Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I love all of Sandra Boynton's books, look at the wear and tear on them. They have been in all our diaper bags, cars, under beds, and all over. My personal favorite to read is "Hippos Go Berserk", the rhythm of it is almost musical to say out loud. The story line is basically a number/rhyming book about a hippo having a party.
We had this book when I was a kid. I LOVED IT! I tracked it down for the kiddos. It really suits Lily and my inabilities to withstand being told to not do something. The story line is based around Grover trying to stop you from turning the book pages because he is afraid of the monster at the end of the book - happy ending of course.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
I got the idea for this cake off of the blog theidearoom. A really interesting and clever blog. Check it out.
BIG FAT FUN!
Making this cake was big fun. The kids loved it. The nerd Mom in me enjoyed all the math and art learning moments that this cake presented. “If we make all three cake mixes how many eggs total will we need?” “What colors do we mix together to get purple?” “What measurement do we get if we add three 1/3 cups of water together?” So the kindergartner missed the fraction questions, back off, she’s still a genius.
We took three white cake mixed and mixed them up as directed on the box. This filled my Kitchen Aid mixer up to the rim. Lily thought full speed would make “a fun mess” but I dove across the kitchen in time to stop her.
Then I scooped out about 2.5-2.75 cups per bowl. (We bought these bowls at Walmart for 75% off today, 37 cents a piece!) Emma set out one Twizler of each color to help us “get the color right”. It was a beautiful visual, so I let her. We put in about three inches of gel coloring per bowl. If we needed two colors we did 1.5 inches of each color. Since the bowls were pretty full we had to mix them very slowly and carefully. Emma was meticulous, Lily was not. But the job got done. We kept enough white mix to make four cupcakes for kid decorating. Another great Emma idea.
I have four 9 inch cake round so we did the first four colors. That amount of cake batter only fills the round about half way. I spread the batter around with a spatula to get it really flat in the pan. We did red through green first. I wish we had started with purple first since that would have had the bottom layer of the cake cooling the longest. After the first four colors were cooked we cleaned the pans and cooked the blue and purple layers.
When the purple was cool I decided to get fancy and cut off the rounded tops like I would with most cakes. BAD IDEA! The cake is so soft it just about fell apart. I didn’t do this to the other layers. I think they were just too thin to tolerate it. Maybe an overnight in the freezer would had done it, but I wasn’t in the mood to wait.
We thinly iced the layers together one by one. One of my friends made this cake and it slid apart so I cut five skewers to brace it all together. Then I iced the sides with a nice layer of icing. I just wanted this first layer to make the sides look smooth, not to be the final layer. This HUGE cake then went in the fridge over night to set up, after I removed one shelf to accommodate its height..
In the morning we put on the final layer of icing. Emma had the great idea of putting the colored twizlers around the outside. Which actually helped hide some of the imperfections. We lined the top and bottom edges with skittles. On the top we wrote “turtle pond farm” with our decorating pens that Lily talked me into buy. (Turtle Pond Farm is the name of our farm.) We could have used another tub of icing to really perfect the sides of this cake.
Through out this process we took turns checking on Max. Once we found him taping up the dinning room table. Obviously something that needed to be done. Once we found him hiding under the pillows on my bed. When I looked in the oven to check the first four he stole the purple bowl and RAN for the family room. He was totally silent about it. It was a pure miracle that I noticed the purple was gone. Emma and I ran after him and the only damage was about a quarter sized spill on the laminate floor. He was pulling out his greatest badness. Adorable.
Three cake mixes $1.16 X 3 = $3.48
Three cans of frosting $1.26 X 3 = $3.78
Twizlers $1.88 X 2 = $3.76
Eggs 0.12 X 9 = $1.14
Already had oil, PAM, and food coloring gel
Easy Write Icing Pens $3.82
I have become so cheap that this felt like a big splurge. We will use them on lots of other projects so I didn’t include them in the cost of this project.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
*Spray twice as much Pam on the pans as you think you need. They stick like crazy.
*Takes 1.5 cake mixes to fill the two pans completely
I gently dump the half sphere onto the counter and cut off the bulging cooked top to make the top flat. I use my cake leveler to do this, but a long knife would do it
*Next I cut about one inch off the bottom section of all balls to make it sit flat on the decorating surface
~Had my husband cut plywood and wrapped it in tinfoil
*Place strips of paper towel under the edges of the cake
~So if you get crazy with the icing it just disappears with the paper towel strips when you pull them out at the end of the decorating
*Ice the flat top off the base and place the already cut second half onto it make the full sphere
**If you have time to place these spheres in the fridge overnight, or freezer for 2-4 hours, you will have a much more solid ball to work with. This helps with the stability of it, and keeps crumbs from getting in the visible coat of icing**
how to hold them together
*I over engineered this because I knew I wanted it to live thru the car ride
*The tail was iced and decorated and then I put two bamboo kabob skewers about half way thru it and sticking out toward the future front
*The yellow section was mostly iced, i left off the icing on the sections that would not show, so that I could touch it and move it. Then I slid it on the tail piece skewers to secure it to the tail. Last of all I added two skewers to it to add the next section to the line up.
*Repeat to attach the orange section and the blue section, but leave the front skewers off the blue section
*I had cut off the top and the bottom of the blue section to give the head a place to sit
*I cut four skewers to run from the plywood base, thru the blue section and almost sticking out of the top of the head
One actually did and I just covered it with icing
**I iced all the sections before putting them in place because I liked how it made the sections crisply defined from each other, if you didn’t care about that, or had they sections all the same color you could just line them up before icing then ice the whole body. That would make it TONS easier.**
~Rolling was only method that worked for me but it was a mess
~I tried just sprinkling them on and it didn’t work on the sides
*Yellow section - I iced it and then I placed the Gummy Lifesavers after I attached it to the next piece to make sure I liked how they lined up
*Orange section - Ice and stick skittles all over it
~MESSY and slow/steady work
~If I had it to do over I would have put the S in on all the skittles, but lets not get too picky
*Blue section - Ice and place gummy candy
*Head - Ice and decorate with face, mine was VERY basic and I used a ziplock with a hole cut in it to draw the eyes and mouth
~I could have done more, but I was so sick of this cake by this point that I wanted to throw it. But I couldn’t lifted the darn thing anyway.
*The last touch was the dumdum sucker antennae
**Once the balls were baked the project took me about 1.5 hours to ice, put together and decorate. I only have one ball mold so it took me two days of baking off and on to make all the spheres. I had a ball in a state of cooking, freezing, or decorating for two days or so. **
Then I PRAYED the entire one hour drive to my in-laws house, which it survived, while crushing my lap. (After I made Josh carry it to the car)
Friday, February 19, 2010
Maybe I went outside on the porch with my slippers on to hang out with these kids. I decided I wanted a different angle so I went in the snow bare foot to get the shot. They thought it was hilarious. I thought it was not one of my greatest choices.
Imagine waking up at least three days a week before dawn, getting up your warm little snugglers, and taking them two houses down to a person that loves them and treats them with respect. Someone that they love spending time with and have known their whole lives. Then I drive for half a hour of pure selfish bliss. I get to listen to an audio book that I would have never had the time to read otherwise. And I spend that time in a state of semi meditation, knowing there is nothing else I are supposed to be doing at the moment. I then arrive at my destination to see a line of cars that I am joyful to see because I love their drivers. I walk in the building and from the second I enter the door I am surrounded by people that know me, that know my family, that patted my pregnant belly and felt that baby kick. These are people that have cried on my shoulder and patted me when I cried. People who’s engagement rings I have cooed over, weddings I have attended, and baby showers I have helped throw. Every time I see these people I feel this surge of love for them and acceptance from them. Kindered spirits. How lucky I am to have you.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
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Here is a copy of Lily’s chore chart. It hangs on the fridge and she checks off her chores as she does then. If we have a busy night a grown up can “ok” her skipping a particular chore if they see fit to do so. I did not assign her any chores for Sundays. Lily gets 50 cents a chore for a total of $3.50 a week. Half into a savings jar and half into her spending little hands. We had to add the savings jar when we caught her trying to buy 50 suckers with her stash. Every birthday I add one chore. She gets to give her input into what chores she thinks should be on the list. "Coming Home From School" did not make the cut this time, better luck next time. I feel like it is one of the things that works well in our house, but I we can always make it better. I would love to hear what idea's you all have on this.
In contrast - One of the things that doesn’t work at our house is the housework. I catch up, then don’t do any for awhile, then get WAY behind, then I spend a whole grumpy day frantically cleaning, then repeat. I want my own personal chore chart. I need one. I wish I had one. So I made myself one. It isn't a literal sheet on the fridge but I did rough draft it in my notebook. I don’t give myself an allowance but I do hope to keep myself better organized and less frustrated. Happy me = happy family. Frustrated/overwhelmed me = grumpy family. I made myself a “house time budget”.
Every day I am not working I:
-Clean one major room (family room, dining/art room,kitchen,or playroom for 45 minutes)
-One minor room (bedroom or the bathroom for 30 mins)
-2 loads of laundry
-One load of dishes
-Put away one basket of laundry away (20 minutes total for the last three)
That equal 1 hour and 35 minutes a day instead on one day entirely lost. I can live with that.
How do you guys organize the house chores? (If anyone says their husband does it all I will personally sock them in the jaw.)
max - went in for his two year old doctors appointment, he is 40% for weight and 70% for height
lily - she went too. She is 90% for weight and 96% for height.
emma - she had to go all the way from the exam room out to the car and get the diaper bag for a pants filling baby boy that should remain nameless. She has become so reliable and self sufficient. Plus cute.
brooke - I was brought to tears by how cute my three kids were at the doctor. They just love each other, and they laughed and played the whole time. Such sweetness, such joy. I felt proud to be their momma.
josh - got a bag of snickers and a cute note from his hot wife in his truck