Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Happy Birthday! Surprise Party!

on April 10, 2013

I was so proud of myself this week. I managed to plan a surprise birthday party for Jeremy’s 40th birthday, and I didn’t give anything away, and he didn’t suspect anything was up, and he was surprised. I’ve been working on it for a week, emailing our friends and shopping for party supplies, and cooking extra food all on the sly. Shazam.

100_1530At least Jeremy already knew I was baking a super-fabulous cake, so I didn’t have to be sneaky about that. I ended up making a coconut cake from a recipe in The New Best Recipe (that book again. I’m not linking it again). Jeremy wanted chocolate frosting, so I took the coconut frosting in the recipe and added two squares of unsweetened bakers chocolate. Then I toasted some coconut and sprinkled it all over the cake. So pretty. So delicious. O my gosh o so delicious it was so good and so delicious and coconut chocolate it was amazing.

100_1553Let me just lick up the drool. Sorry. I didn’t actually run into any major problems when I was baking this cake. I think the cakes did fall in the oven because I opened the oven to rotate the pans and they weren’t quite baked as far as they should have been at that point. They firmed up well after that, but the damage was done. They still tasted great, but they looked a little flat. And because they were a bit on the thin side, it was really difficult to split the layers to make a four-layer finished cake. The first cake I tried to split almost fell apart; thank God for frosting repair. So I just put the second cake on un-split. A little unconventional, but still acceptable.

100_1534As for the rest of the party, I didn’t try to go too fancy on the set up. I just had some friends come over and congregate on the lawn outside our building. Then at the appointed time, I had Jeremy “go outside to take a look at this” and the group said, “Surprise!” He was surprised. Then everyone came up and we had dinner. I was agonizing how I would explain to Jeremy why I was preparing two pounds worth of chicken taco meat, but it turned out I never had to lie. He took the car to the shop and to the carwash this afternoon so I had plenty of time to cook the chicken in the microwave, chop it up, and hide it in the oven where it kept warm for the rest of the afternoon. During that crucial time frame, I also stuck the secret pop two liters in the freezer to get them a head start, then hid them in the cooler we keep under the kitchen sink, chilling with a bag of ice cubes and a couple sacks of frozen veggies.

One of our friends suggested we do a pinata, so she graciously brought one along. The kids had a lot of fun beating the heck out of it.

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100_1535For Jeremy’s birthday gift, I got him a six pack of exotic Italian beer I remembered that he liked, but we never buy it normally. Actually, the gift was supposed to be from Stephen but I forgot this handy fact on the trip where I took my opportunity to buy the gift. How did Stephen know Jeremy likes Peroni? Huh. And the other funny thing is, one of the families I invited to the party also got him the same kind of beer. I guess it must be good stuff. I tasted it, and it is very nice. Too bad I can’t really help him finish his Peroni before we move…

So Jeremy was technically the star of the show, but Sashimi the Cat was actually the true guest of honor. All the little girls in the families we invited were obsessed with the cat. He is super cute with long, luxurious fur, and he does tolerate being petted by strangers and picked up, and he walks around with big blue cat eyes saying “Meow.” I can totally understand why they were obsessed. It was pretty funny. And it gave us adults some opportunity to just chat with each other, so I guess it was win-win, except maybe the cat didn’t win, but I don’t think he cares.

All in all, we all had fun, and Jeremy will definitely remember his 40th birthday fondly!

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