Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Celebrating a Birthday- Naturally!

My youngest daughter turned 7 on Saturday. She is in a unique place in our family. She's the baby girl, but also a middle child. I asked her what type of birthday she wanted and we came up with a spa-type day! She invited a couple friends from church, but only one could come. This is where having two older sisters came into play! Built in party regardless of who else could come!
  I really wanted to keep her special day in line with "slowly natural". There's no need to have to go all out and splurge- just because it's a birthday. There's also no need to have to buy party favors when you can make your own!
  Honestly, it was the best thing anyone could have done, anyway! The girls had SO much fun making their own sugar scrubs and lip balm!

Making lip balm is super easy! Thanks to my friend for staying to help with the spa day! She's melting together the coconut oil and beeswax while the girls watch!
Coconut oil, beeswax, beet powder (for color), and vitamin E oil was what we used! We combined the ingredients- added some spearmint essential oil for flavor, and poured them into the little containers!
Sugar scrubs are easy to make, too! Mix your sugar and oil (we used olive oil and apricot kernel oil) together to make it the texture of a scrub. Add your essential oils (or other "flavors") and a few drops of vitamin E oil. And MIX! The girls had SO much fun getting their hands "dirty" and it was great to allow them to be creative!

 Aspen and her friend made sugar scrubs first! I had all my essential oils out, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Aspen's friend made a mint brownie scented sugar scrub (smelled AMAZING) and the Birthday Girl made a vanilla peppermint lavender scrub!
After the lip balm and scrubs were made, we moved into the "spa" part! We used old plastic bowls (as I gradually move away from plastic) filled with warm water and a foot soak mix of sea salt, Epsom salt, and baking soda! We sprinkled some organic lavender blossoms in the water for an added touch! I bought the eye masks at Walmart to further enhance the "spa" experience!
Unfortunately, I did not have any "natural" fingernail polishes. However, doing your own mani/pedis are a great way to celebrate a birthday and not spend a lot of money! What girl doesn't like this kind of pampering, anyway?!
For the food, we had pizza. I made up the pizza crusts ahead of time, even pre-baking them. You can use ANY recipe- unbleached flour, organic sugar or honey, or even organic wheat flour can make any recipe better! 

We shredded our cheese ahead of time (because trust me, you do not want to buy pre-shredded cheese- unless you like wood pulp) and used turkey pepperonis!

The kids all made their own pizzas, too! 

Now, on to the cake....
 Originally Aspen had requested a multi-colored cake. Yes, MY child wanted to eat something full of artificial dyes! We aren't perfect and my kids consume more than they should- although it is an area that we are "slowly" working on. I tried talking her out of it, but she was dead-set on a multi-colored cake... LOTS AND LOTS of colors is what she would tell me. I searched online and determined quickly that I didn't have time to play around with different spices and foods to create my own colors. I was busy planning the church's Fall Fest (also for the day of her b'day!). I was prepared to buy dye-free food coloring so she could have her birthday cake. THANKFULLY though, she changed her mind and decided on the cake above!

Let me first talk frosting. It's a simple basic frosting using powder sugar. I did use organic powder sugar because I had it on hand.

Vanilla Icing
I mixed one stick butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 lb. powder sugar, and a little bit of milk until I reached the consistency of icing. I did add a special touch- a vanilla bean. I have NEVER used them before, but I AM HOOKED! It was the neatest thing, too! Slicing up the bean, scooping out the vanilla bean and then seeing the little specks in the icing!

We made a batch of the homemade Hershey's chocolate syrup the night before. I followed the recipe pretty much as stated- using organic sugar instead of regular sugar.

The chocolate chips were mini-Hershey chips. They were the only brand my nut-allergic daughter could consume. We WERE looking for Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips because they ARE nut-free AND healthier, but the one store that normally carries them were out. And I live in a rural area. Maybe next time I'll be more together and can use the BETTER option! 

After the cake had cooled, I iced the cake with the frosting. Right before putting the candles on, I drizzled the homemade chocolate syrup over the cake and sprinkled with chocolate chips. That was the cake she requested, exactly as requested.

The Cake
1 3/4 un-bleached white flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 2/3 cup organic sugar
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs.

Heat Oven to 350 Degrees. I baked my cake in a 13x9 pan. Grease lightly with butter or coconut oil and sprinkle with flour.

Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Pour into pans and bake 40-45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Frost after cooled completely!

Now, I realize that some of you make wonderful cakes with no sugar whatsoever- not even organic, but my child and hubby would have never forgave me if I made them a carrot cake or a wheat grass cake! It IS a slow process, but by replacing bleached flour for unbleached flour, or organic (if it's available to you) is a GOOD step! The same goes for replacing regular sugar for organic sugar. It's my goal to one day grind my own flour, but for now I buy what's available to me!

All in all, the day was great! We avoided using chemicals in our foods by making things from scratch, avoided having food colorings as the main part, and had a great time using NATURAL ingredients to make party favors!

I still can't believe my baby girl is 7 though.... I might need a spa day now!

Shared with:
Women Living Well Wednesdays
Encourage One Another
Homemaking Linkup
Wise Woman Linkup
Works For Me Wednesdays

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