Stealth Baking

It’s a little hard to plan a surprise when the person you want to surprise lives in your house.

Today’s is YA’s birthday (27!!)  Her gift was actually purchased a couple of weeks back; she wanted a case for her new iPad and I agreed to pay for it as her present.  I took off on Friday to celebrate with her; we went to the Minneapolis Arts Institute.  There was also going to be a birthday brunch at one of her favorite places but they have discontinued indoor dining (again).  So the celebrations are a little low-key.

I have a banner that says “Happy Birthday” that I made last year and I picked up a “2” and a “7” big mylar balloon but I still wanted to do a bit more – maybe cake?  YA is not a big sweet eater, but I know that she likes carrot cake, so I decided on cupcakes.

I’ve been thinking how I could get this done and about a week ago she announced that she was going out with a friend to the Walker and lunch.  Yesterday!  This was a perfect opportunity for me to do a little stealth baking.

YA is fairly observant.  She doesn’t go snooping but she does notice things.  While I was working on the cupcakes, I was extremely careful about not leaving any trace of my work.  I cleaned and dried every utensil and pan so that nothing in the drainer would catch her attention.  I wiped the counters twice, making sure to get every little shred of carrot.  Butter and cream cheese wrappers went underneath other trash in the container.  I used an “altered box” recipe, so the boxes went underneath other recyclables in the bin.  The finished products went on the front porch table behind the last of the cookie tins.  I put some pretty party picks in them earlier this morning.

The one remaining problem was the aroma in the house.  I turned on the fans in the kitchen but they didn’t do the job.  And I was worried that if I sprayed Febreze, she would ask why.  I decided that maybe she wouldn’t notice.  WRONG.  She didn’t even have her coat off when she said “what did you make – it smells like cinnamon.”  Having worried about this beforehand, my answer was ready.  “I made cinnamon toast for lunch.”  This is a common enough occurrence that she believed me!

The banner and balloons are up, the cupcakes are on a pretty platter waiting.  She has taken today off as well but probably won’t be up until 9 or 10. I’ll let you know how the surprise goes!

Have you ever been to a surprise party?

49 thoughts on “Stealth Baking”

  1. Happy birthday to YA! This is Crowgirl of many years ago; somehow I forgot about this community, but I ran across a link to one of Renee’s posts on Facebook yesterday and remembered. I hope everyone is well, especially Dale! Much water under the bridge; I look forward to reacquainting myself with you all.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Wow, great to “see” you, Crowgirl! I was thinking of you a couple of weeks ago, wondering how you are.

      Dale has moved on, and he “deeded” the Trail to the Baboons, headed up by Renee and Verily Sherrilee, who alternate months of doing the lead post. Lately Ben has been giving us a course in farming on Saturdays…

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Dale retired several years ago. Had a nice chat with him at Edith’s celebration of life event in July of 2019, and it he looked and sounded good at that time.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Welcome back, we’ve missed you! I don’t remember exactly when you posted last but we have had some sad news the last couple of years. Two summers ago our little jailbird, Edith passed away after a valiant struggle with cancer. And our dear Steve passed away in November, also after struggling with Issues for awhile. We miss them and honor their memories.

      Hopefully your bad year is behind you!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so sorry to hear that! Was Steve the one whose father started Animal Fair stuffed toys? We’ve had a couple of people pass on over at The Archdruid Report, now Ecosophia. Odd how attached one is to people one may never have met, but maybe that just means feelings of friendship are that resilient and broad.

        I hope the bad stuff is done, too, but I’m afraid to do anything medical these days—everything we tried for my hearing just made things worse!

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Yep, that’s the guy. After you left the trail, he moved to Portland, OR to be near his daughter who lived there. He sold his lovely little “hobbit” house in the Mac/Groveland neighborhood, and drove to Oregon with his sister as co-pilot. After a couple of years in Portland, his daughter, her husband and little boy decided to relocate to Michigan to be nearer his family, and Steve moved with them. After a couple of years there, the family returned to St. Paul a few years ago, and he moved into an assisted living place. He died there on Thanksgiving morning in his sleep.

          Good to hear your “voice” again, Crowgirl. I’ll be sending you a friend request on FB, too.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome back to the Trail Crow Girl. I am so glad to hear from you! Did you know that even aged Baboons get gray hair? Sorry to know of the hearing aids—my husband has them and I have learned that hearing aids are high maintenance gizmos.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Hey, Tim! Thanks for the welcome. No more library work for me since 2007 (has it really been that long?). Budgets got cut for subs, so I started tempIng, and I now work for an insurance company in death claims, as a go-between for the examiners and the legal department. I miss the work, but not riding herd on internet use or all the behavior problems that were ramping up about then!

      Last year was one of my 5 worst ever, with a cancer scare and surgery (it was a massive cyst instead) and a sudden hearing loss that has put me in hearing aids, but my BFF/roommate is OK, the cats are OK, the duplex is still standing, my job is good, and I’m just grateful things aren’t worse than they are. Hope you and the rest of the Babooners are doing well!

      Liked by 7 people

  2. ya is 27 how can that be
    she was 12 just a minute ago
    now she’s working at bi and saving money to buy her own house but she will never want to go so the money will have to just sit
    my son who lives with us is 27 has been working for 5 years the last two from my basement and has got to have a wad of cash saved up after almost paying off st thomas
    he’s talking about getting his own place
    i bought mine with 2000 dollars down and 250 a month
    ahh and pop bottles got returned to the store and white bread went on sale for 19 cents at red owl
    i love surprise parties
    debbie turns 62 on saturday and i bought her a surprise airplane ticket to go hang with her folks in florida for the weekend
    i had to check with them to be sure it was ok
    look to make sire the ticket want 1000 dollars and then check to make sure she didn’t have meeting that couldn’t be jockied friday or monday and then after it was all in place i had to ask her if it was ok and she came up with 3 or 4 immediate reasons why it would never work
    i called the daughters into action
    they talk with her almost every day and they smoothed it over to get her calmed down so off she goes on friday at 6 am to sit at her folks place in sunny florida and drink mimosas every morning and do nothing
    other surprise parties have been memorable and always fun but i dunk now vs .. a surprise party of two sounds kinda wham bam and it’s over . get on with the day
    maybe some mimosas? i hear champaign and pear nectar is good too
    they have it at total wind
    chateau st michelle is the good low priced sparkling wind or trader joe’s prosecco

    happy birthday ya
    you’re going to become maa adult in a while
    enjoy y while it’s there

    Liked by 7 people

      1. Actually I really enjoyed it. With this kind of thing, I am in my element. The only problem at all for all of the organization was that I left the card until this morning. I had time so that wasn’t the issue but I woke up at 3:30 thinking about it and just could not go back to sleep. And I knew better. I should’ve done it last night. But it’s a fancy dancy one with a pop out and a twist so it was fun to make!

        Liked by 7 people

  3. Wow Sherillee! I’m inpressed by it all, but that is some fancy frosting work on those cupcakes!

    Happy birthday YA! Hope you enjoy every minute of it.

    And welcome back Crowgirl! I have no concept of time anymore, and have been absent myself for the better part of at least 2 years, so it’s like you never left :).

    I’m sure I must have been to a surprise party, but cannot for the life of me remember one. I’m afraid the last 5 years have made me leery of surprises.

    Once January is done (I’m “decluttering” myself after a busy fall and winter of eating badly and feeling lurgy), I’m really hoping to do some baking, and since I certainly can’t (and shouldn’t) consume it all myself, I plan to ‘surprise’ the s&h and his roommate with the successes.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Happy birthday, YA. Nice work on keeping the surprise, VS. I’ve never had a surprise BD party but my wife and I got a surprise housewarming party many months after we bought our first house in 1980. We were totally fooled. The scam was we’d go to a friend/teaching colleague’s house for dinner(?) but when we got there, they weren’t home! We were “supposed” to go straight back to our house as normal people would, but for some reason, we ran some errands or drove around for a while. While we were away, the surprisers convened at our house. They were a little miffed that we came home about 30 minutes later than we should have, but we all had a good laugh.

    My one attempt at surprising anyone was to buy tickets to see Celine Dion perform in Las Vegas for my wife’s 50th birthday. We’d planned to visit my Dad in AZ, then the surprise was going to be when we went to the airport to go home, we’d fly from PHX to Vegas instead.

    I was setting this up via email with Dad, and we thought we had a foolproof plan. Unfortunately, I’m in the habit of CC-ing my wife on emails to my parents so she stays in the loop. And of course, I CCed her on the surprise. I’ll never forget hearing her downstairs yell out “What’s this about Celine Dion in Vegas??”

    Busted. My surprise lasted all of 48 hours. We still had a great time and the show was fabulous! That was Celine in her prime and height of popularity back in 2005. But I do remember wincing at the ticket price–$175 a pop. (ouch) I won’t say it was worth it for me (especially since I blew the surprise) but we got our money’s worth out of the show. Pure Las Vegas glitz and glamour. But Celine’s got a one-in-a-million voice, so it was fun to hear her live one time.

    Chris in Owatonna
    (Welcome back, Crowgirl. My memory is weak, but the moniker looks familiar. Always to get another voice in the conversation.)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. If you don’t already have plans for the rest of the day, perhaps today is a good day to stop by the Art Shanties on Lake Harriet if you haven’t already. Happy birthday to Y/A.


  5. I figure the person is surprised no matter when it is that they find out they’re getting a surprise party. The main even seems to be that everyone else gets to SEE the person being surprised.

    My kindergarten aide once surprised me with a small group on my birthday – at her trailer near Half Moon Bay, where we taught. I thought I was just going over for wine after we left school, and I don’t remember what tipped me off as I approached her place – maybe saw another familiar car parked there. I faked it really well, though, I think, and it was just moments after I figured it out.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Doing frog censuses for Hamlin, got me a reputation as an amphibian guy. Friends and family threw a surprise party for me. The gifts were appreciated. Plastic frogs, puzzles, t-shirts, photos, decorated cake, etc. And the PC game, Frogger.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I had a surprise party for my mother on her 60th birthday—33 years ago! Somehow we pulled that off. My Wasband had one for me while I was in grad school, which means I was all of 24 or 25 years old. People suddenly running through my house scared the heck out of me, but it was fun.

    Disguising the smell of cinnamon is a funny situation, VS. Congratulations on a very smart and canny white lie. Usually you can blame the pets on various things, but probably not the cinnamon smell. Happy Birthday Teen-ager/Young Adult.

    OT: PJ, you asked about WORDLE yesterday. I heard of this game several weeks ago, and just Sunday I got around to doing it after Will Shortz reminded me of in on the Sunday morning NPR show. I kept looking for it on an app, but finally figured out that it is only on a web-based program. I have now done this two days in a row, and I got both words. It is a game of deductive reasoning which I enjoyed a lot.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m curious:
      When one says he or she got the word on the second try, does that mean you put down an initial word and from that guessed the correct word or does that mean that you made two adjustments from the initial word to arrive at the final? If the former is what you mean, that would entail a fair bit of luck, coupled with the use of letter frequency to maximize the information you get back.

      Also, does everyone get the same word on the same day or is that randomized? I suspect the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bill, I don’t know if everyone gets the same word on the same day. When Catherine guessed correctly on the second try, that does imply incredible luck.

        My strategy is that I choose words on the first try made up of the most commonly used letters: e, n, s, t, r, The game then gives you hints about the letters in the word and the placement in the word. You get 5 tries to get the word. It is fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, everyone gets the same word on the same day. I agree with Jacque, getting it right on the second try includes a good deal of luck, like perhaps having the first letter correct in your first word guess. It’s actually quite challenging, try it, you just might like it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I did try it and got it in 3, which made me realize that the first word you choose, though informed by letter frequency, still entails a good deal of luck. Many words don’t conform to probability.

          Liked by 2 people

      3. I did a first guess, and got the word on my second attempt.

        I suspect I’ll try again tomorrow.

        For science!

        I feel no need to share my results as they suggest. I just like to know what so many people I know are talking about, and now I do.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Happy Birthday YA! Hi Crowgirl; welcome back!

    Surprises are tough; for a lot of years it was just my schedule; i had to be home to milk so it had to work around that.
    Kelly threw me a surprise birthday party when I turned 25 that still stands out in my memory as one of the best parties I’ve had. The people, the place… it was all wonderful.
    These days it’s just hard to expect everyone to keep their mouths shut long enough to make it a surprise.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I am not big on surprises – would rather just be in on the surprise, not be the “honoree”. My younger sister did pull off a nice surprise 60th birthday party for me. I thought just the two of us were having lunch at restaurant. When we arrived, there were 6 fellow altos from church choir already seated at the table. I really was surprised and enjoyed the festivities. The two music teachers at the middle school I volunteered at also planned a surprise party for that same birthday, but I accidentally found out about it ahead of time. I pretended to be surprised. There were two large sheet cakes and the choir kids from each grade came to the choir room to sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy some cake.

    Liked by 4 people

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