April is a relatively busy month for me – we celebrate the hubby’s birthday and our anniversary, they being just a week apart. I am the sort of person who doesn’t believe in or get excited at the prospect of cooking traditional sweets or new dishes, but somehow when it comes to my loved ones I find this sudden rush of enthusiasm to make everything by hand. So normally around this time and also during my son’s birthday I try out recipes, excitedly and revel in the aftermath of glowing praise if they turn out to be a success. But you will never catch me doing so for my birthday – I believe birthdays need to be made special not by ourselves, but by the loved ones around us! 😀
The hubby’s birthday was no different and I did some elaborate planning well in advance. It helped that he was going to be out of town on work on the preceding two days. I had decided to make a cake (using the available mixes for cooker-made cakes; I don’t yet own a convection over that will help me bake cakes from scratch – it is something I hope to own sometime soon and I hope my enthusiasm to bake stays till such time that I own it!) and this time I decided to try and make the frosting for it too. That saw me hurriedly scouting the shops for essential ingredients on the previous day. As is my wont I decided to try out one of the many internet recipes for easy, quick to make sweets that I have collected over the years and chose the ‘Mango peda’ – all it needed was a can of condensed milk which I bought and pulpy ripe mangoes which we thankfully had a stock of at home. I made the sweet two days in advance and made the cake and frosting on the preceding evening – just in time before the hubby walked into the home. Having my mother come over to help manage the kiddo, I sought her assistance in making ‘Bisi bele bath’ – one of the hubby’s favourite dishes. This way the culinary aspects were made special enough, I thought.
On the gifting part I had pretty much made up my mind several weeks ago to get a collage made with all photos of the hubby and the little one, right from the time of his birth. I painstakingly scoured all the photo archives in the hard disks and chose the photos well in advance. I had inquired at various shops – physical and online, to check out the prices to have a collage framed/ canvas-mounted and had worked out the most reasonable option, as I was sure it wasn’t something worth splurging high amounts for. Having ordered the photo online and gotten it after some anxious moments of the courier guy coming over to the office and having had to go back it being a long weekend of holidays; I had given it for lamination/ framing and collected it too on the previous evening.
As if picking up and packing the gift on the previous evening after work, along with the already aforementioned task of frosting the cake was not enough for last minute action, I decided the sonny boy was old enough now to make a card for his dad. Imagine the joy of receiving the very first hand-made card from your little one – I wanted the hubby to have that too! 🙂 I also picked up craft paper on the way back home and spent a frenzied hair-pulling hour with my son, trying to get him to draw and colour and write ‘Happy Birthday‘ straight! 😀 After much fussing and some tears on choosing which Winnie – the Poo stickers to decorate with, the card was made and ready.
I think I had told the kiddo a dozen times already that it was to be a surprise and he shouldn’t be telling his appa anything, but the moment the hubby walked in, as if on cue, he blurted out saying ‘amma cake madiddale!‘ and when I admonished him in a whisper he defensively cried saying – ‘cake madiya anta ashte heliddu, surprise ide anta helalilla‘! :p Though during the later part of the evening he did give away the secret that there was to be a surprise, thankfully he didn’t spell out what it was to be! 🙂
The card and collage were handed over sometime before the midnight hour as it was the kiddo’s sleep time and I didn’t want him to miss out on the fun and the sweets and cake were sampled on the d-day. Though the reaction wasn’t as profusely expressed as was expected (we wives never do learn to keep our expectations low, do we?! 😉 ), there was a deep sense of accomplishment of having made the day special for my loved one. And the icing was the fact that the sweet and the effort was very well appreciated by other friends, colleagues and family members, with some of them going to the extent of saying that the sweet was too good to be called homemade and tasted just like store-bought ones! If nothing else, that compliment surely made my day! 😉