I didn’t blog all weekend because we made a few-hundred-miles trek to the Chicago suburbs for my nephew’s 5th birthday party. We stuffed ourselves silly over there because as much as we love where we live, the restaurant choice can grow kind of boring. So, being in a different area had us stopping for food every chance we got, but by the end of the weekend, we were a wee bit regretful… I think that midnight case of White Castles are what did us in. Since there aren’t any White Castles near us, we had to stock up and buy a whole case since they reheat pretty well. We stopped there on the way out of the area, and then we had to smell them all the way home – yuck. They taste good but don’t smell so great, especially when it’s time for bed… So, as you can see, we did fit in a bit of culture on our trip. For those who aren’t familiar with White Castle, it’s a fast food chain found in the midwest that specializes in mini-hamburgers, also known as “sliders”. They aren’t just mini-hamburgers, though, they’re steam-grilled, and they have a very unique taste… not to mention an, ahem, interesting side effect when you feed them to pets and small children. I will not elaborate; let’s just say that my kids really like them, but the next day our noses were paying for it.
We also found time to stop at an ethnic grocery store for something my husband has been looking for called Halva, which is a Middle Eastern dessert. I had never tried it before, and I really like to try ethnic foods, so we picked some up. It is pretty good! The halva we got was actually from Macedonia, and though it tastes nothing like it, I would best describe its texture as that of the ‘astronaut’ ice cream. You know, the freeze dried ice cream that they sell at space museums?
And to round out our cultural experience, my nephew had a pinata at his birthday party. Pardon my spelling it wrong, I can’t find the special n with the tilday over it they use in the spanish alphabet. So in my blog, it will be known as a pinata. Just in case you are not familiar with what a pinata entails, check out Wikipedia’s explanation:
A succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding children try to break the piñata in order to collect the sweets (traditionally fruit, such as sugarcane) and/or toys inside of it. It has been used for hundreds of years to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and Easter.
Seems that Wikipedia figured out how to do the tilday… but anyway, yes you read that right – blindfolded, stick-wielding children! Actually, it’s customary to use a baseball bat instead of a stick, yet oddly enough, I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a pinata party where a parent didn’t have to step in and break it open themselves – this one being no exception. It went pretty well, though we did almost have a casualty – my nephew took his first whack at the pinata, and his dad had not cleared the area, so CRACK went the bat against the cell phone he was wearing… but I guess all was well, especially since someone had talked them out of their original plan: giving a bunch of 5-year-olds an aluminum bat with which to whack at the pinata. Thank goodness for the insight! If you get a chance, you should check out the pinata scene in the movie Parenthood, it’s hilarious… the kids at the party lose interest after not being able to get it open, so the scene cuts to Steve Martin beating the heck out of the thing as it lays on the floor. Nothing like that at my nephew’s party, in fact, his pinata opened rather easily. And when it did break open, there wasn’t the usual melee either… the kids were actually quite orderly in picking up the pinata “guts”. I was a little worried because the last time I was at a birthday party with a pinata, the kids all piled in a heap on top of each other, and the kid at the bottom ended up with a bloody lip.
So, overall, great weekend, even if it lacked sleep – lots of driving and we didn’t get home until 3:30 in the morning! And I have a few weeks to decide whether or not we will be brave enough to attempt a pinata at my daughter’s 4th birthday party… maybe that will be enough time for her to forget that her cousin had one…
One thing is for sure, if we have a pinata, we will not have an aluminum bat on the premises!