Thursday, October 25, 2007

I have a couple cakes to do for this weekend. One is for a birthday party and it will be this sesame street image... I LOVE Sesame Street so I was even willing to do an image with all those colors because well, it will be FUN to see it come together... LOVE that show... did I ever grow up?

I'm still trying to decide what to do for the other cake though. TOOOOOO many choices for halloween! Look for some images later today and tomorrow for my inspiration!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another LONG delay

Well, we thought the computer was fixed, but it's not... so, no easy access. Plus, I've been so busy lately, I haven't had much time to write things up.

It's been a LONG time between cake orders, but I had one this weekend and it turned out pretty cute and they seemed happy enough. The image must have looked real enough too because JUST in the nick of time I stopped Henry from trying to pick up the car off the cake (or so he thought he could do!) YIKES!!! Now THAT would have been a disaster. I was all worried about the cats (but they are great and I hide the cake away), but the toddler! He'll get the best of a cake yet, I'm sure! This cake was my first "painting" a cake too and for someone who has NO artistic talent, I think I did a pretty good job on the mountains/mesas in the distance!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!!!

Our laptop died and so my convenient computer is no longer accessible. We have a great Mac upstairs, but I can't keep an eye on my toddler when I use it and then in the evenings, my husband hogs the computer... guess who's pushing to get the computer fixed ASAP?!?!?!

Not much here though. I just got myself my FIRST set of good knives. I got just three by Global. They have really good reviews and I liked how they fit in my hand. If I really like them, I'll get more. I finally decided that enough was enough with the bad knives when I went to slice a tomato for a salad last week and realized that I had basically crushed the beautiful tomato because I didn't have a SINGLE sharp knife!!! Then I got to thinking, I cook EVERY DAY. I make everything by scratch and I slice and chop vegetables DAILY... Then WHY am I using grocery store, plastic handle knives when I have really good quality everything else?!?!? It makes NO SENSE! 14 years of marriage on crap, crap knives. I won't know what to do with a sharp knife! I'll have to tell you if they are as good as the hype.

Still searching for that "me" bag and boy, there are some BEAUTIFUL bags out there - WOW!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Just bought a refurbished Kitchenaid from!

I have been waffling about getting a KA mixer for eons. Since I already have an excellent mixer, I didn't "need" one, but my mixer, while FANTASTIC for whole grain bread making and for making buttercream and cake batter (it has two separate mixing bowls and beaters), it's NOT good for getting cookie dough consistency right.

Kitchenaid mixers, on the other hand, are NOT good for kneading really heavy doughs or fondant, but are great for cookie doughs and cake batter. So, I've been on the fence about it for about 6 months. But today I see they are selling refurbished KAs from Amazon SHIPPED for $125 and they aren't awful colors and today I decided to go for it. Baking season is upon me and I would love to have an appropriate mixer. For the LONGEST time I was tempted to get the Bosch compact mixer, but it has the same mixing issues as the DLX2000! So, what's the point? Yes, they are cheap and excellent, but it would be seriously duplicating my existing collection.

Yay! a new toy!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Had a nice shopping day yesterday!

I decided to go to the outlet mall yesterday. It was too hot to hang outside, so our walk was indoors yesterday. Henry enjoyed it too. He walked the entire length of the mall (and that mall is LONG) and then I convinced him to sit in the stroller. He had a drink and a small snack and then he ZONKED!!! So then it was MY turn! LOL

I walked back the length of the mall and stopped off at stores of interest. And I was SOOOOOO good. I only got a new pyrex tote bag kit (ours died) for $10 and a few replacement pieces at the Corelle outlet store, but I ooed and ahed at LOTS of nice handbags! WOW! I saw a lot of the bags I had heard of, but never seen and boy are some just so buttery soft! Very nice and I was VERY GOOD and didn't get one.

I did try to search for clothes for the two monsters, but I didn't find ANYTHING I wanted. Even at outlet prices, it's too much money or looks icky. I'll hit my consignment stores again... that always works!

Later, I went to Goodwill and Salvation Army for DH's costume parts and we FINALLY have it together. He's going as Borat (DH is tall with the same kind of hair as Borat (Sasha Cohen) and similar build) He has a beard and mustache now, but he'll shave his beard and temporarily dye/paint his auburn mustache black... He can talk like Borat too... it will be SOOOOO funny and I'll definitely post pictures! Finding a suit that works is REALLY difficult though, I tell ya!

I think for a gag, I'll get him the Borat swimsuit too. They are so cheap on ebay and he would LAUGH so hard! Our anniversary is in little over a week, so that should be FUNNY!

Initially, Henry was going to go as a bear and I was going to go as the other dude from Borat - you know... the fat one. I still might do it, but we'll see. We are going to a party and we like to dress in "theme" if possible. Adrian is going as a Gorilla! LOL Otherwise, for Halloween Henry is going as Blue from Blues Clues and for a momsclub party I'm dressing as Magenta! LOL Can you tell we like Halloween?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Feels like Summer in October

It's hard to feel in the baking mood when it's nearly 90 degrees outside and it WILL be 90 some this weekend. I have a 1/2 bushel of apples just waiting for me too!

I'm still trying to decide what to make for this business fair (very small time) with the Momsclub... I want it to be good, but not something I would have to take EONS to do, you know?
Of course, this head cold I'm developing isn't helping me with being motivated, that's for sure! ugh.... Now, how I'M getting the cold when I wash my hands all the time and basically have NO EXPOSURE to anything, I don't know! I can't even blame the toddler, because I'm the only one who has anything! Let's hope it stays that way!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Can you see me smiling?

Need I say more? Ok, maybe this... things are definitely getting better and HE initiated... YAY me!!!! A little confidence HELPS!

Other than that... Ummm... same old same old. I need to do some shopping today. BOTH my kids are growing like WEEDS! I sorted through clothes and yikes! My toddler has THREE pairs of pants that fit! Think it's time to RESTOCK! Maybe I'll find that bag for just me too!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Developing a new dangerous love - handbags!

I know I will never spend thousands on a handbag, but I have been sucked in a bit and mostly because I got tired of carrying DIAPER bags. As a SAHM, I have to have practical bags - they have to have outside water bottle pockets, have to have easy to get to pockets for keys and phone and hopefully, one for snacks. Ideally it will have two handle types, but at least one that is adjustable. And, it has to feel good when worn - not heavy on the shoulder when full and lastly, it has to be easy to access the interior to grab what I need. Now, all of this cannot fit in a small bag, so they are bigger bags too... which is OK since bags are larger now than they have been in past years.

And for some reason, I'm wanting a pewter colored bag? I guess all this "trying to feel better about myself" has led me to wanting a ME bag and not a "baby" bag. Oh, I haven't talked about it yet, but just by switching to a normal bra and not a nursing bra and getting new clothes (just 4 tops and three pants) that are flattering has made me feel SO MUCH BETTER! I don't feel like a frump!!! Also, I've been wearing my hair down, not tied up. ALL of this is just making me feel like a WOMAN again who also has children... not just Mommy.

It must be working all around because while we are still are not great, DH is smiling more, talking with me more, and being a bit more affection. We have a long ways to go, but feeling better about how I LOOK boosted my confidence and seeing that it is paying off a little with other people, it boosts the confidence more - now it's the upwards spiral.

So... that led to wanting to have a great handbag that will work as a mommy bag but that is really for ME... I've had mixed luck finding anything too! I found a great summer style bag, but would like a nice black or especially a pewter bag. I've never, ever gotten something a little flashy, and I still want it to be subtle, but I just really desire a little bling in my life!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Autumn is definitely here and I LOVE it!

Fall is my favorite season. I love the crispness of it, the smell of it and the look of it. Spring is great and beautiful, but there's just something about fall that makes me happy. Plus, I start thinking about baking and cooking in general. It starts with wanting to bake with apples, then pumpkin and then by the time winter is in full swing, cookies and other baked goods... And not just baked goods, but soups and stews and other baked or roasted items... serious YUM!

Saturday at the farmer's market I bought a 1/2 bushel of apples, that's a SERIOUS amount of apples (like 20 lbs!!!), but I've done that the last two years, made a bunch of baked goods (plus just normal eating of them) and we don't waste a single one!

What I kick myself about is not getting an apple peeler/corer/slicer YEARS AGO! I can get 8 cups of cut up apples in 10 minutes now where it would take me FOREVER before and that old fashioned contraption is only $25, so there was NO REASON to not get it all those years! I guess I was just skeptical in how they worked until I saw it on some TV show and then I was sold!

Today is now Monday and I need to sort through my youngest's wardrobe. We have some SERIOUS weeding too. He has outgrown most of his wardrobe, so I need to see what's lacking (if anything)... it's just MORE stuff for me to take photos of and SELL... I don't know why I drag my feet on getting the baby stuff sold. I'm not pining after having another baby, heck no!!! But... I hate selling small items because it's a lot of effort for not much reward! But, there is a reward for doing it, so I just can't donate them either!

Well... time to wake up DH and get the day started.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Off to the farmer's market

The season is almost over which makes me sad! When the pumpkins and apples take over, you know the end is near. How I enjoy the flavorful tomatoes and peaches and fresh herbs in huge bunches... now it will be back to the grocery store staples. I think the farmer's markets must take a pretty big hit on grocery stores because the store I usually go to is pretty stocked all fall, winter and spring, but this summer they were seriously lacking in the variety you would expect.

When we lived in Waterloo, Ontario, we lived near a year round market. In summer there wre TONS of outdoor booths as well as the indoor buildings, but in winter, things were still coming, except then it was the fresh mennonite meats and dairy and baked goods. Upstairs was a continual flee market. That place was FABULOUS and in summer? OMG yum!!!! We went twice a week during the summer and weekly during the cooler months... sometimes I miss living in a more rural area. The city wasn't small, but it wasn't this GINORMOUS area like here where there are millions of people all crowded together. It's expensive too!

Well... I need to get going!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Got an interesting freebie issue of a magazine yesterday

I really dislike most magazines because they are so much paper for so little substance. Then I got this magazine freebie yesterday and I was impressed. First, it is 3 hole punched so I can store it whole or take it apart to store in a binder (nice!!!), then... NO ADVERTISING! Third, I actually learned some things and I'm a pretty darn good cook, but I guess I don't know it all! LOL

This is it: I have never (and I mean NEVER) paid for a subscription to a magazine before. I've gotten a few free year long subscriptions, but never have I actually considered a magazine worth getting even for the minimal fee they are. But.... I think I'm going to pay the $22 for the 6 issues because it's not crap!!! Wow, what a concept! LOL

I know, just what I need is more food stuff, but hey, I love it, right?

Anyone else know of this magazine? Am I giving it higher points than I should? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How to test recipes and not get MORE fat!

I really would like to try some new cake recipes. I have a few GREAT recipes, but my repetoire is still pretty small. I don't want to bake and give it all away (minus a few cupcakes) because what if it's BAD? I also want people to be HONEST and say, "this is too dry" or "this doesn't have much flavor" and not be AFRAID to say, "ICK!" (I know, how many cakes are "ick" but it can happen!)

I suppose I can bring things to mom's club and ethical society and just state... "testing new recipe, tell me what you think", though... but that could be chancy! The Momsclub is my primary market so far (gotta change that!).

The recipes I really like are my yellow cake, my lighter chocolate cake and my darker/heavier chocolate cake. I like my pound cake, but I'm not satisfied with my butter cake... a tad dry IMO. I haven't tried a great white cake recipe yet either.

I have a really good buttercream recipe and chocolate buttercream recipe, but my meringue buttercream was a big bomb in April at home. It was like eating a fluffy stick of butter. It needs more flavor or something. The recipe is PRECISELY as in a handful of books I have, but not appetizing unless people really just want the taste of sweetened butter.

I'm afraid to try many recipes from the Cake Bible since my super dry recipe is from there and a lot of other people complain of dryness with that book. But, at the same time, my great chocolate recipe is from that book, so I know not everything is dry from there.

I also haven't tried a SINGLE recipe from my Professional Pastry Chef book or my European cake book. I've made most of the appealing cakes in the Croatian book though, so I'm good to go there.

I'm talking about this and DH will kill me if I make a bunch of cakes for us to try as he just went down a pant size and he would like to stay there of course! And I'm trying to be better about my weight too! Sigh... I wish this was TRUE health food and not a healthier version of junk food that I make! LOL

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No mixer can do it all I've concluded

I have a heavy duty electrolux DLX2000 stand mixer. I love it... LOVE IT. It makes HUGE batches of buttercream in the 8 quart mixer and can do a double batch of a cake recipe in the smaller bown with the whisk attachment. For whole grain breads, it's hands down the best mixer as it can handle super stiff doughs. However, I've tried mixing cookie dough a few times and find I prefer how it turns out mixed by hand instead. I don't quite understand WHY the texture is different, but it is. Then, I read some reviews, and yep, that's the conclusion by experts too - KitchenAids are better for cookie batter.

Kitchenaid mixers, on the other hand, are not great at heavy doughs. Most bread making sites say that KA motors will burn out or strain with the load of a heavy, whole grain bread dough. Many cake bakers also lament that it strains with making fondant. Yet for cookie dough and cake batters, it does great.

But... both of these are expensive machines. Especially if you are a serious baker because the smaller KAs are too small for avid bakers. So, you are looking at $500 for the DLX and about $300 on sale for the KA Pro 6 quarts. Set aside the cost, now let's look at how BIG they are. As it is, I don't keep my mixer on the counter, because who has ROOM????? I take out that monster every time I make a cake. I don't even keep a coffee maker on the counter either because we don't use it enough to justify it to be out. Enough space is gobbled by the microwave, toaster oven and the canister set (which holds 5lbs of flour/sugar each).

However, I know a lot of bakers own two KA mixers because when you are baking, it's nice to have more than one machine working at a time. I don't think I'll ever get there, but there are plenty of times I'm tempted to get a Kitchenaid mixer, but I think my husband would kill me as he barely thought it was worth getting the mixer I have and that was an ebay STEAL (got it for $250 SHIPPED on a mislabeled auction).

Though, that doesn't keep me from dreaming and drooling! I have a pretty nice kitchen, but I definitely dream of an even better kitchen that can hold ALL my stuff. Of course, space would be a LOT better in my kitchen if I had a PANTRY!!! Sigh... can't have everything I suppose!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Colette Peters book on cake decorating

Another book I got at the library last weekend was a book on cake decorating by Colette Peters. I can't recall the name offhand, but it's her birthday cake fun book with cake themes from the zodiac and birthstones.

I must admit, it's fun to look at these cakes as they are quite amazing, but I just wonder about these, and ALL the super big or fancy cakes, who PAYS for these? Is there a market for cakes that take tens of hours to make? And cost a lot in ingredients/supplies too. Or, are there just enough hobby people who want to make these special cakes for their own kids/grandkids?

I like a fancy cake to look at, but I would hate to spend ALL that time on a cake and I have a quite a bit of patience, but IMO, a cake should not take DAYS to do. The only times I can see exceptions to that is for weddings and other HUGE parties/celebrations where lots of money and effort are going into the rest of the party too... but for a kid's first birthday? For a boyfriend's birthday? Um... no!

A couple of them I think are super cool looking, but then I wonder, "how do you EAT it?" One is covered, COVERED in M&Ms in a very pretty mosiac pattern. The cake takes like 1200 M&Ms which is a really cool effect, but how would biting into a cake studded with M&Ms taste? I would have to scrape it all off to eat it. Others are covered so much with Royal Icing FLowers or gumpaste items...again, all this effort, just to be brushed aside and tossed out. By the time you can EAT the cake, it's UGLY from being disassembled. Again, just my preference, but I don't want my cake to get "naked" just to be eaten. I want people to just be able to dig in.

So... while it was fun looking at the pictures, I would never make a cake like this - even if I had the talent to do so. That's just too much "stuff" for me to get over in the "cake should be food" thoughts. I know I'm in the minority in thinking that way, but what can I say? that's how I feel about it! LOL

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Sleeping is still good AND he's napping

I don't quite get it, but he's been napping 2-3 hours a day AND sleeping most of the night. He DOES wake up during the night a couple times, but is back to sleep until 7 am. It's kind of funny, most people would probably be bemoaning waking twice during the night with a 29 month old, but when you've been through what I've been through with the lack of sleep, waking twice to be able to sleep until 7 am is HEAVEN and the best it's been yet in his life!

Last night we went to a mini concert at a friend's house and had a great time. I made an apple cobbler and it was gobbled up. I think so few people make things from scratch any more that these are super treats. I just can't imagine BUYING a dessert...ick... They just don't taste the same, especially things made with fruit! Yummy Apple Cobbler.

Speaking of baking, I picked up a great book at the library and it's been confirming things I have decided and teaching me things I didn't know too. It's Cooks Illustrated Baking Illustrated. I just did a review an actually. LOTS of nice tips in there and a lot of their conclusions I've also concluded too. I like that the recipes are BASIC. I'm soooo tired of the fancy schmancy cookbooks these days. Basics should be a staple all cooks should know to be a really good cook, but so many things now are too detailed and too complicated. You can't open your pantry and refrigerator and make anything in most cookbooks... not a good thing IMO!

I haven't tried any of these recipes yet, but I plan to! They sound great!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Getting closer to being ALL organized!

We got the playroom all together yesterday and now my living room is FREE of baby toys! YAY! The room all of sudden looks amazingly bigger! Of course, with all cleaning and reorganizing, you find MORE things that need to be done, but this time it involves DH's stuff and not mine. He'll be busy!

Of course, my older son reminded me that in his room he still has that drawer unit FULL of craft stuff which is my next organizational task. Some goes to the cake studio room and some goes to the playroom depending on what age it's geared towards. And I'm thinking... once that is done... I think we are done with all the switcheroo. Now... how many rooms really are affected. The craft room went completely out of there. The one drawer unit and one toy unit went to older DSs room and some things from older DS's room went to the new study. Then because of the bookcase fiasco, the bookcases downstairs had to go upstairs and then we had more storage in the rec room with those bookcases, so some things went there from the craft/play room. Then some things from the craft/play room went to the storage room and the bulk went to the new play room. But, to make room for things in the storage room, I needed to move some things out of there to the furnace room (behind the furnaces is a storage area under the stairs) and to the laundry room (moved the tool chest to the laundry room and moved the table out). Lastly, all the toys and stray books from the living went down to the play room and rec room. Oh, and how can I forget. With making the cake studio, I removed a lot of cake stuff from the kitchen to put in that rolling cart to be put in the storage room. So... our house has 11 rooms if you count the three storage areas (storage room, furnace room and laundry room) and ALLLLLLL of those rooms were reorganized to some degree except for my bedroom and I can hardly leave that out because for temporary storage while switching rooms, LOTS of boxes landed there temporarily.

NO WONDER this is taking forever and seems so complicated, we are basically reorganizing our whole home!!! Hmm... have you ever wondered about those shows "Clean Sweep" and "Neat"... they do two rooms, but you HAVE to know that if two rooms are a mess, there are areas of the ENTIRE house that needs help and probably LOTS of stuff in those rooms really belong in another room! I suppose it's meant to be a starting point for people to get better organized if two spaces are in good shape, but I bet it's hard to get it all done because, well, it's OVERWHELMING to sift through your belongs while you live there. I know I've been doing it closet by closet, one small area by one small area.... NO WAY could I do it all at once.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What to make for a cake display?

My moms club is having a business open house at the next meeting. I would like to make one or two display things (I have some styrofoam dummies) and then I would like to make something edible for them to TRY my cakes... so cupcake.

Now, most of them have eaten my cupcakes, the yellow cake, so I'm wanting it to be either my chocolate or a mixture of the two. I first thought of making the hamburger cupcakes because those are so cute and have both yellow and chocolate cake, but this meeting will also be the Halloween dress up (second week in October). Maybe I should make pumpkins instead?

Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some age related musings

Now, I KNOW I'm not old, but I was an older mom with my second child. I got married at 23, had my first at 26, we waited several years while DH was getting his PhD, then we started trying, had a miscarriage and then dealt with two years of infertility after that before I got pregnant with Henry when I was 34. He was born when I was 35.

So, here I am, turning 38 in a few months (December) and I have an 11 year old and a 2 year old. All of that seems fine to me now... no biggee, but when I start looking FORWARD, I realize that when my oldest finishes high school, my younger one will be only finishing the 2nd grade!!! When my oldest is done with college (if he does it in 4 years) then my youngest will just be finishing 6th grade... I have a 6th grader NOW, so to think of a graduated college student AND a graduated elementary school student is like, WOW!!!

Then I start thinking about how old I will be when Henry finishes college. I'll be 57 years old, my spouse will be SIXTY!!! and my oldest will be 30 years old!!! OMG!!!

Of course, to DH is is all probably normal as his parents were older, his aunt and uncle even older than that, but for MY Family, that's ancient. My parents were 21 and 19 when I was born and I was not an "oops" baby. I was born 10 months after they were married and was WANTED... My Mom has four kids and by the time the YOUNGEST was 22, she was only 48 years old. My dad, if he were living, would only have been 46!!!! When I was 22, mom was only 43 years old and my dad only 41... can you see what it's freaky to me?

Even now it seems weird that young people probably think we are middle aged. DH is 40... I'm married to someone who is FORTY... How did that happen? He was 26 when we got married! (And he still looks so young, so that makes it even weirder to think he's 40!)

Man, when I was a teenager I thought it was so long ago that my Mom was a teenager and how could she KNOW what I was feeling/thinking? Well, I remember like it was YESTERDAY!!! It's freaking me out that some of my high school classmates have kids graduating from HS already.. on the other hand, some are still having babies!

This aging stuff is just weird!

Despite the nap, some good sleep!

Are we setting a new world record for the amount of sleep both of us are getting? It's unbelievable! He did wake twice during the night, but both times for just a little bit and then slept until 7 am. I cannot DESCRIBE to you how nice that is!!! Nice? FANTASTIC!!!

Yesterday was running errands day (which involved him falling asleep in his stroller for two hours!), so today is a "home" day. I will work on the cake studio and play room today. Now I'm SOOOO close, it's just getting it all lined up and organized. I'll have to ignore the walls that still need papering! Sigh... always something!

No cakes today, but I think I will make an apple cobbler - yum!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Doin' the successful sleep happy dance!

This one is for the baby books! Henry slept through the night for the FIRST TIME in his life last night! He was in bed asleep by 8:20 pm and he woke for his "ten minutes" at 6:15 am this morning!!! That is TWO hours later than usual! It is now 7:20 am and he's STILL SLEEPING!!! OMG!!!! Doin' another jig!

Yesterday it was hanging around the house day and finishing up all the "yuck" of the three room (sort of four room) switcheroo! Well, not all of it, but the bulk of it.

Oh, the little one is up! He heard the tea kettle and now he's sitting nicely beside me drinking orange juice... and is HAPPY! YAY!!! 11 hours of sleep which is about 3 hours more than usual! No less than 2 hours... skipping around again!

Anyway, back to yesterday. He had such good sleep at night the last two nights that he wasn't sleepy at ALL yesterday until about 5 pm and by then, to late for nap. I checked to see if he wanted to go to sleep all afternoon and got a resounding "NO!" each time. He's strange, since he was itty bitty, he would always TELL ME he's ready to take a nap/go to sleep. Now, we do follow a schedule, but he would be bouncing up and down at the mention of nap or going to bed and later, would tell me if he needed an earlier nap or earlier to bed... strange... I know. But, yesterday he didn't act or ask for sleep and so I decided to see how it would go and lo and behold, he slept great last night!!!

Maybe today he'll be sleepy and need a nap, who knows, but the shorter naps (like one hour or less) is KEY!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Found the key to getting more sleep at night!

And that is to NOT let Henry sleep much during the day. It seems he needs about 11 hours of sleep a day, but if he gets 2-3 for a nap, then that means he sleeps 8-9 a night. Now, if I went to bed the same time as he did every night, that would work out, but I would like to spend SOME time with my older son in the evening alone and with my husband.

Last night Henry went to sleep after his bath at 8:30 pm. I went to bed at 10:30 pm. He woke up at 4 am for about 10 minutes, and then slept until 6 am. SOOOOOO much better! Yay!

Because of all our running around yesterday, he had to sneak in a nap in the car. I drove around and parked the car in the shade and sat and waited for Adrian's school to let out which allowed Henry to get about an hour's sleep before I turned off the engine - once the car was off, pop, opened his eyes. He was NOT happy to be awake and for the first 30 minutes he was crying and throwing fits, but after that, he was fine the rest of the day....

We'll see if I have the heart to wake him up while he naps or not. That's so hard to wake a sleeping baby OR toddler.

Now, about cakes. I need to come up with a cake for a 9x13 for the movie "Cars". Surprisingly, that's a harder cake to make "cute" than I thought and it's for a first birthday, so I do want it to be cute and memorable!

Monday, September 17, 2007

What to do today?

I have so little time on Mondays because schools let out at 1pm every Monday. This morning I took in our kitten to get altered, at 1 pm I'm picking up my son and his friend to go for some ice cream and then at 4:30 pm I am taking in Bella (the mommy cat) for her vet visit and I might even have to go BACK to get Pippen as when I dropped him off they are now saying he can go home at 6 pm instead of what I was told on the phone last week (grrrr..) with being able to take them both home after Bella's appt. Well, maybe he'll be ready.

The only thing I know is that I need to get another cat carrier as Pippen has the one and Bella needs to get to the vet too. I had a feeling we would need two carriers today! Oh well, one is HUGE as our previous cat was HUGE, so when I need to take both, I can use the big one and use the smaller one when we have just one to take in which will happen I suppose.

The weather has been so gorgeous that we have been going out every day to enjoy this fabulous cool yet sunny weather. I LOVE it and it seems to be agreeing with Henry too. He slept really well last night, YAY!!! And guess what, I feel better! LOL

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some days are just weird!

Yesterday, Henry decided once again that 5 am was a great time to wake up. Sure, it gets me day off nice and early, but not in a nice way. I always make him stay in bed until 6 am as I don't want to encourage the 5 am stuff (he remains pretty quiet, but it doesn't seem to be helping his sleep any!)

Then, we got up, had breakfast, and then went to the farmer's market. Again, Henry was my big helper. He really likes helping me with selecting the vegetables and fruit, so once again, it was an easy outing. Came home, got older DS to Tae Kwon Do, and then came home waiting for Henry to SLEEP so I could sleep too.

I was supposed to meet a friend at the park at Noon, but I could see that wasn't going to happen at noon. So, gave her a call and then promptly put henry to bed. That was around 11:15 am. I woke up around 12:30. The phone had rung 4 times and even though Sven was getting the phone, I couldn't keep sleeping through that, so I got up. Henry kept sleeping. At first we said we would try to get to the park at 1:30 pm, but Henry was still sleeping.

So, I worked on that thank you cake, spent time with DS and DH, and Henry was STILL sleeping. FINALLY, FINALLY at 4 pm (yes you read that right) I went upstairs to try to wake Henry "gently". We had been trying to make normal noise while upstairs for the hour before that and NOTHING... so, I started to wake him up... and he was NOT happy about that... I think we worked on that for about 45 minutes. Then, finally at like 5 pm, we got to the park FINALLY.

I thought for sure Henry would have a terrible night of sleep last night. I didn't put him down at a normal time, but at 10:30 pm and he went down IMMEDIATELY and slept until 6 am this morning!!! And then was in and out until 6:30 am snoozing.

Our new plan of action is to not let him nap for more than 2.5 hours. Those long naps (and he's done a few 3 and 4 hour naps recently) CAN'T be good for night sleeping. All of this in the last two weeks has been so weird with his sleeping, but we need to return to the consistent bedtime he's always had, but to do that, we can't have him napping 3-4.5 hours until late afternoon! I said, I had time to decorate a cake yesterday. It was "use my leftover colored icing day" and it turned out pretty cute. This was a freebie cake, so I didn't want to go too crazy!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Started to do some stuff for me!!!

First I ordered some "woman" bras and have decided to retire the nursing bras. My toddler only nurses to sleep, so why do I need to wear those AWFUL droopy bras any more?

Then, I found some new jeans and black slacks and three tops that FIT and aren't mommy clothes. I think so much of the reason i feel like crap is taht I feel like a slob all the time.

Of course, after all that "boosting" yesterday I got 4 hours of sleep last night, so now I feel like crap and could care LESS about looking good! LOL THAT is the vicious cycle.

Off to the farmer's market this morning (love that!), then to decorate a cake, then to take my older son to TKD and then I'm TAKING A NAP, then meeting a friend at the park for a walk.. Hmm... I also need to head to the store, but NOT until I've gotten some sleep!

Sometimes this parenting gig is WAY overrated!

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's FRIDAY!!!

And I feel better today. I think the situation with DH will work itself out. I've noticed he's beginning to be a "bit" more affectionate, so I just need to give things more time and do what I can to make things better.

I have a simple "thank you" cake to do this weekend, but that's about it. Today? I am going to TREAT MYSELF... well, if getting some pants that fit and some clothes that are less mommy like is treating myself! It's really a necessity, but I haven't done it yet because I haven't wanted to buy clothes in my size! LOL Silly, I know - but a couple pairs of pants and nice shirts would be a welcome addition to my mommy soiled clothes. They still need to be kid friendly, but they don't need to be from Target!

Too bad I'm way sleepy today. Right now I just want to curl up and sleep! Henry didn't nap again yesterday and then he slept just 9.5 hours last night. Yet he woke up smiling and raring to go... he inherited some "I don't need to sleep genes" from somewhere, but not from me! LOL

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gettin' personal with y'all

OK, DH and I are just not connecting. We had a rough patch there for awhile (financial issues, DH had some minor health issues and baby/lack of sleep issues). We basically co-existed.

Things are getting better and we are enjoying each other's company more now, but... well, there is still one MAJOR problem in the bedroom. I'm not exaggerating in saying we haven't connected there in six months - SIX MONTHS!!!

And... I think the biggest issue is that he's uncomfortable with me weight. I don't like it either, but I've been this size MOST of our marriage - was heavier when we conceived Henry, as a matter of fact. But, for some reason, I can tell it's the "unspeakable" reason. He doesn't want to voice it, but I can "see it" in his eyes when he looks at me, you know? And it makes me feel horrible. He's not being mean about it, but he's not attracted to me, and well, I wouldn't be attracted to me either.

I am trying to get better about it and I did lose a little weight so far and I'm gearing up to starting an exercise program now that I think we are discovering a way for Henry to sleep. Problem is: Henry doesn't sleep. I don't sleep... to get a boost of energy, I eat... more and more research is suggesting that lack of sleep is VERY much related to weight gain and I agree COMPLETELY and since I feel like a slug, I don't want to exercise and exercise has ALWAYS been key for me. I actually eat quite well, but if I don't add exercise with it? I gain weight - simple as that.

Problem is, 98% of all people who lose weight, gain it back and I've done that SEVERAL times. So, I'm scared quite honestly. I'm also a bit resentful. I give an AWFUL lot to the family and I feel I'm being punished... yet I know he feels he's being punished (we had this conversation once before). Part of me wants to say ONCE I lose the weight, "Sorry, you didn't want me when I was heavy, you can't have me now." I know I won't feel that way when it actually comes down to it, but it's how I feel now a little inside.

I find myself crying about it quite a bit to myself. I wish weight loss and weight loss maintenance was EASY and I pretty much refuse to go under the knife. DH wouldn't allow it anyway. It's all about discipline. He comes from a thin family and for him, taking off a few pounds is easy and keeping it off is too, so why can't I do it? Why??? because I'm my own worst enemy is why - and I know it.

Anyone have some words of encouragement? I will be cross posting this.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Making cupcakes this morning and it's making me happy!

I love making things for people and seeing them smile and enjoy. It puts me in a good mood all day long to provide an essential part of a person's special day. All day on Saturday I was thinking about how the Sweet 16 girl would react to her cake and it just made me smile. It was so special and I helped the Mom's vision come to fruition and that just makes me feel good. It's the same with cooking ANYTHING really. When I'm by myself, or even with just the kids, I could care less what I prepare, but for a sit down meal for the entire family, most of the time I try to prepare something that they will truly enjoy... and holiday meals? Well... DAYS of preparing lead to spectacular meals!

So, I'm making just simple yellow cupcakes topped with chocolate and regular buttercream, but I know it will make the kids (and maybe some of the moms) happy, so it makes me happy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let's talk about dirty dishes and kitchen mess

This is the bane of my life. Sometimes I wish I didn't care about environmental things or cared about how it 'feels' to eat from plastic/paper, because, I'm tellin' ya, I HATE doing dishes!!! And cake days??? Ugh!!!!! I think it's the BIGGEST reason people start buying cakes instead of making them - it's not about the decorations (most people don't ever learn how to decorate well - but probably COULD if they wanted to), it's about the mess you make when you make a cake - especially when you do it from scratch.

First, you have the cake batter dishes - a couple measuring cups, some spoons and usually two mixing bowls, mixer beaters, and then two baking pans usually. Unless you are the neatest person in the planet, you will also get some spilled flour and sugar on the counters and around the mixer in the process. Then, the drying rack and counters get all crumby when the cake comes out of the over. But then comes the frosting. First, another mixing bowl and most likely MORE mixer mess with powder sugar residue all around. If you are doing colors, then you need bowls for mixing colors, and spoons. Now, let's decorate - add in tips, bags, and spatulas... Did your family eat at least ONE meal in the meantime? Add those dishes in there too. Now... your kitchen probably looks like it vomited all over itself - mess galore!

I "TRY" to do the cake things in shifts, but it doesn't always happen, especially if I'm doing it while the family is up. If I do it late at night, I can get the cake batter stuff cleaned up and I usually do the big stuff by hand because they take up too much space in the dishwasher. On cake days we do two, sometimes THREE loads in ONE day!!! It's insane!

I have started to use disposable bowls and spoons for mixing colors if I have a lot of them, but I always feel bad about that, so my kitchen has to already be in a super sorry state to get me to give in to that.

The mess in the kitchen is the biggest reason I offer delivery! I don't want to scare off customers by showing off my cake mess!!! I KNOW all cake decorators deal with this too, but unless you are able to get things done well in advance, cake mess will still be there when the cake is finished and ready for delivery... again, another reason I want to get that cake studio up and running! I want to hide my cake mess from public view! LOL

If any of you cake people have some words of wisdom for me besides "I don't move onto the next step until the mess is cleaned up", then PLEASE lay them on me! I'm still dealing with the dish back-up since Sunday (doesn't help I had migraines the last two days).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Well, she keeps me humble!

As I mentioned I made a spare chocolate torte for the family which I filled with fresh strawberry filling. MIL was over for dinner last night and I thought for SURE she would like this cake! First, there was no frosting (she doesn't like American style frosting - only the custard types which aren't really frosting). Second, she doesn't like the flavor/texture of American cake, but this chocolate cake is sooooo moist and dense and on the way to being a brownie and she MAKES a type of brownie.

Well, she took a bite and then asked what kind of chocolate - I said dark cocoa - and high quality cocoa. Then she takes another bite and says, "I can't eat this". Sigh... the rest of the family is devouring it... when I take it to parties, people go for seconds... for customers I get rave reviews... but my MIL? "I can't eat this." But, at least she's consistent, NOT ONE American cake will she eat. Now, my Croatian cakes? She devours those... I guess I just won't cut her a piece of cake the next time she comes over to save me the frustration...

Oh, and the family LOVED the Sweet 16 cake! Yay! I'm wanting to perfect the bow and want to learn how to make it with thinner loops. I followed the tutorial exactly, but in photos I see other people have learned how to make it thinner and therefore, more convincing as a bow... though I read in one thread I followed that people are using Fixadent to strengthen the bow parts? WHAT???? Using a denture cream to make it harder? I know they probably tell people not to eat the bow, but how did someone get the IDEA to use denture cream to strengthen fondant/gum paste decorations? Ew....

That's another reason I am trying to do this as natural as possible... food items should be FOOD items and a cake, in my humble opinion, should not need a caution sign saying "Please don't eat the "edible" decorations". I'm sorry... I don't get it... if you can't eat it, they why not use a real ribbon bow? Or use other clays and put a spacer on the cake so that it doesn't come into contact with it....Why use sugar if you can't EAT that sugar? Maybe I'm in the minority in that thinking... but it's weird to me! LOL I like to be able to cut into a cake and eat it and if I shouldn't eat it, I want that to be obvious - like a plastic toy is a sure sign I shouldn't eat that decoration! LOL

I'm an opinionated one, aren't I?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Migraine city!

I have migraine headaches once in awhile. Well, I have headaches PERIOD quite a bit, but fortunately, migraines are rare, but they are BAD! Yesterday afternoon I started to get a headache and i didn't realize it was a migraine type (different headaches feel different usually). So, I took one aleve to prevent it from getting worse. It didnt TOUCH it. We were at the used bookstore and I felt it growing instead of disappearing.

I came home and thought that maybe it was tension, so I took two ibuprofin, and I know that I was overlapping medicine, but I was beginning to be in too much pain to care. I went to bed with the ibuprofin not touching it either... now my head wants to split open. I have no excedrin at home (why?!?!?) and I couldn't take it even if I wanted to because I was under TWO drugs already. Of course, Henry was having a hard night last night too, so he had me up about 4 times and until about 4 am this morning I felt I was having my head smashed in.

I woke up this morning with no headache, but in the 45 minutes I've been up, I feel it coming on. My migraines in the last couple years tend to be several days long too when I do get them. FORTUNATELY excedrin does work for me VERY well. It messes with my digestive track a bit, but it does take care of the splitting headache at least. I think I'll be making a drug store run here in the next half hour or so!

OK, gotta go make some breakfast for me - cats and little one have been taken care of though!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Gotta say, this is another of my favorites!

First picture is the sloppy, icky bow, second is successful bow, last is finished cake.
Phew, it's done! Notice I didn't check in this morning? LOL I started it at 10 pm last night - baked and made the bow parts and colored the icing. I went to bed at 1:30 am, got up at 6:30, iced it, made the bow and realized that I had made the loops too thin and too long, so I made new bow parts. Then I went to the Farmer's Market, came home, put on the borders, went to work at a fair this morning for 3 hours, then came home, had lunch, put on the writing and polka dots, remade the bow and THANK GOODNESS this time it turned out, then added the roses which she wanted if I had time and if it fit.

Now, my family had seen me assembling it all morning, but Adrian hadn't seen the bow until it was on the finished cake. When he came downstairs, he said, "Wow!!! How did you do that? that's fantastic!" OK, that sealed it, this is a really good cake! LOL DH was really impressed too.

When I delivered it the birthday girl didn't want to see it because she wanted it to be a surprise and the mother loved it. Her only comment was, "I LOVE it, but if I were to change one thing, I would have the handwriting darker." I agreed, but told her I was keeping with her "keep it light, not too dark" so I was afraid to go darker, and she agreed, lighter was better than darker as that was her concern.

I made a spare cake for the family and SOOOO yummy (though ours didn't have icing, just fresh strawberry filling and dark chocolate torte. It turned out SOOOO well and survived the drive there. Phew... another "something new" cake and still a success. Though my first attempt at the bow was scary - good thing I was prepared for that! LOL

Friday, September 7, 2007

Feel bad about my rant

I sounded like a spoiled brat... of course, MIL doesn't OWE us anything and she doesn't have to watch the kids, but it's very lopsided. We help her A LOT. I go to help her change her sheets, when she came back from her trip I stocked her refrigerator with essentials. I watered her plants and checked her mail when she was gone. Whenever she has a doctor's appt. not in the usual building, I drive for her (she's afraid to drive most places), if she needs something to order or to deal with something, I help as she's not confident with her English and has NO computer skills and so on. DH helps her with investments so she doesn't lose her funds (DH is an economist)... So... expecting or HOPING that she watch the kids like once or twice a month for a couple hours is not unreasonable, imo. DH and I have not had more than TWO dates in close to 3 years either.

People will say, "it's nice your MIL is close to help with the kids"... well... she's more work than help, so I don't agree. Guaranteed that when I go over there she will have things for me to do - either phone calls or garbage or deciphering her mail or something.

But.. onwards to cakes - it's crunch time!!! Gotta get it done TODAY! LOL It's due tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm a big schmuck, I didn't go ANYWHERE today!

I was just too tired and then I got depressed because I was so tired... it's such a vicious cycle! but, I have the ingredients I need for the bow, so I'll attempt it tonight, I PROMISE and pinky swear!

Now, if someone could just trade me with a GOOD mother in law, I would be SOOOOOOO happy. She wanted to come to our house to watch Henry. She told DH, "well there's so much more for henry to do at home." Excuse me, I haven't been away from Henry like for SIX weeks - not a single day or single outing, don't you think I need a break?!?!?! She lived with her mom when DH was little (his parents split right before he was born) and she says all the time, "Oh, after Sven went to bed I would go to the movies and spend time with my boyfriends" and that and she could ALWAYS go wherever she wanted to because her mom would watch her kid for her... I know she thinks the best place for a child is their home, but GOOD GRIEF, don't I ever need a break????? She got one nearly DAILY at her own admission... OK... breathe Melissa...

Of course, you all don't know the situation of MIL, but she moved to this country to be near her only son and to help us with the kids. She said when we got married that when we had kids she wanted to watch them for us. And, she did with Adrian, but with Henry? almost NOTHING. She moved to be in the SAME TOWN as us after we skipped all over the place for a few years so she could be near to help and she NEVER helps, EVER... We have to help her all the time, so I'm always a bit miffed... that and we are about as polar opposite as two people can be, so you can imagine the "tension". It's terrible, but I'm always happier when she's not here and wouldn't be sad AT ALL if she moved back to Croatia... she's a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR thorn in my side. It doesn't help that she and DH are always having spats too. They just push each other's buttons so easily... Sigh... what's a gal to do?

But, MIL will watch Henry tomorrow at her place, so I'll pick this place up, vacuum and get all the things done that I can't do with him underfoot. That kid is TERRIFIED of the vacuum, so you can imagine the condition of my stairs!

You will hear me rant about MIL fairly often. She is unbelievable and I really have nowhere else to rant, so you'll have to bear with me. Her one "good" thing is that she thinks I'm BRILLIANT with cakes, LOL, but... she won't eat American cake and makes all sorts of noise when I make one for the family... really nice! LOL

OK, I feel better and now it's time to get little one to bed.

GOTTA hit the cake store today - no more procrastinating!

Despite only 4 hours of sleep last night, I have to get my butt in gear and get to the cake store. Henry ended up taking a 3 hour nap yesterday and went down for the night at 8:45 pm no problem. I stayed up to watch the last two episodes of "Top Chef" (have I said how much I like that show and I almost NEVER watch TV) and then I tried to sleep, but I couldn't. I was still TRYING to sleep when Henry woke for his usual 10 minutes around 12:30 am and then I was finally able to crash. Henry woke for good at 5 am and we both sort of lazed/snoozed until finally getting out of bed at 6 am.

Today, besides dealing with garbage, I will make my first fondant bow and if I'm up to it, a cake for DS's school. My MIL will watch Henry for a few hours on Friday so I can get work done too. Henry really hasn't seen grandma in over a month, so I'm surprised she was still a bit like, "Why, what do you need to do?" Hmmm... she just took our older son for a MONTH (because she wanted to) yet she can't spend 3 hours with her only other grandchild? I HATE, HATE, HATE that she plays favorites, but she certainly does. She used to watch Adrian every day at this age, so it can't be because she doesn't like kids this age. She just seems to only have room in her heart for one person at a time.... and I know that is partially true because she said it's part of the reason she decided to only have one child after having DH. But... that's her and her "ways" I suppose.

I did get to the laundry, yucky dishes, and some organizing yesterday (guilt of being lazy does get me!), so I'm not in too bad of shape at home either. Cake studio isn't quite usable, but SOON, very soon it will be a great place!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Well, the stinker is sleeping!

It took him over 30 minutes to go to sleep, but he's been sleeping for 2.5 hours already. Part of the reason it took so long for him to go down was because the two cats were having a wild romp upstairs running all over the place including my bed. It was entertaining, but not very sleep provoking to say the least.

Of course, I really, really needed to run errands and instead, I'm stuck at home just WAITING for him to wake up ad shortly after he does, my older son will be coming home from school... the joys of the school year schedule!

I "should" be spending this time reorganizing my craft stuff or folding laundry or the "yucky" dishes that the dishwasher can't handle, but nope... I'm goofing around the net and watching one of my FAVORITE shows, "Top Chef" reruns... well... I guess I can't always be good!

My son decided for himself he didn't want to nap

Is 2 years 4 months a little early to give up naps? I know I'm not ready for him to give them up. I was really hoping it would mean that he would sleep a LOT better at night, but he went to bed at 8:45 pm, woke at midnight for about 10 minutes, and then slept until 6 am. That is 9 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. That's what my 11 year old still needs... and he was never a long sleeper either, but at this age I KNOW he slept 10 to 11 hours a day...ugh... why ME??? To have TWO kids who didn't like to sleep? Adrian would take HOURS to get him to sleep, Henry goes to sleep easily but wakes too early! UGH!!! Oh Well...

Today I am have to run several errands, but I need to get to the cake supply store too to get to making that bow for the cake! I found a great tutorial, so hopefully it will go smoothly (PLEASE). One of these days I'll make a cake that isn't all "new" to me and then it will be perfecting skills instead of learning new ones all the time.

I know there was something else I wanted to say this morning and for the LIFE of me I can't remember!... I guess stay tuned for a later update! LOL

Monday, September 3, 2007

School starts tomorrow and I know I won't have time

So, I will post now. Well, somehow, I got enough energy to make those cupcake cheeseburgers. They were actually quite easy and it must have been my lucky day because I had in the freezer red, green and yellow/orange ziplocs of icing - just enough for the condiments of the cupcakes.

They were a HUGE hit at the party and I tried a sliver and they were quite good. I decorated only the perimeter of the cupcakes, so there was actually very little icing - just nice, yummy yellow and chocolate cakes and people LOVED the taste too... big score for me.

Also, I have a huge mixer, so I made extra and now I have 2 8" yellow cakes and 2 6" chocolate cakes which I will make for the end of the first week of school for Adrian's teacher's lounge. So, all in all it was a good cake day.

I told people at the picnic that I was starting a little business and they all felt I would be very successful... well, it takes ORDERS to be successful! I love that people love my cakes, but compliments don't make success.. but I must be patient. It IS happening, just ever so slowly.

It was a good day though - a beautiful day at someone's home on the Chesapeake Bay - very nice indeed.

I think I'm ready to abolish my son's naps

Something's gotta give with this sleeping situation. I realize I'm writing about sleep like ALL THE TIME because it's so LOST on me. Henry had a cold, still does a bit, so he's napping longer which is fine if it didn't have other consequences.

The last two nights his sleeping has been horrendous. Last night he went down at 9 pm, woke for about 10 minutes at midnight and then woke up at 1 am and was up until past 3 am. Then he woke at 5 something (can't remember because I was trying to ignore him) and he didn't go back to sleep until we got up at 7 am. It doesn't matter if I keep him in his bed or bring him to ours - he WON'T sleep!

So, I went to bed at 10 pm last night and basically got 5 hours of interrupted sleep - again... It's just too hard to function like that continually. For instance, the idea, the mere IDEA of making a cake now is impossible. I had 5 hours of sleep last night and about 4 hours the night before last... HOW can I get excited about a cake when I'm hating life right now???

That has been my biggest obstacle to getting this cake thing off the ground. I just don't have the energy to make "practice" cakes and free cakes for marketing purposes for school and the like. I'm just trying to survive the day.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

That sleep I wasn't getting? _Now_ I'm feeling it

Now that all kids are home and the majority of the work is done in the house, I'm tired and I think I've relaxed enough to sleep. I took a 3 hour nap yesterday and STILL slept a full night's sleep. Of course, the nigh before I got hardly any sleep thanks to the toddler's antics and last night I was woken several times, but here it is 9 am and I'm ready to go back to bed. I'm just worn out.

Everyone agrees the changes in the house has given us more room which is great, but there is still all the fine details to be dealt with. The last few boxes of stuff that need new homes, some reorganizing of closet stuff and so on - the HARD stuff really.

All of that will have to wait until this weekend is over though. We've been enjoying the kitten and the mommy and just hanging out as a family too. Henry (the little one ) is still getting over a cold and Adrian is getting one (hmmm... maybe that's why I'm tired? Maybe I'm fighting a cold too?)

We have a nice get-together with people tomorrow... I should make those hamburger cakes if I ever get enough energy to move!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The cats have landed!

And Adrian (and Henry) are in love. They are the sweetest cats. We have changed their names and their "new" names sem to fit them. We all think that Hobbit names are great for cats, so we named them Belladonna Took (Bella for short) and Peregrin Took (Pippen for short). Belladonna was Bilbo Baggins mother and Pippen's great, great Aunt. Belladonna means "Beautiful woman" which really seems to fit this Mommy of three kittens and adopted mommy of three more kittens, plus she is really pretty.

Peregrin means traveller in strange countries and that seems to fit a kitten who has gone from home, to a shelter, to a rescue foster and now to our home. Plus, how cute does Pippen sound for a little cat. He's a REALLY pretty kitten and has TOTALLY adopted our oldest son Adrian. He LOVES him - head butting him, giving kitty kisses and even slept with Adrian. I don't think Adrian could be any happier.

Bella has adopted the "adults". She follows us everywhere and took to sleeping at my feet last night. Having two HEALTHY and young cats made me realize how long it had been since we had a healthy cat. Nimbus had been deteriorating for so long that you start to lose sight of what "normal" cat behavior is. They are both so sweet - makes me wonder why they weren't adopted yet!

OK, off to love my two new kitties!

Friday, August 31, 2007

My son is home and a super successful cake!

I got the biggest hug (well several). I guess he did miss us! He said he didn't start thinking about it until he was on the plane and then he was getting so excited to be home. Which is good. It really means he had a great time. Our toddler, Henry was SOOOO excited all evening and this morning he has claimed all of Adrian's shoes as his and keeps going to Adrian to beam at him.

Now the cake. It turned out GREAT! I have this Croatian Desserts recipe book and all the cakes look and sound scrumptious, but... the book STINKS. I "hope" the more recent editions caught some of the errors, but there will be listing of ingredients, but no mention of how and when to add it in the directions. Directions will say, "mix eggs", but they really mean separate the eggs into whites and yolks and mix the whites to stiff peak and yellows to creamy and light. The ONLY reason I have been able to decipher it is because I'm married to a Croatian who knows a lot of these recipes and he can tell me if they turn out or not.

This particular cake I've made several times - Dalmatian Cake, but last night was the best attempt yet. A pretty cake it is not because the "icing" is simply cooked yolks, sugar, milk and 1 tbsp. of flour - nothing like the typical sugar and butter we know. So, it's not "showy", but oh my goodness is this yummy! All the cakes and desserts from this book, if you figure them out, are amazing, but without fail, EVERY first attempt turns out a bit of a flop. I think I've had ONE cake turn out right the first time and that was recently and I think only because I was able to decipher the directions well enough from prior recipe failures! LOL

The biggest compliment (besides the two kids snarfing it down) was from DH. He WILL NOT say something without meaning it, ever, so he said, "This cake is amazing. It's the best one of these yet. This is better than the Dalmatian cake at that fancy restaurant I went to." I attached a picture of my cake and the picture of the cake from the book. I wish it would take better pictures, but it does look nice and it is SOOOOOOO yummy - an almond pastry, custard filling, light caramel syrup, and a soft sponge cake with more caramel syrup and more icing and almonds for decoration.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I reclaimed the cake/sewing studio!

Ah, sweet success! I unburied the storage room, though probably only temporarily! I started to clean out my son's room yesterday and oh boy, what a disorganized nightmare. I can't decide for Adrian what he should keep or not, but I can see that his room needs have CHANGED dramatically. He still likes some of his toys - Robo Sapien and Legos and Beyblades are about it. So, he needs room for these, but he is drawing and writing and painting ALL the time and needs a place for the supplies and the finished product. Right now he has three tiny drawers with his desk and that just isn't enough!

I realized half his closet - no more, was used for other family storage. We still need to use some of that space, but I did give some back to him, but of course, what does that mean? The family stuff now has to find a new home AGAIN and I KNOW a lot of it will end up down in the storage room! DH wanted to know if I had room to store the receiver he wants to sell and I know I shot him a glare... NO WAY. If he wants to sell it, he needs to deal with it. We still have FOUR turntables he's been "meaning" to sell for 4 years that I finally tucked away about a year ago because I got tired of the stack of boxes on the way to the laundry room.

But... Adrian comes home TODAY and I've now made things a big disaster again with reorganizing, ugh!!! and I have a splitting headache AND I need to make a cake! It's going to be quite a day I think!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Adrian!

Today is my oldest son's 11th birthday. We already talked with him for a good while on the phone and I feel better. Plus, he's coming home TOMORROW!!! Yay! And he still wants the cake - go figure! What a strange kid!

I also got an order for about 10 days for now and it will be cute. Gonna make my first bow for on top of the cake! I'll have to practice that one a bit and show you my progress. It's something I've been wanting to learn how to do anyway!

Now off to clean my son's room!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sleep not cakes seem to be a primary theme!

And last night? I got a FULL night's sleep! I took a HOT bath last night around 9:30 pm, and was in bed and probably asleep immediately by 10:30 pm. I woke once between 2 am and 3 am with Henry, and then he slept until 8 am which is UNHEARD of!!! 5 am is our "usual" rising time!

DH also went to bed early, even before me, and he got himself up this morning and let me sleep in - a double gift!!! I didn't have to wake at 5 am with the little guy and I didn't have to pry DH out of bed either! Sigh... life is MUCH better when you get sleep!

Now cakes - I have an appt. today for a cake for a sweet 16 party, so I'm curious what we will come up with and then I need to do some shopping for Adrian, my oldest DS's, birthday cake! He wants the Dalmatian cake which is a YUMMO European cake with sponge layers and cream layers and almonds and a sort of brulee too... sooooo good!

But first, I should probably clean the bathrooms because they are beginning to look neglected.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A little sleep a little more progress

Last night was ALMOST a normal night's worth of sleep, but why do I feel WORSE? I think my body is in revolt!

Well, I did paper the one wall and all the books have made it back to the shelves in all rooms and DH has gone ALL through the house to get his stacks and stacks and stacks of papers to FINALLY deal with them. Some have been waiting for a YEAR!!!

The toys have made it downstairs and most things are falling into place. HOWEVER, my cake studio is agai BURIED with all the things we found that need homes, so after cleaning it ALL up, I need to do it ALL again. Plus, we had a pretty good storm on Saturday night and my recently cleaned out patio is again full of debris - is someone trying to tell me something?

I must be a mad woman because now I plan to paint my son's room before he gets home... we'll see, not if I continue to feel this tired!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why can't I Sleep?

So, I worked my hind end off yesterday (and all this week actually) and I didn't nap, didn't load up o caffeine. We even went swimming in the evening so I could relax my muscles - and amazingly, I'm not sore or stiff this morning! I went to bed at 10:15 and fell asleep within 10 minutes I would say. But... Henry woke up at 2:30 am for a little bit, and I couldn't go back to sleep. I tried for half an hour, then got up to go to the bathroom and came downstairs to read for about an hour. I went back upstairs a little after 4 am and still couldn't sleep. I was FINALLY feeling myself drift off sometime after 4:30 am and Henry woke up at his usual 5 am... I'm not getting more than 4-5 hours of sleep ANY night and working HARD all day every day, so what is the deal!?!?! Did Henry's first two years of waking 5-7 times a night condition me to not needing sleep? I know I need it because I'm always in a fog and my brain really doesn't "fire" right, if you can understand that? I just don't get it! I should have slept HARD all night long! And now I'm afraid I'll have to take a nap with henry because I can't POSSIBLY be able to sustain this lack of sleep indefinitely. Sigh... What is WRONG with me? An opportunity to sleep and I'm up half the night???

Friday, August 24, 2007

Doin' the happy dance!

First I emptied six full bookcases, and then (drum roll please) I moved, all by myself, FOUR seven foot bookcases upstairs. Only one was easy because it was just the shell. Two had doors and the fourth was the corner unit with more framing and a weird diamond shape, but oo-boy, I DID IT! I also moved the other two bookcases to the other wall downstairs. Now I just need to prime and paper two walls and then my job is MOSTLY complete. The last thing to happen is to move the toy room stuff dowstairs, but that will seem like a piece of cake after all of that heavy stuff going UP! Yay! Yay! Yay!!! I'm leaving sorting the books to DH because only he can know what he wants upstairs ad what he wants downstairs.

Now, to shop a little for fun and then off to the pool to ease these achy muscles!

Did I mention the main reason for the cake studio?

We are getting two cats! We have always had a cat, but our cat died a couple months ago at the age of 13 and we are ready now for two new babies. Well, one is a baby, the other is the baby's mother.

Our old cat was somewhat lame. He broke his tibia and fibula in a freak accident when he was a young cat and while he never limped or had problems, he must have lost the strength to jump... which in a way was a nice thing - no kitty on the counters! Not that I would wish that on any kitty, it did spoil us!

Well, it's been a couple months and we promised Adrian that we would get two kittens when he came home, however, while he was gone I started looking at the craigslist listings for shelters and rescues just to get an idea of what was out there. I read countless ads and saw there were frequent adoption events and way too many kittens around.

There was this one ad though that caught my attention, but Adrian had only been gone a week and this wasn't a kitten, but a mommy cat. Then another few days go by and another listing about the same cat. What no one had adopted this sweetie? Oh, and she had a kitten available too... but Adrian wasn't home. Finally, on the third listing, I found myself hoping this mommy cat WOULDN'T get adopted so we could adopt her and then I realized it was SILLY to want a cat on a description and picture only. Maybe she was NOTHING like it appeared. So, I decided to tell DH about the cat and to my surprise he said she sounded perfect and agreed to go take a peak, but first we had to ask Adrian if it was OK to adopt an older (though probably only 1 to 2 years old) mommy cat. Adrian was fine with that, so we made a visit.

She was everything she was said to be and we were hooked - this was the cat we wanted. Her last kitten was still there too and he too was such a cutie, but he was already adopted and just needed to be picked up. And again, this was OK because Adrian would want to be with us to choose a kitten.

All we needed was to take care of some formalities. I mentioned to the foster family that we were also looking for a kitten to go with this mommy cat once my son got home and if she had any leads or suggestions to let us know. A day later she tells me that the adoption of the mommy cat's kitten was falling through and that this little boy was probably available if we wanted him.

Well, of course I wanted him - he was super sweet too, but neither DH nor I felt right about just bringing it two cats with Adrian gone, so again we spoke to Adrian about it and he knows there is the kitten possibility too. To make it even better for Adrian to feel he's part of this decision, we aren't picking up either cat from foster care until Adrian gets home. Then, when he says the two cats together and knows they are mother and son, I'm sure this will be the kitte he will want to take home... but it's not definite. Kids can ALWAYS surprise you!

So... I knew cats were coming to our home soon for a few months and I knew that some people wouldn't like the idea of cats and cakes mingling and I knew I couldn't leave the room ever if a cake or frosting was in the making and that just doesn't work. Cakes take about 4 hours to complete - I don't stay in the kitchen that entire time!!! That's where the "I need a room I can take the cake to decorate" came from. A room with a door that clicks shut. My two options were the study or the storage room and the storage room won out because of all the practicalities of it. This will be a cat free zone, always.

Adrian comes home in 6 days and we plan to get the kitties (hopefully both of them) a week from today! In the meantime I need to finish EVERYTHING! Argh!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

All my plans foiled!

As you can see, the bookcases have landed. What you can't see/know is that this is NOT the study... This is our rec room and if you look carefully, these Elephant bookcases (as my husband refers to them) are IN FRONT OF a bunch of bookcases... why you might ask? Well.... seems I, a VERY spatial person overlooked something very important...will these bookcases, destined for DHs study upstairs FIT up the stairs???? Simple answer (after an hour of careful measuring) is NO!!! I realized it while waiting for the delivery. The movers called saying they were having a difficult time getting the bookcases out of the apt. and into the elevator... then I started thinking... OMG, yes, I cleared out the furniture in the front to be able to fit through, but HOW will they go around the corners of the stairs??? We had a couple big pieces upstairs, so I measured, but they weren't so wide... and that was the kicker. Lengthwise it would work, depth it would work, but because these are 39" wide, there is no room to turn as long as it is. These are beautifully crafted, but they are ONE solid piece, you cannot separate the top from the bottom... therefore, they landed in the walkout basement rec room. The mover's dad is a carpenter and he was saying that these were VERY well made. He said that his dad would charge about $7,000 for these of this quality. He asked how much I paid and I said, "$500. He about choked. I guess if this doesn't work out...which I think it will, we could sell for over $1000 easily (the mover thought $3,500, but I don't think so).

The amazing thing is that they fit on that back wall with 1.5 inches to spare. Can you BELIEVE that? It's like I designed them to go there. We need the storage EVERYWHERE, so it's not a huge deal, but you can see what I have to do, right? Yep.... I NOW have to move SIX seven foot bookcases to fit in these three. Two (or three) will stay downstairs, but shift to the other side of the door. Two (or three) bookcases will go upstairs along with the corner bookcase. It also means WE have to take those bookcases upstairs, not movers, but ME... GREAT!!!

How is this cake related? Well, it's not really, but all this shifting and reorganizing is making it possible for me to have that cake studio. I thought of another GREAT reason why having the cake studio downstairs will be awesome. The storage room is sandwiched between this rec room which is one half library and one have movie/TV area and the new play room I am making. BTW, I got all the furniture out of there yesterday (the desk, two filing cabinets, some drawers, computer stuff and the desk chair - oh, and the movers were running so late? They didn't have time to help me with those things - I did it myself!!!). I still have the book boxes to carry up.

Anyway, that cake storage room/cake studio is between the two family "play" areas - movies/TV and playroom. I can work in there and still keep my eye on Henry!! I can easily take my rolling cart with supplies and go into his room or the rec room to work too (both have desks/tables)... so I think this will really work and be WORTH all this effort in the end. I just wish it didn't involve two full flights of stairs. I guess it's good I'm built like an ox and can move all this furniture by myself. DH last night couldn't carry the computer monitor because it hurt his injured shoulder.... Hmmm..... I'm going to begin to think he injures himself on purpose when we have things to move. Two moves ago he broke his leg a day before we started packing. I had to pack the entire house by myself. Next move 9 months later, he went ahead for his new job and I stayed behind to pack by myself again.... Then when we got here, I unpacked by myself (well both times) and now, when we are flipping now 2.5 rooms (because of my mismeasuring nightmare of the bookcases), his shoulder gets hurt a week ago and he can't help carry things!!!

So if he can't haul things, why do I keep him around? Isn't that what men are for, to help lift and carry heavy things... oh and reach high places....well, he can still do that.

Boy, me and my bright ideas!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How in the he$$ will I survive today?

Today is a day I thank my lucky stars I have no cakes due... I have bee sleeping horribly and I think it's because I can't get my brain to shut down. Even DH seems to be more excited than usual. We have lived in this house for THREE years and we are FINALLY finishing up all the "stuff" to make it feel like home. Just a little more tweaking and we have a "home" - not just a place to eat and sleep.

Well, tomorrow is a BIG day. I purchased for a great price off craigslist a set of three bookcases - one is shown to the left. A family is moving across country and at the last minute they decided they aren't taking the bookcases!

Here's the ad: Three custom-built oak cabinets feature bookcase tops with adjustable shelves and base units with doors and adjustable shelves inside. Cost $2,600 new; selling as set of three for $500. No delivery. One cabinet shown in attached photo.

Each of these cabinets are 38.5" wide (about 6 inches wider than standard), 85 inches tall, and the base is 22" deep with the top being 11" deep. This is an AWESOME deal. I've seen these listed here and there for $1100 to $1500. I'm surprising DH with them. I used "my" fund to get them for a gift for DH. He has been in a basement afterthought office for almost our entire marriage!

So, anyway, the delivery guys are bringing them tomorrow. They will also carry the boxes and two filing cabinets upstairs for me... So, my plan was to get the room ready for Dh so that when he came home, the office he has been DREADING moving is all DONE... I was going to have the movers do the heavy stuff and I was going to do the rest.

However, I went to bed at 12:30 am. Couldn't fall asleep until 1 am something and Henry woke up at 2:30 am. He was TRYING to go back to sleep, but I smelled somethig funny after about an hour. Yep... poopy diaper. We came down to change the diaper, but of course, he was wide awake!!! Then, just 5 minutes ago, another poopy diaper... and "normal". It's 4 am... DH gets up at 7 am... I still need to pack those boxes downstairs to get ready for the big move and then I need to set up the room... How likely is that to happen if I only manage to catch 2 more hours of sleep? On top of several nights of 4-5 hours of sleep??? I must be getting old... I can't sleep when I'm planning things now... get too excited! Ugh... I'm only 37!!!!

Another sign of getting old is that I forget a scary amount of things. I can't TELL you how many times I have had to THINK about what DHs work number is and I call it all the time (and not speed dial). Same with my bank card code... I had to think for about a minute today and was drawing a blank!!! Scary stuff Maynard!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oooo, I think I may have room for that studio!

Ok, no cake baking yesterday, but I sure did work hard and amazingly, I'm not sore today!

First, I weeded and laid mulch in our backyard flower beds. I admit, I hadn't weeded for about 6 weeks because it had been so hot and I was just closing the curtains to the burgeoning weed population. It was cool all weekend and I didn't do yard work, but with yesterday's mostly dry, cool day, I felt it was time to tackle the weeds. So, did that, swept the patio area, tidied up and laid mulch in the beds (AGAIN) to help control the weed population.

Then I started tackling the storage rooms downstairs. We have one full room, a tiny corner of the laundry room and then space under the stairs. I got rid of some more junk, moved some things around, and VOILA I have about a 6 foot wall space in the storage room big enough for a cake AND sewing studio!!! I brought down a rolling IKEA storage cart from upstairs for either cake or sewing supplies, and I still have about 4 feet for a desk/table. I have two desks/tables that will work, so it's just a matter of choosing the best one and getting them in there. I even have TWO full old kitchen overhead cabinets for my stuff! SWEET! (Literally!)

With this big switch of rooms, my sewing room was going to move upstairs too, but I had some MAJOR reservations about that. That room is CARPETED and carpet makes picking up threads more difficult, but more importantly, finding lost pins is REALLY hard and I would HATE for some little foot to get jabbed with a pin! I would like to think I would notice every pin coming loose from the fabric, but I do home dec. sewing, so these are big, long, bulky pieces and pins always work their way out of the fabric and I wouldn't hear them fall on to the carpet. Plus, it was just looking like my sewing stuff in that room was going to be a compromise on space for me. My supply cabinet would be across the room instead of next to the table and it would be a tight fit.

Not sure how I feel about being relegated to the storage room with unfinished ceiling and walls, but the floors are finished and the kitchen cabinets on the wall are still fairly new (were just too small for upstairs). Plus, I will be right behind the deep freezer where I will store the icing and can thaw and go, right there in the room. Most importantly, the room has a door I can pull closed and forget about everything. I can use the downstairs laundry tub for clean up too (or the bathroom I suppose for quick cleanups and that's right next to me). Plus, I'm the only one who EVER goes into the storage room. I don't even think DH knows what's in there. In his mine, most of it is "mine" because it's holiday decorations, outgrown baby clothes waiting for me to sell on ebay, fabric, and things like our old fish tank, picnic stuff, and so on.
Most importantly it's a room where I can keep the toddler out. He does NOT need to be near sewing or cake supplies - too many small things to lose or get hurt on.

Do I sound psyched? LOL

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good outweighs the bad!

Well, I had the one disappointed customer (and she is being GREAT about it, btw!!!) but I had two other very satisfied customers - that makes me feel better! Phew... Now just to get more cake orders!!! Getting your name out there is the hardest part!

For cake stuff... it's an icky rainy day here in my neck of the woods - feels like cake making weather to me! Plus, I want to start moving furniture all over the place. SOMEHOW I WILL make a little cake studio ALL FOR ME!!! I really, really need a place to spread out, make a mess and have NO ONE CARE! LOL Hmm... sure! We'll see!

In my disappearing post from Saturday (grrrr.) I offered to make payment in cake if someone wants to come over and help me carry books and furniture up two flights of stairs.... Now I know why no one has jumped at the chance for helping me out! They never saw the post! Doy!

OK, so where is my post?

This one will be short, but I DID post yesterday and my blogger info SAYS I posted yesterday, but I don't see it? Are there gremlins in my computer? Well, pooey! Sorry faithful dozen readers! LOL

I didn't write on Saturday because we were enjoying mother nature, but I was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday and wrote, I swear!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

My first disappointment

I know it happens to everyone, but I have my first disappointed customer and it's mostly my fault and it has made a great "learning" moment. I have a cookbook that makes a GREAT chocolate cake. It also has a very similar recipe for a yellow cake, so I gave that a whirl- without trying it before selling it. I made a spare for my family to try, but I had frozen it for when my son came back, so I didn't try it.

Maybe it was cockiness, but I've NEVER had a flop in American style cakes and same with regular cooking too (I'm sort of a gourmet cook). A DAY after I sent this cake off, someone said that they made the cake from this book and it turned out dry.... EEKS!! So, for the following week's cakes, I made yellow cake from my tried and true recipe.

Well, I spoke with the Mom who had bought the cake from me and she said it wasn't as good as last time and then I asked, "Was it dry?" and yes it was... OMG, I hate that I disappointed someone. The worst part is that I spent OVER 4 hours decorating that cake (not baking, not cleaning up, just decorating it) and it was dry.... when I pride myself on moist cakes. So, I took out the "spare" in my freezer and while the cake is flavorful, and not bone dry, it is MUCH drier than normal. I'm offering a partial refund and just to make good, I'll make a small cake or cupcakes with the "good yellow cake" recipe, but it shouldn't haven't happened in the first place. I should have tested this recipe first.

What makes me REALLY mad is that I trusted the cake would be good, but now that I admitted my mistake to an online community of cake people, people are coming out of the woodwork saying how they have had the same problems with this and MANY cakes from this book - and it's a very popular cake book. But some professionals responded that all this "person's" cakes are o the dry side, so they don't recommend it. DARN IT.... I guess this baker likes drier cakes and assumes most of the consumer base does too... or something. Well, I know that some recipes are OK, but I will be TESTING before sending out from NOW ON... LESSON LEARNED!!! It seems my wonderful Better Homes and Garden cookbook which I keep around (since I got married) is a better book than this "bible". Sigh...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Got my new toy, umm... storage solution!

Well, when I got to home depot they had two choices and I preferred this one. It's actually pretty cool! The top box is a typical tool chest, the middle section (which you can snap completely off too) is two metal drawers, and the bottom is a big storage comparment that has a tipping door... opens like a neighborhood mailbox (do they have neighborhood mailboxes any more?). The handle works just like a piece of luggage and can be stowed to make it more compact. It is all wrapped in stainless steel but is still very lightweight. It's not like those big, heavy Craftsman rolling toolboxes. We have one of those too for "real" tools and we LOVE it. I still don't know how I'm going to organize it, but it will be fun. I must be one of the only people on the planet who LIKE organizing things. I usually have very good organizational skills... I just tend to be slow in GETTING things organized... I won't tuck things willy nilly until I HAVE a home for it... which means we do always tend to have a small pile of somethign waiting for a permanent home.

I think I had to get better organized because we have almost ALWAYS lived in a smaller space than we needed really. Hmm... that wasn't true for the last place we lived... and sort of true for the time before. I had my kitchen very well organized and our closets very well organized because those spaces were small, but we had full basement storage before, so I never had to be very organized in the basement until we moved here. Now, we really don't have a basement because most of it is finished living space. When we moved here I got rid of a LOT of long term storage, but we still had WAY too much. Since then, over the course of the last year I have whittled that down another 50% and have for the most part reorganized all storage boxes to consolidate what's left. I have a bit more work do to with that, but now we have "room to spare" for awhile at least. As a matter of fact, our storage room now has working space. I might make that my "cake" room too. We hung some of our old kitchen cabinets in their, so I can store some things down there and do the details of the cake - the part that makes a HUGE mess of my kitchen to keep my "cake" mess separate from the normal daily dealings of the kitchen. It will be especially useful for the cake projector! That thing is HUGE! I'll have to see - carrying a cake up and downstairs isn't much fun either. I just would really like to contain the mess of cake decorating a bit. I TRY to do things as I go, but when you get to mixing colors, and needing different tips for different designs, in the last bit of making the cake, you manage to pretty much cover all working space in bags, tips, bowls and spoons all with very colorful buttercream and, possibly fondant! I think it's the MESS of making decorated cakes that gets people to buying them from someone else and I understand it.... it's a VERY messy job!

OK... I think I've now bored you to tears, but I'm thinking this whole thing through to make sure I have it all straight in my OWN heady before I set about doing anything about it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Want to see a BEAUTIFUL toe?

Seems I didn't manage to break it, but just bruised it up pretty good and probably bruised the bone. Even my little guy is learning that "Mama Boo-boo on toe!"... yep, stay away from the toe kiddo!

As with all hobbies, how to be organized?

I have reorganized my kitchen THREE times in this last year trying to organize the cake stuff as much as possible. First, I cleared one base cabinets and the bottom of our corner cabinet. Then, I cleared another base cabinet and got three baskets for on top of the corner cabinet and last, I made space in my spice drawer for the colors. But now I have things in FIVE places in my kitchen! and if I want to use the cake projector, I need to bring a lot downstairs. I'm also planning for these cake parties. I'll have the party supplies, but my guess is that it will also be nice to have some tricks up my sleeve (more tools) when helping kids too.

So, I found this. It's on a super sale at Home depot, but I have to think if this will TRULY save me room and be practical. Otherwise, I'm just throwing $40 away, which is never a smart thing to do!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm missing my son

I have two kids - a soon to be 11 year old and a 2 year old (27 months). My oldest is in Croatia with his grandmother and has been away for two weeks and will be gone for two more weeks. While I was busy with cakes and cleaning up the mess he seemed to create all by himself, I didn't miss him too much, but now??? I am already planning what I'll do to welcome him home.

I KNOW it's a great opportunity for him to be able to go overseas. It's great for his language development (he is bilingual), and it's great to experience the culture. I just like it better when the WHOLE family goes, but as expensive as airfare is, we just can't go very often... who has a spare 10 grand on a regular basis?

Anyway... I was looking at his latest picture today. It's a candid shot from a swim meet this summer. He looks so much like his dad - just a strawberry blonde version and it's weird seeing this "boy" starting to develop some "man" features... He's growing up and while I LOVE seeing him grow into the great person he is becoming... I still can't believe that it's MY son... How could I be old enough to have a soon to be 11 year old??? Hmm.. I'm "only" 37! LOL

Buttercream is dangerous and cake ingredient musings!

The last cake was made from chocolate buttercream. Since I use all butter and high quality chocolate, I found it WAY yummy. I kept grabbing a new plastic spoon to get another taste every time I went to the kitchen! I had to put it in the freezer to stay away from it! Way dangerous stuff! Nibbling on cake is a non-issue as it always gets sent away, but leftover buttercream? DANGER CITY!!!

I've been working on a system to store buttercream too. I really don't like making buttercream because it is messy and greasy. I already told you that I make triple or quadruple batches (I think I'll stick with triple batches - fits better in my mixer). I store those in 6 cup plastic containers and freeze them if I don't have plans for right away.

Well, I've also startes storing leftover colored icing. I seem to use a lot of red, black, green, red, and royal blue. I will use what I need and the rest I will store in a ziploc and store in the freezer - taking it out for the next cake. Since it's not good to freeze and refreeze items, I store them in small batches so I can just throw away what I don't use of the already frozen buttercream.

A gal on a forum I read said that she will store them for a time and if they don't get used, she'll combine them to make an unsavory colored batch and then turn it into chocolate buttercream. This could work in a pinch, but I'm already thinking, "I don't like food coloring in the first place, why would I now taint my chocolate buttercream with food coloring". But, I'll put it out there if other people want to try it. I won't, but that's because I'm trying to bill myself as a close to earth baker.

I just bought an organic and differently formulated baking soda. I'll have to try it on an experimental cake (for home) to see how it works.

I also need to make my own vanilla. I've been buying organic vanilla, but I'm switching over in the about 10 weeks to organic homemade vanilla. It will be cheaper for me. Vanilla is one of the most expensive parts of a cake! It's about 40 cents a teaspoon and a typical cake with buttercream uses 3-4 teaspoons of vanilla - that's about $1.50 a cake... It takes about 8 weeks to make homemade vanilla extract, but I think I can get my costs down to then about 25 cents a cake for vanilla - but would need to make an initial investment in small glass bottles too.