Sunday, May 24, 2015

Volume XI, issue iv, April 2015

After last lear's all-out tribute to spring-time revelry was such a success, our family decided that d'Evegnee Skip Day definitely needed to be "a thing" (hence the use of capital letters on skip and day). As Eric and I started trudging through the academic muck of the last week of Winter Semester, we would look at each other in the trenches, covered with comma splices, mixed-metaphors, and faulty logic and say, "If we can last just a few more days and grade just a few more papers, we can have d'Evegnee Skip Day and then everything will be okay."

And we made it! We chose one of the two days between when grades were due and when we needed to start getting ready for the next semester. Everything about the day was full of planned laziness and deliberate gluttony. After  making "la grasse matinĂ©e," (which is one of my favorite French idioms because it means "sleeping in," but has a literal translation of "fat morning," which was much more a propos for our beloved Skip Day) we started with a trip to our favorite Tacqueria (aka "The Taco Bus" even though it isn't actually a bus) and hooky-ed ourselves up with nine of the most delicious breakfast burritos known to truancy kind, and we could immediately feel ourselves "sluffing off" the stress of the past 8 months. 

Then we went across the street to the church gym and played a rousing game of live Hungry Hungry Hippos, which involves using balloons instead of marbles, and people hooked to bungee cords while clinging to scooters for dear life instead of plastic hippos. Holden figured out a brilliant way to fling his smaller teammates out to the balloons with impressive speed. 

We then rushed down to the movie theater for a practically private screening of Cinderella and had buckets of refillable popcorn and candy for lunch before heading to our favorite pizzeria for dinner. (Don't tell me I didn't warn you.)

I have to confess, though, that my favorite part of the day came as we paid for our pizza. The tiny Ririe pizza joint is popular enough to coax crowds to drive the extra fifteen minutes to enjoy its New York-style pizza,  and occasionally ends up with more customers than it can handle. The owner of the restaurant was at their new Idaho Falls location, leaving inexperienced high-school employees to hold down the fort. Our cute Idahoan waitress, who looked to be about seventeen, was scurrying around the whole evening, cheerfully trying to explain to customers why the wait was so long or informing them that they were out of crucial ingredients like "dough," and had to run to the store to get more. We watched her get yelled at more than once by hungry and frustrated patrons, but she still eked out a tired smile after each encounter. She was kind, patient, and professional despite the less-than-ideal situation, and by the end of the evening I could tell she was about to start crying. When I went to pay our bill, I praised her for her attitude and her hard work and decided to donate my profits for the weekend from my etsy shop to her. When she saw the fifty dollar tip, her mouth dropped open, and she stammered, "You can't do that!" I responded with "Of course I can! You earned it! I am so impressed with you and you deserve it!" She burst into overwhelmed tears and fled to the bathroom.

 Eric saw her rush away to the bathroom and asked me, "What did you do to her?" I teared up myself as I explained what had happened. It was worth a few hours of designing invitations to be able to do something that I have always dreamed of doing, but have never had the extra money to spare. 

Marie Turns 7

A few days before her birthday, I asked Marie to make a birthday wish list for me that included what she wanted for gifts as well as what she wanted me to concoct for her birthday dinner.
Her list (seen above) included:
Frozen Pack (for Disney Infinity)
Life Jacket
Peanut Butter M&M's
A Happy Birthday
In my opinion, anyone who ends their wish list like that definitely deserves to have a happy birthday!

You also need to notice that below her wish list for gifts is the exclamatory disclaimer: "You don't have to!"


She is as sweet as she looks in these photos.

You'll notice a wide variety of mango appetizers on her birthday plate. Several weeks before her birthday, she had tried some mangoes at school for a lesson on nutrition, and had become completely smitten by the fruit. She asked me what I could make for her birthday dinner using mangoes, and I told her we could do some fish tacos with mango salsa and a mango cheesecake for dessert, which is exactly what she asked for.

Happy Birth-iversary to Us

Eric and I left Holden in charge for roughly 22 hours while we snuck away to Jackson for an idyllic birth-iversary celebration (the weekend that falls between our anniversary the end of March and Eric's birthday on the 7th of April). The off-season rates at the resort combined with the company of my favorite guy made for an almost unbearably lovely time. Two geese at the resort kept reminding us of Leslie Norris' poem, "Hudson's Geese," and somehow Eric managed to capture them in connected flight. (If you don't know the poem, you can read it here.)

When we got home, Holden told us about how the kids had discussed the particular strength that each one showcased during our absence. Our sweet seven put their adorable heads together and concocted a list of awards that makes those the academy offers look like superficial drivel.
Holden: Handler of Everything
Ethan: Best Cook
Caleb: Baby Whisperer
Eve: Most Willing
Peter: Best TV Expert
Marie: Most Enthusastic
Charlie: Best Producer of Feces

We have Three Teenagers
I'm going to go against the tide of conventional parental wisdom and say that I love teenagers! We now have three of them, so that might kind of make me an expert. When I knew teenage boys in junior high and high school I had no idea they could be so fun to hang out with (but that's probably because I was obsessing over the height of my hair rather than enjoying their company).

Caleb asked for Mount Doom Burgers (seen here on our recipe blog [and PS Did you know that if you google "Mount Doom Burgers" our blog is the first thing that comes up? We're marginally famous.]) and cheesecake for his birthday dinner. I decided that when one turns thirteen one certainly cannot have any ordinary cheesecake, so I made up this Chocolate Butterfinger Cheesecake Cake that has two layers of chocolate cake glued to a layer of cheesecake with chocolate ganache and is then speckled with crushed butterfingers and garnished with whipped cream and chocolate and caramel zig-zags (and I supposed that if it takes that long to describe, it's probably just a hair too complicated for its own good).

The look of shock and adolescent glee that overtook Caleb's face when he saw his birthday cake made me so happy that I actually enjoyed that look more than the cake itself (and that is saying something. . . I mean, look at that delight-filled monstrosity!)

Friday, May 8, 2015

ANNIE Birthday Party

Annie Birthday Party
All graphics and tshirts from my etsy shop, Lucky d'signs

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