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How many more kids’ birthdays still ahead? 5 things 20.3.2017

1. I try to plan and get ahead of things, I really do, but somehow I’m always, always up at 11pm the night before a birthday party still icing the damn cake. (If I’m lucky.) Partly it’s because the days are busy, and I am not a very confident baker, and I don’t like to start unless I know I have a solid hour at least to take care of it. (And, scarce and precious work hours aside, that tends not to happen till they’re in bed.) But it’s also because as the day wears on, I get more and more tired, and it gets harder and harder to start. And to work efficiently once I have started. I also still haven’t mastered the art of foolproof birthday cake baking. (Or planning. See me looking up emergency coconut flour recipes when I discover late on Saturday night I’m out of ground almonds.) So I’m always pre-exhausted for the actual event, which is… sub-optimal.

2. Fortunately, Elfling’s bossy tendencies really come into their own at birthday time. She’s super ready to take charge, tell us what she wants and help us organise it. Will happily do the same for baby brother, too. Being extremely unimaginative when it comes to entertaining small people, I find this enormously helpful. Armin is also an excellent party giver – weirdly, he really really likes small kids, even (maybe especially?) in large groups. I have learned to make very sure of our scheduling and only hold parties when he’s available to run them. Even so, though. Next year we might give in to having a party at the Gemeinschaftszentrum – which provides not only the venue, but the activities, eg woodworking! I’ve been resisting spending the money but oooh, could be so worth it… 

3. Elf did get quite ridiculously spoilt this year. I hope she forgets most of it by next year. Besides assorted toys, she got a camera (old, secondhand, dirt cheap, but in perfect nick and it takes great shots) and a surprise outing to Mary Poppins on stage. Expensive! But awesome. But definitely not a standard of indulgence we’d ever plan to repeat. Oh, and she’s also still owed a new bike (not that exciting a gift, in her mind, but needed), but that didn’t happen yet because Insert Cautionary Online Shopping Tale Here.

4. I spent most of last week dreaming about new design ideas, trying to catch up on life stuff that’s been dragging for the past, chaotic month, and researching necromantic rituals that might provide me with more hours in my day. (Not really.) What I want for my own birthday: a Time Turner. Since I don’t actually have a Time Turner, I’m going to try getting up at 5am again… a lovely habit that fell by the wayside for reasons including the need to stay up late knitting, and Dude’s habit of waking up way too earlier and preventing me actually using that extra 90 minutes of morning. Both of which still apply, really, so I don’t know how well this is going to pan out. Let’s see, shall we? 

5. Today marks the start of the first week all year that I haven’t had pressing business to attend to. I mean, I have masses to do, but none of it on deadline. It’s a very restful thought. I’m going to start with a little cuddle and iPad time with the Dude, who woke me up twice in the night, the second time with a very wet bed. After that it took me ages to get back to sleep, and when I did of course I promptly had to wake up. Upside, though: lying awake in the wee hours is really excellent for problem-solving. I suddenly have a Plan for all kinds of things that had been bothering me a bit. 

Nos 11 & 12 of #52recipes: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. It’s basically a classic, right? It definitely doesn’t taste mayonnaisey. Unfortunately, I screwed up something in the size/shape/heat/position relationship and it got a bit overdone (at least the centre was cooked, though, which I wasn’t at all sure it would be). So I can’t really comment on how good it was, or might have been.

And this coconut cake was indeed simple as advertised, and turned out surprisingly tasty with vanilla icing. (Schwiegerdaddy is a big coconut fan! I didn’t know, but that makes this a particularly good weapon in my GF dessert arsenal.) 

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