The balloons with notes ready held in place with crepe paper.
The idea was a combination of two different things I saw on Pinterest.
Ready for Sophia to open the door.
One was for a balloon avalanche when someone opened the door and the other was of blessing balloons.
Olivia and Cooper waiting for Sophia.
I gave her the opportunity to open them privately so she could read them and not have us all watching her reaction. Sometimes personal messages like these are good to read privately...or at least I think so.
Sophia reading the notes attached to the balloons.
This is what the 13 notes said:
=> You have a great sense of humor and make people laugh!
=> You are respectful towards others - especially those who are older than you!
=> You are compassionate and caring towards the animals!
=> You are talented musically. It's a joy to listen to you play the harp, piano, and violin!
=> It's fun to see how much younger children - especially your cousins - love to play with you! You are very good with children!
=> You are a great reader, and it's nice to see you love to read as much as you do!
=> Your self-confidence is inspiring to see!
=> You think of others and willingly share your time and talents!
=> You are a good listener!
=> You are smart and motivated to learn new things!
=> You are creative and do such beautiful work with jewelry and ceramics!
=>You are determined and goal-oriented!
=> You bring so much joy and love to everyone who knows you! You are a true blessing, and we are so fortunate that you are our daughter and sister!
Maple Twist that I made.
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons maple syrup
4-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add eggs; beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 70 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the first seven filling ingredients; beat for 2 minutes. Punch dough down; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half; roll each into a 16-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Sprinkle with nuts. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side.
With a sharp knife, cut each roll in half lengthwise. Open halves so cut side is up; gently twist ropes together. Transfer to two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Coil into a circle. Tuck ends under; pinch to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Combine the confectioners' sugar, maple flavoring and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over warm cakes. Yield: 2 coffee cakes.
1 serving (1 slice) equals 119 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 21 mg cholesterol, 144 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.
After breakfast, Sophia opened presents #1-7.
13 gifts on Sophia's 13th birthday.
Each contained some money so she had something to spend when she was at Mall of America.
Ready to open the gifts and have breakfast.
Needless to say, she was very happy that she could use it to buy some new clothes, and donate the ones that no longer fit.
Sophia ready to go shopping.
We then headed to Mall of America...along with thousands of other people who braved the frigidly cold temperatures and slick roads.
The girls on the swing ride at the Mall of America.
The lines for the rides were very long, so we couldn't go on as many rides as Sophia had hoped to do.
Going up on the ride at the Mall of America.
Nonetheless, the ones that we did go one were a lot of fun.
The roller coaster. We're to the far right in the picture.
We especially enjoyed the long roller coaster ride that took us throughout the entire ride area at the mall.
We stopped at the library on the way home, and then rested a bit before dinner.
Birthday dinner: vegetarian pizza with cheese bread.
Dinner was from the local pizza place, followed by an ice cream cake. The recipe is from the Five in a Row cookbook that Olivia used last year when she was reading the books in the Five in a Row series. There are quite a few good recipes that we continue to make from that cookbook.
Blowing out the candles on the ice cream cake.
It's hard to believe that Sophia is already 13 years old. How the time has gone by all too quickly...from the time she was adopted as an 11-month old baby to now. I continue to be so grateful that I can homeschool her and Olivia so I can see all these wonderful years and milestones.