Thanks, Diane! My parents had most of the ideas for my room design, actually. Since my carpet is pretty complex and there is WAY too much of it to ever replace, we had to choose colors to work with it. I was going to content myself with a plain brown comforter when Mom found the color plaid bedspread, which I like a lot more!

  7. How beautiful! I love how your family simplifies while magnifying the occasion and importance of each family milestone (birthdays, graduations, births). You continue to be a blessing and an example.

    • Anonymous,

      I love the thought of “simplifying while magnifying.” It’s really true sometimes that keeping something simple is the best way to appreciate its beauty and importance.

      Thanks for your encouraging words about being a blessing and an example–I’m honored that you would think that!

  8. Sounds like a perfect day! Happy Birthday Sarah!

  9. Looks like it was a happy birthday for Sarah! What a cool mini typewriter. Very Sarah. I predict that it will be used as a beautiful prop in many future shots you take of sarah, Becky.

    This week my family is on vacation in a little village on Vancouver Island, on Canada’s far west coast. It’s lovely- but surprisingly it looks a lot like your photos of Manteo. The village is even known for its many thrift stores- this morning I said to my husband as we drove around town that “Becky Smilthelaneous (as you are known in my family) would love this place!”

    • Jenna,

      I think it’s so sweet (and funny) that I am actually known in Canada as Becky Smithellaneous. At least I’m famous somewhere! 🙂

      It sounds like your vacation was in a truly lovely place. I’ve only been through the very edge of Canada, near Niagara Falls. Would love to see some more of your gorgeous, gorgeous country–a month long tour with my camera in hand would be a dream come true!

  10. Happy Birthday, Sarah! 🙂 It sounds like your day was wonderful! 🙂

  11. Happy birthday Sarah! I am wondering if you will find it somewhat relieving(is that a word?) to not have the strict schedule of your high school days. I remember really enjoying the more casual schedule of college classes, some in the morning, some in the afternoon and some at night, with some part-time work mixed in. So glad to see the appearance of the birthday crown 🙂

    • This comment was from Lesley, not some weird anonymous person, lol

    • Thanks, Lesley! I do like this new schedule, although it does make my week busier than I am used to since I’ve never worked during a school year before. It does, however, make me feel more like an adult! 🙂

  12. looks like Sarah had a great b-day. what was the book? couldn’t read the title.
    where was Summer? thought she might have shared breakfast in bed.

    • Mrs. Pam,

      The book was from the Mysterious Benedict Society series; we’ve read some of the books together at bedtime. This particular one she asked for was called: “Benedict’s Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums.”

      Summer is a mama’s dog and follows me everywhere I go. If I’m not in Sarah’s room, Summer is not in Sarah’s room! 🙂

  13. Sharon Holweger August 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Happy Birthday Sarah!
    the quilt on your bed looks much like one I have made with scraps of my mom’s sewing projects is yours made by some one in your family too?

  14. you know we are hooked when so many of us as we are reading are worried about he birthday hat not being there…… I’m sure Sara’s birthday was just as special as she is.

  15. Sharyn McDonald August 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Yes, I too was concerned that the “hat” would not show up, but there you are in your crowning glory with the birthday hat. How could I forget your birthday, since my sister’s is on the 24th and mine is on the 29th. How beautiful you are – inside and out. Have a wonderful year Sara. God bless.

  16. Pretty impossible? Hmm.

  17. Happy 19th Birthday, Miss Sarah!! While you were celebrating your 19th birthday, my family was celebrating my grandmother’s 99th birthday! Such great milestones to be celebrating with family and friends!! Best of luck with college this year. I know you will do GREAT!!

  18. Happy birthday, Sarah! I was getting a little worried there, but The Hat showed up toward the end, so I could relax. Love that hat!!

    • Jan,

      It’s funny–I almost forgot about the hat but then just as we were getting ready to take pictures I said, “Wait!! I forgot the Hat!”

      Whew. That was a close one!

  19. Happy Birthday SArah! Looks like you had a wonderful birthday!

  20. Happy belated Birthday Sarah!!! That cake looks fantastic!! 🙂

    • LeeAnne,

      Unfortunately, the cake was too fantastic; I have eaten way too much of it. Good thing we don’t have birthdays very often!