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Birthday Lists
8:14 a.m. - 2010-08-23

My family has always been very pragmatic about gift giving. We write down our wants and preferences in list form and post it for all to see. At Christmastime, we all write lists and tape them to the former house back door (there is now an addition behind it) at my dad's house. You can see at a glance what everyone wants for Christmas, and since we are a large family, there are many many lists flapping away, taped to the glass pane of the door.

When it is time for birthday presents, we email the birthday person and request a list which they are happy to provide. This way, there is very little gift returning or the warehousing of strange presents you are obligated to keep. This week is Abby's birthday and she has sent me her list. In addition to her present, I have to think about the birthday cake.

We both own the Cake Mix Doctor books, but though Abby uses hers a lot, I am going to try mine out for the first time today. The idea behind the author's recipes is to make the cake mix product more like homemade by adding extra ingredients like real butter and sour cream, etc. The recipe that caught my eye was one where the liquid is provided by melted ice cream. I think this is a very cool (ha) idea, so I asked Ab what flavor she would be interested in. She chose pistachio, which I never would have thought of but which sounds totally great. I am going to start with a white cake mix and go from there. I could also use the ice cream for the liquid in the frosting, but will have to see if that would work.

In knitting developments, I am going to knit a pair of socks from the toe up, so I am trying to master Judy's Magical cast on. My first attempt worked, but the stitches across the toe were too loose for my taste so I have to do it again. I haven't had the time yet, but the yarn and needles are waiting for me.

Yesterday the EGs wanted to take me out to lunch as a thank you for the produce and applesauce I sent over to them, so we met them at The Counter, a hamburger place in Nut Creek. Their burgers are very good, the only downside to the restaurant is the very noisy interior. Since the EGs were going to be there and they are in their 80's, we decided to sit outside. As we walked up to the restaurant, I sat down in the large outside table in the shade, while the spouse went in to get menus. Very soon the waitress came out to seat a couple at the primo table I was now occupying, and she asked if I was waiting for someone, but I told her I was sitting there. The couple looked annoyed, but they had to go inside because I was there first. The spouse was watching this little coup from the sidelines and sat down laughing. I nabbed that table just in time. It was sooo nice outside yesterday, and pretty soon the EGs arrived and a nice lunch was had by all. Of course, I had already ordered a lovely appetizer of chili fries. That's one thing I really like about the EGs, that they like chile fries and can snarf them down with the rest of us. We had meant to bring the EGs a loaf of bread I made and some more produce from the garden, but we forgot the box at home. The EGs asked us back to their house, so we went back home first, stopping at Trader Joes to get milk and such since we were out of it, unloaded the groceries, retrieved the box of stuff, and went back to Nut Creek. We had a nice chat with the EGs and got some good family gossip, then finally got home to enjoy our Sunday at about 4 in the afternoon. Luckily, I had filled a crockpot with Italian Sausage Soup, so I didn't have to make dinner later.

While I am making the birthday cake this week, I am going to make a lot of cupcakes for WSP's office. They have been having lots of sales on cake mixes this summer, and I have overflowing cupboards full. To help my baking for the office, I have invested in two cupcake carriers and a package of 500 cupcake tin liners from the restaurant supply store. I remember how great it was to have a surprise snack in the office.

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