Monday, April 16, 2012


She's been eleven for a few weeks now.  Ridiculous.
Mia's birthday celebration has been like a lot of our kids' birthdays..... on going.  We started a day early at Casa G. with the usual say nice things, give gifts and pray.  The guys were so sweet telling Mia how much they appreciate her and her helpful heart.  They also commented how she was willing (one of the only ones in the family besides Eric) to speak a decent amount of Spanish to them.
Then we sang and ate cake.  I don't quite remember what made Mia afraid of her cake.....
but she did manage to conquer her cake and candles.
Her actual birthday was on Monday - that is our "pico y placa" day (the day when we can't drive during rush hours).  Thankfully it was a half day, so we could go out for lunch instead - as we wouldn't have been able to go out for dinner.
And Mia picked something new!  No TGIF for this birthday girl.  We tried "Rusty's".  We had heard about Rusty's and she thought we should give it a try.  It is an American man who married an Ecuadorian woman and started the restaurant (now he has three.... and is probably in his 70s).  It is hamburgers, corn dogs, curly fries and ROOT BEER!  No other place we know of where you can get that (the root beer that is)
The three blond girls posed.
This was the closest I could get to to having Cade be part of the picture:
We did even give Mia a gift - yes, it was a real birthday.
She received part of it early - a case and light for her Kindle.  Now we gave her a certificate for buying some kindle books.
Then it was chow time.
The hamburgers were okay, the root beer and root beer floats were great, but the curly fries were to die for.  If this place was just down the street I'd be having them daily - and I'm not even a salt-snack kind of girl.
Since we were having dinner at home, Mia wanted a wiener roast.  We didn't quite get the fire pit going in enough time, so we did BBQ instead and save the roasting for the marshmallows.
(Yes, we didn't score well on the healthy meals report that day...)

As dusk slowly settled over the city (ah, don't I sound like I could write a novel.....), we busted out the marshmallows (maybe I don't sound at all like I could write a novel) and got nice and gooey.  We were out of regular sized mallows, so I ever-so-kindly allowed us to open up my precious bag of monster-sized ones that I bought and brought back this summer.  I still have had grandiose plans for them - making a fancy dessert served in the roasted outside part of them, but I don't know if I'll ever do it.... so they may as well get used!
 We all decided that the large one are significantly more sticky than regular marshmallows.

That was the real birthday.  The party, however, the part that really matters - was this past weekend.  Five very lively 10/11 year olds for a sleepover.  I always seem to go into these things with enthusiasm and optimism.  I always seem to come out of these things feeling like a need a strong drink.
But they are great girls.... don't get me wrong.
School was another minimum day (there are an awful lot of those.....) so the girls were here extra long.  First it was time for gifts.  Two of them had already given Mia her gifts on her actual birthday.

Stuffed animals.  Lots of stuffed animals.
Mia wanted a penguin cake.  To be specific, Mia wanted a re-run birthday cake.  She wanted me to make the cake that I made for her 7th (?) birthday..... lots of little penguins doing all sorts of things - like fishing for "swedish fish", an igloo and a pond.  Thankfully she told me a while ago that this is what she wanted, so I imported blue jello and Swedish Fish when I was last in the states.
I didn't have the pictures of the first cake but I mostly remembered what it was and what I did.  And what I didn't remember - Mia did.  Like the igloo.  Completely forgot about the igloo.  Mia remembered (and thankfully didn't notice or complain that it was quickly and poorly made from cut up marshmallows instead of mini ones..... can't usually get those here).
Cade, who I usually can't get photos of, posed beside the cake as he loved it so much.  I could not miss this opportunity!

These penguins got quite a haul of fish.... they know what they are doing.
The penguins are marshmallows, cut into thirds and dipped into chocolate.  I made the eyes by dipping a toothpick into melted chocolate and then cut triangular pieces from gummy worms for the noses/beaks (you can just poke a little hole in the marshmallow with a tooth pick, shove the gummy piece in there with the toothpick and the stickiness of the marshmallow holds in the gummy).
My favorite part - even more than sheer cuteness - was what I consider one of the most brilliant ideas I've ever had (this is my stomach speaking....).  Instead of icing in the middle to hold the layers together, I used chocolate chip cookie dough.  It is cookie dough I've been making without eggs, where you can safely just eat the dough.  
So yummy.  Really, really yummy.

We had to add candles, of course (no penguins were hurt in the celebrating of the birthday girl).

And cake was had by all.
Before that was pizza, lots of loud playing and goofing around.  After that was lots of loud playing and goofing around.  And a movie.  And possibly some sleep.  At least we think there was some sleep.
The morning brought pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and lots of loud playing and goofing around.  Oh, and playing Sardines.
A good time was had by all.
And a nap was taken by yours truly.

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