Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Very First GIVEAWAY!!! (and another picture of a cake)

(In a sing-song voice)

My ver-y first give-away! My ver-y first give-away!

Keep reading 'til the end for it, but a little business, first:

“Hey BlogoSphere! MomDot is so excited about our launch! We had been working hard to get going for August 1st, but with all the amazing support of mom boutiques and mom bloggers, we are ready to get the Party Started! We want you to come every day starting on July 28th with the party ending on August 31st, including prizes daily and feature bloggers, just in time to bang out the end of summer and into the school year. Don’t forget to list your blog for free and connect with other mommies on our forum!”

And now, for the fun stuff!

We went to dinner at a friend's house tonight. Since cake is the only dessert I always have all the ingredients for, that's what I took. A light vanilla cake with chocolate ganache filling, cream cheese buttercream, and fondant. Yum!

I told Christian I was making a cake to take out there. Since they live out in the sticks country and have horses and a donkey, she said I should make a barn cake, with some horses and donkeys to go around it. God forbid I make a simple round cake anymore!

Well. I didn't quite feel like making a barn cake with horses and donkeys. In fact, I rather felt like I was a donkey, after the Harry Potter cake fiasco. And after making the Harry Potter cake, and the purse cake the following day, I really just wanted to buy some oreos and call it quits. So I made a simple round cake. A white, simple round cake. See my beautiful white cake? Kind of like a blank canvas, isn't it?

But I really couldn't take just a simple white cake. So since it was a beautiful white blank canvas, and I didn't feel like decorating it, I let Christian decorate it for me.

See the red barn? And the horse and donkey? And Christian swimming in the pond? Yep. She got it all on there. She even put all our names on the sides and counted to 100 by tens.

Yes, she did draw on every single one of those balls. Don't the little blue ones look like "the earth, as seen from a great distance"?

Which brings me to the giveaway! My very first!

You tell me which show that line is from, and the character that said it, and I'll give you... something. I promise. I'm very creative. I'll come up with something. For now, it's bedtime and I can't think of much.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm sooooo tired. And my hands hurt. Really bad.

So bad, in fact, hubs was making many jokes at my expense last night.

Remember that Harry Potter cake? The one I finished late Thursday night? Well, after I cleaned up the kitchen, I checked my e-mail. And read this:

Did you get the cake delivered today? I was going to call my daughter but hate to spoil the surprise. I may call her and check anyway, since I want to see if she liked the cake.

Um... that would be the cake, that at that very moment, was sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting to be delivered the following morning. I seriously freaked out. Apparently, I got the day and date mixed up/wrong. It was completely my fault. I tried calling her, but it was almost midnight, and couldn't reach her. So I e-mailed her that, no, in fact I had not delivered the cake. You know, on the day she had asked me to deliver it. I apologized profusely, and offered to deliver it whenever and wherever she wanted, and refund her money. Then got in bed. Sick. And dreamed that I delivered it to her daughter and the daughter laughed and said that today was actually her birthday and everything was fine.

I woke up early and began trying to call her. I finally got her, and she said it was no problem. Her daughter's birthday is actually Sunday, but her co-workers usually leave at noon on Fridays, hence the Thursday delivery. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, said "Hallelujah" and "Thank You, Jesus" a few million times, and went to deliver the cake.

Except I got the building wrong. (I know. I am seriously too stooopid to be allowed to operate an oven, much less a motor vehicle.) So I had to carry that cake, which weighed quite a bit, a considerable distance across the university campus to the correct building. And then wait while random people stopped me to admire it. (Which, let's be honest, I really don't mind.)

What I'm taking a bajillion years to say is this: my hand, wrist and forearm really hurt. That's what hubs was making fun of me about.

But here's part (albeit a small one) of why it hurts:

I baked and carved this yesterday, and decorated it last night. Which means, after my forearms and wrist and hands were already tired, I had to knead and roll out much more fondant.
But it's cute, eh?

A friend of mine (that I used to work with) ordered it for another friend of mine (that used to work with us). They now work together, for a different company. Today's her birthday. She's into fashion (what girl's not???) and loves pink. So she gets a pink purse.

Happy Birthday, Vern!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Harry Potter cake

I really hate black fondant. To get it black, you have to add tons and tons and tons of black color. The result is an almost useless mass. It cracks terribly, and becomes almost powdery. Usually fondant is nice and soft and stretchy, like clay. But black... it's surely the devil's spawn. It's very, very difficult to work with. At least for me. Hence the following results.

Anyway, here's the Harry Potter cake. I believe I mentioned I know next to nothing about him, but gave it a go anyway.

This little spill of "magic powder" is probaby my favorite part of the cake. I'll have to be really careful when I deliver it tomorrow. One stiff wind and the powder will be gone!

And for all those of you in the know about Harry Potter, thanks for the scar tip. I couldn't get a great pic because of the crappiness of my camera, so I cropped close enough so you could see it. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Harry Potter, Yea or Nay? And other random stuff.

Let me start by getting this out of the way: I HATE MY CAMERA!!!

I am working on a Harry Potter cake. And I must confess, I've never read any of the books or seen any of the movies. There. I said it. I'm fully aware I'm THE LAST person in the free world who hasn't. Whatever. I'm coping.

Moving on, here is the very blurry image of his head.

Do you see the resemblance? Will it pass for Harry Potter???

His body will be sculpted out of cake tomorrow. It's the first time I will attempt sculpting a person out of cake, so I'm a little nervous. I've made many people out of sugar, (here, here, and here, for example) but never out of cake.

So I haven't posted in a while. I'm nursing a serious sunburn. On my legs. Okay, the front of my legs. It seems I went way overboard applying sunblock to the kids (they got coated six times between the two of them; Cullen four times, Christian two) and kind of forgot my lower extremeties. Give me a break. At least I got my face and arms.

We went to a waterpark that's geared toward small kids. Hubs, Christian and I had a great time. Cullen spent his day crying/whining/an annoying combo of the two and sleeping. On me. Which probably explains why my chest isn't sunburned.

Here's Christian crossing the lily pad obstacle course.

And there's Hubs, trying to ignore the fact that he's got a 19 month old screaming in his ear. He's doing pretty well, dontcha think?

And, in closing, here are pictures of some land we're considering buying. It's no Pioneer Woman ranch or anything, but it would suit us. And allow us to have a horse or two. And the dog. And the rabbit. And some chickens. And anything else Christian suckers Hubs into buying her. :)

It is literally wall-to-wall trees. Or should I say fence-t0-fence?

In all honesty, there is a bit of this:

And just a tiny bit of this:

But mostly it's just this:

That's all.

Come back tomorrow for Harry Potter in all his glory.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Photographic Extravaganza!

One of hubs' coworkers moonlights at Dillards; whenever they have their major clearances, she e-mails us a few days before. So a couple weeks ago, Christian and I went shopping, for the first time ever, just the two of us. It was so much fun! She and I were both pulling stuff off the racks. She was so cute. She'd gasp and say, "Oh Mom! Isn't this just so cute???"

I loved it. We never left the girls' department. :( I had actually meant to visit shoes and my size... next time, I guess.

Then, The Children's Place e-mailed me that they were having a major clearance. So I shopped online there. I really like their stuff, and usually buy the majority of her clothes from them. On a side note, I got another e-mail from them yesterday. Everything I bought is now discounted even further, fyi.

From both stores, I bought ten pairs of shorts/gauchos, eleven tops, five pairs of shoes, and one swimsuit. I spent about $185, including tax and shipping! I just wish my clothing were as economical, not to mention cute! The really good thing about living down here is that all this hot weather usually lasts into November, and then comes back around March.

The stuff from The Children's Place arrived today, so I had Christian try everything on. I told her I would give her a nickel for every outfit she tried on (this probably won't work for me next year!), but after three outfits, she was tired, and needed "a break." My mom lives in Nashville, and can't see Christian's back-to-school wardrobe, so she told Christian she'd send a quarter for every picture Christian let me take of the new clothes... so here you go Mimi!

While she was trying on clothes, getting her picture taken, and dancing around, she paused long enough to say, "I was meant to live like this."
I'm sorry. What???
Where the heck did that come from???
Oh, and Mimi, you might want to head to the bank next week!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ducky cake

A cousin's baby boy is turning one, so they asked me to make the cake.

It's a rubber ducky/luau theme. Here's the invite:

And here's my cake:

It's a white cake, with buttercream and fondant. The Happy Birthday banner is white chocolate, and the "sand" is toasted cake crumbs.

It doesn't look as big as it is. This cake is ten inches across, and about a foot tall. It will probably feed close to 50 people.

Hubs took the kids to his parents' house yesterday so I could work, uninterrupted, in peace! It took literally the. whole. day.

But I think it turned out cute. Hubs really seemed to like it, except he said it doesn't look like cake. He thinks it looks like molded plastic. Which is, you know, oh so appetizing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A date and some sadness

Last night hubs and I went out to dinner and a movie. Red Lobster (it was the fastest non-fast-food around!) and Indiana Jones.

The food was pretty good, but I was a little disappointed with the movie. I'm not a fan of sci-fi... but two hours of staring at Harrison Ford? I'll take it.

At dinner we were just talking, and I remembered hubs talking to someone on his cell phone before we left the house, so I asked him what he was talking about.

There was an accident at a car wash in town yesterday, and he went to the scene. A mother was vacuuming her car, and her six year old was playing with her one year old. The baby fell down, and a teenager driving a Hummer, not seeing the baby on the ground, ran over him. Hubs said the baby was at the hospital by the time he got there, but the responding officer said (with tears in his eyes) it was the worst effing thing he'd ever seen in his life. This cop is a veteran of the Iraq war; someone who had a pretty gruesome job while he was there. He suffers through nightmares quite often. Hubs has counseled him, and really has a soft spot for him. This guy has a toddler boy himself, and his wife cheated and left him, and he's trying to pick up the pieces of his life.

The baby didn't make it.

Hubs was telling me about the accident, and about the cop, and said, "He doesn't need to see that. He's got enough to deal with." He said he's really glad the baby was gone when he got there; he's not sure if he would have been able to hold himself together. He had tears in his eyes when he was telling me.

I just love him so much. I really love his heart.

He's not afraid to cry in front of officers who are going through rough times. He's cried with them in hospital rooms over their own children's health. He cried when he told me one of his guys was having a brain tumor removed. He cried when Cullen was three months old and was hospitalized. They never found out what was wrong, but think it was rotavirus. That poor baby went through an entire package of diapers in three days. But hubs wasn't ashamed to cry as my bosses prayed over him and the baby.

And I think that is probably the sexiest thing about him. He has such an unbelievably big and beautiful and sensitive heart.

Go kiss your babies and hold them close tonight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Baked potato soup recipe

I mentioned I cooked dinner for the Chief when he was sick recently. It was baked potato soup, and it was delicous... or at least I thought so! He actually said it was the best potato soup (even better than Boston Market) he's ever had... which is what I thought. I just thought I was on such a cooking high that I was delusional, but whatever.

Lori asked for the recipe, so here it is. It is really quick and easy, so try it sometime, and let me know what you think.

4 large potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk (I used half cream, half milk)
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
4 green onions, chopped
12 slices bacon, fried & crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar & monterrey jack cheese blend
1 cup sour cream

Bake the potatoes. Using a clean kitchen towel, rub the skins off. Put in a bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Melt butter in a large pot; add flour. Gradually stir in milk (and cream if you want it to be really creamy and delicious!); continue to stir until smooth, thick and bubbly. Stir in the potato chunks, and remaining ingredients. Cook until hot. If the soup is too thick, add a little more milk. I like a really thick soup, so I reduced my milk by a cup. Garnish with extra “toppings” if you want.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy (late) 4th!

We (as I'm sure every other American) had a very busy weekend.

Friday we went to a friend's house for a party. Grilled steak, shrimp, a good swim. Oh, and a broken taillight. Yep. That tree sneaked right up behind me. They have lots and lots of oak trees lining their (long) driveway, and somehow one jumped right out just as I was backing up.

Hubs left the party early to go to work. I was bugging him about why he had to work, since he's the boss. He said he couldn't make so many people work on their day off, a national holiday, and not show up himself. Blah, blah, blah-dity-blah. (Side note: he said it was one of the slowest holidays he's ever seen. He went to a call where somebody was shooting guns instead of fireworks, and there were probably eight other cops there! The lieutenant of that shift said he normally doesn't have that many people covering the entire city on any given night, much less available to show up at one call!)
The kids and I left the party and got home with just enough time to stash the wet towels and swimsuits and grab the water bottles and folding chairs. We headed downtown to watch the city's display... and hubs met us at "our spot" to watch with us.

They were really beautiful. My friend Melanie was down from Oregon, and her family was already there when we drove up. Here is Christian and Mel's daughter, Tenley, watching.

It was actually a fairly wet weekend. Saturday we slept late (since we were out/up late Friday night) and didn't do much. Hubs left to help a friend, and I heard continuous, loud noises. I looked outside, and the flag in our yard was flying straight out! The wind was really whipping... and the rain came shortly after.

Saturday afternoon we went to hub's parents' house for lunch, which turned into an impromptu party. People just kept showing up. The kids went to watch Barbie Mariposa, and the men (and I) watched the latest (lame) Rambo movie. Not that I like action movies... but I was kind of outnumbered. Food Network (and HGTV) was not even on their radar. :) After it ended, we went outside and hubs and his cousin lit up the night sky. It was really fun... and the first year that Christian actually stayed outside while the pyromaniacs did their thing.

It was another after-midnight bedtime for us... so we slept late Sunday. Hubs mowed and cleaned up around the yard, while I straightened up inside. We grilled steaks and mushrooms on the pit, and I steamed cauliflower and baked potatoes inside. It was our first outdoor meal of the summer... and it was great. Until the hurricane-force winds and rain swept through!

As I type this, I can hear that flag whipping, and the rain coming down.

I'm sure it's because both Christian and Cullen are finally over their bug and able to run around outside!