As Joe's birthday fell midweek and both Ruby and Sadie are in school, we'd celebrate on the weekend. Mike and the girls came down Saturday and we will meet up with Marissa today to go to the Gardiner Museum's show Animal Stories, then have lunch there (they have an amazing restaurant), then afterwards the girls would go down with their parents to a pottery class. It's a busy weekend, but it's full of stuff that we enjoy all doing together.
Today's big adventure was making the cake, we'd decided on an orange jello cake with chocolate icing. We're vegetarian of course so we used a vegan alternative. To make this we sent Joe out on a chore, then we set about working in the kitchen. We made the cake from scratch and there wasn't a part of the cake that the girls did not take part in. They cracked eggs, they scooped flour, they measured out the vanilla, they whisked and they stirred and when it was done, they helped get it into the pan. We chatted all the way through.
After the cake came out of the oven, we let it rest for 15 minutes and when that was done we set about attacking the cake with long cocktail sticks, there was a frenzy of stabbing activity going on, the cakes would have shocked a coroner. Then we mixed up the orange flavoured jelly crystals with hot water followed by cold water. Then, it was poured all over the cake and we watched as all the liquid went down the holes we made.
It set for two hours and then was ready for icing. In that two hours we went out to get the girls nails done. Ruby has black nails with spider webs painted on thumb and little finger and the spider itself painted on the middle finger. Awesome. Sadie chose to have evil pumpkins so she had her nails painted orange and she has four pumpkin faces spread over four different fingers. The women who do this are incredibly talented.
It was back to the cake, Ruby slathered on the chocolate icing, Sadie had decided that she'd join us for licking spoons but wanted to finish colouring something. Ruby was Martha Steward efficient with spreading the icing. I always get crumbs mixed in. Not Ruby! I was in awe of the speed and confidence she showed in getting that icing to where it should go. Sadie then joined us for licking the spatulas and spoons.
Now the big piece of work. Joe hates snakes and the girls love surprising him with snakes. We took a bag of popcorn and used it to create a snake winding around the top of the cake. We put in two candles for eyes and one for the tale and one in the middle just for show.
All this means that I was surrounded through the whole process with laughter and with a joy. The girls love participating in making the cake. They loved the hands on experience. They loved licking bowls both of batter and of icing. It was awesome.
It's times like these that I realise I need more laughter in my life. I need to have moments where I am concentrating on things that are simple, and homey and joyful. What with the work that I do, with the advocacy I get involved in, with the stories I read about violence against people with disabilities. The world can get very dark.
I can forget that you can pour orange jelly on cake, that you can make popcorn into snakes and that it's nearly impossible to wrestle a spoonful of batter from two little kids.
I said, almost ... though I think they let me win once.
(lots of pictures were taken, but Mike took them, I'll post some when he sends them to me)