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rainbow brown sugar cupcakes — peach’s birthday fun

five years already? ::::

There is something about momentary weightlessness, an upward flight after a jump, hoping we will just hang a little longer suspended, floating, maybe taking flight. It is often the knowing that the descent will lead to another ascent that we accept the fall. It’s the suspension that I crave, in how time speeds so quickly away from me these days, as I realize my kids are growing up quickly. The nights are still long, but the years are fast.

freeze-dried crushed strawberries in the mix for a little tartness

We may fall, but we get back up. We just recently started the kids in a new daycare, the kids a bit tenuous at first but now on the upswing. While Peach’s “bee-bee” (security blanket) had been a constant at her other daycare, often not washed for 3-4 weeks because of her insistence to keep it with her, she made a decision to NOT bring bee-bee to the new school without any coaxing from me or Eat. And when we brought this up to the new teacher, Peach immediately corrected me with “Blanket,  Mommy,” as if the well-worn nickname “bee-bee” was now suddenly too babyish for her. And she didn’t wear a dress. Shorts and a Hello Kitty t-shirt were enough. Peach is growing up, already reinventing herself in little ways in new situations.

flat toppers, sad but true.

But even with her re-invention and being more independent, Peach still wants to be close to me and Eat at times. As Grub is still attached to me so often, sometimes Peach gets the short end of the stick. Before the Grub, she was my buddy, my cuddler. Now she often has to wait for hugs until after Grub’s gone to bed, after we’ve averted a crisis leaking from his diaper (Code Brown!), or some other toddler issue. It is slow-moving melancholy laced in the passage of time, even though time does not wait. Sometimes I just want her eyes on me and mine on her. And so we enjoy the isolated moment, these moments of time suspended, even if for a millisecond. Sometimes we achieve it with a jump up into the air. There is a moment where we are suspended, that hang time. Time seems to stop.

our jumpy fun

Today, it was the Jumpy House for Peach’s birthday. It excites children as much as it does adults. The sharp whir of the inflating fan deters no one. It attracts kids, There it is! The Jumpy House, Mama!  We attempted flight on Peach’s birthday with a princess-theme jumpy house, complete with a visit from a real  fairy. Miss Violet made balloon animals, painted faces, and captivated with a magic show. The look on Peach’s face was priceless: absolute awe. Miss Violet did the impossible: she entertained the kids to sit for at least 20 minutes. A feat! Everyone except Grub, of course, who insisted on being held by me or Ama (grandmother). Time did seem to stand still for awhile.

jumpy grub

I had my chance before it all started, pre-party and alone with the jumpy house. I spent a short interlude in flight, feeling the ascent and descent of my jumps, remembering the past five years, to enjoy the best and the worst, and to love my little girl the best I can.

miss violet, our real live faerie, and peach looking at daisy the dragon

Happy Birthday, Peach. I can’t believe it’s been five years! Love and kisses!

my feeble attempts at keeping candles lit in the breeze. we ended up going for just one candle in the end.

Enjoy the cupcakes for your own special event, alight in rainbows or jumpy houses. (Make sure you have a few minutes without the kids to jump, too.)

rainbow brown sugar cupcakes recipe
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24-27
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 heaping cup of freeze-dried strawberries, crushed
  • buttercream (See my lemon cupcakes and frosting recipe from Peach's 4th birthday or my carrot pineapple cupcakes cream cheese frosting recipe, if you don't already have a favorite.)
  • rainbow belt candy, cut into 24 pieces (each piece is about 3 inches long)
  • blue icing: powdered sugar + just enough milk to desired consistency + dribble of vanilla + dab of Wilton blue coloring gel
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.*
  2. Line 24-well muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. Beat sugars and butter together, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well between eggs. Beat in vanilla.
  5. Whisk and sift together flour and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine sour cream and baking soda.
  6. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream mixture and starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  7. Stir in the crushed freeze-dried strawberries.
  8. Fill each cupcake well about ⅔ full of batter. (I actually came out with 27 cupcakes.)
  9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. (The timing will partly depend on your desire for puffy versus flat-topped cupcakes.)
  10. Cool in pans for a few minutes, until able to be handled without burning your fingers, and transfer to rack to cool completely.
  11. How to decorate: Snip rainbow belts into about 3-inch pieces to create the rainbow that will sit atop the cupcake. Set aside.
  12. Make the blue icing: mix powdered sugar (I used about 1½ cups) and a couple tablespoons of milk and dribble of vanilla with a electric hand-held mixer to make smooth. If you want more runny icing, add more milk. Mix blue gel coloring in well.
  13. Dip each cupcake top into the blue icing and set aside.
  14. Using buttercream in a piping bag, pipe two small rosettes on top of the iced cupcake to make "clouds" on top of the cupcake.
  15. Add the rainbow by placing each end of the rainbow belt candy into a cloud. You might need to shove the candy into the cupcake a little to keep it upright. Pipe a little more frosting to make the clouds look more puffy, if desired.
* Do you want puffy cupcakes or flat-topped cupcakes? Honestly, my flat-topped cupcakes were a little disappointing. Mounded cupcakes are much more impressive. The puffiness can be achieved by starting in a HOT oven, try 400-425 degrees F, watch for puffing and the puffs start to set, then turn down the oven to 325 degrees F and bake until a toothpick stuck into a cupcake comes out clean.



  • Jen March 15, 2013 Reply

    These cupcakes are so adorable; looked for the ribbon rainbow candy but without success…my 13 year old will instead make a rainbow of ‘nerds’ on top instead for a cupcake class. I really like how your write of your children -childhood is fleeting time and at times an unending time certainly, but those sweetest, frozen moments of sheer love are really the ones that cement something dear inside, even if those moments are never recalled .

    • story March 15, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback! Sometimes the only way to freeze those moments in memory is to write them down, because I do forget so much.
      I found the rainbow gummy candy at Walgreens; it’s called “Air Heads Extremes Sweetly Sour Belts Candy – Rainbow” or something similar.

  • Timmy February 2, 2014 Reply

    You should become an author … your story was really touching. Thanks.

    • story February 3, 2014 Reply

      Aww, thanks. So kind of you to say.

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