Monday, February 17, 2014

Festivity Jam

The second week of February gets a bit hectic at our house.  There's Valentine's Day and the birthdays of both my children, five days apart.  

This is why I haven't blogged all week:  almost non-existent Internet; and too many holidays.  Valentine's Day was fairly easy, although Chuck and I are still figuring it out.  We both agree that Valentine's Day is a crock-of-shit Hallmark contrivance; that we don't need a holiday to remind us to be loving to each other; and we SURE don't need a holiday that forces us to spend money on each other.  He actually asked me this year, how would we celebrate Valentine's Day?  I laughed out loud and said that he had been very opinionated in the past about his contempt for the day, so why was he bringing it up again, now?  Well, he didn't want there to be unmet expectations.  Nope.  I didn't expect anything.  Which was good.  Although he did come to the grocery store with me when I did the shopping and bought me some Junior Mints.  Cool.

BUT.  I had found this little can, shaped like a mailbox, for a dollar at Target.  It has a little flag that goes up.  For a verbal person like me, this seemed like a gift that might keep on giving.  I can put messages in it anytime!  So, I bought it; and made a little Valentine and put it in there.  And when one of my students gave me two tamales, I only ate one, and put a little note in the mailbox with the Valentine, telling him to look for a treat in the fridge.  Sharing tamales = true love.

AND... I went to a local sexy-stuff store and bought...let's see, how to avoid over-informing my delicate readers?  An item that I had been wanting for a while that wasn't really for him as much as it was for me but that he certainly didn't object to at all.  If you know what I mean.

Sara's 15th birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated on Saturday.  It is her turn to have a big party this year (the kids have to rotate that privilege, in the name of my sanity and household budget).  She chose to forgo a birthday cake in favor of an ice cream sundae bar; no presents either.  She only wants a letter jacket - she lettered in Cross Country.  Do you know how much those thing COST!?  Holy shit!  That is all she's getting.  She also wanted to have a paintball fight in  the woods around the house.  I went to a paintball place to rent the guns, balls, helmets, etc...  That was a very boy-dense environment.  I haven't seen that many awkward pubescent Ninjas and Green Berets in one place, ever.  The smell was almost barn-like.

Sara and her friends were out on the woods shooting each other until dark, then came in for ice cream.  Most of them ended up staying, shooting pool, etc... until almost 9 PM.  I had roasted a turkey during the day (well, we generally go to Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving, and I miss having a whole turkey all to myself), and made turkey Pho for everybody who was still around.

Nathan's 12th birthday is supposed to be more low-key.  Just family.  He was with his dad on his actual day.  We went in together on a telescope for him.  He has brought it to my house and it is currently living in our bedroom, so he can take it out on our balcony and try to find stars.  I say "try" because we have had many days of gloomy weather here in Salt Lake.  He was a little frustrated, but managed to look at some of the stars in Orion last night.

I felt bad, though, that his dad hadn't done any kind of cake, candles, embarrassing song, or any other observation of the day.  "Too busy," Si told me.

Well, OK.  I will do a cake.  Nate likes ice cream cake.  What if we made one together, ourselves, instead of ordering it?  We won't have it on the actual birthday, but we could have it on Sunday...  Well, that's technically Sara's birthday, but Nathan is the one who wanted a cake...

OK, I don't want to hear a PEEP from all you accomplished cake-bakers out there, about the right way to make an ice cream cake.  We baked a layer cake, then put a half-gallon of ice cream in the stand mixer to make it smooth and spreadable.  We cooled the cake to room temperature before filling and frosting it, then popped it straight into the freezer.  Next day, uh...
 Does that look all soft and melty to you?  Think again!  It is hard as a rock.  Chuck looked at this and wondered aloud whether we should have not just cooled the layers, but actually frozen them before adding the ice cream.  I scratched my head and felt grateful that only family (and our friend Cliff, who is also family) was seeing this, and that I had not committed this folly to be served to ten of Nate's friends, or something.

Don't worry Mom.  We have Reddi-Whip.  Oh, God.  Those words from a kid are equivalent to an adult saying, "Dude!  Hold my beer and watch this!"

After collaborative application of Reddi-Whip, as in, "Give it here!  No, I want to do it!  It's hissing!  It's almost out!  You're doing it wrong! Gimme that!" (What is it about those Reddi-Whip cans that makes people act like five-year-olds?)  We wound up with this, complete with candles that were last used on someone else's birthday cake.

We sang:
Happy birthday to you on Sara's birthday,
Happy birthday to you on Sara's birthday,
Happy birthday even though it isn't,
Happy birthday to you on Sara's birthday! 


  1. Kate - you should definitely try Leelanau it is very similar to Door County, having been both places. Have a great day!

  2. A good time had by all! :) I reuse candles too. Bit challenged for James 24th last month. I had some number candles but not the right ones.

  3. I have no idea how to make ice-cream cake but I sure do like the sound of it!

    I also like your little song,