This year, I missed my nephew Caleb’s after-school dragon birthday party because I was in Myanmar at the time. He had a cake in the shape of a dragon, and all his specially requested party foods: homemade sausage rolls, cheese and bacon scrolls, fresh fruit (watermelon, apples, strawberries and oranges), chocolate crackles, rice crackers, cheddar cubes, carrot sticks, and homemade herb and garlic dip. The cake was iced with butter icing coloured with spirulina – when Angela uses food colouring, it’s always homemade, natural food colouring.
All I could do was look at the pictures… but after I got back from overseas we had a celebration on his actual birthday, with a family afternoon tea. As uncles and aunties arrived with food, the dishes shared the table with LEGO. We’re very much a LEGO family.
We had mini zucchini quiches (baked in a mini muffin pan), fresh pineapple (served by Jac with sprigs of rosemary – fresh mint also works) and grapes (homegrown and store-bought), my mum’s homemade wantans with chilli sauce (a special request from Caleb), Juji’s honey joys and Tear ‘n’ Share Garlic Bread made by Angela from Jamie’s Comfort Food.
There was a birthday cake, but it was a ‘decoy’ made out of Play-Doh by Ruby so Caleb could blow out the candles while we sang ‘Happy Birthday’. Instead of cake, Angela had made choc-dipped strawberry ice cream popsicles. The chocolate dip was a homemade version of Ice Magic/Magic Shell (you can find recipes by googling ‘ice magic recipe’ or ‘magic shell recipe’) – it’s made with 50% chocolate + 50% coconut oil melted over low heat. We all watched in anticipation as Angela dipped each pop into the chocolate, which quickly hardened into a crisp shell… just like magic!
Caleb’s quite the young sportsman, and in his honour we all trooped off to the park to play soccer. The teams were the Black Shirts (my team) versus The Other Shirts (Caleb’s team). I had forgotten we’d be playing soccer and was wearing my practical-for-summer but terribly impractical-for-sports thongs/flip-flops, which hindered my ability to tackle and fend off tackles. Still, I scored my team’s only goal; the other team won with three goals. Next time, I will have proper shoes on and be unstoppable! I also found being a soccer player challenging as I couldn’t resist taking photographs out on the field during the match. It really was pure luck that I didn’t fall over.
After winning the soccer, Caleb had fun hitting balls pitched to him in a cricket/tennis hybrid game. Unfortunately, his innings ended abruptly when he was hit in the eye by a wayward ball. His dad piggybacked him to the house where first aid and hugs were applied. Don’t worry, Caleb is OK – he’s back to playing LEGO, eating more choc-dipped strawberry ice creams and enjoying the rest of his summer holidays.
Caleb retires hurt, but not too seriously injured. [/caption]