Sunday, August 14, 2011

Circus Baby Shower

Yesterday, my family threw a baby shower for my cousin, Denise.  She and her husband, Andrew, did not find out the gender of the baby, so we picked a circus theme since it was fun and kid friendly, despite gender.  We divided the jobs between all of us involved.  I was assigned the cupcakes and a devotional.  I looked through my mom's cupcake book, Hello, Cupcake!, and found some great ideas.  Initially, I thought I would make circus animal cupcakes, but after I realized how much time and effort those would take and how busy I have been recently, I settled on the popcorn cupcakes.

My mom designed the cute cupcake stand.  She also found the popcorn box cupcake sleeves.

I love the lollipops and all the candy jars she had on her table.

She also made a circus tent to go over her light fixture.  This picture doesn't show the cute stripes very well, but it was great.

Here is a close up of my cupcake.

For the cake, I used the Cake Doctor recipe for Darn Good Chocolate Cake but I made a couple of substitutions.  I used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and I used instant vanilla pudding instead of chocolate.  These substitutions were made because I didn't have the other ingredients, but I love the way these cupcakes turned out so I would probably use these ingredients again.  I followed the directions #1-8 from the above link, then I spooned 1/3 C. of batter into muffin tins, each lined with a cupcake paper.  I baked them at 350 for 20 minutes.  After the cupcakes cooled, I put them into the cute cupcake sleeves you see in the picture.

For the frosting, I made buttercream frosting.  Here is the completely indulgent recipe (and I had to double the recipe to frost all 24 cupcakes.)

2 sticks of softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients in a mixer until frosting is fluffy and fully blended.

After all the cupcakes were cooled, I put the frosting in a zip lock bag and sealed it.  I then cut off a small corner of the bag and piped the frosting in a swirl on top of each cupcake.  Next I put a tiny bit of yellow gel food coloring in a zip lock, added about half a bag of mini marshmallows, and smooshed the marshmallows around until they were various shades of yellow.  I then mixed the yellow marshmallows back in with the remaining white marshmallows to create the popcorn look.  I sprinkled a few yellow and white marshmallows on top of each frosting swirl.  Voila!  I had my Buttered Popcorn Cupcakes.  I think they were one of the easiest cupcakes I've made and had the most successful look and taste.

I also wrote a devotional about motherhood being a three ring circus.  Here is a copy of the devotional:

Three Ring Circus

I am so glad that we are all together this evening to celebrate the new life that will be joining all of us in the next few weeks.  We are all so excited for you, Denise!  Our circus theme for your shower is such a cute way to celebrate, but it is also a great metaphor for motherhood. 

There have been days that my life has more resembled a Three Ring Circus than it has resembled a family.  In fact, I have had so many circus like days in recent history, that I had to call my sister Julie so she could help me remember the details of on of these events!

One day, when Jack was still a baby, I mustered the courage of a lion tamer and set off for the grocery store with Jack and Ryan.  I kept reminding myself that many moms before me had taken two children to the grocery store, in fact my own mother was able to take Julie and I to the grocery store, and so I would be able to do this too.  I carefully placed Jack in the child seat and told Ryan that he could ride the shopping cart by holding onto the back.  This seemed like it was going to work.  I managed to go down several aisles and fill my cart substantially in this fashion.  I was starting to feel more confident.  No one was screaming yet, so I determined that I would finish gathering the things on my list.  As I turned to reach an item high on the shelf, Ryan got off the back of the cart and decided to climb the side of the cart and get inside because his legs were getting tired.  As he climbed like a monkey, the cart with Jack and all my groceries started to lean in Ryan’s direction and was destined to fall on Ryan, with Jack inside.  With a voice like a ringmaster, I yelled, “RYAN, STOP!” I got the attention of all who were around, but it was too late and the cart was going down.  I leapt like an acrobat and with the strength of the strong man, I steadied the cart against my leg, saving my children and groceries, but completely losing my dignity.  My face was hot and red with anger for my son, embarrassment for my yelling and all the attention on me, and my shin was throbbing with pain from the weight of the cart.  A gentleman came by to see if we were okay, and I dismissed him quickly because I wanted to shrink into the floor.  This three ring circus was a little out of hand this day, but despite the mishap, God gives us what we need so that the show can go on. 

Through these trials of motherhood, whether they be labor pains in child birth, the sleepless nights, a child’s disobedience, or public embarrassment we are reminded in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

God also fills us with love for our children.  When they are newborns, their sweet little face causes us to love them so completely that it is like having a piece of your heart on the outside of your body.  But those sweet little babies grow into climbing, naughty monkeys.  God gives us love for them too.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never ends.”   Love for our children is so much more than the feeling we get when we first get to hold them and each one of these facets of love are so important for us to model for our children. 

When these children are naughty little monkeys, the Bible also tells us that we must discipline them.  Proverbs 22:6 says, “ Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 13: 24 also says, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” 

As moms, we often fret over our children.  When they are newborns, we worry that they are eating enough, wetting enough diapers, and meeting their milestones.  We also may fear that they will really hurt themselves and their brother by pulling a whole shopping cart down on top of them. 
Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   As this passage reminds us, we can lift our children up in prayer to their Heavenly Father and he will watch over them and give us peace.

We may save our children from many things as they grow up.  We protect them in car seats, we admonish them not to touch a hot stove, or we may catch a cart  full of groceries, saving them from bodily harm.  Ultimately, we want them to ask for the salvation that only their Heavenly Father can give them.  Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast

Dear Heavenly Father,
 We pray for Denise tonight as she enters into the Three Ring Circus of motherhood. We pray that she will be given strength and endurance.  We also pray that she will have love and discipline for her child.  We pray that God will take away her fears and worries and that she will turn to You in prayer for all things.  We pray that Denise and Andrew will lead their child to Salvation with the Heavenly Father.  We are so thankful for this little blessing that Denise’s family has been given and are so happy to celebrate with her tonight.  Thank you for this joyful occasion. 
In Your Name we pray,

I did not remember to take any pictures after the festivities started, but I know that Denise's sister Katie took a lot.  I have a feeling she'll have some pictures up on her blog in the not too distant future.  I think the shower was a great success and I had a lot of fun.  I can't wait to meet Denise's baby in the next few weeks!  


  1. Too cool! Love the theme! Love the cakes! Love the devotional!

  2. You did a great job with both the cupcakes and the devotional.