Friday, August 28, 2009

Pinched Fingers

During my past pregnancies, whenever I was experiencing hot flashes or queasy spells and I was riding in the van I would roll down the window a bit and stick my fingers out the window. For some reason that seemed to help. However I was always reminding DH not to fiddle with the window buttons because my greatest fear was having my fingers pinched in the automatic window. So, I'm finding it very ironic that I pinched Lou's pointer finger in the back van window the other day.

Upon noticing I had the A/C on and the back windows open, I quickly grabbed the button and pulled up to close the windows. All of a sudden we here a couple of yelps and squeals. And then I yelled back, "Lou, were your fingers in the window? Are you ok? I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" She answered with a weak, "Yeah they're fine. Just a little flat and a little numb, but I'm ok."

Then we all let out a roar of laughter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Birthday Cakes

Talking about birthdays reminded me I had wanted to post some simple instructions on making kids' birthday cakes. My kids are always walking by the decorated cakes at Walmart and pointing out all the styles they want for their birthday. But I learned long ago how to bake and decorate cakes using Wilton cake pans. I borrowed many cake pans from a friend and just followed the contour lines on the cake for the frosting placement. But even those cake pans get expensive. I was happy to get an idea from Danielle Bean. She searched the internet for simple images appropriate for her children's birthday depending on their interests. Then she used that picture as a model for decorating her cakes. Here is how I have modified her directions. I'm not so artistic and have no perspective when it comes to drawing so this is how I make it work.

Finished product

Ray - 5th birthday July 10First of all I let Ray choose a topic. He chose tractors this year and wanted a very elaborate Kubota just like his daddy has. But we settled on a simpler version. I don't remember where I found this image. Most likely it was a coloring page. I saved the image and then used my print wizard to print it as large as I needed (8x10). Then I cut it apart in sections so I could pipe in the stars in sections. I use Wilton disposable bags with a small star tip. I only do stars and lines. Always trying to keep it simple.

I laid the pieces on the cake and used a black decorator gel to trace the pieces.

I make up and color all my frosting at once and then place in the refrigerator to keep it firm. It's much easier to work with firm frosting then soupy frosting. I pipe in the stars and then fill in the rest of the cake with another complimentary color. All done except for the candles and ice cream.

***I don't know why Blogger won't place my photos the right way, but they keep turning them vertical for some reason.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Picture of Us

I'm not in many pictures. All you moms understand - you're usually behind the camera capturing the highlights and sometimes lowlights of every event. And so when my oldest daughter captured this photo of DH and I, I just had to share it with all of you. I know I'm always trying to put a face to the blog writers as I read their stories, helpful hints and recipes, so I thought I would help you put a face to "us".

Another 1st Birthday Celebration

I am way behind in posting. So I'm going to try to do a little catch-up. Here's Little J's second 1st birthday celebration. We packed up the party and took it to grandma's. Little J had a ball eating and playing with his angel food cupcake. By the way angel food is great for a 1st birthday because it doesn't crumble or fall apart like regular cake, it just gets squeezed into a smaller and smaller mass as the party wears on.

So first he just grabbed at the frosting.And then took a little cake break.

Then waved to everyone in the room with a facefull of frosting.

Once he realized he could pick up the whole cupcake, he smashed it into his face numerous times biting off tiny bits to eat.

And after all the cake fun and a change of clothes, he cuddled in with grandma waiting for the gift opening.
Enjoying a first birthday is always special, but after the year we've had with him it was extra special. Actually it was 3 times as special.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First, 1st Birthday

Last night we celebrated Little J's 1st birthday a day early with grandpa and Uncle R, Aunt J and cousin S. In his honor we grilled chicken and had half potatoes and homemade pickles. Little J did like the potato. He had all of 3 bites. Later we brought out the heavy stuff, chocolate cupcakes with cocoa frosting. He really dug into those.

Stay tuned for more birthday fun. Because today is the actual 1st birthday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Simple Trip to Goodwill

Driving up to Goodwill's drop off door my mind was spinning wondering if the "hay guy" had called back, if I had enough powdered sugar to make frosting twice, where the nearest farmer's market was to get dill. Staring straight ahead I slowed, put the van in park and turned around to tell everyone to stay buckled, I would just grab the few donation bags myself. Quickly then I turned back to open the door when a young man, short for his age, was looking in and smiling and waving. He appeared happy to help me. He peered in the back windows and waved to the kids, as well. I stepped out, shaken up a bit. He had Down syndrome. Why was my heart pounding? Why did I suddenly feel guilty about him helping me with the bags? I greeted him, opened the trunk and started to reach for the bags. He piped in to ask if all three bags were for him. For him? He acted as if hauling my donation bags was the most important thing he would do all day. I agreed that yes all the bags were for him. He grabbed them, thanked me three or four times, smiled, placed the bags inside the door and then waved one more time from behind the small window. Lou gave him a great big wave and commented how nice he was compared to all the other Goodwill workers. I waved and drove away. Still my heart was pounding and I was thinking what's happening to me?

As I drove home I started thinking how I would have responded to this situation a year and a half ago, you know, before Little J came along. One thing's for sure, my heart wouldn't have been pounding like today and I probably would've been feeling a little sorry for him having to work at Goodwill collecting donations every day. I know I would've thought about his living arrangements. Did he live with his parents? In a group home? But once I'd driven away I wouldn't have had another thought about him. I'm not proud of my past response, but it's the honest truth. Now, fast forward to today. My pounding heart came from embarrassment about my close-mindedness of past years. That young man was confident, conscientious and positively friendly. I found myself filling up with motherly pride. He obviously loves his job and takes it very seriously, not something to be sorry for, but proud of, a wonderful role model. And I found myself fast forwarding Little J's life to days filled with work and friends and life. A life to be proud of.

At one point this morning I felt a little guilty for letting him help me with the bags. He's the one with the special need, shouldn't I be helping him? Obviously not, because he knew just what he was doing, helping me in more ways than one.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


What were we thinking? A puppy named Jake. Right now, with all that's going on. But who can resist such cuteness. Look at him. Look at those spotted feet. I just love them. He's been keeping us busy with kennel building, dog house painting, piddle clean up on my new floor, nightly wimpering, and of course, trips to the pet store for all kinds of chew toys. Did you know that puppies will chew most anything? Clean underwear, dirty underwear, flip flops, pillows, purse straps, shoe strings and whatever happens to lay in its path. Lou has been in her glory with all the puppy shenanigans. She just loves animals.

And with two little ones with J names, the puppy and the baby, our tongues have been in a constant twist.