Thursday, May 21, 2009

Double Duty

For any of you who know me, you know that I love to bake cakes. Well, I don't necessarily love the baking, but I love the decorating! I'm starting to like the baking too, as I learn to be more patient. Before, I just wanted to hurry and get the cake made so I could decorate it, ya 'know? It would be like a sketch artist to have to make their paper before they could actually sketch something. But I am now seeing the beauty in the actual baking part of it and it helps that I have some fantastic tried and true recipes. I skip the whole "from scratch" concept and just "doctor up" cake mixes with recipes from the cake doctor, Ann Byrn. Not because I'm totally opposed or scared to bake from scratch, but because these doctored cake mixes are sooooo good!! I take a lot of care in to how the cake actually tastes as well as looks because people don't want to eat dry, tasteless cakes with frosting that tastes like a stick of butter dipped in sugar. (That's how I feel about grocery store bakery cakes). The cakes actually taste like they were made from scratch but are super easy. My favorite is her "Darn Good Chocolate Cake" which is made from a Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix and has chocolate chips in the batter. Yum! I love to pair it with a whipped chocolate ganache filling and whipped cream frosting. So good! That's exactly what I did yesterday for our Little Flowers party. And for those who don't like chocolate, I also made a vanilla yogurt cake made with, you guessed it, vanilla yogurt! It was so moist and delicious, another wonderful recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor.
This weekend I will be making a cake for my Nana's 80th birthday. She loves strawberries and her favorite dessert is Strawberry Shortcake. So, the obvious would be to make a strawberry cake. I'm using a plain cake mix but adding fresh strawberries, coconut and pecans. Wanna guess where I got the recipe? From the Cake Mix Doctor, of course. I hope it's delicious!
Here's my Little Flower cake. I was running late for the party (who, me?) and put the flowers on when we got there, so it's a bit sloppy looking. But the girl's loved it. Chatterbox helped put the flowers on and did a great job! And here she is with her certificate of completion.

Having to make two cakes in one week while trying to manage a household and take care of a 5, 3 and 1 year old who has an earache, along with many other things happening in the week can be a bit stressful to say the least! (Yes, I actually offered to make these cakes. But when I said I'd do the Little Flowers, I didn't realize it would be the same week as Nana's party) And may even make you a little crazy and you'll find yourself doing things like this to all your cake ingredients:
I'll let you know how Nana's cake turns out.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mr. Tickles Learns to Paint

The kids made Mother's Day pots to put flowers in for some of our favorite mothers. (They painted styrofoam cups). Little Miss Chatterbox and Mr. Funny had so much fun that I decided Mr. Tickles needed to give it a try! So, I took off his clothes, grabbed some paint and paper and took him outside. He LOVED it!! I guess it's in his blood. But then again, who wouldn't love to paint outside on a warm, lovely May day? All went well until the older kids decided they wanted to paint outside too. Then Chatterbox decided to paint on the deck and when I went inside to fill the watering can up with water to wash it off, I came back out to find that she also decided to paint Mr. Tickles. Head to toe. With dark blue paint. So, I had to put him in the bath (which he hates) and there was blue paint all over the tub which Rock had just cleaned for me. He was gonna love this. Chatterbox also managed to still get paint all over the table even though I put newspaper down. Yes, she is my oldest. But makes more of a mess than the two boys combined. Anyway, Mr. Tickles was "tickled" by his painting experience and I made cute little foot and hand prints of all the kids as a little Mother's Day gift to myself. :)

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Mr. Funnys Trip to the Allergist

On Tuesday, Mr. Funny and I went to see the allergist to find out what might be causing his eczema. We went to see them. They happen to have a location right down the street so it was very convenient. They share an office with another practice and are only in the area once a week. When I finally found the building, we went inside and not sure we were in the right place I said, "Hi, we're looking for the allergist?" Mr. Funny did one of those looks he commonly does where he scrunches up one side of his lip along with squinting one eye as if his eyebrow and lip were magnetically attracted to each other. Ya' know, like the Elvis look. He did the look and said, "We're looking for the elevator?" Ignoring Mr. Funny's question but laughing at his cuteness, the nurse said to me, "This is it." Then Mr. Funny animated his look even more so and asked, "This is the elevator??" If you know Mr. Funny, you know that he is not a quiet child. In fact, you would even be correct to say that this child yells when he talks. So, of course the whole waiting room is looking at him and they are all laughing and telling me how cute Mr. Funny is. I get this a lot. And don't worry, I explained to him that we had found the allergist, not the elevator. We sat across from another mother and her daughter who had just gotten her arm pricked and was waiting 20 minutes before going back to see the results. Her mom was reading a story from one of the Highlights magazines. Mr. Funny wanted to see too! So, he went right over and stood next to them and listened to the story. At one part, the mother asked her daughter to count the worms in the story. After her daughter counted, Benny counted too. The mom said, "Good job! You're very smart!" Mr. Funny smiled big and shot that dimple at me. Then he came back over and sat with me. He noticed the girl had a lollipop on her lap. "She has a lollipop" he stated to the mom. "Yes, she does." "Do you have more in your purse?" Wow. I never know what to do in these situations. See, unlike my two oldest children who have no trouble talking to anyone (as you can see from this example), I DO have trouble. I'm just never sure of what to say. So, I said nothing. The mom went on to tell him no, she didn't have any in her purse and that her daughter got one from the nurse. I told Mr. Funny that he would probably get one too. They called us back and he got measured and weighed.

Sorry for the blurry picture. I didn't realize the flash was off and that causes the pictures to blur sometimes.
I brought my camera to take pictures for Little Miss Chatterbox. She really wanted to come. When she found out she was staying home with Dad, she said, "But I've never been to an allergist before and I want to see what they do! Please let me come! Pleeeeeeeease!" She's my future doctor. So, I brought the camera. But when it was time for the tests, I was holding Mr. Funny and couldn't take any pictures. Sorry Chatterbox! You'll have to wait 'til med school.
After talking to the doctor and showing him Funnys eczema (which he stated wasn't "that bad") he explained to me that they were going to test him for common animal, mold, pollen, and food allergies. We went back to the room where the nurse was and she told Mr. Funny to hold out his arm. He was in my lap, and she held on to his hand. After she started, Mr. Funny was watching every move she made with his inquisitive eyes. Then she said, "Well, I guess I can let go of my death grip. He's doing a great job!" He asked her, "Am I being good?" She said, "Yes!" Then looked at me and said most kids try to yank their arm away and cry. She asked Funny if it hurt. He simply stated, "Nope." I told her he gets it a lot worse at home from his older sister. "That explains it," she said. After 24 pricks, she gave us a timer which was set for 20 minutes and sent us back to the waiting room. But not before offering Funny a lollipop! He was so excited. He picked out a cherry pop and when I asked him if he wanted me to open it, he said he was going to save it for the ride home. Hearing this, the nurse said he could pick another one to eat now. So, he picked a cotton candy one too.

He did a great job waiting for those 20 minutes, being very careful not to touch his arm and blowing on it if it itched. At one point, he looked at me as he sucked on his lollipop, then looked at the other one in his hand that he was saving. Then he looked at me again and said, "Mom, you can have this other lollipop. I don't have to have one for the ride home." I thanked him and gave him a hug but told him to go ahead and save it for later. After the 20 minutes was up, we went back to find that all the tests were negative. So, the doctor said, "Let's test for dust. That's pretty common." Why they didn't do it the first time, I'm not sure. But anyway, he got pricked one more time and we were told to wait another 20 minutes. After getting back to the waiting room Funny said, "I didn't get a lollipop this time." When the nurse came back out he ran over to her and said, "Could I have another one lollipop?" She asked me if it was alright and I said yes. He came running back over with a huge smile on his face saying, "Mom! This one's for you!" Is he sweet or what? I really enjoyed being able to spend some time alone with him. I got to give him lots of hugs and kisses and tell him how special he is and how proud of him I am. He really is a good kid.

After the second 20 minutes, we went back and that test was also negative. Mr. Funny's not allergic to anything!! Hooray!! Turns out his eczema is just inherited and he has dry skin. The doctor gave us a prescription for a steroid cream to use when the eczema gets really bad and advice to use a daily moisturizer. I took Mr. Funny to the store and let him pick a movie out from the Red Box and he was as happy as could be! This doctors trip was a lot easier than I had dreaded it to be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week

It was brought to my attention Monday that this week is "Teacher Appreciation Week".
I heard someone pull up outside the house and when I went to look I saw that it was a Donahoe's Florist van. Flowers? For me? Who could they be from?
A nice lady came to the door and gave me a beautiful bouquet of
pink and purple flowers

sitting in a precious tea cup.

I opened the card and found that they were from my wonderful and thoughtful parents! The note attached said, "To our favorite teacher. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week." How sweet of them!!! Thank you, Mom and Hev! I love my flowers! And I think I just might need to start a tea cup collection because I love them so much. When summer starts the kids and I are going to have Tea Time every afternoon and I can use my new tea cup! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all you teachers out there!

I think the person who typed this out should NOT thank their teacher. Hahaha. Just Kidding. That's Front Royal for 'ya.