Normally, we don't make too big a production out of birthdays. Maybe it's just my children, but I feel like whatever it is about feeling special on this day causes sin to rear its ugly head what with all of the selfishness, greed, and bickering over gifts, and entitlement.
A little gift, a little cake, birthday boy or girl gets meals of their choosing, and that's about it. And usually the gift is one everyone can share or it's something other kids have been getting, like rollerblades, until everyone has their own pair.
This week though we seemed to take the nonchalance to an extreme for Ben's 5th birthday. (For his birth-day see "Baby #5" here. He was my first home birth, the midwife almost didn't make it and my husband worked his way through denial with the help of William Tell's orchestra.)
I know we had wrapping paper. But my "movers" can't seem to remember where they might have put it so I asked them to do the improvising and come up with a solution to wrapping Ben's gift.
And this is what I got:
Packing paper and shipping tape.
Can you tell by the shine, there is like a whole roll of shipping tape on there?
Daddy put the package down and told him if he wanted in there bad enough, he'd figure out a way to get in. After a few moments of frustration, he grabbed a steak knife and set about cutting through the tape and paper.
After a week, I remember why I thought it was a bad idea. I think there were 400+ pieces in the box, and we're probably down and easy 100 already.
Many small parts and my kids just don't mix. Should have gone with the rollerblades.
But things get worse.
The boy wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Easy enough. (And very satisfying to this pregnant mama who likes a nice chocolate cake every few months or so.) But when I went to bake the cake, it would seem that my second round cake pan fell off the face of the earth. (It's probably with the wrapping paper.) I had no other options besides pouring the batter into a beautiful bundt pan that has never once turned out the baked cake. Ever.
And this day was no exception.
With no choice but to frost over the deformed cake, I proceeded knowing that he's barely five and probably wouldn't care.
But things get even worse.
My Dad was driving through the area and stopped in for a visit. And while we walked around visiting outdoors, some little children left a door open and if you'll recall from my post last week a small problem we've been having with cats eating from the counters... Well one ate a hole into the cake before he was discovered. I was assured it was small and we could cut around it.
That is until it happened again. Another little one left a door open, a different cat helped herself to some cake and once again, I was assured that it was just a small hole and could be cut around.
When the visit was over and I went in to survey the damage, I found the whole cake frosted over smooth. No holes.
Hannah had taken it upon herself to make the cake look presentable again.
She claims the last cat had licked off most of the frosting and at that point when my sugar-fiends started insisting they would eat it anyway, I quickly chucked it into the trash before they had a chance. I figured though they might stoop low enough to eat after a cat that spends most of the day licking it's hind end when it's not eating rodents, they might not stoop so low as to do so out of the trash can and thankfully, I was right.
But things get even more ridiculous when no one could find a lighter to light the candles inside the carton of ice cream:
We went to our first ever produce auction this week.
There are two within reasonable driving distance and after looking around and making a game plan of what we would be willing to buy and the maximum bid, we were able to get the highest bid on butternut squash, some pie pumpkins, onions, and maple syrup.
There were 48 pounds of onions that came out to .37 cents per pound.
Not an apple.
48 pounds of pie pumpkins for .25 cents per pound...
And 95 pounds of butternut squash for .29 cents per pound.
I wasn't expecting to find maple syrup there so I learned that having your husband's iPhone on hand can be very helpful and I pulled up the cheapest price per gallon on Amazon and we decided we would go to half off and paid $32 a gallon for the syrup. I've got to say though, it isn't nearly as delicious as ours was.
We were also blessed by a neighbor selling Golden Supreme and Gala apples. Those were the first Golden Supreme's I've eaten and I was incredibly pleased with both their texture and flavor.
The former were $14 a bushel, the latter $18 per bushel. That might not be a fantastic price, but it was the best I've seen so I was pretty excited.
My two little girls hovered over those baskets all week until I was able to get them all put up.
There was no shortage of helpers vying for a job to do.
Many hands make light work.
But they also make a little dirtier work too. That was one sticky kitchen.
(Except for the half bushel I reserved to eat on for the next week or so.)
That plus the half bushel the kids snacked on all week long, I'm thinking we put up four bushels which gave us 30 quarts of applesauce, 6 pints of apple butter, and then I used the peelings and cores to make Spiced Apple Jelly and I think I ended up with 18 or 19 pints of jelly.
150 pounds wheat berries
150 pounds unbleached all-purpose flour
50 pounds of evaporated can juice
25 pounds of Sucanat
25 pounds organic popcorn
25 pounds brown rice
10 pounds of barley
1 pound of Pomona pectin
I'm curious to see how long it all lasts.
I kept looking at that pile of bags, thanking God for months of provision of our daily bread sitting right there. It was better than money in the bank.
And just by way of a reality check. This is what happens when I try to work through an ironing pile. And this is the girl the Lord gave me as a perpetual reminder that I do not and will never have it all together.