celebrating birthdays the homemade way

In the past week, a number of friends and colleagues have celebrated birthdays.  At least eight, to be exact. That meant I had some card-making and gift-giving to consider. Thankfully, I found this awesome card kit at Target a few weeks back to simplify the card-making process.

On a side note, notice anything missing from the kit?

Even without envelopes, though, I was pleased with the kit and enjoyed assembling the cards (although I did substitute the small turquoise buttons for larger green ones, for more visual interest).

Once the cards were figured out, deciding on birthday treats was simple. I've been wanting to make some Oreo truffles for a while, but knew that having a full batch in the fridge did not bode well for my and Wildcat Guy's interest in reducing the amount of desserts and sweet snacks we keep around. But making a full batch that would be almost entirely given to others? Now that sounded good.

Also good? Using my new food processor for the very first time, and absolutely loving how easy it makes tasks like crumbling cookies. Even though the recipe I used was awesome enough to include instructions for making the truffles without a food processor.

Squish, squish. Thankfully, I remembered to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator ahead of time (I usually don't), so the mixing process went smoothly.

It's funny - in the recipe I used, the author talks about the cookie filling resembling tar. It really does!

But that didn't stop me from rolling it in melted chocolate and having a taste. Yum!

The recipe says to use a few reserved cookies as crumbled sprinkles on top - but since these were going to be birthday truffles, I opted for fun sprinkles instead.

And then, because I had some chocolate left over, and because I needed a non-refrigerated birthday treat to mail to Baker Blonde in North Carolina, I pulled some pretzels out of the cupboard...

...and doused them in chocolate and sprinkles...

...to create some "birthday bark" for her. (This felt especially fitting, considering she was the one who helped me make my first batch of chocolate bark this past summer.)

Some of the truffles, going to male coworkers, were piled into cups and "wrapped" in little brown paper bags with simple bows.

Some of the truffles, going to a local friend, were wrapped in a plastic bag and tucked into a pretty little gift bag (visible in the left corner of the picture).

And yes, a small number of the truffles found their way into a container for our fridge. It feels incredibly ridiculous for me to say this, but we were glad to have less than a dozen of the four dozen truffles left for us.

As for the bark, it was carefully sealed in a plastic bag before being wrapped in a box and packaged up for shipping. I have to admit, this is one of the very few times I've tried to ship baked goods or candy, so I was nervous that it wouldn't arrive in good condition.

Imagine my relief when Baker Blonde sent me this photo. Yay! And the truffles? Were welcomed with much gratitude and eagerness.

Truly, birthdays always challenge me...because I don't have a lot of confidence in my gift-giving skills, because I don't like my inability to be consistent with all of the people in my circles in how I get to recognize their birthdays, but also because, in recent years, I've found myself more and more frustrated by the consumerism surrounding holidays - including birthdays. This, though - the chance to give something simple that I knew would be appreciated - this reminded and affirmed for me that gestures of birthday joy can be done quite delightfully in a homemade, heartfelt way.

Where I am: home
What I'm reading: the most recent issue of Time magazine


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