So it was my daughter's bithday this week which meant the usual running around, baking cakes to take to class, getting presents ...So far not so unusual.  However my daughter's birthday happens to fall on February 13.  Again not so unusual (in a country like my home one that doesn't really go crazy on the 14th) but here, where people take this Hallmark Holiday very seriously indeed, things were starting to get a little more stressful.

In addition to having to bring cake on the birthday, I had foolishly signed up to bring in treats for my son's Valentine's Party the next day.  My final 'What the Heck?' moment came when I received notes from both the kids' teachers casually requesting that they bring in a Valentine for each member of the class - ie 29 cards altogether!

 I had decided that we would make our own cards, having been inspired (and put to shame) by our lovely Martha's Valentines extravaganza and so set off for Michaels (where would I be without you?).  Well I got a bit carried away with card, glitter, stickers, markers and glue, thinking it would be a fun activity for the kids.  And it was- Up to card number nine.  And then they lost interest...and guess who took over as chief card maker??

All that creativity got me thinking a little creatively in the kitchen.  I had deliberated over the choice of 'healthy snacks' to bring in for the party, given that it had to be low in sugar and salt, nut free and allergy free.  I went for the safe and simple option of Traffic Light fruit kebabs and pretzels (click for super easy recipe).  With a little chocolate and sprinkles, after all it was a 'holiday'.  These were all of course done on the afternoon of daughter's birthday (thank God I hadn't planned a party - though a dear friend came to the rescue with a cake and candles later that night - Thanks Cath - you are an angel xx).

So, Birthday Morning, I had a baking disaster when I realised that the cases I'd poured my batter into had become surgically glued to the cakes - there would be no way the kids could remove them and they couldn't eat paper... or could they?  Desperate times call for desparate measures and I figured out a cunning plan to peel off most of the paper but the bottoms wouldn't budge...cue the old 'saw off the bottoms' trick...

Which lead me to the realisation that there is nothing that can't be solved with loads of pink icing and sprinkles! 
Oh, and those darn cards?  Still finishing them at 8.15am on Valentines morning...

Check out the finished product.  Not sure, but I think the owl may be being burned at the stake...subliminal anti-Valentine's message perhaps?