Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sweet 16!

My daughter turned 16 this week.  She didn't want a big fancy party (she's kinda like her Mom), just a few friends.  But I asked her what she wanted for her cake.  I made her the hippo cake last year (seen here in my New Year's post) and she loved it. 

She decided she wanted an Alice in Wonderland themed cake this year, so I set out looking up ideas. I knew I wanted to do buttercream instead of all fondant this time because, frankly, I'm a little obsessed with buttercream lately.  I think it has to do with all the cake blogs I read on a daily basis.

I ended up going with a topsy-turvy style, 2 tiered cake.  She requested her favorite colors for the frosting and I made up marshmallow fondant for the decorations. 

It took some time to make this cake.  Making the fondant one day.  Tinting the fondant and forming some of the decorations another day.  I finished the decorations the 3rd day plus baked the cakes (Two 8 inch layers and two 6 inch layers).   The day of the party I made the buttercream and put it all together.  So, a few mini sessions over 3 days, plus a marathon morning the day of the party.  (I think I work best under pressure!)

Since I'm not at all experienced in this area and I haven't made a lot of what I call 'fancy cakes', I've made mental notes of the little mistakes I made with this cake to do differently the next time around.  Hopefully with each passing birthday I'll keep getting better--plus my husband gave me a Wilton class for my birthday that I still need to sign up for!

Ok, enough talking.  On to the pictures:

Friday, July 30, 2010

5 Question Friday!

Today's post is brought to you by 5 Question Friday, hosted by
I discovered 5QF over at
I've never done a 5QF before, but here goes...

1. Did you have a favorite blanket or toy as a kid? If so, do you still have it?
I sure do!  I have a walking Mickey Mouse doll that I remember playing with a lot as a kid.  He has rubber hands that you squeeze alternately and it makes his legs 'walk'.  He's a little worse for wear, so he probably isn't 'worth' much but he's priceless to me.

2. Do you dream in color?

I think so?  I don't often remember
 my dreams, but I dreamed about making cakes last night and I remember that the cake had red on it.  I also had trouble making a fondant soccer ball, but that's a black and white object, so I'm afraid that doesnt help answer the question. 

3. How tall are you? Do you wish you were shorter or taller?

I'm 5'4" and I've always wished I was a little taller, around 5'6".   Mostly for the clothes.  I'm right at the higher end of the petite length pants and sometimes too short for regular length pants.  It can be frustrating at times.  I dont like shopping --but that may be another question for another friday =)

4. If you could have anyone's (celeb or other) voice as the guide on your GPS, who would it be?

Oh.. I dont like the GPS units.  I yell at the lady who tells me what to do and where to go.  BUT, if I could have it be anyone's voice??  That's an excellent question.  First celeb voice that comes to mind is James Earl Jones.   I think I'd have to be able to change it up though, just so I dont start randomly yelling at celebrities when I hear them start talking in a movie.

5. Do you return your shopping cart to the corral or leave it wherever in the parking lot?
  OH, I most defintely return it.  That is a big pet peeve of mine when people leave them in random places.  I have been known to return wayward carts left in the lot and straighten out the ones in the cart return when they arent pushed in and are spilling out into the parking lot.  It's a very strange thing I've discovered about myself and I'm not that anal about other things.. I have no idea where it comes from.

And there you have it.  The end of 5 Question Friday.  Play along by going to and linking up your answers!

Make it a great day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh My Ganache.

Yesterday was Tony's 40th birthday.  I asked him what kind of 'goody' he wanted me to make him.  He's a chocoholic, so I assumed it would be something up that alley.  He chose a chocolate cupcake that I make with buttercream frosting, but asked for a twist.  He wanted the cupcakes filled with ganache.  After I stopped beaming about him knowing a 'baking term' (just like he beams if I know a geek term), I got right to work.

The recipe I use for my cupcakes is a texas sheet cake.  The same one The Pioneer Woman uses.  I just fill the cupcake liners a little more than 2/3 full and bake between 18-20 minutes at 350.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Pioneer Woman

I got to meet Ree Drummond last night.  What a wonderfully exhausting day it was!  I started out with the intention of leaving my house at 2pm for a 60mile drive north for her cook book signing.  It should have taken me just over an hour or so to get there.  I left later than I wanted to, because I had to get things together for my son to attend a sleepover.  But finally on my way, nearly halfway there, I hit a wall of traffic.  There was an accident on the freeway and it took me over 30 minutes to go just over a mile to pass the accident and finally pick up speed again. 

I got to the book store around 4:45 and got my ticket for my signing group.  I was in group "I".  They were calling us in groups to avoid one huge horrendous line.. very smart in my opinion.  I've never been to a book signing so I wasnt sure how it would work.  This was lovely.   So I set up camp and found a clearing in the shelves where I could see her signing table and waited for her arrival. 

Here she is with her oldest daughter, a beauty just like her mother, right after they arrived, around 5pm.  She apologized for being late but it was less than 5 minutes.. that's not late in my book.  =D  (sorry for the grainy pic, I was zoomed and accidentally used my flash).

For the rest of the evening I passed the time by reading a book, going over to the grocery store to buy lotion for my very dry hands, sitting in my car, browsing books in the store, reading some cook books in the food section and stalking Ree between the shelves while she signed for the earlier groups:

Finally, at 9:30pm, they called my group to line up. I was really excited to be meeting someone I admire, who, although now an 'uber celeb', seems and IS so down to earth and 'normal'.   Surprisingly, I wasnt nervous.  All day I'd been thinking of something to say to her when I got up there.  I knew I had to keep it short but some of the things I toyed with were: telling her how wonderful the book is; gushing about how wonderful she is; saying how her book has made me a much better cook - just ask my husband!; Asking her how she liked Seattle so far and if she was going to be able to do much sight seeing before she had to leave, etc etc etc...

I finally made it to the front.  Here she is signing for the girl before me.

I'm next! Here we are at 10:15pm:
Which witty or poignant statement in my arsenal did I end up going with, you ask??

Nothing.   That's right, nothing.

I still didnt 'feel' nervous but I got up there and she smiled very sweetly and said Hi!  So I said Hi!  She started to sign the book and I knelt down next to her for a photo.  She said 'Thank you for being so patient' and I replied.  "Sure!"  I'd been reduced to single syllable answers.  Thank God I had enough in me to look her in the eyes and reply with enthusiasm 'Thank you SO much!'  And then I was on my way out.  This is 100% me.  I've never been one to initiate conversation with someone I don't know, despite reading her blog daily and feeling like I know her and could easily call her a friend.  That's just me.

So, by this time, 10:20pm, the store was closed and the only people left were the last 2 groups in line and a handful of employees.  I made my way to my car and drove the 60 miles home, exhausted, contemplative and totally without regret.  Sure, I wish I'd said one of the many things that came to mind, but I know who I am and I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So Excited for Tonight!

Tonight is the beginning of the end.  It's bittersweet, but I've been waiting a long time for this.  I can't wait to see what happens to my favorite characters and get the answers to the most important questions.  But I hate to see it go away completely.  However, I am really looking forward to rewatching the entire 6 seasons at least one more time after having all the answers.  Then, I can mourn appropriately.  =D

Tonight is also my youngest son's first violin concert.  He was NOT excited about this at all.  We've been able to calm his nerves some and now he's a little better about it.  He's only been playing about 3 months and sounds pretty darn good to me.  I'm probably biased, though.   I'll post pictures later.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Only a month late, right?   So, here's some catching up:

We have a new dog named Lucy.  We got her on October 5th.  She's just over a year old and the most wonderful dog anyone could ever ask for.  She trains easily and amazes me with her loyalty and devotion every day. There is a lot to be said for 'Pound Puppies'.  They seem to know that you rescued them.  I swear to you, she smiles!   In less than 4 months now (and it was actually after less than a week) I can't imagine not having her in my life.  I tell her that almost every day. =D

 I've been doing more cooking than I usually do.  Well to clarify, more new cooking.  I cook every day, mundane, 'same old-same old' kind of cooking but now I'm looking up more recipes, trying new things and using new techniques.  Nothing fancy, mind you. I'm not that adventurous!

For Christmas I got a cast iron enameled dutch oven and a new cook book: The Pioneer Woman cooks!  Excellent source for good food, tips and tricks.  I also love her website and the Tasty Kitchen website.  That book and those websites are my staples in the kitchen now.  I usually have the book open or the laptop on the counter when I'm making dinner.    I'm one of those people who usually needs a recipe and I tend to follow it pretty near to the letter, at least the very first time I attempt it.  (Is that typeA?) 

Another thing I've been obsessed with is baking and or 'caking'.  I havent actually done anything fancy except my daughters fondant hippo cake.

But I really want to take a Wilton decorating class.  I've made cake pops (see and those are a blast and I've bought a lot of cake decorating gadgets to make cakes someday.  I mostly use the tips to decorate Christmas cookies.  I have 4 kids, I really need to put those gadgets to good use and make birthday cakes, darn it!  =D    I love the look of fondant, but not everyone is a fan of the taste.  I really like buttercream and would love to learn how to work with it, even if I use fondant for accent pieces. 

So that's life here for now.  Got a busy week coming up with music concerts, sports practices, Season 6 of LOST starting (Yay!) and of course Super Bowl.  Hopefully I'll have another update before the next decade starts.  Till then.....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Beach

We went to First Beach in La Push, WA. It's absolutely beautiful there. We took an end of summer Twilight tour of Forks and La Push, just me and the kids and my daughter's friend. We had a lot of fun!
I will post highlights of the trip at a later date. For now, I'll leave you with this beautiful shot of the beach.