Monday, March 31, 2008

Birthday season!

I fear that this blog may turn into a showcase for my cake decorating hobby! However, it is birthday season for me -- all five of my nieces and nephews have birthdays in March and April. (Of course my kids are 2 weeks apart, sandwiching Halloween!) So, in the past 2 weeks, I've not been getting a lot of things done around the house that I'm supposed to because I've been preparing and decorating cakes.

The first is a Shamu cake. I admit, I went a bit overboard. But I'm always looking to try something new and a friend sent me to a link of her kids' whale birthday cake, so I had to try something similar:

It turned out great (except that the tail had to be held together with a toothpick because I broke it and it had to be held up by straws because it was too heavy.) The body of the whale is made of cheerio-marshmallow treat covered in frosting and marshmallow fondant. The tail is entirely fondant. (This was the new part for me -- I need to practice this more.) Molding the cereal treat turned out to be a great way to add lightweight structural elements, so I'm anxious to try this with different designs in the future. My niece loved it, as can be seen in this photo:

The second cake was for my other niece (who turned 14!!) She had no specific request, so I made something pretty that I wanted to try.

The new part for me was the basket weave, which turned out to be relatively easy. The flowers and band are mediocre, but I was kind of in a rush to finish (as usual) The dome of the hat is done with half a ball pan, which I hope to use in the future for lots of cool cakes (including ball cakes.) My sister-in-law didn't get to decorate for Easter because the family was so busy that week, so she put out the Easter decorations for my niece's party. So the hat looked sweetly like an Easter bonnet in the middle of the grass and egg decorations on the table.

I also made some dark chocolate zuchini mini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my mom to serve at a tea she hosted today. Those turned out awesome! I'll post the recipe for that shortly and let you know if the guests liked them. (I know I did!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Potty Training

Why is it that everything I read online about potty training indicates that parents feel that their children are potty training really late (and they're really embarrassed about it) when their kids are like 3 or 3 1/2?? My kid's 4 1/2 and he's just finally starting to make some progress! I know that he's late, based on average, but aren't there other kids in the same boat? I'm fairly certain that it's a power struggle and he is completely physically capable of using the potty on time, every time. He also hates anything new and different -- like having to use the potty anywhere away from home. He'd rather hold it all day or pee in his diaper (because that's what a pullup is, right? A diaper?)
And while I'm on the topic of diapers, what's the deal with night-time diapers? They only make the extra absorbant ones for kids up to a certain size! (And that size is most surely smaller than my son.) The Huggies overnight diapers are great! But they only go up to size 5. The overnight "underwear" doesn't hold much. I got really excited when I discovered that huggies is now making on overnight (extra absorbant) version of their pullups... but... wait... here it comes... not in their largest size! Why not? Because there's apparently no demand for that. Ugh! Owen likes to save most of his peeing for nighttime, and he can really fill a diaper! The size 5 overnights have turned out to be the best at holding it all in, even though they're too small. Although I recently discovered online that they make inserts that you can put in the diaper to add asorbancy! What does it say about my life that learning this information was one of the highlights of my week? Yippee! I'll have to order them online (because no store is going to carry them) and let you know how it goes.

When, oh when, will these diaper days end?? It's been a long messy road... Remember the days of meconium (Steve changed all those :-)) and the yellow fountain in the face (boys only)? Oh, but with the girl (and I know this is not specific to girls, but my boy didn't do it) it was poop up the back. Messy, smelly disgusting poop channeled up the butt crack into the back of the onsie (and oddly, almost none in the actual diaper!) Oh and remember the first time we had cake with a lot of food coloring in the frosting? I was so shocked by the Lofty-the-Crane blue poop that Owen thought there was something wrong! And then the poop starts getting very adult-like. Oh joy. This is when you really start to wonder why you're still changing the kid's diaper! And these days, in the struggle to not be potty trained, there's wearing underwear at home and having little nuggets fall out of the underwear onto the floor. I just love those!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another of Ann's funny quizzes

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

It's almost right on -- I'm not from North Jersey, but central, coastal jersey. Pretty cool quiz!

Executive meetings

(Side note: When I first started this blog, I planned to post to it as often as every day. But I've found that, not only is it sometimes hard to find the time, but sometimes I sit down to write something and I have nothing interesting to say!)

My husband and I are constantly frustrated that we have lists and lists of things to do around the house and are disgusted by the mess, and yet nothing ever seems to get done. I generally find that, even when I find some free time, I'm so overwhelmed by the amount there is to do, I don't even know where to begin. So I don't. And even when my mother-in-law comes over to play with the kids so I can get things done, the kids are a distraction. So hubby got an idea. Taking care of our kids and home is my job and his second job. At his other job, they hold weekly executive meetings to make sure that everyone knows what they're doing and staying on track. It keeps everyone accountable. His idea was that we should have weekly executive meetings at home. That way we set aside time to talk about what's going on in the house, set and reset priorities, and assign action items, for which we will be accountable at the next meeting. (Plus we can add agenda items that are fun, like watch a movie together, or visit the bedroom!) So far we've had one meeting. I have a long list of action items, but we tried to make each one a do-able chunk, and having a deadline really helps me to get things done.

I'll let you know how things are going after a few more meetings....

Monday, March 17, 2008

My pirate name is:

Bloody Bess Bonney

Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sweet Hobby

Recently (since my children were born) I've taken up a new hobby. Cake decorating. It started with wanting to have special cakes for my children's birthdays, and then I realized that I enjoyed doing it and getting the positive feedback. I've taken one cake decorating class which has given me enough skills to go forth and wing-it with whatever I want to do. The first problem with this hobby is that, when I have a cake to do for someone, it turns in to an all-consuming project until it's done. I usually stay up way too late finishing them up. But I still love to do it! The second problem is, well, the obvious. A lot of sugar. Frosting for the licking. Trimmed off cake pieces. You get the idea... yum!
This week, I took on two projects. First, my son's school is having a fundraising auction tomorrow. Everyone's supposed to bring food. Plus my auction donation is to make a custom cake for each of two winners. So, I'm bringing mini cupcakes to eat and a giant cupcake for each of the two winners to take home. The theme of the party is "Under the Sea." They came out at least as good as I hoped they would!

I spent two whole evenings just making the sea creatures from royal icing. (Royal icing hardens to basically a sugar candy.)

The second project is a cake for my nephew's 11th birthday. I was reminded of his birthday on Monday and decided to go ahead and offer to make the cake. He's having a slumber party with five of his buddies. Lately he's into being cool. Or, should I say, avoiding anything that might not be cool. He's getting a skateboard for his birthday so I decided to make a skateboard cake:

Now I need some sleep!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Today I came home from a day out cleaning my son's school (it's a co-op, and I have to do it :-P) and I was presented with a treasure map! I was led on a treasure hunt through the house and upstairs (with the excited children leading the way) to the big lump on my bed.  It was real treasure!  I am writing you this blog entry on my brand new MacBook!  Yes, I'm making the jump from PC to Mac.  There's a lot more setting up to do and a wireless router to buy, but I'm looking forward to being able to blog from all over the house!  I'm also hoping to do a lot more with photos and videos and setting up a web site.  

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Raising open-minded children

I have a funny story about my 4-year-old son. Let me preface this by saying that about a week before this happened, when the kids were trying to get me to do multiple things at one time, I said, "I'm only one mommy! You only get one mommy. Oh, but some people have 2 mommies, but then they don't usually have a daddy." We then proceded with whatever it was that we were doing. Now for the story:
Owen was with his dad in the Children's Museum. (I was off with the other one elsewhere.) They were having a snack in the cafeteria. Owen spotted 2 women together with 3 children. He said, "Look Daddy, there's a family with two mommies!" And Dad said, "Isn't that great that a family can have two mommies?" Owen replied, enthusiastically, "Yeah it is!!" Then Dad pointed out that it might actually be two families together and the daddies just were working or something, and Owen said, "oh, yeah."
I love that I'm raising a son who can be open-minded and accepting!