Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celebration Month of March- Blog 2: Letters from Mom & Mimi

I couldn't resist posting a picture of you, Ellie, practicing for your big birthday celebration!

Dear Ellie (now that I have my tea, I can get writing),

Mimi is right, March is filled with so much!!!  And don't let anyone tell you differently, birthdays are the best holidays there are!  It's not about getting gifts (although that is pretty great) or going out to dinner (although that is really yummy), it's about completely celebrating you and your life, which is so special.  In fact, birthdays are so much fun, I even make them last a few days (especially if you have lots of people to celebrate with!).  And think about it Ellie, Christmas (which is my 2nd favorite holiday after my birthday), is really a birthday too... celebrating life is truly the best kind of day!

This year, you even got to participate in celebrating your brother's birthday by getting dressed up for a fancy brunch.  And I must tell you, since you probably won't remember, you were such a good girl!  You tried grilled cheese and french fries for the first time and yummed them up!  Your dad and I know that you get bored fast so we gave you a wet rag to suck on for those teeth you are cutting.  Yup, instead of toys, we bring the class, class, class (in the words of your Uncle Ryan) to classy joints!  And yes, you dropped the rag on the floor once or twice and instead of ruining the happy atmosphere, we picked it up and gave it back to you... I think Kyle was in heaven laughing and enjoying our scene. 

When I was growing up all the way through to today, the birthday girl/boy in the family got to choose the restaurant of their choice and my parents would treat the family (and a friend or two) for dinner.  This was in addition to sleep-overs, cupcakes at school, hearing the happy birthday song over the phone from all the relatives that weren't close by to sing it in person, shopping sprees, and yes even themed parties (ask Mimi about my 8th birthday party that all the girls had to come dressed as their favorite singer and perform a song... I think it's even on a VHS tape somewhere).  So Ellie, gear up and get creative!  We have lots of parties to plan (and remember, it's not about money, it's about creativity)! 

This is the one day (or sometimes 3 days depending on the length of the celebration) to let the day be totally about you.  Do you know what my birthday present was last year, my all-time favorite gift of all?  You, baby girl!  You came 3 days later!  On my birthday dinner at the Grand Luxe Cafe, I talked excitedly about your arrival- it was all I could think about!
I love birthdays so much Ellie that I keep trying to get people to celebrate their half birthdays... wouldn't that be awesome?  How about this is something we start as our own tradition?  But a few ground-rules... since half birthdays aren't nearly as big as birthdays, we'll just do one teeny gift (and as you get older this does not indicate jewelry such as diamonds, it means smaller in price not size!) and perhaps a cooked-in dinner of your choice that you help prepare instead of going out?  And I'm not sure if a cake is appropriate since that has real birthday written all over it... what about cookies or brownies instead? about a fudgenie?!  A fudgenie is a dessert that your Mimi and I found at the Nordstrom bakery here in Denver.  It's a little piece of heaven baked right into a pan (well, literally it's a brownie with a piece of thick fudge on top).  Your Mimi and I may have to introduce it to you soon, although you may hate us for that later because they are addicting!

I think this is also the perfect time to mention that your Mimi and I agree to put in one recipe a month too.  I think this month Mimi should put in Gram B's infamous homemade chocolate icing recipe...

I may have to end here and find something sweet.  All this talk about desserts and my mouth is watering.
I love you Ellie Girl!
PS I love the idea of a nickname for the three of us... since Gram Mundy introduced tea to the family and she was from Scotland and this is our tea time... is there anything Scottish that would make sense?

And now from your Mimi...
Hi Ellie!

Your mommy started this blog on such an upbeat note!  Everyday I love her enthusiasm and zest for life!  I think you are most likely going to follow in her footsteps!  

But before I respond, I need to make my cup of tea.  I already put on the teapot and have been patiently waiting for that high pitched kettle whistle to blow.  Important tip: When making tea, make sure that the water comes to a full boil.... otherwise it is like drinking dishwater.  Yuck!  And if the whistle isn't enough to tell you the water is boiling, have a cat on your lap when it goes off and the cat will surely let you know when she plants her claws deep into your legs and skittishly springs off as though your lower torso was a diving board. Not!!  You will at least have the scratches to prove the water boiled!!

OK... tea is made. I am ready.

I love that your mom chose "celebrations" as the start of our blog.  And she is right!  Birthdays are the best and making them last as long as you can is even better!  I also love the idea Ellie of you, your mommy and daddy starting a new tradition of celebrating half birthdays.  And I like the idea of making that "celebration" more personal and a shared experience.  Cool thought!  (Wish it were mine years ago!!)  But our family has its own traditions as your mommy has already explained.   Special dinners, sleepovers and theme parties were a very big part of it.  Here are a couple of examples:  When your mommy was around the age of 8 years, she decided to have a "Dress-Up as your Favorite Singer" theme party.  Talk about funny....I remember  when it was her turn to grab the fake microphone, she sang with such a boisterous voice that was completely off key, I think she thought she was going to win the Grammy!  When she was 9 years of age she had a "Dress-Up as a Historical Person" party," when she was 16 years of age she had a "Black Tie Affair" party, when she was 17 years of age she had a "Dress-Up as a 1970's Person" party, and when she was 18 years of age she had a "Luau" party.  (Your mommy was quite original and never lacked in self confidence that is for sure!)  Your Uncle Ryan was much easier to please as a child.  A phone call to reserve space at McDonald's and 15 Happy Meals kept your uncle in smiles through many of his younger birthdays!  (Secretly though Ellie I think the big kid in him would love to have another one of those parties even though he is now in his late 20's!  Who could blame him with that bright yellow and red cool sliding-board tunnel tube McDonald's entices children with!)

As for me, one of my favorite birthday celebrations was a present that your Pop-pop and I put together for a friend just a few years back.   He did not like the idea of being more than 50 years old so we thought a gift of laughter would be fun to present to him.  So with that in mind, I came up with the idea to rent an adult chipmunk costume (with the official huge 5 pound head) and make a birthday video with props and bubble talking signs.  Your Pop-pop followed me around with the camera as I "creatively" put together a short skit. There were times when the bubble talk signs were upside down, and there were times when my head almost fell off!  As fun as it was, the only thing we did wrong was to film it on a day when it was 95 degrees outside!... boy did I sweat inside that costume, so much so that I think I lost 10 pounds that day!  I do have a copy of it if  someday you want to see it Ellie.  Julia Roberts I am not.  Fact accepted!  

But I guess the important thing here that I want you to know Ellie is that being the receiver of birthday celebrations is truly soooooo much fun, but so is being the giver.  To plan a party, to create something special, or make a memory for someone you care about is sooooooooo worth it when you see the smile that comes from your thoughtfulness in thinking of others.  It will make you smile too!

Ooooh.  I almost forgot.  Before I end this letter we need to take a moment and chat about the birthday cake. After all, what is a celebration without a cake?!
Kimberly.... are you going to put in a stupendous original, (not box) cake recipe for your daughter to add to her new blog recipe collection?
I will put in the Chocolate Icing recipe because Grand-mom Bubble's made the best homemade icing of all. You see when I was a little girl all the way up to a young adult (18),  Gram would make a homemade cake of choice for each of her children.  You will come to know quite quickly Ellie that 'chocolate' anything is my favorite!  So each year I would ask my mom to make me a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and she was happy to oblige.  

So here it is:
Chocolate Icing Recipe.
Note: I've had my share of baking and cooking disasters, but Grand-mom Bubbles chocolate icing is pretty much fool proof!  (That means it is pretty hard to screw up!)
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar  (keep the bag out just in case you need to add a bit more)
3 or 4 Tbsp cocoa (depends on how dark you want it to look)
1/3 stick of butter (softened)
1 Tbsp milk (maybe 2 but be careful... too much makes it runny.  This is where the extra powder sugar may come in handy!)

Mix all ingredients together until creamy (that means stir, stir, and stir some more!)  
Then spread over cooled cake.

Eat up as it is yummier than yummy!

Till next week with love Ellie.
Mimi :)
P.S. I haven't forgotten but am still thinking about a 'name' to call ourselves.  I like the idea that your mommy had of incorporating our Scottish heritage into it somehow but haven't found the right one yet.  Not to worry though.... I am still looking!

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