The Midwest--it has been an adventure our first year here--huddled in our basement bathroom during numerous tornado warnings, trying to drive in white-out conditions during blizzards, or shoveling snow All. Day. Long. Now don't get me wrong, there have been wonderful, amazing things too living here--sitting outside just after dark and watching the fireflies twinkling through the sky, or watching the numerous corn fields go from muddy nothingness to acres and acres of gigantic corn stalks overnight (well, maybe not overnight, but it grows fast). The people here are truly friendly--a place where everybody actually does know your name. Yes, we know our neighbors and talk on a very frequent basis. Hah, that didn't happen back in Las Vegas.
One more thing I have learned in the past couple of months from living here--midwesterners take their grad parties pretty seriously. It is a BIG DEAL. I think back to when I graduated high school--we had a graduation party the school threw, but I sure didn't have my own grad party, nor did any of my friends. I was a little surprised when I found out my nephew in Minnesota was having a grad party, and I was flat out shocked when he told me he had invited 250 people. What! I don't think I even knew 250 people as a senior in high school. We were driving up from Iowa to Minnesota for his party and he asked me to make a cake for it. Now it wasn't just a grad cake, it was also a birthday cake since my dear nephew's party was on his 18th birthday. So what kind of cake do you do for this? Well, Jacob (aka my dear nephew), knew exactly what he wanted. Really. Exactly. He even sketched the whole thing out for me with every last detail. Here's the picture to prove it:
I started by baking 8 8x8 square cakes...it was a lot of baking. That was the day I was kicking myself for only owning 1 8x8 pan. Having another one would have made things go so much quicker.
Then the layers were stacked and filled to make a 16x16 square.
A lot of blue fondant and several hand-cut Ys later and you get...
Just like he wanted. I finished it just in time to carefully pack it, my 3 girls, husband, and all of our stuff in our van and drive 6 hours to Minnesota. It made it in one piece without any damage (Whew!).
My sister-in-law had just the place for it at the party (an please ignore the ugly board it is on--my nephew called me 3 days before I was leaving for Minnesota and asked me to make the cake. Between making the cake and taking care of 3 kids age 4 and younger, I just didn't have time to come up with something better).
This was my favorite stop of the night:
We just had to do the whole sing and candles thing. Isn't my nephew cute?! That's my dad in the immediate background. He's the best dad in the world. Then there is my brother Dave in the far background, with camera...and the apron. Lookin' good, Dave.
Princess #1 could be found most of the evening out by the fire pit making s'more after s'more after s'more...