My mother will be 93 in a week, but Jeri is going home to Boston before that so we decided to have a birthday party before she leaves, so she can be part of it too. I was concerned that it was going to be such a big group, including all 3 of our kids and families (except for Phil who had already returned to Boston), and Walt's brother and sister and their spouses. My mother doesn't do big groups well any more, because she gets overwhelmed by the confusion, but I know that she will cope and cover all right. Whenever it gets to her she gets up to clean something and nobody is any the wiser, but with her back as bad as it is, she can't stand for all that long either!
I decided I'd better call her to remind her we were coming.
"Birthday party? What birthday party? Nobody ever told me about a birthday party!" she said, sounding irate until I pointed out that it had been on her calendar for several weeks and that we had been talking about it. "Well, I don't remember any talk about a birthday party, she grumbled, a little less angry because she could see it written on her calendar.
Walt and I arrived around 3. I had made the birthday cake, a white cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Though I've known about the technique for about 30 years, I had never made stabilized whipped cream before and I will now make it often for cakes.
Mix 1 tsp of gelatin with 4 tsp of cold water till blended, then heat it over a low flame until the gelatin dissolves. Cool (but don't let it set).
Mix 1 cup of whipping cream with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until it forms soft peaks.
Add the gelatin and mix at high speed until firm peaks form (being careful not to mix it so long it separates and makes butter!). Then you have whipped cream that will not wilt, that you can actually pipe it like buttercream. It was perfect!
Tom et al. arrived around 4. They had a great trip up, and the girls were apparently very well behaved. They were shy at first, but warmed up quickly. Lacie, who has just started to walk, was all smiles most of the night.
Brianna had made a birthday card for "Ga-Ga"
Walt's brother and sister arrived, with their spouses. Alice Nan had brought a huge balloon that everyone had fun with.
We all sat down at the table for dinner.
Tom had made spaghetti and meatballs, which Brianna found finger-lickin' good.
Bri also helped GaGa blow out the candles on her cake.
After Lacie went to bed, we took a 4-generation picture.
And then, after she was in her pajamas, Bri had me read a couple of books to her. How gullible I was. I got to read Dr. Seuss' "Fox in Sox," which is very long for a Seuss book and is filled with pages like this:
Through three cheese trees
Three free fleas flew
While these fleas flew
Freezy breeze blew
Freezy breeze made
These three trees freeze
Freezy trees made
These trees' cheese freeze
That's what made these
three free fleas sneeze
Try ~40 pages of stuff like THAT!
By the end of the day, my mother was very sleepy and I hustled us out of there, hoping the others would leave too. That would still leave Tom et al. and Jeri there, but they could help her clean the kitchen. I saw her stand there, shoulder slumped, looking helplessly at the counters. See, she hates to have anyone clean in her kitchen, but they had already done as much as they could and started the first batch of dishes. But there was a lot of leftover food (which she hates to have), which we are going to take from her tomorrow morning to bring to the annual "Paul Picnic."
All things considered, though, I think she had a really good time, even though she didn't remember that it was going to happen and was a bit overwhelmed by it all. She had a really good visit with everyone, including her great grandchildren.