Some Comforting Idiocy in Times of Trouble


Yesterday morning I dropped Noah off at his school and watched him head inside, wheeling a suitcase behind him. He's off on a two-day, two-night field trip to an outdoor adventure camp by the Chesapeake Bay with his classmates. All 300 of them.

Who decided all these tiny babies were suddenly ready for this shit? Who decided the grownups were? 

It was nice to see that most sixth graders are still willing to publicly hug and kiss their parents goodbye, and that this was a Big Deal for plenty of other families -- some cars were packed with moms and dads and grandparents and siblings to wave off their newly official Super Big Kid Who Takes Suitcases Overnight Now. 

Other kids were clearly sleepaway camp veterans, bouncing out of cars with an overstuffed duffel bag because maybe they have a better understanding of what "several changes of inner and outer clothing" actually looks like for two days at one of these places -- I just kept adding stuff until there wasn't anymore room for stuff. What if his sweatshirt gets muddy? What if all his socks get wet? 

("It'll dry! It'll be fine!")

Electronics of any kind were strictly prohibited, so Noah had to leave his Gizmo watch behind (Ezra quickly claimed temporary custody of it in the meantime). He did NOT like this idea, but I told him there was a phone he could use if he really needed to call us. 

So far, he hasn't. That's good! I guess? Gah. 

For his birthday, Noah requested a Victoria sandwich cake (after seeing one on the Great British Bake-Off, naturally). He made this decision months ago and stuck to it. He felt very, very strongly about having a Victoria sandwich birthday cake, despite never having tasted one before. It was a cake that looked like a sandwich! He LOVES sandwiches. He's actually only lukewarm on most cakes. This was the one for him, clearly. 

I'd never made one before, and admittedly this first attempt would have roundly lost the technical challenge after a couple rookie recipe errors.



It did NOT have a soggy bottom, at least. It did have an embarrassingly droopy middle once flipped over and stacked, however. I solved this problem by shooing everyone out of the kitchen and serving up carefully camouflaged and strategically cut slices.

I'm happy to say that taste-wise, the Victoria sandwich birthday cake met -- nay, completely exceeded -- Noah's expectations. He loved it. He ate it for breakfast the next morning (I mean, it has jam in it? So like, it's a fruit?) and declared it even more delicious the next day. 

He had the final slice before he left, and asked if I could please please please make the cake again soon? Before his next birthday? For a special occasion? There's got to be another special occasion before his next birthday, right? 


He comes home tomorrow afternoon. Feel like that occasion will call for some cake. 


Joanna Moore

Go Noah! Can't wait to hear how the trip went. I am jealous and want to go.


Definitely calls for some cake.

Sue W

Oh yeah! Cake is in order. Along with debts of how his trip was!


Did you open the oven during cooking? Makes it drop. Science or something.

You can tell it's done by it starting to smell of cake and then you can see the sides of the cake coming away from the edge of the pan.

I'm in London, in the U.K., and didn't realise you didn't have in the states? Or is it just not popular where you are? It's like the staple cake here!!


I love this! My first sleep away experience was summer camp when I was 6. I was the 4th kid though so my mom basically came to a slow roll and chucked us out lol!

Also GBBO is so awesome! I watch with my 4yo and he asked for a "cookie sandwich with buttercream" in it. You bet your behind we were in there baking that day so my baby could have his cookie sandwich!

I hope Noah comes back with lots of awesome stories!


@ Liv,
I don't know about Amy's area, but where I live (N. Florida) with the exception of the recent "naked wedding cake" fad, it is very unusual for cake to not have some kind of frosting on top.


That last paragraph made me well up! Your blog is such a sweet space on the internets these days. Thank you for sharing your goodness and laughter. xo


I'm with M, I cried at the last paragraph. Oh I love this. Thank you for writing, you are a beacon to me and have been for years.


@Liv I did not!! I swear. Left the door closed and it looked (and smelled) perfect at the end of the bake time, then....whooompf. I think I over filled the pan and definitely was working with too cold butter. (And our oven is crap.) Definitely not a common cake here in the States but it should be, considering I mucked it up and it STILL tasted amazeballs!


In our town just outside of Boston) ALL 5th graders go to Science Camp, about an hour away, for 3 nights! Most parents celebrate the freedom (YIPEEEEEEEEE) - however there are always those who need to "be" with there kids, so they volunteer to spend the nights with the kids in their bunk houses. I remember really loving this wonderful event and I need ever considered volunteering. Mine are now in high school and spend hours and hours at a time away from home during which I have no idea where they are, so those Science Camp days seem so distant....


I am an assistant principal at a Middle School and we also ship off the 6th graders for a few days. They go to an old fashioned organic farm, where they chores and cook for themselves and learn all sorts of independence. It is awesome! But, in all fairness I cried a bit when my own poppet went. Now, at age 17, that trip is one of his happiest memories .

Megan H.

In Missouri, where I lived for a few years, all fifth graders went to camp for a full week! It was awesome and fun at the time but looking back now it seems like a long time to be away at that age. When I was in high school I also went back for two years as a counselor. Hope Noah has a great time and comes home with many memories!


My husband asked for a Victoria sponge for his birthday cake a year or two ago. And I happily made it, since it's a standard in Ireland, where we're from, just as much as it is in the UK. Glad Noah has excellent taste. :)


A successful two day/night sleep away? Yep, that one calls for cake.

Also...Noah is an amazing kid.


man, the last line made me cry a little. cake for everyone!

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