Thursday, July 31, 2008

More than 14 years later...

My mom has this book in her collection of recipe/kitchen books. It is a wonderful '70's green color (if memory serves correctly), and as a kid, it was the most wonderful book to look at in the entire house. It was her cake decorating idea book, of course! I can't tell you how many times I poured over the pages of that book, wishing those cakes were mine! I have always wanted to learn how to do that...

My second year of college I bought this set of cake decorating tips, tools, and a little booklet with the intention of taking a class and learning how to use it all. Years have passed. Kids birthdays have come and gone. Oh, I have made some cakes. Some have been cute, others not so successful. I have used some of the tips, a few of the tools, and the icing recipe in the booklet many times, but I still have never taken that class!

This is my summer to learn. I have finally decided to take a cake decorating class and learn a bit about how things should be done versus the way I think they should be done! It is a 4 week course over at our local Michael's. Last week was our first week. I was excited because the class is on sale this month, so I thought to myself, "Wow, you are going to get yourself such a great deal!" Ha. Ha.

It turns out that you have to also buy the $25 class kit, plus the cake spinner, plus the boards to set the cake on, the proper cake pan, extra tips, extra bags, and any other thing that while your teacher shows you all the cool tools you feel you must buy in order to make your cakes more divine. It is a bit pricey on the start up, but it will all be so fun in the end!

I was supposed to show up with my beautifully frosted and filled 8" round cake tonight, plus various amounts of frosting in different consistencies. I needed frostings in different colors, in bags, that sort of thing. That would have been the better way to attend my class, prepared and all! This is more how it played out:

We spent the day at Six Flags. We got home around 2:40, Ez had to rush off to work. Alexis and Lily were heading to Grandma's for the weekend, so we had to find clothes, etc. and get them packed and out the door. Then it was time to make the frosting to the right consistency, color it blue (part of the homework), and fill and frost my cake. It is 4:30. Babysitter comes at 5:30. I realize I still have to make the extra frosting for the actual decorating part--oh no! No more shortening.

Hurry and run to Wal-mart for supplies. Forget making any more frosting. I am just planning on buying the Wilton in the tub stuff. I already made frosting once today, good enough! I have no more time! Luckily, Wilton sells a mongo tub of icing--I was pleasantly surprised! Come home, thicken some for making roses, thicken more for the decorating, and bring a bit for the writing portion.

Babysitter comes, throw everything in the bag and head to class. My bags aren't ready. My icing is not separated and colored. I am just so unorganized, oh well! So class went well, but I had to spend so much time prepping things that I didn't have time to finish the cake, so I brought it home and was planning on finishing it. Joe sees it and decides it looks tasty and takes a chunk of icing from the side and right through the pretty pink icing I had already done!

So, I patched it up and finished my decorating. It looks good enough for my first super unorganized attempt. Hopefully the next 2 weeks I will be more prepared and less frazzled! I think I have learned to come with everything really, really ready! No matter what, it is lots of fun!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Giants Game!

A friend of ours gets occasional tickets to sporting events through people he works with. Since he doesn't really enjoy going to the games, he gives them to friends. This is how we came upon 4 tickets to the Giants game on July 19th! Thanks very much, Dwight!

Ez and I took David and Alexis for a special date. We got Giants hats to wear, and got there early to walk around and experience the fun of the AT&T park. It is a fun place to be! The thing about baseball games is that really (in my opinion) they aren't all that exciting. You watch and wait for those exciting moments that eventually do come, but there is all that waiting! Luckily we caught a few fun and exciting moments, but the rest of the time we just enjoyed each other's company, watched and chatted, took photos, and ate super delicious food!

The DELICIOUS garlic fries--Yum!

How to properly eat your cupcake

The kids were really hoping that when Evie got her birthday cupcake she would immediately dig in and get nice and filthy, but this wasn't the case. She was just checking it out, tasting the frosting...she was getting there, but not fast enough! Lily and David decided to encourage her by showing Evie the potential mess factor in eating a cupcake properly.

Getting started

Lily digs in

Alexis, who doesn't like getting messy, or eating frosting, takes a different approach

David gives a fine tutorial

Joe advises Evie to try to clean up after yourself

Evie caught on

Yeah, she really did!

Duke is thankful for the lesson

Mom is so excited she gets to clean it all up!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Evelyn!

Our little Evie turned 1 on Friday! Wow, this year has gone fast. We spent the bulk of Friday driving home from San Diego, so that evening we simply grabbed yummy cupcakes from Costco for a simple celebration. Grandma Jane was here Saturday evening for gift opening and more cupcakes. It was easy and low key, a perfect celebration for a 1 year old!

Evie is such a fun little sister to have in our home. She is happy and giggly and curious. She is sweet and loves to wave and blow kisses. She is also very good at shaking her head "no" whenever she deems necessary. Her favorite activity is walking. She spends a good 85% of her awake time just walking. The rest is spent pulling out books from the bookshelf and eating, I think!

Evie loves to eat! We have still not found anything she really dislikes, which makes meals just fun. Her favorite snack are string cheese and dinosaur chicken nuggets. She also will never turn down one of Alexis's delicious homemade brownies!

In following with the other kids and their birthdays, I need to say one favorite thing about Evelyn for every year old she is, which is hard when you are only allowed one thing! So, I pretty much cheated by mentioning all sorts of things about Evelyn before I got to this point! I think my very favorite thing about Evie is simply that she is in our family! Our household gets loud and crazy and sometimes messy and out of control with 5 kids around, but having them is what makes life so special and fun. Life wouldn't be as sweet and happy without our little Evelyn squealing and toddling around the house.

A few of my favorite photos as our little one has grown this past year

The Beach at Coronado

We spent Tuesday at the beach. We were so very glad Merrill and Burgess wanted to come along with us, it would have been no fun without them! The kids had tons of fun boogie boarding, playing in the sand, jumping over waves, hunting for shells. Lily's proud moment was finding an intact sand dollar on her own! Joe was initially terrified of the water and waves, but after about 10 minutes he neared the water, and a bit later he was having a blast running in and out of the more shallow areas. Evie absolutely loved the water and was constantly running right into the it--we had to really watch her! It was perfect weather, not too crowded, and simply beautiful!

Monday, July 21, 2008

More San Diego

On Monday Ez and Burgess went and played a round of golf, while Merrill and I took the kids to Belmont Park and Balboa Park. Belmont Park was fun. We bought lots of tickets and got to ride a bunch of rides. David went on the rickety wooden roller coaster twice, but everyone's favorite was the bumper cars. There is something about being in those things that brings out the kid in you. You can't help but smile and laugh and find great delight in driving right into someone! After a picnic lunch we headed over to Balboa park, where we walked around, visited the Botanical Gardens, rode the merry go round and the train, and then cooled off in the fun water fountain.

Bumper Cars

Learning about plants with Aunt Merrill

Yummy Ice Cream

Joe and David

Alexis and David

Lily splashing

Forget wading, let's just swim!

We LOVE San Diego!

I think San Diego is my favorite city. The weather is great, it is beautiful, there are so many fun, fun things to do there, the list goes on! Ez had to head there last week for work, so the rest of the family decided to tag along and make a family vacation out of it!

We stopped in to stay with my Aunt Merrill and her husband, Burgess. They were fantastic hosts--we ate well and played hard the entire time! Merrill and Burgess are in the midst of adding on to and remodelling their home, so David got the chance to help Burgess with some of the building, which was simply heavenly to David. Merrill has a fantastic garden in the back yard, so Alexis and Lily got to help water and tend the garden, pick green beans, dig up old tomato plants, plant some pumpkin and sunflowers, pick tomatoes, all that fun stuff! Ez and I stayed busy trying to keep Joe and Evie from getting into things that were off limits!

Yummy carrot!

Fresh from the soil

Ez and Evie

Isn't this tomato so cute and tiny?

A happy helper

Power tools, Hooray!

Fixing the beans with Aunt Merrill

Burgess and Lily playing some tunes

Wiped out

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fun for Evie and Joe

All my kids love the water, except for Joe. He would rather sit on the edge and just dangle his feet in than have to get into the pool. We can't even get him comfortable if we hold him in the water! So, when we are out in the back and the kids are swimming, Joe is just sitting there enjoying the pool vicariously through the other kids! Evie, on the other hand, really loves the water, but I don't get into the pool that much, so she is stuck hanging on the side lines with mom.

The other day I realized that if we bought one of those little plastic wading pools, Evie and Joe would get to swim and play and have much more fun outside! Perhaps Joe might even get more comfortable with the whole pool idea. I came home with a pool today and we filled it up, Joe jumped right in and had the greatest time! Evie was napping at the time, but she sure loves it now! A great $12 investment, I'd say!

Much better already!

Hey mom! I think you forgot that swim diaper thing, remember?!