14 February 2014
13 February 2014
Our new place in Amsterdam is, like, a bazillionth the size of our grandly-proportioned living area of our old one in Den Haag. Which meant one of three things:
1. Have the party elsewhere, which means spending a good chunk of change on a day little darling butterbean won't remember. Nope.
2. Invite everyone I had at Julian's first two birthdays (23-27 adults plus the same amount of kids... eek). No effing way. It would've been all Lord of the Flies in here before the candle was lit.
3. Keep the guest list small, invite only people I keep in touch with on a regular basis and really, really feel I know. Maybe I'll piss I few people off. Maybe not. Cleanup=a breeze. Reasonable quantity of food prep. Hmmm... Bingo.
The stress of planning for ten adults and seven kids didn't even register on my anxiety radar in comparison to planning the Monster Parties that came before. The afternoon was relaxed, gezellig, fun, and I remembered to talk to people and laugh. I am intensely grateful for the love that flowed at the party; it evicted most of my lingering homesickness and reminded me that my roots are real here, too.
And the cake? It was the best I've made in the history of me preheating an oven. Unless I have some sort of cake epiphany in the coming months/years, I'm making this cake for birthdays ever after. You probably already know I have a raging culinary crush on Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, but it just got restraining orderish after this recipe. Seriously. I might have taken more photos of the cake than my child. Yellow cake, chocolate sour cream frosting. Nothing fancy but perfect in every way. Reminiscent of Duncan Hines. People's eyes glazed over when they bit into their slice. Seconds were had.
Also on the menu: cheese straws (also Smitten Kitchen), polenta bites with arugula tapenade + radishes (Food & Wine), and mini feta + spinach pies (Jamie Oliver's concoction made tiny).
11 February 2014
While Wisconsin is a stunner in winter with all that white and home to our kids' grandparents, this girl's got my heart. The mountains in the distance were a constant companion to my daily rovings back and forth across the Front Range. I fell in love with the jagged horizon all over again and had to remind myself to keep my eyes aimed at (least in the general direction of) the road. As much as I hung out drinking chai in my pajamas at my parents' house in the previous weeks, I focused nearly every minute of every day hugging my dearest people, under a dazzling sunshiny sky that pumped out both a decent layer of pristine snow in the middle of mostly 60°F/16°C days. For me, when it comes to weather, dichotomous wins the race. Oh, and I again found it necessary to pee in a terribly public place. Twice. I've gotten so good at it, I'm thinking up a tutorial for you less talented folks. No, seriously.
Okay, enough. What I really came here to do was to show, not tell. About mountains and sunlight, not peeing stunts. Soak it up. The RAYS, peeps, not the pee.
(This is me stopping, effective immediately.)
10 February 2014
I kicked that polar vortex in its icy little crotch with a booted foot, took big bunny sledding for the first time, peed in a precariously public place, cross-country skied into kettles and over moraines, ate my weight in cheese curds and summer sausage (If you live outside the Midwestern US and have no idea what I'm talking about, please go here and order it. Eat it. Thank me later.), found a new favorite beer (multiple thumbs up for Spotted Cow), and instinctively remembered how to drive (and walk) on ice. Fearlessly.
Get ready for snow, kids in uncomfortable sleeping positions, cows, snow, and snow.