Fearful Symmetry: Birthday Boy.

Birthday Boy, wake up!

Bus will be here soon… the school bus doesn’t wait, you know!

Birthday Boy, we know you’re tired – you always are,

Because it’s school day, and any excuse to miss school is a good one on your book!

Beloved Son, you’re older today…

Birthday Boy, wake up!

Bus will be here soon… the school bus doesn’t wait, you know!

Birthday Boy, we know you’re tired – you always are!

Because it’s school day, and any excuse to miss school is a good one on your book!

Beloved Son, you’re older today…

Born to be wild, you definitely are!

Born Washingtonian, as you like to remind us… far from your mom’s home country,

Brazil.

But you carry Brazil in your heart: your soccer moves don’t deny your genes, your passion, your

Blood…

Birthday Boy, breakfast is ready… and so should be you!

Birthday Boy, you’re 8!

Biking away from home,

Believing you can conquer the world with your fast wheels… you’re still my baby, though… and will likely remain so…

Battle the mothers, that’s their fault! Can’t they see their little boys are growing?

Become a man, you will… one day…

But not today… Today you’re simply my adorable

Birthday Boy… 😮

bikeInspired by one of this week’s Daily Prompt

More about “getting high on cupcakes”!

Taking up on another cooking challenge: our middle daughter’s Valentine’s birthday… and nothing could go better than… cupcakes! ♥ Scrumptious, rich, vanilla-based, topped with chocolate frosting or a simple butter cream… Both my oldest kids (7 and 5) had a blast ‘helping me’ decorate the mini cakes! They came up with interesting choices for toppings – scroll down to check the pics out! I guess, at the end, it all worked well…

That said, for this Friday, I’m getting back into baking. High altitude [and attitude!] baking.

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Cupcake Cocktails? 😮

My ‘transcontinental’ margarita cupcakes: approved by Brazilians, Mexicans & Americans!

Taking up on another cooking challenge: our middle daughter’s Valentine’s birthday… and nothing could go better than… cupcakes! ♥

Scrumptious, rich, yellow cake, strawberry and vanilla-based, topped with chocolate frosting or a simple butter cream…

Both my oldest kids (7 and 5) had a blast ‘helping me’ decorate the mini cakes! They came up with interesting choices for toppings – scroll down to check the pics out! I guess, at the end, it all worked well…

That said, for this Friday, I’m getting back into baking. High altitude [and attitude!] baking.

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cupcake tower keeps getting higher and higher! 😮

Moving on to the preparations. Simply followed regular yellow cake and vanilla recipes [oh, you, Martha Stewart!], as well as, a simple lemon pound cake recipe, and a fantastic recipe for strawberry cupcakes, from Yummy Cakes from Lynn, discovering [through extensive online research] a few tips/adjustments for baking at high altitudes.

La Paz, Bolivia, can be a great example of how frustrating it might be for a rookie baker! In order to remain in good terms with my kitchen oven, my ‘overactive kids assistants and I’ decided to go for a ‘new & improved first-timer’ cake (batter) step-by-step: 😮

Flour: Increased by 2 Tbs per cup of batter

Baking Powder/Soda: Decreased by 1/4 tsp per tsp of mix

Sugar: Decreased by 2 Tbs per cup of mix [we’re always advised to go light on the sugar here, it’s healthier and better for the body’s blood pressure…]

Milk: Increased by 2 Tbs per cup of mix

Extra egg: added one more to the usual 3

Oven Temperature: Increased by 25 degrees

Baking Time: Decreased by five minutes per 30 minutes of baking time.

It looks like a lot of math, right? Adding this, subtracting that…. raising the oven temperature, decreasing the baking time… But it all makes sense – you’re looking for a less ‘runny’ cake mix/batter, and with  hotter oven, it’s logical (!!) to leave your ‘lovies’ in there for less time. At the end, it’s all about a great deal of TLC! ♥

Curious about the results?

Take a look, and let me know how you think this Valentine’s Birthday Bash went with another batch of the ‘highest cupcakes I’ve ever baked’! 😮

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In the mood for still more? Take a look at these unique recipes for high altitude baking: from my kitchen to yours! ♥

Cupcakes filled with ‘dulce de leche’ (very popular in Latinamerica, similar to caramel)

Below, strawberry cupcakes, filled with fruit (jam) and topped with ‘bubble gum’ frosting [just came up with this recipe today… let me know if you’re curious about it!]

cupcakes topped with caramel

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Happy Birthday to our Valentine’s Day baby girl!

Like herShe’s not a baby anymore… better to say, she’s a young lady… a ‘señorita’… 😮
She’s not a baby anymore… better to say, she’s a young lady… a ‘señorita’… 😮

Like her parents, this young lady has already moved quite a bit…

She was not born in Rio de Janeiro, like her momma, not in Virginia, like her daddy. She did not have her Brazilian ‘vovó and vovô’ to welcome her into this world, nor her American ‘nana and abuelito’ to greet her when she first smiled… She was born 5 years ago, while our family was stationed in Mozambique, and was fortunate enough to have the unique Pretoria (South Africa) as her birth place.

Despite not having our families around, she was [and still is!] surrounded by love, through her parents’ friends, the extended family, and her now, personal friends in Bolivia.

She’s not a baby anymore… better to say, she’s a young lady… a ‘señorita’… 😮

Like her parents, this young lady has already moved quite a bit…

She was not born in Rio de Janeiro, like her momma, not in Virginia, like her daddy. She did not have her Brazilian ‘vovó and vovô’  to welcome her into this world, nor her American ‘nana and abuelito’ to greet her when she first smiled… She was born 5 years ago, while our family was stationed in Mozambique, and was fortunate enough to have the unique Pretoria (South Africa) as her birth place.

Despite not having our families around, she was [and still is!] surrounded by love, through her parents’ friends, the extended family, and her now, personal friends in Bolivia.

This morning, before getting ready for school, still recovering from the very intense and fun Carnaval in La Paz, our girl came to our bedroom, holding her index finger upright: “Mommmy, would you believe we’re only ONE DAY away from my cumple?” 😮 She’s right: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and she knows it! For our family, this particular day will aways transcends all the commercialism, the consumerism associated with the date – it goes beyond that, it’s definitely, truly, unconditionally related to LOVE. The love between parents and their daughter…

We’re pleased, lucky and grateful for all the experiences we’ve been through, and we’re grateful for having had this intense, warm, active and loving girl into our lives for the past five years… Half a decade ago, husband and I received the best gift one could ever expect for Valentine’s Day: the birth of a baby girl! ♥ And, for the ones who may find hard to believe that there are no boundaries, limits nor geographical barriers for friendships, that little baby girl got some visitors… friends from DC [pictured below] came to meet her, while visiting South Africa… 😮 Our deepest appreciation for such a great demonstration of friendship! ♥

Baie Dankie, South Africa for such a wonderful Valentine’s!

Marcelas Birth 038

He’s not a baby anymore… Seven years of joy with our little boy!

Snapshots from César’s 7th Birthday Party. The ‘La Paz Section’ of the Miranda Family opens their house and hearts to celebrate our oldest child’s special day! New friends from school, new families, piñata, music, a huge bouncer in the middle of the yard, and cupcakes… all themed for Halloween (almost here!).

 

Birthday at the Beach

The best way to celebrate Maria Cecilia’s first birthday: she was born by the beach, and is completing a full year of life – with a beach birthday party! Easy. Fun. Zero-stress!

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Four to Forty – celebrating the birthday of our King of Hearts

Today is the birthday of the “Kings of Hearts” from our “Full House“, which also has a King of Spades, a serious and committed 5 year-old boy.

Siding along with the duo of kings, we’ve got three queens: “Queen of Hearts“, pairing with the celebrating King, and apparently the one in charge of anything “household-related”, making sure all parts and processes are in place. Our “Queen of Diamonds“, aka, “drama queen” is a 3-year old going on 13. For the last one, our “Queen of Clubs“, the jury is still out there – we’re not sure yet how she’d embrace her role as part of this full house

Today our King of Hearts turns 36. He’s almost departing from the house of the 30s. I’m sure it’s been a good and fun journey for him. In four years he’ll be joining his Queen of Hearts, and together they’ll rule the house of the 40s…

              From my humble heart to “His Majesty’s”, with all my love,              

Happy Birthday, Leonel!