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To borrow from the Wicked (?) Witch of the West, what a week; what a week!
Irish turned seven on Thursday and she wanted a strawberry cake. I found this Strawberry Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream on Liv for Cake and decided to give it a whirl. Since we had about 30 people coming, I doubled the recipe and wound up pulling an all-nighter to get it done, but I have to say what I lost in sleep, I made up for in rave reviews.
I picked up a new cake-baking trick that will definitely come in handy, too. In order to ensure perfectly flat layers (not domed) for layer cakes, you can use cake strips, which are like little belts that you soak in water and then wrap around the pan before putting it into the oven. They keep the edges from baking too quickly (#science) and they work like a charm. From now on, all I want to do is bake layer cakes.
Irish's obsession with dinosaurs has been holding steady for about three years now, but I'm a little tired of hosting dinosaur-themed parties, so this year I let the cake be the star and went with a (rather subtle) strawberry theme. We did, however, visit the dinos at an indoor miniature golf place in Omaha called Prehistoric Putt. It was a fun way to kick off the party proceedings -- plus I got a hole-in-one! (Also, Trixie now wants to have her birthday at Pirate Putt in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa).
The next morning, I got up early to help set up for the Boys and Girls Club's annual big fundraiser, which was Friday night. I'm on the family guild for the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands and I'm so blown away by everything that they do for children in our community. The event is called On The Road, and always has a destination theme. This year's was Hawaii and it truly did feel like paradise (by way of the Omaha Downtown Marriott). All the flowers were flown in from Hawaii (including fresh flower leis for every guest), the band, Bobby and the Aristocats, was swinging, and there were professional hula dancers and ukulele players as far as the eye could see. But, honestly, nothing compared to the kids: from the little ones who were just so excited to be (and hula dance!) at such a swanky event, to the older ones who shared their stories, they totally stole the show.
And then... the event my children have been waiting for probably more than half their lives: we saw Wicked. Trixie and Irish have been listening to the soundtrack for years and they're constantly asking me questions about the story (since it's been more than a decade since I saw the show on Broadway -- hi, Ana Gasteyer as Elphaba! -- I've had to Wiki the blanks). We even had a Wicked-themed Halloween party last year. Brian's mom and sister and I took them with my niece and we all loved seeing the show through the girls' eyes. Of course they dressed as Elphaba and Glinda.
We rounded out the weekend by celebrating my mom's birthday with a brunch and my father-in-law's birthday at my in-laws' home. So far, this summer has been back-to-back parties and I'm counting at least three more June birthdays (plus Father's Day) before we even get to July 4th. Anyone have a good weekday detox program that they like?