A Very Special Giraffe Birthday Party

One of the big events in my family's life last year was welcoming our beautiful granddaughter into the world on May 22, 2011. She is such a sweetheart, and we are loving learning how to be grandparents.
When I look at these pictures of her right after birth, it's hard to remember that she was ever this tiny.  She has grown so much, and I know we need to hold on to these memories because before we know it she will be grown like our children (and I'll be an old lady!).

To celebrate her first birthday, my daughter-in-law Betsy and her friend Rikki planned a joint birthday party because Ada and Rikki's son Daniel were born five days apart.  They did a great job, and it was such a fun party.  They chose a giraffe theme, and the colors were orange and blue.

Aren't the outfits adorable? They were made by my friend Sally McCurry. Check out her Etsy shop Pigtails and Patches.  She does really great work!

The birthday girl and boy with their mommies (Betsy and Ada on the left, Rikki and Daniel on the right).

Most of the activities were outside. There were fun water activities for all the kids, and Ada had a fun afternoon. I had a good time creating the cakes and cookie favors for the event. It brought me great joy and I enjoyed reliving memories of helping my mother make and decorate cakes when I was growing up.

Inspiration from here
I love the tradition of smash cakes!

Inspiration from here
So thankful for the joy Ada has brought to our lives! 


White Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Okay, these are some pretty magnificent cookies.  One day I was in the mood to bake, but wanted to make something a little out of the ordinary.  Instead of the standard chocolate chip or monster cookies, I pulled some unusual ingredients out of the pantry.  After looking at recipes for a while, this is what I came up with:

I must say that these are some of the best cookies I've ever eaten.  The white chocolate, toffee and nuts are a great combination.  They are delicious, and a real crowd pleaser.  I have made them for friends a couple of times and everyone loved them! 

 I made these with gluten free flour (this time I used Cup4Cup gluten free flour) and gluten free oats.  For those that don't follow a gluten free diet, feel free to use any all purpose flour and oats.  Also, I scooped these with my medium sized cookie scoop and made pretty large cookies.  I got 3 1/2 dozen from this recipe. 
Please make these.  I promise you won't be disappointed--and neither will those you share them with!  Happy baking!  And please, leave me a comment and let me know if you try them.  I love to hear from you.

White Chocolate Toffee Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (I put rolled oats in the food processor for a couple of seconds to chop a little)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 cups toffee bits
1 1/2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut parchment paper to fit baking sheets (or use a silpat).

In a stand mixer beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.   Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Put flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and combine well with a whisk.  Add these dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture until just combined.  Stir in white chocolate, toffee bits and pecans. 

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 9-12 minutes (depends on your oven--keep a close eye on them!) until just beginning to brown on the edges.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies to cooling racks to finish cooling. 

Adapted from here.

Printable Recipe