Day 1186: The Aftermath and Final Report

Yep, the party was rained out. The pool manager called at 2 to say they were closing the pool. He apologized profusely and was such a nice guy about it, making sure I knew we would get a refund. But that’s the least exciting part of the day. We had pretty much understood that this was going to happen, so we had alternate plans ready.

I managed to crawl out of bed at a reasonable hour and set to work on the Mermaid Munch. I doubled the batch because I just couldn’t tell if one would be enough. The kids loved it, but didn’t even get to the second batch! Yes, one batch is enough! (I sent the rest to work with Tim.)

I cleaned, I tidied, I ran around the house, especially the kitchen, like a crazy person. I procrastinated like a pro on frosting the cake. If you’ll remember from the other day, my daughter wanted one with ombre frosting, “just like on Pinterest.” Oy. I finally dug in and made a huge mess, as you can see from the state of my mixer. So glad the recipe said “stand mixer” or I would have tried it with the hand mixer. Pro tip: Use a stand mixer when making one and a half batches of buttercream frosting!

frosting in a stand mixer

And you can see my semi-naked cake in the gallery below. My problem was that the layers came out without flat tops, so the cake leaned a little. I wasn’t worried about that too much, though.

The buttercream frosting recipe that I used was delicious. And I had a stomach ache about halfway through this whole process, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

After much consternation, I began the crumb coat. First of all, why didn’t anyone ever tell me before about a crumb coat! What a lifesaver. I can never frost a cake cleanly, but this really made a difference. Also, the soft frosting was helpful because it was super easy to spread. The fancy frosting knife was a game changer for me, too.

You can see the stages of the cake in this little gallery. All of that consternation was kind of for nothing! It was surprisingly easy to do the frosting with an ombre look. I was so happy for that fact and I was amazed by the result.

One thing I would do if I had a do-over was that I’d put waxed paper underneath the edges of the bottom layer (some people use parchment paper) so that I could pull it out after the frosting and have a clean cake plate. I even said to myself, “put down the waxed paper” but I didn’t, so the cleanup was a bit of a bear. As you can see, the cake plate, which I borrowed from my kind neighbor, is scalloped. Enough said. Always put down the waxed paper, people!

I then set everything up and decorated. I was in bad shape (feet and back were not happy with me) when I was finished, but the house looked great and I even managed a little time to sit and rest before the party. That’s unheard of for me! Here you can see the kitchen (we tried to keep the activity to the kitchen and living room, since the rest of the house is disastrous) with all of the “food” (let’s face it, it was cake and candy) and decor. You can see the jellyfish my friend Karen made last year for the mermaid birthday. It’s the pink thing in the upper right corner.

During the party, of course, the house was pure chaos. Roughly 10-12 kids (I lost track!) running in and out of the house. Remember that it’s been raining for a week, so all of the wet and leaves and whatever were tracked in, too. Glad I didn’t clean the carpets first!

Tim had come up with ideas for games that would keep the kids occupied (bingo, a huge Uno game, and so on), but the thing they ended up doing was playing Toss Across. We had just received it from his mom’s house — she keeps everything — and I wonder if these kids had even ever seen a Toss Across. But they really seemed to enjoy it.

A few of the moms stayed and, if they’re reading this, I’m sorry I’m so bad at small talk! I need to learn that skill. They were lovely ladies, though, and I’m glad I got to see them. I don’t normally see the parents of the boys in Mae’s class, so it was nice to put faces to names.

I knew I’d have extra candy left from the Mermaid Munch, so I had bought cellophane bags and told the kids they could make their own goodie bags with what was on the table…Mermaid Munch, rock candy “coral”, seaweed snacks, little pressed candies and blue pearl Sixlets. They loved it!

To cap off the night, after most of the kids had left, I heard a big crash. My daughter had run and jumped onto the sofa, the sofa tilted backwards and hit the floor lamp behind it, and the lamp hit the wall. Large pieces of the bowl that surrounds the bulb landed on the floor. “It’s not a party until something breaks” is what I actually said out loud.

That night, I decompressed, feeling pretty worn out (but ended up staying up late to watch The Night Agent on Netflix). But yesterday, I felt like I had been run over by a truck! In a bit of a fog, with very sore feet, knees and legs.

But you know what, my daughter had a GREAT time and that’s the most important thing of all. I am so grateful to have her and to have the opportunity to make her happy and give her a happy birthday. And even though I might sound like I’m complaining, I loved it.

And I didn’t have to wrangle taking that tall cake over to the pool! That was an unexpected blessing.

Alright people, go forth and crumb coat your cakes!

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