Saturday, 27 July 2013


Ten years ago, at exactly 6.16pm, we were greeted with the cries of our first baby boy, who finally decided to enter the world 13 days late... For the ladies reading who like stats on newborns, he was 53cm long, and weighed 3.745kg (or- 8 pound, 4 ounces). We named him Reuben Matthew Christopher, and after struggling to remember which Reuben was Reuben (as there were 4 in the family at the time), we soon had to nickname our little boy "Ben."

27 hours of labour pains later (starting at the auction of my father-in-law's house the previous day, followed by Panadine forte & a sleeping tablet that night in hospital, then my waters being broken and a drip being placed in my arm at 10:30 in the morning) we finally became parents!!

And what a ride it has been since.

I can't believe it's been a whole decade since that night... And that I can remember all of those labour/birth details yet I forget conversations that I had yesterday. Hmm.

Well... There's the back story. And here's what we did to celebrate :)

We approved Ben's request to have a Rock Climbing party. As this would be the only time our Ben would be turning 10, my husband didn't want to miss this grand opportunity to photoshop Ben's head on Ben Tennison's body...

With that, we made the invites (the rock climbing details were on the back):

I was told by my husband to strictly let Ben help with the organising of his party... I don't know why he thought that I would become a control freak and take over every single tiny detail with my crazy ideas and get carried away until I have a meltdown because I stress over silly things after staying awake for too many hours at a time making sure all those super fine little details are perfect... That's totally never happened before.

But, I obeyed his wishes, and Ben played a big part in deciding what the invites would look like, what food he wanted to have at the party, and most importantly, what kind of cake he wanted.

Of course, despite me trying to convince him that I would probably be better at making a simpler cake, he wanted a rock climbing cake, and encouraged me with his almost-10-year-old knowledge that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Wow, what a champ. He was totally just saying that to get me to make a cake how he wanted it, though.

Well, here's the things we 'both' made for the party guests to eat in between rock climbing and/or belaying adventures:

Rainbow jellies. Really simple, and only take 2-3 days to make. Because there's not much jelly in each layer, you can easily make 2-3 layers each day. Morning, afternoon, and evening.

Fairy bread, cut into 'big triangles' and shortbread. Ben asked for Pacman themed biscuits. Pacman was easy - a circle with a triangle cut out of it, and a brown M 'n' M for the eye... The 'ghost' things were made from my tulip cutter, upside down, with colours of Ben's choice, and silver cachous for the eyes. Simple, and he loved them!

Notice that I'd decided what food there'd be, but he got to make some decisions still? That's how I got away with not controlling the party, but still controlling it a little bit... Sshhh.

You can't ever go wrong with fruit kebabs. Cut it all up and thread it onto skewers :)

What's a party without chocolate?? M 'n' Ms in individual portion sizes* (plastic shot cups).
* May not be official dietary portion sizes - just the ones that I made up because it was easier and more hygienic than having a big bowl of them.

... And now for the cake.

At first, I had no idea how I was going to manage a rock climbing cake. I was Googling simpler versions without luck, and YouTubing heaps of tutorials (in my limited spare time) until I found something that I could work with. A tall, tube like cake, with 'rocks' all around it, and a boy. The boy was the hardest part to make (Ben chose what colours he wanted -with my encouragement- the boy to be wearing)...

The cake was as per Ben's request. Vanilla, coloured red (his favourite colour, if you hadn't picked up on that yet)... Later, it occurred to me that I could have made chocolate with red (red velvet), but didn't think of it at the time, and, well, Ben wanted vanilla.

The boy was made, left to set for a bit, and then glued onto the cake, which had to be fairly tall so that the boy looked like he was 'climbing'... I pushed a toothpick underneath his bottom to hold him up while the glue dried.

I had bought a packet of crispy M 'n' Ms (that then became party food in plastic shot cups) that I was going to use for the rocks, but coloured fondant worked much better anyway. With the fondant rolled up into little balls, then squished into the tips on my fingers and pushed down on the bench a bit (that probably doesn't make any sense), they looked more like the rocks on the rock climbing walls anyway, so with different colours, that's what I did!

I used "Ropes" - the stringy fruit lollies in the little packets, for the 'ropes', and draped them over the cake. With left over coloured fondant, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" was written on the cake board:

Ben chose the colours for the big "10" on top:
Dark blue and, yep, you guessed it - RED.

With the help of Ben filling up some party bags (well, boxes really) with various lollies, chocolates, and toys, he decided that he wanted the thank you notes to have an actual rock glued to them, instead of saying "rock" in the phrase "Thanks for coming to my party. You rock." Which I thought was a brilliant idea!

Thank you to everyone who has known and supported us through this rough ride of parenthood over the last 10 years, and who also wished Ben well wishes for his 10th birthday! You ROCK!

If anyone has any tips to share on how to stop kids from growing up so fast, that'd be awesome ;)


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