A “Little Women” Breakfast

I so badly want to go into painstaking detail about my Mother’s invention of “the birthweek” and how she executes it year after year after year…

but I don’t have time! My 6th batch of granola is in the oven, a mountain of presents wait to be wrapped, and we have company coming to sup with us tomorrow night…

SO, I have to make this snappy, and just tell you, without going into specifics, that although my Mom and Mr. Gore had given me the birthweek of all birthweeks, my actual birthday was on the horizon and Mom wanted to know what kind of party I wanted.

Even though she had already given me a 12-12-12 party.

And even though she had already made me a cake.

And even though I had been opening presents throughout the entire week.

But people who are being spoiled rarely speak up about these things and decide, rather, to see how long the spoiling will continue before life goes back to unbirthday-like normality, and so, after much serious discussion (birthdays are obviously serious business around here, you guys), we settled upon a birthday BREAKFAST.

For, like my friend Leslie Knope, I heartily believe that breakfast is the very best meal of the day.

But…what kind of breakfast?

We had already had pancakes. We didn’t have time to pick up apple fritters from the bakery (we live far away from pretty much everything). Bacon and eggs didn’t seem very celebratory. We just couldn’t decide…

Then, suddenly, I gasped!

“What?” Mom asked, gasping in return.

“I want a ‘Little Women’ breakfast!!” I exclaimed.

Mom stared at me and blinked.

“You know…” I said, “popovers…oranges…sausage links…coffee!!…”

Mom stared at me and blinked.

“You know…” I said, “Colonial-like and beautiful and simple. That’s what I want!!!”

Then we both laughed, because I am a total nutcase who always does things like this to her while she blinks and tries to figure out how to create the weirdness that is in my head.

But boy…showing up at her house on the morning of my birthday, I was amazed to find that “Little Women” had been delivered with perfection. I honestly can’t imagine being more pleased with my (official) birthday meal. It was somehow a dream come true – the breakfast Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy sit down to on Christmas morning has always captured my fancy – and to have a near representation before my very eyes was just a real treat.

All that to say, I am most eager to share the following pictures with you so that, if you are wired like I am and like anything nostalgic or literary or whimsical, you can indulge in a “Little Women” Christmas breakfast of your own! There’s still time, yes?

Take a look…


I thought the table was just so beautiful and and simple and reminiscent of yesteryear. The bananas might have been a modern twist, but hey…we like bananas.


on the menu: Pioneer Woman’s Orange Mini-Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze. Make them. NOW!!

(I make these specifically around Christmastime because I think they taste like Christmas-morning-in-a-breakfast-bread, and they have become, without contestation, my favorite muffin. Obviously, you can make them in regular muffin tins as well as mini – I like both versions, and thought they were especially scrumptious when my Mom made them for me).


popovers!! (Here’s a good recipe from Paula Deen). Mom’s were especially “poppy” and we all ooohed and aahhhed when she pulled them out of the oven.


And here they are all prettied up on the table…


Along with bacon, sausage links, the orange muffins, scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, and breakfast potatoes (Mom’s budget isn’t as tight at the March’s).


I think this will be my breakfast of choice every birthday (and/or Christmas) morning…


And here is Mrs. Gore herself, happy, hungry and…happy. (I cropped out the back part of this picture, because muffin tops were not on the menu and are not welcome at my birthday party).


I sincerely hope you plan your own “Little Women” breakfast, and as you partake of your meal, contemplate simpler times when a breakfast spread like the above was the stuff of dreams and very difficult to come by…

It really will make you count your blessings, especially when you realize that you don’t have to share your food with the Hummel’s.

As ever, special thanks to my Mama, who still strives to make my silly dreams come true, 31 years and counting.

Miss Sunday’s Third: The Actual Birthday

If you’ve been paying close attention to the millions of words I’ve been sharing this week – which I trust you have – you would remember that Rebekah’s birthday party did not take place until the day after her birthday.

I’ll be getting to that soon…

But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t find ways to celebrate on her actual birthday.

In fact, there were many highlights to the day — so many, in fact, that I will be splitting them up into numerical categories, beginning right…NOW.

1. Her breakfast party.

A simple and sweet affair with pink donuts and chocolate milk. As I set up the table the night before (with tears popping out of my eyes!), I realized that with her party looming ahead of me, I had forgotten to buy her any little tokens of affection to open at the breakfast table. Sir Gideon, our firstborn male, had had THREE such tokens at his birthday breakfast, plus a bevy of decorations…leftover from his party, of course, which had taken place before his actual birthday.

So I started feverishly digging in my hideyholes of stuff, and emerged less than 10 minutes later with an unused Mary Engelbreit journal, an unopened box of Martha Stewart colored pencils, and $3 in quarters. I wrapped them up, botta-bing botta-boom, DONE. Free. Minus the $3 in quarters…

Mr. Gore, Gideon and I woke up our birthday girl by singing “Happy Birthday to You” next to her bed. Her eyes opened in confusion and then that small and precious smile of hers began to spread across her countenance, and I knew it was going to be a good day.

A beautiful day.

When she came downstairs and saw her breakfast table, she gasped, ran over to her brother, threw her arms around him and said “Thanks, Gid!”

He ducked his head, an embarrassed smile on his face. “I didn’t do it…” he sheepishly replied, in the “aw, shucks” manner.

“There is a lot of love and goodwill in the air this birthday morn,” I shared on Facebook, “let’s hope it lasts all day.”

2. It didn’t.

Because Rebekah is apparently more like her mother than we thought, as she naturally turned into an entitled Birthday Diva all day long, owning her day and her birthday rights like a CHAMP.

She chose to allow her brother to go along with us on her special birthday outing, but she kept a tight leash on what he could do and say. If he made even the slightest sound to annoy her, she positively barked “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!” It was a one-strike-and-you’re-out sort of day.

Here’s a picture of her after the barking, covering her ears so she didn’t have to listen to Gideon talk.


3. Speaking of entitlement and claiming her birthday rights…

Rebekah also decided that 3-year olds are “grown” and could do all sorts of things, like shoot a gun, and say “oh my gosh”.

“Rebekah, we don’t say that word!” Papa scolded.

“But I’m 3 now…” she defended, “AND it’s my birthday.”

4. Luncheon with the Queen.

And then there was the lunch we ate at our favorite local Mexican eatery, Ted’s Escondido. We like to celebrate birthdays there, because they place a big pink sombrero upon the birthday celebrant’s head and sing a rousing version of Happy Birthday. The kids, especially, are so delighted by this, and alternate between reactions of embarrassment and unbridled joy. I couldn’t wait to see how Rebekah responded. Would she think it was funny? Would she dance and sing along? Would she hide her face and giggle in embarrassment?

In retrospect, I don’t know what I was thinking. I should have known better.

For during the entire song, she stared at the singers with her signature unblinking gaze, her chin slightly raised, her mouth set in an unreadable expression. She looked like a Mexican queen, staring at her minions as they performed for her while she decided whether or not she would let them live or…off with their heads! I have never seen such a response to a birthday song at Ted’s. Never.

It was oddly perfect, though, and absolutely made my day.

5. So we’re cheap. So what? Who cares?

We went to Pottery Barn Kids (her favorite store) and played with every toy in the store. Didn’t buy anything. (Sorry, PBK…that’s what you get when you charge $40 for a plush baby doll).

6. The pièce de résistance…

And then it was off to Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house for the night. Rebekah thought it was  solely a birthday treat, but in actuality, I wanted to get a headstart in setting up her party, which would take place the next morning in my Mom and Dad’s backyard. I won’t even go into the MOUNTAINS of STUFF I had to remember to pack for the occasion.

Once there, we ate delicious hamburgers and sang “Happy Birthday” for the 500th time that day while Rebekah stared at the pretty candles on the chocolate cake her Grandmother had made for her.

Then she went to blow them out…

And her hair kind of caught on fire.

And the whole table erupted and sprang into action.

While I took a picture.

How did Rebekah respond, you ask? She never even knew what had happened, and we didn’t tell her. We just chuckled nervously while we clapped and cheered for her and then we all ate some cake.

Lots of cake.

Nothing makes you thank God for the birthday girl like almost having her catch on fire…


See? I told you it was a special day.

And it didn’t hold a candle to her PARTY, coming up soon!