My Pretty Girl is eight years old today. Eight! Just look at her at 7 months, isn’t she just too lovely?
I know that I am supposed to say how the time has flown and how I just cannot believe that she has got so big so quickly, but actually eight years is very long time. To give you some perspective, in 2005 the year that Pretty girl was born, Thabo Mbeki was the president of South Africa. George W. Bush was the President of the USA. In that year the first Madagascar movie was released and so was the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It was also the year that the east was left mourning after the Tsunami which hit the coast of Thailand late in December 2004, and it was the same year that Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans. A different way to look at it would be to remember that Steve Jobs only announced the iPhone in 2007.
And all this time, my Pretty Girl has been growing up, right under my nose. When I look at her today, I think she must have done it while I went to the store for milk, because I often get a shock to see her doing so much more than I thought she could. At times it takes me a moment to remember that this tall and capable young lady who loves chocolate and Top Model and singing along to Now 63 was once just a little girl who loved chocolate and dress up and singing along to Barney. In 2005, eight years ago, a tiny baby girl arrived and irrevocably changed our lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way.Pretty Girl can drive me nuts. She can be clumsy and forgetful and all about “Me”. She sometimes loses her things and often forgets her manners. She never remembers to pick up her bath towel or to tie her shoe laces; and she cannot ever, not even once, drink a cup of tea without messing it on her top.
But mostly, Pretty Girl makes me feel so proud that I just want to cry and sometimes I actually do. She is a wonderful big sister, fierce and protective. She has a sensitive soul that rages against injustice. I love that when she watches MasterChef she cries when her favourites get sent home. I love that she uses words like annoying and frustrating, apparently and wonderful. I love it when she says things like: “it just left me on a cliffhanger” or “I would really rather not”.
I love that when she gets really excited she can hardly speak or stand up straight or breathe. I love that when she gets really shy she can hardly speak or stand up straight or breathe. She is just hilarious. I love that she rocks any kind of sport and that she still loves to read books. I love that she can eat the weight of a small Japanese family in sushi. I am amazed that eight years on there are still so many new things to learn about her. Mostly though, I am amazed that Dear Husband and I get to keep her, and call her ours.
To celebrate being 8, Pretty Girl decided she wanted a drumming party. Or a Rock Star party. Or a sleepover. Or Art Jamming. Finally, she settled on a MasterChef party and I ran with this idea before she could change her mind. Again.
I am going to show you how we rolled, but first let me just say that this was truly one of my favourite parties ever. Eight year old kiddos are fabulous and we had such a great time cooking with 14 of them (What? Hey? Er…yes!) If you have the nerves for it, this party is definitely A-list.
I spent a lot of time making sure I was really organised. I set the tables up with absolutely everything the little chefs would need to make their dishes. I had decided that they would work in teams and that together we would make lunch. I didn’t have a plan B so there were going to be 14 hungry children if this didn’t work out.
Each chef had a hat, an apron and their own recipe book at their workstation. My dear friend made the aprons for me, as I am completely unable to sew anything, and I printed the recipe booklets myself.
We had four teams making four different dishes, so having no time to spare, we put all those little hands to work. They were all so eager to get cooking, it was a delight to watch them.
One little chef had the best time of all…
The results were great. The results were also really delicious. The brigade of little chefs oohed and aah-ed when they saw the feast they had helped to create. I think we were all a little surprised at just how good everything was.
On the menu were nachos and guacamole, fresh homemade pasta and basil pesto, and bacon and potato salad on a stick.
They also made chicken and leek pies and chicken skewers with a yoghurt marinade. If you would like a copy of the recipe booklet I made feel free to contact me and I will email it to you.
The kiddos then sat down for lunch, and got to enjoy one of Pretty Girl’s favourite drinks. Bashews.
After lunch it was time for the individual ice-cream sundae competition. They each started with a sundae glass filled with ice cream and I provided sweeties, marshmallows, glitter, sprinkles, mint and umbrellas which they could use to create a masterpiece.
In the week leading up to the party Pretty Girl had asked whether Dear Husband knew Matt Moran. Now if you don’t know, Matt Moran is a guest judge/presenter on MasterChef Australia. Pretty Girl adores Matt Moran. She was really disappointed to learn that dad did not have any contacts down under, and that Matt Moran would not be able to judge this part of the competition.
But what her dad lacks in contacts he certainly makes up for in party spirit. While the kiddos scrambled to make their sundaes in the five minute time frame, Dear Husband suited himself up as Matt Preston (another MasterChef Australia judge). With his big belly, cravat and hat, the kiddos knew exactly who he was meant to be and Pretty Girl was beside herself with excitement (see above) and laughter. It was so worth it. Dear Husband, you are one great dad!
And finally, there was a cake. I have mentioned this before but to reiterate my talents do not lie in novelty birthday cakes. Thanks to some Pinterest inspiration, I made this chef’s hat, and was not just a little smug that the result belied a horrendously dismal effort.
I baked a four layer Red Velvet Cake only because the original two layer one I made did not give enough height for a chef’s hat. I then coloured my plastic icing red and very skilfully rolled it out and cut it into equal strips which I lined, slightly overlapping around the side of the cake. I then, using an equal amount of skill I might add, cut a thick band to go around the bottom edge and a circle to neaten off the top. I then said brilli….no wait, I didn’t want it to look like I hadn’t thought it through, so I added a mini whisk and a red gingham chef’s rag for effect and then I said brilliant!
Pretty Girl, dad and I cannot wait to see the life you create with all the talents and gifts which you have been given. We have front row seats to your show our precious Mackensie-Leah, and we will not be giving them up for anything.