Key Lime-Mint Bundt Cake With Key Lime Icing

It’s not hard to tell that I have been baking a lot of bundt cakes! For me, they are much easier to make than a layer cake, and I don’t have to really decorate them. Drizzling or pouring icing onto a bundt cake and letting the gorgeous design do the rest is my kind of decorating.

This cake comes courtesy of my good friend Lanett, who is one of the most awesome people I know. She was kind enough to let me in on her buyer’s group for Comic-Con International, so I decided to bake a cake of her choice (and also because I had a major cake craving after talking to her on the phone!). So… yes, this cake is her fault! Not a bad thing though, because I have to admit that this cake was really, really (yes, really!) yummy. I made a chocolate bundt cake (another blog post) a few days after making this one and the chocolate one just couldn’t hold a candle to this one, and I LOVE chocolate!

I went to two websites before deciding on the recipe I kind of followed. I say kind of followed because I ended up changing a few of the ingredients. This cake is supposed to be a mojito cake, but Josh and I don’t drink alcohol so we didn’t have any rum around to use in it.

The recipe I used is from One Sweet Mess.

The changes I made:

  • Left out the coconut or white rum
  • used 1/2 tsp of imitation rum extract (I’m not sure if this added anything to the cake; I’ll probably just leave it out next time and use vanilla extract instead)
  • 1/2 tsp of mint extract (this might have been slightly too much if you’re not into mint, but I actually liked this amount in the cake itself)
  • Left out vanilla extract
  • Used 1 cup of regular milk instead of coconut milk
  • I cheated and used the bottled lime juice from the grocery store that is usually in the produce section.
  • I only had 1 key lime for the zest. I would have used the zest of 3 key limes if I had had them. You want the lime to shine in this cake.

The icing was really simple. I just used 1 -2 cups of powdered sugar and added a teaspoon or two lime juice and heavy cream to it until it was of drizzling consistency.  I think the 1 -2 cups of powdered sugar wasn’t enough though so I had to make another cup of icing. The lime juice just added so much to the icing. It was perfect with the cake. I’m sorry I don’t have any exact measurements for this, but I was in a hurry when I was making this cake, so I had to eyeball my measurements!

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I’m not sure why… but this kind of cake batter appeals to me a lot more than the pourable kind, which you will see in the future chocolate bundt cake post. This is the Nordic Ware Crown Bundt pan, and from what I’ve read, it is a 10-cup Bundt pan.

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I had some crumbling at the edges, but that was my fault. I didn’t grease the pan all the way to the edges because I wasn’t expecting the cake to rise that high. So the cake edges stuck when I was trying to get the cake out of the pan.

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It must be true. Icing makes everything better. This truly was a messy drizzling job I did on this cake, but it didn’t really matter. In fact, all my kids wanted the slices with the great big globs of icing. Maybe I should paint the icing on so that it will spread out more evenly.

This cake was so good that it was gone by the end of the next day. It was gone so fast that my oldest Corran hardly got to eat any of it and that is why he asked me to make another bundt cake.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would like the flavors of key lime and mint in one cake since to me, they don’t really go together, but Lanett, my friend, you picked a winner. Thank you for introducing me to a great flavor combination that I am definitely going to try again!

Key Lime-Mint Bundt Cake with Key Lime Icing

  • Servings: not enough... I mean, 14-16 slices
  • Print

Please do visit or try the original recipe if you can. I only adjusted the recipe according to what I had on hand and for certain flavors.

Adapted from Mojito Bundt Cake by Jennie at One Sweet Mess

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp rum extract or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • zest of 3 key limes (I only had 1. Use 3 if you have them!)
  • 1/4 cup of key lime juice
  • 1 cup milk

For the Icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp key lime juice (add a little bit at a time until consistency desired)
  • 1 tsp heavy cream or milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next.

Add the extracts, key lime zest, and key lime juice. Stir just until combined.

Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the 1 cup of milk. Finish with the dry ingredients. Mix until you have a smooth batter and there are no streaks of flour. Make sure you reach the bottom of the bowl.

Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Smooth the top of the batter and bake for 60 minutes on the middle rack, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool cake on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. After removing the cake from the pan, allow the cake to cool completely before decorating with the icing.

Icing directions:

In a small bowl, combine 3 cups of powdered sugar with the 1 teaspoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk. Add key lime juice and/or heavy cream a 1/2 teaspoon at a time to powdered sugar until icing reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle or pour onto completely cool bundt cake.

 

 

Borrego Springs, California: Wildflowers 2017

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To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wildflower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

-From “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake

 

Last year, we went to Borrego Springs around this time hoping to see the wildflowers. We did get to see wildflowers last year, but not as many as when we were there in 2008. Last year, we also found these amazing metal sculptures in Galleta Meadows.

This year, we were able to go to Borrego Springs with Josh’s family. It was a fun day trip with our kids, our nephews, Josh’s parents, and his sister. During a superbloom year, there are a LOT of people who visit Borrego Springs to see the wildflowers. We left as early as we could and were in Borrego Springs by 9 AM, but there was already quite a crowd there!

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We like to stop at a turnout on the S-22 before heading into town. The overlook we stopped at last year was busy so we had to stop at a different turnout.

Our first stop in Borrego Springs was the Borrego Desert Nature Center near Christmas Circle. They offer free daily wildflower maps every year. The staff there has always been kind. The store there is also a good place to browse for books and gifts. My son, Matthias, is a rock hound and picked up a pocket-sized book about rocks during our visit last year. I wish I had taken pictures of the building when I was there. The Nature Center is located at 652 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA. The Nature Center is not related to the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center. In fact, when we drove past the street to the Visitor Center, there was a police officer directing traffic just at that intersection!

Once we drove into town, the traffic let up a little bit but it was still very busy. It was not too difficult to find parking near the Nature Center though. Josh and I were able to run in for the day’s wildflower map.

This was today’s flower map. It’s really informative and the lady who gave it to us explained to us which places were the best to go. We didn’t make it to every place on the map unfortunately. I think we needed another day or two to hike all the trails and visit all the flower fields.

It was very sunny and quite warm while we were out so sunscreen and lots of water were a must!

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Palm Canyon Trail, Hellhole Canyon, and Little Surprise (the trail we hiked last year) would have been difficult to find parking, so we decided to go visit the flower fields off of Henderson Canyon Road. This is the area we visited when we only had two kids, Corran and Matthias, in 2008. The flowers were spectacular here.

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Desert sunflower buds – my nephew Sawyer found these for me to photograph

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Desert sunflowers carpeting the area off of Henderson Canyon Road

The desert sunflowers were everywhere here. We also saw sand verbena, desert lilies, and brown-eyed primrose across the street, away from the hills.

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Sand verbena – lovely purple flowers. When we first got out of the car, I think the scent of these flowers was what we smelled. Possibly combined with the scent of orange blossoms from an orange grove close by.
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Desert Lilies – These were my favorite flower this year. They are a little unobtrusive so you have to be looking for them or you will step right over them.
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Brown-eyed Primrose – I had to look these up once we got home, but these pretty little flowers were everywhere this year! This one is all by its lonesome but most of the others we saw tended to be in little bunches.
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We walked by the desert sunflowers on a dirt road skirting these rows of palm trees. One of the boys said these palm trees looked like they formed a cave.

 

We saw quite a few creatures during our walk, fortunately, no rattlesnakes! There were many of these caterpillars around. Later, I found out that these are white-lined sphinx moth caterpillars.

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Can you find the ladybug? Always nice to find these helpful insects around! We also saw a beetle or two as well as a lot of gnats and flies!

After taking pictures of the field of desert sunflowers, we headed down the road to the west end of Henderson Canyon Road. This was an interesting hike. We saw quite a few different flowers than we did in the flower fields.

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Saguaro Sculpture in Galleta Meadows, near the intersection of Henderson Canyon Road and Borrego Springs Road

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This is the area in which most of the metal sculptures are located. We did not visit too many of them this year, though we did make the sea serpent sculpture our last stop before heading out of Borrego Springs.

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Ocotillo – with buds. We found a lot of cactus and ocotillo during this hike.
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A closeup of ocotillo buds

The beavertail cactus were in bloom. Their hot pink flowers are so bright they almost don’t look real!

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Teddy Bear Cholla with Brown-eyed Primrose

The flowers in this area were mostly desert dandelion, desert chicory, and blue phacelia.

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Desert dandelions
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There are so many wildflowers in this picture that I don’t think I can name them all. They make a beautiful picture though.
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Sand verbena and desert chicory
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Beavertail cactus with desert chicory
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Purple mat – these are tiny tiny purple flowers. You almost don’t see them unless you are looking at the ground as you walk.
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Blue phacelia – I’m glad I didn’t run into the teddy bear cholla that was right by these!

There were a few flowers that I wanted to see that we didn’t find – monkeyflowers, dune evening primrose, and canterbury bells. Maybe we will find them next year!

The flower fields are beautiful, but the trail hikes are also beautiful and a lot like a treasure hunt. We almost stopped at Little Surprise Canyon on our way out of Borrego Springs, but three of our five kids had fallen asleep! So we will have to save that hike for another time.

Some links to more information about some of the flowers and plants we saw:

Desert Sand Verbena

Brown-eyed Evening Primrose

Desert Sunflower

Beaver-tail Cactus

Teddy Bear Cholla

Purple Mat

-Lynn

 

 

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Pi Day Pie: Chocolate Truffle Pie in a Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

Since today is 3/14, of course I had to make a pie for pi day. I mulled over a few pies before I started on one. Lemon meringue? Chocolate custard tart? Does a tart count as a pie? Shepherd’s pie?

Well, I had leftover chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge… and realized that maybe I could use that as a pie crust! So next I needed an easy filling. There is a pie my sister-in-law makes that is yummy and chocolatey called chocolate truffle pie.

I won’t say much about actually making this pie since it is just to celebrate pi and math in general. If you’d like the recipes, they are at the following links.

Chocolate Truffle Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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This is the cookie crust before I baked it. It looks just like a giant cookie.

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This crust looked so yummy after baking that I had a hard time resisting eating it! The dough puffed up a little in the middle so I tamped it down a little. It looks like I didn’t need to since the filling didn’t fill this pie pan up as much as I thought it would.

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This is how you try to do props for food photography (or the sad attempt) when you have kids, are homeschooling them, and just fed them lunch. Some day, I will learn to take decent pictures of my baking. Someday!

In the meantime, I hope everyone had a lovely pi day!

-Lynn

P.S. I have no idea if the cookie crust worked out. We won’t find out until after dinner!

Maple Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

It is not completely obvious within my blog posts about baking, but a lot of my posts are requests from my kids. Since they eat most of what I bake, I try to make sure it is something they will like. Unless it’s macarons… I don’t really want them to eat all the macarons.

This bundt cake flavor comes courtesy of my son Matthias. I think he was wanting a flavor similar to a maple frosted donut. I certainly did my best to fulfill his request!

I know that bundt cakes LOVE to stick to pans, so I thought I’d also mention my technique for greasing my Nordicware bundt pans. This particular pan is the 10 cup Heritage pan. I also have a smaller 6 cup Heritage pan, but I haven’t used that one yet.

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To grease your bundt cake pan and hopefully end up with a flawless bundt pan flip, here is what you need:

1 Tbsp of very soft butter, but not melted. If your butter is right out of the fridge, you can microwave it for about 15-20 seconds to soften it enough.

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1 pastry brush

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I apologize for my very ugly pastry brush in this pic. It needs to be retired. In fact, we were at a restaurant supply store a few weeks ago and I bought a new nylon pastry brush and a gorgeous stainless steel worktable! By the way, restaurant supply stores are awesome. I could have stayed there all day! I just didn’t have the new brush at this time so had to use the ugly old one. I have tried a silicone brush but it just couldn’t get into all the details of the pan. So I ended up with this.

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Lesson learned: use only a traditional pastry brush or a nylon brush for greasing bundt cake pans.

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Usually, I find greasing pans tedious, but somehow greasing my bundt pans is now fun! I guess it is because I feel like I’m painting. Which is basically what you’re doing! You paint the butter into the pan using the pastry brush, making sure to get into all the little nooks and crannies. I think I may try this method with my plain round cake pans.

Then comes the flouring part. I usually just toss a random amount of flour into the pan. Probably close to a tablespoon or two. Shake the pan at an angle over a sink, turning the pan to get the flour all around the pan and onto the butter.

After tapping tapping tapping,  your pan will look like this.

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I think I might be weird because I don’t like it when my pan looks like this after flouring. So I turn it upside-down over my sink and tap the edge of the pan on the wall of the sink. All the excess flour falls right out into the sink and you end up with a clean finish.

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I know this seems like a lot of trouble to go to for greasing and flouring a bundt pan, but this method hasn’t failed me yet.

Now to the actual cake!

I decided on a cinnamon swirl coffee cake with a mascarpone maple frosting. I modified both recipes quite a bit so I will be posting them at the end. The original recipes are from Allrecipes.com and The Local Palate.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

First, we begin as most cakes do, with beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Then, add the eggs. The texture of the batter might worry you a little at this point. (Why does it look curdled?) But it all smooths out at the end.

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Then, add the flour and raising agents.

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I like the look of this type of cake batter better than the very liquidy type. Maybe I’m just a big fan of pound cake. Spoon half the batter into the bundt pan.

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Sprinkle all the cinnamon mixture over this first layer.

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Spoon the other half of the batter over the cinnamon mixture and swirl a knife through it. I made the mistake of using a spatula. That didn’t work so well. I should have used a knife.

Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 40 more minutes.

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When a tester comes out clean, your cake is done.

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Now to the moment of truth! But not for another 10 minutes. I leave the pan on my stovetop or a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before tipping out the cake. But… you don’t want to wait too long. It seems that bundt cakes come out better if the pan is still warm.

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This cake came out a little rough around the edges but I think that is because I didn’t spread the batter into the pan as well as I should have. I think it looks a lot like a cruller though this way!

I had a whole container of mascarpone cheese in the fridge so I went for a full mascarpone frosting instead of mixing it with cream cheese. My kids now have a name for this frosting: maple donut frosting. I piped the frosting onto the cake using the star tip  of my Wilton Dessert Decorator. Usually, I can’t use this for decorating because the tips are so huge, but it worked well for this cake.

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Note: Apparently, regular Wilton tips can be used with this decorator. I haven’t tried those yet. Will have to see how they work.

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As you can see, I didn’t have much of a swirl…. probably because of my attempt to use a spatula instead of a knife to swirl the batter. This cake was very, very yummy though and certainly didn’t last long! I think it was completely gone the next morning after breakfast!

I wasn’t completely happy with the frosting. It’s a little too shiny (or maybe the word is oily-looking?) for me, but my kids loved it. At least they were happy with it!

-Lynn

Here is the recipe!

Maple Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting

Not everyone will have the maple sugar for the cinnamon mixture, so it can be left out. Also, because of the mascarpone frosting, I would not feel comfortable keeping this cake on the counter for more than a day.

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract or flavoring
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Swirl Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp maple sugar (optional)

Maple Mascarpone Frosting Ingredients

  • 10 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp maple extract or flavoring
  • 9 ounces powdered sugar, about 2 cups

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan. See post above for method if needed.

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture will be very pale. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla extract and maple extract or flavoring.

Combine the flour, baking soda,and  baking powder in a medium bowl. Mix the flour mixture into the cake batter alternatively with the 1 cup of sour cream. End with the dry ingredients. Spoon half the batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar with the 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon maple sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the batter in the bundt pan. Spoon the remaining half of the cake batter over the cinnamon mixture in the pan. Swirl through the batter once or twice with a knife.

Bake in the 400 degree F (205 degree C) oven for 8 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 40 minutes more, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 – 15 minutes before tipping cake out of the pan. Allow to cool completely on the rack before frosting.

Mascarpone frosting directions:

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the 10 ounces mascarpone cheese and 2 ounces butter in a large bowl until blended. Add the 1 teaspoon maple extract or flavoring and beat until combined.

With the mixer speed on low, slowly add the 9 ounces powdered sugar (2 cups) to the mascarpone mixture. Beat until smooth. Store frosting in the fridge until needed.

Decorate the bundt cake with the frosting as desired.

 

San Diego Comic-Con Returning Registration

Today, returning registration for San Diego Comic-Con begins at 9:00 AM PST. We wouldn’t be The Geek Homestead if we weren’t trying for passes to this annual geekfest! This year, we are hoping to go two days instead of just one. We will also try to be better about posting during Comic-Con to the blog!

UPDATE: Returning registration sold out so fast for the days I wanted! So Josh has Thursday and I have Friday and Saturday. So as of right now, we can’t even go together to Comic-Con. We will be trying for the remaining days at open registration in April.

-Lynn

Lego Fun Build Day: Microbuildings

Yesterday ended up being an impromptu day off for my kids. The website where they stream their classes from was experiencing an outage, and it ended up being down most of the day. So instead of doing their classes, they decided to do the Lego Fun Build instead.

My kids LOVED this challenge. They definitely went above and beyond what they needed to and decided to build a micro-city. Their city has also changed multiple times since yesterday. I let them keep their micro-city built so that they could play with it again today. Their city today looks completely different from yesterday.

What is a microbuilding? You use the smallest Lego pieces you can to create a building. Everything about the building is tiny, the windows, the doors, the roof, the bricks.  And you have to add as much detail as possible using small Lego pieces.

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Corran built a one story house yesterday (with a flame coming from the chimney because he didn’t know how to build smoke), but then today, he added a second story to his house along with a balcony! He took out the flaming chimney. Corran also had a garden in front of his house with minifigures that functioned as statues.

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Matthias built a very nice one-story house yesterday. Today, he rebuilt it into a two-story house also. He has a very nice covered porch by his front door and green shutters upstairs. I kind of miss his little garden in the front yard though!

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Ian built quite a few microbuildings! The first picture is his house yesterday. He also built a gas station and a restaurant, which are in the second picture. The third picture is his two-story house that he built today. It looks like he is hiding a bag of treasure on top of his house!

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I wasn’t able to get great pictures of their microcity, but here is a picture of the Shark Mart. I’m not sure I could shop at a grocery store that had a huge shark on its roof!

Later, Thias built a skyscraper that had two stores in it: Costco and IKEA. I’m not really sure why they picked those two stores. Maybe they like them!

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Rhys built a microbuilding too. He put his microbuilding near the gas station and restaurant that Ian built. Gwen built a duck. It kept falling apart though so I wasn’t able to get pictures of it sadly.

I would highly recommend this as a fun build for kids! It lets them use their imagination and build their own little city if they want. It also doesn’t take up as much space as usual Lego builds since everything is on a small scale. Thanks for reading about our Lego Fun Build Day!

Next Week’s Build: Build a Farm

-Lynn