Sunday, October 27, 2013

evie's 9th birthday

Evie is a huge fan of cooking shows.  Well, pretty much everything Food Network related.  Her favorites are The Pioneer Woman and Barefoot Contessa.  Though the latter shocked her last week when she said she didn't like cilantro.  I distinctly remember hearing E mutter under her breath, "Well!  The Pioneer Woman doesn't think it tastes like a weed."  Even though the Contessa has an aversion to cilantro, it's her cake and icing recipe Evie wanted to try out for her birthday this year.  In honor of all things cooking I told Evie I would do a "food" post and take pictures of all my ingredients, etc. a la Pioneer Woman.  (Though don't expect a post of her caliber.)  I learned one big thing about taking pictures as I cook.  It takes FOREVER.  I could have knocked this recipe out in about an hour total: mixing, baking, icing, done.  Instead it took me like 4 hours.  So don't expect things like this very often.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Icing

For the cake~

Cream together,
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
3 c. sugar
Add the zest of 1 lemon
And beat in 6 eggs, 1 at a time
Add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 c. sour cream

Sift together,
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. corn starch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined.

This recipe will make enough batter for a half-sheet pan (approx. 12x18", 1 1/4" deep) but Evie wanted cupcakes.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and be prepared if you make cupcakes, to have a lot!  
(And don't over bake your first batch like I did.)

Cool and ice.

For the icing~

Melt, 24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips & 1 1/2 c. heavy cream over a double boiler.
Stir until melted and shiny.
Off the heat add, 2 T. corn syrup & 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Let the chocolate mix cool (so take it off the double boiler and set it on the counter) and then beat in 1/2 stick butter till fluffy.  There is no picture of this step as I let my chocolate mix cool, but when I added the butter it just stayed loose like ganache.  Not sure what happened, but I noticed the extra icing I stored in the fridge thickened up nicely.  So you could make this ahead and let it thicken in the fridge if it doesn't do that right away for you.

Since my icing was so liquidly I used the "dip and swirl" method to ice the cupcakes.  They turned out alright, with this cute little curl on the top.

I found this cute set of cupcake liners and princess cutouts in the sale bin at Sur la Tab, so that's how we decorated the cupcakes.

Evie asked for ribs, mashed potatoes, biscuits and green beans for dinner.  The kid has never liked "kid" food - hotdogs and mac & cheese were never her "thing" but butter, sour cream and anything with fat, she's been a fan of.  It's a good thing she's naturally skinny.

We gave Evie the gift of pierced ears for her birthday and she got jammies for her American Girl doll from the Grandparents Mackensen and some cash to go shoppin' from the Grandparents Earley!  
She's a happy, happy girl!

liam's 6th birthday

With Katie's birthday in August, Liam and I in September and Evie's in October- there are a lot of birthdays right in a row over here.  I do like to blog about each and everyone of them, as some day I plan on printing my blog by year and having them as memory books.  (I tried making scrap books and was very successful... for the first 5 years of Katie's life...)  So better late than never, right?  Here is a post about Liam's 6th Birthday!

We had a little pool party for Liam, with just a few friends and their families attending.  It was so low key, we had a cake and a pool and that was that.  Fabulous!  Here are some shots from the day.

Our fabulous neighborhood slide!

1, 2, 3 JUMP!

Take #2

Cake & Presents
(Liam has some wonderful buds who blessed him with some great presents!)

Monday, September 2, 2013


I am really good at purging.  Clothes, toys, all the accumulative crap that piles up on my desk/the kitchen table/countertops/the master bedroom dresser....  However, I have to not be able to SEE the kids closets or said surface space before I get the motivation to clean up.  I noticed Friday night that I had a stack of papers from school already and it's only the first week.  And considering that Liam was the only one actually doing any school work and bringing his papers home, this is not a good thing.

I am one part extremely organized and one part very lazy.  I'm the person who runs around frantically cleaning her guest bathroom, dusting and vacuuming the floor before you come over, but I organize all my silverware when I put it IN the dishwasher.

In this spirit, I decided to ignore that fact that I should get some stacking bins and label them, one for each kid to deposit papers in every afternoon for me to sort every night and instead clean out my closet.  Avoidance is my middle name.

As I have been trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to lose the 50lbs. I put on while preggers with Finn 2 years ago, I have been saving bins full of clothes that I wore before I got pregnant in the hopes I will some day fit into them.  Last night I decided it just wasn't going to happen.

Somehow (cough, cough) along my journey of 4 pregnancies my body changed.  A lot.  And so did the clothes.  NONE of my old jeans have any type of stretch to them.  There is no "give" in my beloved size 10 Gap 1969 Ultra Low Waist Skinny Jeans.  And I need give.  I will never be "skinny" and while that's ok with me, my thighs do need to fit into my pant legs all the way.

*As a side note, I'm sitting here thinking about how much weight I need to lose before I get back to my "pre-Finn" scale number and it's only 12lbs.  When did that happen!?!?  Though the goal is another 15 after that.*

But back to what I was saying.  I tried on 30, THIRTY pairs of pants last night.  Well, some of them were shorts and a few were capris. Oh and when I say pants, I don't mean just jeans.  But still.  30.

Some were too small, like I can't get my calf in too small.  I mean I've got large calves, but really?  I was either a lot thinner than I remember, or someone was NOT telling me I looked like I had painted my pants on 3 years ago.

And some were too big.  Which is always a nice problem to have.

I also cleaned out shirts and dresses and I sorted through my never ending assortment of sweaters.  I'm not really sure where they come from, my sweaters.  I secretly think they knit new sweaters when I'm sleeping and that's why I seem to have soooo many even after purging a bunch last fall.  Though in reality, I probably just have a ton left over still after living in the land of snow for 15 years.

After sorting and stacking and putting some things into bags for Goodwill and pulling a few items to sell on eBay, I threw all my "new" clothes in the laundry and washed them (and a bunch of my other stuff.)  Which brings me to a whole other type of purging.  The accidental kind.  You know, the type where you forget your "lay-flat-to-dry" top just went in the dryer....

"I thought I was losing weight, but it turned out my sweatpants had just come untied."

Monday, August 26, 2013

first day of school 2013

A mother sits on her couch in silence.  "Do you hear that?  That's the sound of September."

It's the first day of school!  And while my house isn't totally silent, Finn is still here with me; Katie, Evie and Liam are all gone.

Jason and I took Evie and Liam to the school this morning and hugged them goodbye in their classes.  Liam did really well, no crying, though he did admit he was a bit nervous.  And even Evie went bravely into her class without us persuading her to go through the door.

Finn and I walked Katie to her bus stop and I gave her a big hug (which I'm sure embarrassed her) and then I suggested she go wait with the other 4 kids already there.  She sort of looked at me like, really?  But slowly started their direction.  I was happy to hear one of the other girls welcome Katie and introduce herself!

After all that, Finn and I went and had some fun!  He cried for a bit this morning once he realized "Tatie, Feefee and Weeum" were gone.  We visited the fish in their tanks and the gerbils in their cages at Pet Smart and then we had tacos.  Finn loves tacos!  At least that's what he told the guy who delivered them to our table.  :)  

Our devotional was so appropriate for the first day of school!  Our verse was Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  And the devo, written as though Christ is speaking went on to say, "I know that trying something new can be frightening.  But I also know you, and I understand you completely.  You can trust Me to wrap you up in My love - a love that never ends."

Katie, 6th grade

Evie, 3rd grade

Liam, kindergarten

Honestly, I DO miss them when they are gone.  But I don't cry about it either.


katie's 11th birthday

Katie turned 11 on August 17th and to celebrate, we had a few young ladies over the weekend before to have pizza, swim and then to go see "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters".  Katie is so full of expression and enthusiasm!  I love that she gets excited about everything.  She was thrilled she blew all of her candles out in one breath and you can tell how she felt about her presents.  On Katie's actual birthday we went and got her ears pierced.  (We attempted that last year for her birthday, but it didn't happen.)  If the gal piercing hadn't been so quick, Katie might actually be walking around with only her right ear pierced as it was....

images of fun

I received a new camera for Christmas and while I haven't had a chance to work on my skills (f-stop this, aperture that...) I have found the action setting to be fantastic!  The kids are constantly moving and I hated the fact my old camera was soo slooow.  My pictures were always blurry or I missed the action entirely.  We went outside one evening this summer for me to play around with the high speed set up and I captured a few images of joy.  Now, if I could just figure out if my editing software will let me copy and paste images of Liam running up the slide so all 4 progressive images are in one...