Thursday, April 21, 2011

Delicious Hot Smoes

Yes, I know, I took a line from Toy Story 2.
But really. After Big Girl J's fourth birthday bash, she requested to toast marshmallows. Unfortunately that evening the winds picked up and being high fire danger season, no need to mention the on going and recently put out wild fires. So even just a fire in the pit out back wasn't such a good idea. We stalled her for a day, and the winds did not subside. That night we did the next best thing. Fire in the fire place, marshmallows on BBQ skewers and an outdoor table cloth on the floor.
This picture melts my heart.... just like they are melting marshmallows!
I had a tray of the fixin's right behind them. So the mallows came of hot and I was ready. This was not the first s'more experience for anyone in my family. I am happy to offer a s'more at the youngest possible age.

Two s'mores later, marshmallow and chocolate traces on the white couch and table, I dunked the girls in a bath and sent them to bed. What a wonderful way to wrap up Big Girl J's birthday celebration week!

On a side note, still about the Birthday Girl, I didn't show off the cupcakes we made for her preschool class.
Got the idea from the cutest cupcake book from my wonderful Wisest Aunt! The fish were made from circus peanuts!

 Really, she wanted to help this much making her cupcakes, no need to reference child labor laws!
 She did get to enjoy her hard work when the cupcakes were done!
So did Little Miss O!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Catch up

I have been a bit on the busy side. Not complaining, just putting the blog on the back table.
Getting the girls' Easter picture taken today, that in itself is exciting but very concerning to me. Our Christmas pictures turned out OK, but Little Miss O put up a bit of a fight. Here's hoping it goes well!
My seedlings are turning into plants and doing very well. The tomato plants, the super snap peas and pumpkin plants are all going strong. The banana peppers, red peppers and egg plant are just starting to show themselves. I planted melon and watermelon yesterday to finish off the tray where I started the red peppers. Also got the lettuce, carrots and strawberry plants planted directly in the garden. We aren't turning on the sprinklers till next week. We had planned to turn them on this weekend, but the extended forecast showed a bit of rain every day this week. So we thought that seemed pointless. So we will wait.
In playing outside yesterday I got a little carried away and cleaned out the back yard flower beds. The front beds got a good hair cut last fall, so there isn't as much debre in there. However the back garden was a mess. So I de-debred it!
I have a cake to make for a friend's daughter's first communion next week.
Easter is this weekend. Cousin C and the girls did make paper mache eggs last week and hope to have them painted tomorrow! Pictures to follow, of course, with some of these projects the pictures can not been taken during the project, as my hands are all too busy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something's Fishy

Big Girl J has recently gotten bigger! She turn 4! Last weekend we celebrated with all of her preschool friends and our friends and family. That actually made for a very big crowd! Seems Big Girl J has more friends than mommy and daddy!
We do not have a large house, just a large yard. So the weather of any decide BBQ we host is very important. The children don't do very well crammed into one room, that seem to turn into a small tornado and just tear up the whole room. So having a week of questionable weather for Saturday, we were grateful when the weather dude said Saturday should be the best day of the weekend with a break from the wind and chance of showers. Well, some how, weather dude turned out correct, at least for the time while the birthday party was happening.
I love smoking meat, I love brisket. However time barely offers that option. So when we find a reason to invite over more than a few friends, we buy brisket and smoke it! 35 pounds of brisket later.... The kids had a blast and the adults enjoyed the food.
Oh yes, on to the cake! Big Girl J had decided on a fish themed party a few weeks prior. I had decided on a cake 'style' a few weeks prior also. The problem with making a cake for myself, I mean my family. I tend to cut corners. Well don't let me get ahead of myself.
I wanted to try a technique called color flow. It is basically royal icing, powdered sugar and water with a color flow powder mixture, that dries rock hard. I printed coloring book pictures of fish found with searching just that on the internet.
I put wax paper over the printed pictures, outlined it with a thicker mixture of the color flow icing. Let it dry for about a day, then filled in the outline with a much thinner mixture of the color flow. The thin icing kind of floods the outline. You can see where some of it went over the outline, but this was my first try. Unfortunately, my cake tried to step over this pan with no success and stepped on a few pieces, after they had dried. So they shattered :( My fault, I had her food on the counter and didn't put these away that night. So I save the three or four that survived and whipped up another batch.

I was a bit happier with round two. I was able to make them a bit thicker and I think they looked better over all. Now onto the cake and where I cut corners. When pre-stacking the cakes I realized the base cake was not thick enough in comparison to the top 2 tiers. So I decided to make the cake a little off set, maybe like a coral reef, yeah that's it, I'll off set each cake so that it will look like a coral reef!
Unfortunately, I didn't have any dowel rods to support stacking the cake, so it began to lean, and just before cutting I was certain it would fall if left up to gravity much longer!
This picture was taken prior to the big lean. Of course when the cake tastes good, it doesn't matter if it leans....
The aftermath.... And about 2 minutes later that chocolate cake was gone!