Jan 20, 2013


I love surprises! Actually, I love being the one doing the surprising!

A couple years ago when Madison was turning 18, Don was retiring from the fire department at that very same time! This was a great opportunity for me to throw a surprise party...for BOTH of them...at the same time...and with both of them helping me! How did I pull this off you ask??  Well, I'm a genius, of course!  

It was simple, really. I asked Madison to help me plan a surprise retirement party for her dad...  and I asked Don to help me plan a surprise birthday party for Madison! And then I told both of them the truth!!  This was the genius part, so pay close attention because it is a bit confusing...  I told Madison "Daddy thinks we are having a surprise party for you, so he knows we are having a party and that way he can help set-up and won't think it's weird you keeping him out of the house! He'll think he's supposed to keep YOU out of the house!"  I basically told Don the exact same thing! They both thought I was so sneaky! heeheehee little did they know!

So they both knew we were having a party...they just didn't know it was really for them!  Madison helped me with the guests and menu for the retirement party. Don helped me set-up the tent and lighting outside and then they both got each other out of the house while the real prep was taking place and so the guests could arrive!

Did you catch all that??  I threw this party together at the last minute too! That was crucial! I never would have been able to keep all this straight for more than a week!!

It still amazes me that it actually worked! They were both so confused when they walked into the party - it took them a while to figure it out. Madison had no clue why all her friends were at a retirement party for her dad, and Don just thought it was weird I invited his coworkers to Madison's birthday.  In hindsight, a banner would have helped them with that...oh well

The Guests of Honor

 Like the banner at the top of this post suggests, I am taking part in a surprise recipe swap! I was tasked with making a recipe from Spatulas on Parade (SURPRISE Dawn!) and blogging about my experience!

When I got to Dawn's blog, I headed straight for the recipes where I found several yummy sounding dishes, but the Cinnamon Roll Cake was calling my name! I love cinnamon rolls, but I'd never had it as a cake before!

This cake really does taste like a cinnamon roll! It was very sweet, cinnamony and buttery!  I probably should have made this in muffin form because it does make a big cake for just the 2 of us, but I tend to forget that we have an empty nest from time to time...

I made the cake recipe exactly as stated, but mine took a little longer to cook - 50 minutes instead of 30, so if you make this recipe remember that ovens do vary and be sure to use your best judgement. A cake is done when it springs back when lightly pressed in the center. If it is jiggly in the center then it needs more time. I usually add 5-10 minutes to the time and recheck until it is ready ;)

I adjusted the glaze to suit our tastes. Don has never been a fan of icing, but I came up with a solution that works for both of us. I use 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tbsp melted butter (this helps to cut the sweetness) and enough milk to make it the glaze consistency that I like

Another great birthday recipe is Chocolate Dipped Sprinkle Marshmallows by Maggie of The Love Nerds! Too cute!!

If you'd like to join in the Secret Recipe Swap fun just click the button below!



  1. WOO HOO so glad you liked it! This is a favorite of ours! Being an empty nester now as well, I only fix this at Christmas or when everyone is home. Otherwise I will eat the entire thing!
    Awesome job!
    I love that you surprised your dh and dd! I helped my sons gf surprise her dad and brother just a few months ago. It was so great!!
    Love your blog and follow you plus on FB.
    I have been chomping at the bit wondering who was given the task of finding a recipe on my blog! Love this party!
    Spatulas On Parade

    1. Thanks, Dawn! It was a challenge picking a recipe, but a lot of fun!

  2. This cake looks so good. I know this recipe from Dawns blog already, I love all her deliciousness over there!
    You really did a wonderful job on this months SRS.

  3. Yes, you sneaky mama, banner is always helpful,lol :) This cinnamon roll cake sounds delicious and I can smell it all the way here :)

    1. I definitely won't forget the banner next time! Of course, there is no way I'll be able to pull that over on them again haha. Thanks for stopping by!


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