End of Year Musings Week 4 – Something New

Monday, Dec 19: Something New
Knitting, a new language, underwater basketweaving… what new things did you learn this year? 

This year, I started making cakes for the kids’ parties. It’s not even close to looking professional. There’s no fondant involved, but it’s fun, and the kids will remember these.

Cake for Clooney's First Holy Communion

Clooney’s really into cars, so when it came to putting together this cake, the idea just kind of came to me…blasphemous as it may have been. The strip of road on top was made from the part of the cake that I had to slice from the bottom to make it even. It was devil’s food on the inside just to make sure I had my foot planted firmly on the road to Hell.

This is a Golden Snitch, which is a Harry Potter Quidditch thing, if you are not hip to wizard lingo.

For his 11th birthday, Edison wanted to go all Hogwarts, and we had quite an elaborate party. I did a couple of practice rounds of these cake pops before the final product. They were devil’s food on the inside as well. The wings were made of melted white chocolate that I piped out onto wax paper before applying to the pop.

The Wicked Witch of the West spelled out The Princess's name with her broom there as well. The sign was made on cardboard, and held up with chopsticks that I "borrowed" from PF Chang. I might also note that this cake weighed 14,000 pounds.

And then there was The Princess’s Wizard of Oz-themed party. (Quite a year of wizards for us over here.) The inside of the cake had layers that were the colors of the rainbow (or as close to the colors of the rainbow as I could get without putting our party guests into a food-dye-induced coma.)

For each cake, I just kind of used my imagination along with a lot of humor, patience, and icing. I’ve never taken any kind of decorating class, and I don’t claim to be Martha Stewart or anything. (And I think if Martha saw these, she would breathe a sigh of relief on that note.) Like I said, it was fun to make them, and I hope to do more cakes for the kids in 2012.

It Seems Capitalism is Alive and Well

Don’t you worry.  Obama’s not going to bring socialism to this country.  Here’s your example of how capitalism is alive and kicking (as it turns out, my ass):

Saturday I took the kids to a birthday party at a local indoor playground.  Only Edison was invited, but Manfrengensen was out of town, so I took the other two and paid for them to play.  The girl behind the counter asked what exactly I wanted to pay for, and after a bit of back and forth, we determined that I would be paying for the soft playground as well as the “ball blaster” area, kind of a ball pit on steroids.

So the girl asked how old the kids were, and I told her five and three.  She said I would have to go into the ball blaster area with the three-year-old, so I said fine, and she said, “It’s four dollars for you.”  Seriously?  Like I was dying to go into that germ-infested plexiglass bubble? Like it was going to be some kind of fun for me to be in there with a bunch of pre-pubescent kids hopped up on cake and junk food, shooting foam balls at each other with air-powered canons?  Was she for real?  As it turned out, she was, and I had to pay.  I mean, The Princess was bound to follow her brothers in there, so I shelled out the four bucks.

But then, when I tried to go in there with her, another girl stopped me at the hanging plastic curtains.  “You need to take off your shoes,” she said with about as much enthusiasm as anyone who had to spend eight hours in that kind of environment could be expected to muster. As I began to remove my relatively-new, black suede Mary Janes (and oh, did I mention that it started to rain torrentially while we were at the party?), she said again in her zombie-esque tone, “No, you need to have socks to go in there.” When I told her I didn’t have socks, she said that I could pay $1.50 for them at the front. This time she pointed to the front desk area, lifting her arm slowly and not much unlike the un-dead would.

And I’m sorry, but F- that. This place wasn’t getting another dime out of me, not because I was cheap, but out of just plain principle. I’m all for capitalism. I’m not a Communist, or a Socialist, or any kind of -ist that I am aware of, but come on. I didn’t even want to go in that freak-for-all ball pit! So I ended up just watching The Princess from the other side of the hanging plastic curtains. I even helped out by kicking the balls back into the pit for the staff. Technically, they owed me money.

Clooney wants to have his upcoming birthday there, but I am almost willing to pay double whatever that price would be to have it someplace else. See?  There’s the beauty of capitalism!  Supply me a place that’s fun without being stressful and you can Demand whatever price you want.

Other than that, I guess it was a fun party. The Princess got lost in the commotion a few times, but she was always returned safe and sound, albeit with tears running down her cheeks. And overall, the three of them were really good kids all day. I felt like a good mom, and I have to take that kind of feeling whenever I can.


My Son, Future President?

Apparently not.  As part of their unit on the recent election, Edison’s class had to write a paragraph answering the question: Would you want to run for President someday?  Why or Why not?  He wrote:

 No, I wouldn’t like to run for President someday.  It looks like a really hard job.  I would have to travel because I would need to campaign, and I’m not really a traveler! I would have to wait until January 20th for inauguration, and I’m not really that patient! No thanks for President!


Listening to Oasis this morning….Today was gonna be the day