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Of birthdays and floods

July is always a busy month for me.

It is mainly due to my eldest, Rebecca’s, birthday.

She turned 6 this year!

Since she turned 3, she would usually have at least three celebrations, one with her daycare/kindergarten friends, one with family, and another one with the kids of my mom group in Biel. That means preparing for three different parties! I would need to bake and decorate three cakes, and prepare snacks for those, too.

As of this writing, we have finished two parties already.

For her first party, I allowed Rebecca to invite five friends from kindergarten. She wanted a koalicorn theme for her party. Not a unicorn, mind you, but a koala with a horn. A koalicorn.

Bunny hill cake; right, Koalicorn cake*
Sarah and Becca; right, mojitos*

She was so excited to prepare the invitations. I made the invites (in German! I had my husband proof-read the words I got off the internet to be sure I got them right), printed and cut them out and she carefully wrote out each name, placed them in the envelopes, and decorated each one.

We also prepared gift bags, which we filled with candy, pencils, notepads, and stickers.

On the day itself, I didn’t prepare much food, having learned that the Swiss prefer simple celebrations. I cut up some fruit, poured out some chips, prepared juice and water and, along with her cake, that was it!

Her cake was a koalicorn cake. It was a vanilla cake, with strawberry jam and buttercream. I made fondant ears, horn and the face. Thankfully, nothing too complicated.

For our celebration on her birthday itself in Germany, I made a simpler bunny hill cake. It was a sponge cake that I hollowed out and blitzed the cake pieces into crumbs. Then, I lined it with a strawberry coulis, fresh strawberries and made a huge mound of my favorite mascarpone whipped cream. The crumbs were then used to cover the cream and make a hill. Becca and I made fondant bunnies for the topper and we bought marzipan carrots to decorate it. I loved how it turned out!

Floods reaching the road*

We had that with coffee for the adults, and everybody asked for seconds!

I have one more cake to prepare when we get back to Biel after our holidays here in Germany with the grandparents. We’ll see what cake she requests next.

While I am happy to be back in Germany to visit my in-laws (our last visit was for Easter), our first week here was marred with incessant rainfall, which caused the river near their house to swell and overflow, causing significant damage to the properties along its banks. And those rains wreaked havoc not only here in Langsur, where we are staying, but across Rhineland-Pfalz (the Bundesland where Langsur belongs, kind of like a province), in the countries of Luxembourg, Belguim, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. In Switzerland, Bielersee, which is the lake near us also overflowed. Thankfully, we didn’t need to worry about our belongings as we are not along the lake.

For times like these, I remind myself of all the blessings I have, of my health, my family and loved ones. So, let’s drink to that.

I prefer my drinks in cocktail form, quite sweetened as well. So, here is a quick, certainly not traditional, recipe for a mojito.

Ingredients:

A handful of mint leaves (around 10 would be good)

1 tsp sugar

Juice of 1 lime, or 3 or 4 calamansi (I did say this was not traditional)

3 tbsp to ¼ cup (45 to 60 ml) white rum

Lemon-lime soda, like 7-Up or Sprite

Ice cubes

Take a tall, sturdy glass.

Place the mint leaves at the bottom, then add the sugar and lime/calamansi juice. If you have a cocktail muddler, go ahead and use that, otherwise grab a spoon and gently pound/bruise the mint leaves to release its aroma. Be careful not to work it too hard and you end up with tiny pieces of mint.

Pour in your desired amount of rum and mix. Add ice cubes almost to the top of your glass. Then pour in your soda. Stir to mix. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Garnish with more mint leaves and a lime slice and pop in a straw. Enjoy!*

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