Norah turned five last Sunday. Her party was already planned for this coming Saturday, but we didn't want her day to go by without any acknowledgment, so we had a small celebration at home after dinner.

Mrs. Mahaffey, a friend's mom, finally agreed to give me her famous cake and icing recipe. I made Norah a small cake with it, died the icing pink and let Norah help me sprinkle edible glitter all over the top and sides.

I've been asking Mrs. Mahaffey for her cake recipe since I was fifteen, before I even had a recipe box to keep it in, when she would bring her cakes to church for special occasions. She gave me her cheese ball recipe and her chocolate delight recipe years ago, but she would never agree to part with her cake recipe, not for anything. But, just like I had to wait until I was twenty to help her and the other women in the church kitchen without being shooed out, it is fitting that I had to turn thirty to get this cherished recipe. I feel like I have earned it. And, don't even think about asking me for it. I'm not parting with it for anything now, either. I had to wait and beg for this recipe so much for so long, I feel like Jacob wanting Rachel for a wife, having to settle for Leah (the cheese ball) and having to work for Laban seven years, then seven more... which, come to think of it, is just about how long I had to wait for this recipe. I don't know if Mrs. Mahaffey planned it that way, but the years "felt like a day" because I love this cake so much! All that to say, I'm glad I have it now. I don't think I'll ever use a cake-in-the-box again.

Norah got five gifts this year, since she turned five. We always give her one gift for each year she's celebrating. And, since we are frugal, that naturally means the gifts tend to get smaller as her age goes up. When I explain this to people, they don't hear me say the gifts get smaller and always ask me what I'll do when she turns sixteen. I tell them I plan to get her purse with fifteen tubes of lipstick or a car with fifteen air fresheners. You get the idea.

This year, she got Connect Four, a set of 120 different colored crayons, two new outfits for her Barbie, and the last gift was empty with the words, "You get to pick!" written on the inside of the paper. And, since she is reading now, she was able to read the note and surprised herself. After that, we all hopped into the Jeep and took her to Toys R' Us. She picked out a princess castle for her last gift.

Happy Birthday, Norah! I can't believe my baby is five!


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