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Monday, February 27, 2012

Gotcha Day Celebration

Yesterday, February 26, was Andrei's "Gotcha Day."  I had been thinking about how we would celebrate this every year as I wanted to start some traditions to culminate that special day in his life.  I opted for a Russian din-din and a giant cupcake.  However, much like the disaster it was trying to leave the orphanage with Andrei a year ago, our celebratory "Gotcha Day" ended up with a mess a well.  (Feel free to recap our experience HERE.)

Andrei was on day #2 of running 102 degree fever.  Kennedi was on day #1 running a fever.  Doug had been out of town and wouldn't be back until evening.  So, I did the unthinkable--at least for me.  I used a box cake AND..... icing from a can!!! (I justified it by saying Annsley and Kennedi could make his cake for Andrei this way. Also, I knew it would not taste very good and that would keep me from eating it.)

I know.  I KNOW!! I hold my head in shame to all the bakers out there. 

I had bought one of those Wilton giant cupcake pans earlier in the year.  We made the giant cupcake, and after it cooled, we set out to ice it.  Trying to capitalize on our Russian theme, I had planned for a white cake, red icing, and blue sprinkles (the colors of the Russian flag.)  I bought strawberry icing, but no matter how much red I added, it just turned brighter pink and ended up closely resembling the sunburned gum paste pig from the birthday party.  I usually use the "professional" icing dyes, but I was out of red.  The liquid stuff doesn't quite cut the mustard. 

So now our Russian theme is starting to look like a drunken 70s disco tech.  I gave Annsley a knife and said go for it.  I didn't even bother with the piping bags.  I forgot that I was making a cupcake, and Annsley and I iced the bottom of the cupcake. (Yes, those ridges...should have been my first "uh-oh" but I didn't catch on until the job was finished.)  We're both looking at a hot pink giant cupcake that resembles more of a hot pink short, fat stubby pencil standing on its end.  It is the ugliest and most pathetic baking phenomen that's ever come from my kitchen--EVER.  And that is going all the way back to those 6th grade brownies I made once.  Annsley sprinkles some edible blue glitter in an effort to "pretty it up." 

We stick a candle on top for "Gotcha Day #1." 

I make beef stroganoff.  I actually can do that quite well, but yesterday's did not come out right.  I think it is my worst stroganoff to date.  Not sure even today what went wrong. 

Then I set out to make Russian potato pancakes--or Bulgarian or Jewish. I was not interested in making borscht as beets and I are about as tight as a tom cat and a veterinarian with a coupon for 50% off all neutering services!  I grated my Russet potatoes.  The recipe said to them grind them after that.  I figured that as old as a country Russia is that the babushkas 300 years ago didn't have a food processor to use, and so I took the liberty and decided that these little old ladies probably stopped at the grating process as well.  I made about 12 little nasty potato pancakes and put them in the freezer to set up.  I had read somewhere to do that to keep them from falling apart when you fry them.

Well, they froze to the plate.  No, I didn't put wax paper down first.  So, now my grease is hot (and this is the first time I've fried something in my kitchen in probably 12 years by the way...) and I'm using my spatula to try to pry these little boogers off the plate.  In short, they came out OK.  The girls and Doug thought they were delicioso!  I don't care if they ever grace my presence again.  I like my potato without egg, thank you!  We did dip them in sour cream--a Russian staple. 

Andrei was exhausted, and didn't eat his Russian meal.  We lit the candle for him to blow out and the girls sang "Happy Gotcha Day" to the birthday song.  After blowing out 2 candles on his birthday, this single candle was child's play for him, and with merely a puff he extinguishes the flame atop the house that Papa Smurf built. (ie: giant cupcake that the mother iced the bottom with store bought icing). 

Andrei goes off for a bath (he hasn't napped in 72 hours and he was still up in his bed the night before at 10:00pm when I went to bed) The big people are left to "devour the cake" as Annsley said.  Doug (who had been out of town and missed the afternoon baking slacker event) says to me, "Oh man! This is awesome!! What kind of cake did you make?" 

He's serious.  How do you respond to someone who prefers a cake with 1/3 cup vegetable oil and water and icing made with corn syrup?  I choose instead to think that he was just hungry.  Very hungry. 

So, Gotcha Day #1 is in the history books.  I find it quite fascinating that yesterday was in very much a mirror of challenges and faux paus just like it was in Russia a year ago.  And as I'm typing this, I'm realizing that it was really "Gotcha Day #2"--not #1.  We needed 2 candles. 

I was severely disappointed before the evening was up.  UGGGGH!  I had really planned on a much different turn out on so many levels.  We'll get it right next year.  Maybe.  The important thing is we are celebrating this amazing little boy coming into our family. 

And, if you're up to looking at's the cupcake ( a term I use very, very, very loosely here)...I struggled whether to expose it publicly, so don't say you haven't been warned!!

You can see Kennedi's little fingers have swiped some of the icing.  I'm still trying to decide if that didn't actually help out the looks of Pap Smurf's home!


DeniseM said...

I know it is probably not much consolation, but your story made me think of a scene in Christmas Vacation when Ellen tells Clark he sets standards for family events that nothing can live up to. At the same time I know I would be feeling the same way. I always have this picture of how things should go in my mind. It sounds like you had an eventful day full of adventures and memories though. =)

Stacy, Pat and Aidan said...

Well, you had me laughing! We just go out. I admire everyone who tries to cook Russian. . . maybe I'll give it a whirl. . .eventually! I loved dill pickles before we went there and now the thought of dill. . .yech!! It was the other staple that went with everything along with the sour cream. They even put dill on our pizza!!! Anyways, Happy 2nd Gotcha Day!!! It's amazing how the time stars to speed up, isnt it??

Mary Ann said...

All that is important is that your amazing little boy joined your family. And, you celebrated together. Congratulations!

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