Monday, March 23, 2009

red velvet cake, people... red velvet cake!

Yeah, I finally did it! Making a red velvet cake has been a far off goal that I've had for some time but this past weekend gave me the perfect opportunity (wow, that sentence was ugly...). Anyway, Cams put on the baker girl uniform and off we went!
The scary thing about this cake is the crazy amount of red food coloring (1 oz.) that you pour into the batter... it has to be unhealthy, although once you commit to baking a cake you've pretty much thrown health concerns out the window.
A funny thing happened while making the cream cheese frosting. I was supposed to make a batch and a half of the frosting, all the reviews I had read suggested making one and a half times the given amount to properly cover the three layer cake. Well, since math isn't my strong suit I accidently TRIPLED the batch...not exactly a terrible problem to have if you ask me...

So what was the occasion for this cake and crazy amount of frosting? Why, Nanny's birthday of course! Happy Birthday, Mom!

I just had to throw this picture in... kids + goggles= funny!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the motorhome

Hello again! Sorry it's been 11 days since my last post. The days seem to blur together so easily. First I have to start with this picture: how cute are these girls?

Ok, got that out of my system. Next, a report on last weekend. Darren brought the motorhome home so we could take it to the beach for a fire night. The kids LOVE the motorhome. They gladly helped him clean it up. load it up and gas it up so we could go to Avila. Even Hayden got in on the excitement.

We picked up our friends, Tim & Corina, or as Cameron likes to say, "Tim & co-WEENA". Our kids LOVE Tim & Corina. So we were off to a good start. When we arrived Darren made his amazing avocado salsa (it's not my place to divulge the recipe, I'm going to let him share his secret recipe with the world) and we started snacking. Then we played, then we made fire. Cameron loves fire. Not in a pyro kind of way, just in an excited little girl kind of way. We roasted hot dogs and ate way too many chips & dip. Just as it was time to roast marshmallows a habor patrol gentleman drove onto the beach and started extinguishing fires. I'm not kidding, he drove to the end of the beach, stopped, talked to the couple there and then pulled out a fire extinguisher and put out their fire, right in front of them! We watched this transpire and wondered if he would do that to us... to our kids! He stopped at our fire and kindly asked us to put ours out as well, explaining that they only allow fires when the metal rings are out on the beach. We dutifully poured sand on our fire and then made sad faces, pictured here:
It was still light enough to play outside for awhile so we didn't let the lack of fire ruin our night. We played a few rounds of Whoonu and then headed for home. While driving back Darren and I talked about where we would go the next day. In the morning the kids headed out to play in the motorhome in their pajamas and we decided there was no need to drive anywhere, they were perfectly content to play parked right outside our own house!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Just wanted to show a few projects to you. Yesterday we took a few over ripe potatoes, cut them up and started a little water garden. The hope is that the eyes will sprout a little more and roots will grow down into the water. Then we'll plant our own potato plants. Or, more realistically, the said potatoes will sprout, turn into a stinky mess, get planted and then be promptly forgotten by yours truly, the brown-thumbed gardener. Place your bets...

Also, I've been checking out a blog called Art Projects for Kids (right here on blogger) and I finally got my act together and did one of the projects with the kids. Here are our kitties. Cute! The blogger is an art teacher and she posts instructions for her weekly projects that she teaches in her class. Jason can follow the directions pretty well and Cameron tags along with a lot of help from mom.

And finally, a few random thoughts:

1. We are running out of wooden spoons! Somehow, the little fellas decided that 12 and a half years of use was enough and they are all bowing out of the game and heading for wooden spoon retirement in the trash. I'm also losing other utensils at an astonishing pace. Either my kitchen skills are brutal or it's time to reload the drawer.

2. I discovered Nutella. Well, not technically, but I discovered that it is a very yummy spread for graham crackers. And it makes me look cool and sophisticated when I put it in my shopping cart. Someday I'll class it up a bit and make some crepes for the chocolate hazelnut spread. Until then, just know that I am a cosmopolitan girl and very sophisticated... me and my graham crackers.

3. Who thought that a clear vacuum canister was a good idea? It's disgusting. It makes me neurotic and keeps me vacuuming constantly so I can get all the stuff I didn't know existed on the carpet.

4. Jason has a corny sense of humor. This weekend I asked him to make cards for his AWANA leaders for Leader Appreciation night. He drew a dump truck and wrote "I've had loads of fun!" Get it? I couldn't stop laughing... I guess that means I have a corny sense of humor too.

Monday, March 9, 2009

school days

"Gee, Jen, it's been awhile since your last post. Where have you been?"

Over a week ago Darren came home from a day of meetings and errands with a little surprise for the whole gang. (I know, I just used the words "gee" and "the gang". We recently finished a book about some kids set in the 1950's so it's been a little "Leave it to Beaver"-ish in my head.) The thing about Darren is that he's an impulse buyer and some days those impulses are really fun! Wii Fit is that game with the balance board, it allows you to do yoga, strength training, aerobics and balance games right in your living room. The board also acts as a scale and keeps track of your fitness progress, helps you set goals and acts as a coach. Some days Wii Fit is downright snarky and gives you a hard time if your weight climbs up. Some days Wii Fit is my friend and I love it. Everyday, Wii Fit gives a chance to realize how uncoordinated and unbalanced I am! We've also discovered that Jason is a running machine and Darren has got remarkable dance abilities. I'm hoping to figure out how to get a video out to the masses... maybe I'll call the guys from You Tube and see if they can come out t film it...

In other news, Cameron has been participating in school. She has decided that she wants to do school work (I know this sounds familiar... her interest in "kindergarten" faded after 3 days so this is different). She sits down with us at the table every day to do workbooks. She knows how to spell her name but refuses to learn how to form the letters. Instead she scribbles at the top of every page while reciting "C-A-M-E-R-O-N! There, that's my name!" It turns out that she just knows a lot of stuff. I never taught her how to spell her name or which hand is right and which is left but somehow she just surprises us. I guess she's really paying attention when she seems to be in her own world.

We're studying ancient China right now so Jason and I have decided that we'll probably need to eat at Panda Express a few times to really appreciate the culture and get an understanding for all things Chinese. It's a tough subject but we'll tackle it one bite of orange chicken at a time!