Saturday, January 26, 2013

Birthday #37. And Pasta. But Not Much Snow.

Though I always (always!) complain about the inconvenient timing of M's birthday (still burned out from the Christmas shopping season), I must say that I managed to pull off a pretty good celebration this year. Admittedly, I probably couldn't have pulled it off if it weren't for some excellent shipping services, but I'll take credit where I can get it.

I was a wee bit worried about the "significant snow" we were slated to receive on Friday, as that was the estimated date of the arrival of M.'s birthday present (and also the date of M.'s birthday itself). Fanning the flames of this worry, I started receiving e-mails and phone calls by around 10 in the morning letting me know that pretty much all of Maryland would be shutting down by mid-afternoon, including the schools. Even though nary a snowflake had been spotted yet.

Luckily, I was already working from home, so it was not a problem to pick Finn up early. Also luckily, the "significant snow" was really more of a dusting. But the warning was enough to get M. home from D.C. early, which meant that we had a little extra family time. There was (barely) enough snow for a little late afternoon sledding, but not enough to hinder the delivery of M.'s present or the delicious Thai food we ordered for the birthday dinner (we've had a bit of an obsession with Tom Yum soup lately).

While we waited for dinner to arrive, the kids helped M. open his presents.

 In keeping with his new hobby, I got him a glass carboy secondary fermentor, and a new beer kit to brew, Northern Brewer's La Petite Orange Limited Edition kit (sounds so good!!). He seemed pretty happy with his present, and we are both plotting when the next brew will occur (maybe tomorrow!).

After stuffing ourselves with Thai food, we moved on to cake. The kids requested a repeat of the Wisconsin "W" cake I made last year, but I did change it up a little by going with a vanilla cake instead of a chocolate cake this time. I used this recipe for the cake (I cannot rave enough about this cake - even though it's from scratch, it is so moist and SO GOOD), and the buttercream frosting recipe on the box of the Dominos confectioner's sugar box. I ended up having to make a second batch of frosting for a second layer, because the first layer had a lot of crumbs showing. Does this make me anal? Maybe. Also, the cake recipe makes a three-layer cake, so 3 layers + 2 coatings of frosting = a ridiculous amount of powdered sugar. But let's not think about that, right? :-)

The rest of the night was less thrilling, as once the kids were in bed I discovered I was exhausted, and not good for much but bed. This morning started off with our usual busy Saturday schedule - swim lessons for Finn, ballet/tap class for Lucy, and then a trip to Wegman's for grocery shopping (a bit out of our way, but we were scoping out food options for the "beer party" we are hosting next weekend). We were home by 1 o'clock - plenty of time with nothing to do and nowhere to be, so I? Took a nap. It was great. And while I napped, M. creatively found a purpose for the 6 egg yolks I had leftover from making his cake (it called for 6 egg whites). He dug out our pasta maker, a wedding gift that was used several times just after we were married, and has been gathering dust since ever since kids came on the scene. And he and his helpers turned those egg yolks into a fabulous pasta dough (and made me think of the wonderful friends who gifted us with the pasta maker, and how we invited them over to try out the results with us not long after the wedding, and I served them pasta with LOTS of GRITTY parsely that I decided "didn't really need to be washed" before I chopped it. Oh how wrong I was!) :

The result? Well, Lucy ate two helpings of the pasta WITH SAUCE (jarred, not homemade - what? you didn't think I was THAT Martha Stewart-y, did you?), which is a miracle, as Lucy typically eats her pasta plain. Finn was a bit weirded out by how it was "different" than the usual boxed pasta, though we did manage to get him to eat a few bites. It was a fun dinner and a nice way to involve the kids in cooking. Here is the yummy result:

This girl kills me with her expressions

Finally, I leave you with a couple of impromptu post-dinner videos, where Finn explains what "legs" are for wine, and then does his best to imitate them. I will also note that I didn't know about wine "legs" until I was in my mid-twenties.


  1. What a nice celebration. I love family birthdays.

    And now I want pasta. And cake. And wine.

  2. Awesome! And thanks for making me miss the wine and pasta I can't have on this diet. Sounds like a great family weekend.