It’s not our biggest hobby to be chatting with bots, trust me. But when the kids discovered that they can ask Google Assistant (almost) anything through voice-activation and got a response, there was no turning back!
Here are the chats on 2 topics which the kids initiated. Pay attention to Google Assistant’s answers (marked with the coloured circles of blue, red, green and yellow):
Those got us all in stitches alright!
With such things (along with Siri, Alexa and Echo), who needs human company? Right?
Well…wrong. The kids did get bored (as we do) after a while, especially when Google Assistant pointed us to links from all over the web. That was when all the fun ended.
Here’s to a week of real human interactions and less of bots. I don’t know about you, but I’d still rather be talking to a human.
Sometime this time last week, I sauntered to the kitchen and decided that I was going to bake. I wanted to make a chocolate cake and I wanted to give a new recipe a go. I topped that with a generous ladle of urge to make the cake with mean mint.
OK. I lied.
I didn’t just saunter to the kitchen! I have actually walked into the kitchen with a purpose: To make a birthday cake for an adult and one that’s a little bit more adult in taste and less of the colours of the rainbows. (The rest of what I said above still hold true)
Give or take 1.5 hours, a mean Mint Chocolate (Truffle) Cake was born right out of my kitchen:
Oh how I love the aroma of freshly baked chocolate cake! Let it cool for a little while and then a slab of light, creamy frosting was smothered in between the cake and all around it.
Once that was done, the kids took it upon themselves to decorate the cake. I had to remind them that they are not to use all the sugary rainbow sprinklers (they were about to when they raided my baking drawers) because this cake was for an adult, not for kids.
They duly complied without any arguments. They were excited that they got to decorate the cake for their Papa who blew the candles off the cake the next day. They did pretty well with the decoration of the cake that was meant for an adult, I must say!
Decorations aside, this chocolate cake recipe is almost fail proof. A little dense (and so should all chocolate cakes be) but turned out to still be quite light (no egg white!), flavourful and most important: super moist. Silver Bullet should be so happy.
For the chocolatey taste, I used a mix of Dutch cocoa and half a bar of truffled-chocolate. I used fresh mint leaves with a touch of mint essence for the mint frosting and I used a long strand of dental floss as well.
What were you thinking I would be doing with the floss? To slice the cake into half, of course. Sheesh!
This is one recipe for keeps:
A Mean Mint-Chocolcate Cake
Exactly as it's described...a super-moist and flavourful mean mint-chocolate cake that could light your fire!
It’s not THAT difficult to get crowned as The Sleeping Champion, mind you. This would be particularly easy to get if you :
are a parent of young kids
do the household chores yourself
cook, iron and run a volunteer launderette service
put in extra time on work after hours to beat the crazy deadlines
commute minimally 2 hours one way
try to blog with what little time you have
amongst other things you do
The dead big-give away to claim the title is when you fall asleep within seconds as you lay down next to your little ones while trying to spend some quality chat time with your wriggly younglings before they drift off to la-la land.
This is pretty much me on almost every evenings when I put my kids to bed. As we chat away on the happenings of their day, I involuntary doze off. I couldn’t keep my eyes open with toothpicks if I tried. Sometimes I snore and drool away. It’s like a power nap; I’ll fall asleep for at least 10 minutes with each kid before I have to walk myself to the other kid’s room.
Spud usually takes much longer to fall asleep. I would ask questions and sometimes she would talk and talk and talk about random stuff that don’t connect. Unwittingly, I fell asleep as she chats away and I would be awaken, startled, by a child staring right into my face, giggling softly.
Me napping next to her apparently has been her biggest amusement. She’s mentioned several times that sometimes, she doesn’t want to wake me up as she likes having me sleeping next to her. On condition that I don’t hug her.
She’s now come to expect that I’ll always fall asleep within minutes. And she lets me be as she likes to hear me breathing. The other night, as expected, I dozed off.
Suddenly I heard a distant giggle. I woke up startled, with my body (involuntarily) jerking. I was still in a daze and there was Spud, lying on her side, her hand supporting her head and looking at me with a happy giggle.
Spud: Mama, you really can sleep very well!
Me: Hmmmm…I think I can, yes. I do love my sleep. Plus…I’m exhausted.
Spud: You really are winning at sleeping, Mama! You are a big winner! The best sleeper.
Me: Like a champion?
Spud: Yeah!Sleep Champion!
With that my friends, was how I was crowned The Sleeping Champion by my 7 year old.
I don’t know if I should laugh or cry, but considering that my power-naps bemuse her to the high heavens, I guess I’ll take the honour. Besides, it’s not easy to get 40 winks that easily these days and getting some winks in between is a feat in itself.
Now…going back to the toothpick I was talking about earlier, perhaps I just need a different brand next time.
If you are reading the title in English, then you might have already crinkled your forehead and wonder why Elf November hasn’t got any pointy ears and what the hell is “dag”.
If you are confused, I don’t blame you. It does sound like English with bad, bad spelling, but isn’t. Literally translated, it means:
November (yes, it’s the same month November like we all know it in English)
Is (yes as in the English word is)
The entire sentence is a part of the many songs kids sing while going their rounds to collect candies during Sint Maarten (or Saint Martin’s)celebrated on the 11th of November.
Needless to say, this one song has been in my head over and over and over in the last week or so:
Elf november is de dag (11 November is the day)
Dat mijn lichtje, dat mijn lichtje (That my light, that my light)
Elf november is de dag (11 November is the day)
Dat mijn lichtje branden mag (that my light may burn)
And if you read notes, this would be what it sounds like:
To the uninitiated, Sint Maarten is the Dutch ”Halloween” – all the treats without the tricks.
There are no scary or funny dress-ups. Instead, the kids and kids only (accompanied by adults if they are younger) would go door-to-door with hand-crafted lanterns in their hands. (I wrote about this last year in this post).
Spud and Squirt, accompanied by their Papa then trolled strolled the neighbourhood; first at their Oma & Opa then followed by our own neighbourhood. I stayed home to listen to kids singing at my doorstep (every 5 minutes for 2 hours) and then offered them their goodie-bag loot nicely wrapped up.
We have pretty sizable kids’ population here. I gave away at least 35 goodie-bags!
Not to be out-done, our 2 critters came back with their loot, with double the amount of candies that would last them for another year.
All in a day’s work of a typical Dutch kids! Of course we’ve told them them that parent-tax applies.