abby’s birthday

Let’s just go ahead and pretend that it hasn’t been 3 months since I’ve posted….ok?

Ok.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I thought it was due time I shared a bit about Abby’s birthday with you.  She turned 1 earlier this month and we of course had a little celebration.   I actually really struggled with how much of a party it needed to be; do you keep it simple or do you go-big-or-go-home?   Part of me really wanted to have a big party with a theme and decorations and everything-Pinteresty.   But the other part of me just kept thinking….dude.  She’s 1.

In the end, my rational-brain won and we decided to have a small family get together with our immediate family.  Because when I actually sat down and thought about it, the only thing I really cared about for Abby’s birthday was (1) making it special to her and (2) making her cake.   Besides, we have about 18 more years of birthdays that can be over-the-top if she wants.  For now, we were keeping it simple…and just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it can’t be kind of Pinteresty (are you following me?  You should!).

The Hubs and I are lucky enough that both of our parents and all of our siblings live close enough to drive to town for the day.   Wait, let me rephrase.  The Hubs and I are lucky enough that we have parents and siblings willing to drive upwards of 2 hours for a 1-year olds birthday party.   And since her birthday is in February, we decided a sledding party might be in order (sorry Abs, you’ll probably have lots of sledding parties….at least until you can ski).

We have a big park in the back of our house with a couple of rolling hills (great for mini-sledding) and a bigger hill (great for big-kid or brave-adult sledding).

So the plan was to do some late-morning sledding, come in for some chili and  then do cake.   And even though nearly all of the snow melted into a giant ice/snow rink the week before her birthday (thanksalotglobalwarming) we were still able to get some sliding around done.   And it was a beautiful bluebird day to boot.




I’d say she enjoyed it…..

So then it was time for chili.  Isn’t chili just one of those awesome comfort foods?  I love me some chili.  I made our favorite elk chili and then this tasty little number:

(image from ambitious kitchen)

Sweet potato, black bean and quinoa chili with smoked chipotle.  Go make it now.  Seriously.  Go.   Now.  It’s amazing.   I used to think nothing could beat our elk chili recipe but I was wrong….this is just as good if not better.  And it’s vegetarian (gasp).

We had all of the fixings of course, my award winning maple cornbread, fritos, sour cream, vinegar (please tell me you put vinegar in your chili too?), green onions, cheese….mmmm.   Maybe what I like most about chili is all of the fixings you get to put in it.  But I digress.

Birthdays are mostly about cake, are they not?  And I knew I wanted to make Abby’s cakes.  In fact, I hope I always make her cake…it’s something my mom used to do for me and something I want to do for her.


Hellooooooo doll cake!   You were my favorite!  And wow, Mom, I just realized you broke out the CHINA for my birthday.  Looks like we were slumming it with the paper plates for Abby.

I’ll spare you the details of making Abby’s cake….but let’s just say making a cake from scratch is not always easy.  And sometimes one itsy teeny weeny mistake like using PAM can mess the ENTIRE thing up.   Don’t use Pam.

I have to say though, I am quite pleased with how this all turned out.   Yes.  Quite pleased.   Because no matter how many awesome ombre cakes there are on Pinterest, I guarantee you there is not ONE tutorial out there for how to do it.   I should write one; but who am I kidding, I don’t blog.

Gah.  Too many words.  Let’s just get to the pictures, shall we?

IMG_4975 Do you love that banner so much like I do?  I wish I could say I made it.


 IMG_4992 I wish you could see the candle holders up close!  They are a fish, duck and pheasant.  So incredibly appropriate for a hunters daughter.  And actually pretty darn cute.


The “1” was actually a last-minute decision.  But I’m glad I did it!

IMG_4997 And now…the Pièce de résistance

IMG_5036 Oh you pretty little cake…how you tortured me so.


IMG_5029 Don’t let these pictures fool you.  She did not, I repeat not like cake.  There was no smashing.  No laughing.  No sticking her face in it.  No having to tear it away as she screamed for more.  She just really wasn’t interested.   Maybe next year.  Or maybe it just needs to be in the shape of a doll.


IMG_4982 Here’s her birthday present.  She loves it.  Not actually sitting on it, but she loves standing on the chairs or laying on the table.  Cuz that’s safe.


IMG_5005 Sorry, can’t talk right now…I’m riding a pony.




And just like that, the party was over.

Sometimes I can hardly believe that she is a year old already and sometimes I think she ought to be 5 by now.   In fact I ran across a quote the other day that really resonated with me…

“The days are long, but the years are short.  Don’t blink.”

I try to remind myself of that often.  No matter how long the day (or night) may seem, these years really will fly by.

Now can we just look at this again please?




  1. Stunning cake. Really. Stunning. Nice work lady.

    Regarding her laying on the table and standing on the chairs…. she IS a Tangedahl after all. At least she’s not launching herself off of it (yet).

    Enjoy the days. Hold tight onto the years. XOXO

  2. I love the quote you shared! Marlie will be turning 5 this May and I truly do not know where the time went. I usually stick to cupcakes as cakes don’t like me, however, the pink ombre cake would be something special. And she loves pink, crazy girl ;) Any other tips you have, not using Pam noted? I’m also making the sweet potato quinoa black bean chili this weekend, looks delicious. Beautiful photos and your daughter, Abby, is just adorable, Janna!

  3. Love little Miss Abigail, loved her party, and loved that beautiful cake! Not only was it impressive to look at, but it was delicious to eat! I’d say you get a gold star for that one. (even if Abby didn’t want to eat it!)

    The party was just right; food, fun, and good times with the birthday girl. I will never forget the look on her face of pure joy while she was out there sledding…all by herself! :)

    1. hahaha…this cake does need to be at your easter brunch AND dinner. it’s fabulous and good lookin’ to boot! If I’m being honest…it wasn’t THAT hard. I was just stressed about it. And if you aren’t against a boxed cake mix? It would be easy peasy. I’m getting enough questions about (mostly offline obvi) that I’ll try to but a post together. But please feel free to bug me if we’re getting close and you need answers. I understand baked goods and pregnant ladies. hahaha.

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