Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday to me!!!

I have the best husband in the world. Sorry ladies, but it's true. He really is the best. See those beauties he gave me on my birthday? It was a big one, too. It was the big 3-0. To be honest, I'm actually glad to be turning 30. It feels like another milestone. Almost like a rite of passage.

Oh, and those weren't the only thing my hubby got me. Look at these other two beauties!
I finally have my own circular saw!!! Wahoo!!

And jigsaw!!! Yes!
My facebook status that day was "I was so excited I screamed like a SAHM at the opening of Twilight!"
Okay, maybe it wasn't that funny, but I really screamed loudly! It was so exciting! I just can't wait to bust those babies out and put them to work!
Oh, and my mom's first response when I told her what I got and how excited I was: "Wow! How girly!"
And my aunts response: "Oh, good! It'll go great with what I got you." Which happened to be a Home Depot gift card.
Apparently I need to spend more time at a mall.


Remember that beautiful brand new laminate we put down just a few months ago? Well, I wasn't as careful as I should have been when I was painting the kitchen cabinets, and so there were a few mishaps. Like when I didn't realize I had paint on my foot and I went chasing after a little one or something silly like that. You know, the normal kind of things that could happen to anyone.

Well, it meant I had more work to do once I finished my cabinets (which still aren't done, by the way. Don't ask. I'll just get mad again, but I promise to do a post about it as soon as they're all done -- if they ever get there!). I learned this cool trick from a neighbor do remove things off paint. Just grab some cotton balls and some rubbings alcohol and start rubbing away! I was kinda worried about it causing damage to the laminate, though, so I made sure to mop everything up once I finished so the rubbing alcohol couldn't stay on for too long (I know, I know. It's rubbing alcohol. It evaporates pretty quickly, but I was still paranoid!). Oh, and I also grabbed my trusty metal brownie spatula that I could use to scrape up the thick parts.
Cleaning up was hard work, but definitely worth it. You'll get to see the whole kitchen all beautiful and clean once I finally get my doors hung. I'm just anxiously trying to figure out how to fix my hinges everywhere right now. Once I get that problem solved, I'll get the doors up in no time, right?

Butterfly Chandelier

I love blogging. Not necessarily writing a blog as much as looking at everyone else's blogs. And I think my favorite part is what I call blog hopping. It's when you start on one blog and you end up jumping to another blog and then to another blog and so on and so on.

That's how I found this design idea. I'm kind of obsessed with things hanging from my kids ceilings right now. I'm not sure why. It kinda started with my oldest daughter's flower canopy, then went to a bug mobile for my baby, and now there's this one. It's a butterfly chandelier. At least that's what it's called. I think of it as more of a mobile for bigger kids. I have to be honest that I did not purchase this from the girl that designed this. I had no idea that she sold kits when I first saw the idea! I just saw a link to it from a link party over on one of the blogs I follow. But I guess she sells kits on her etsy shop that you can buy to do it. I just asked my mother in law to bust out her Cricut and cut out a ton of butterflies for me. Ironically enough, we ended up using the same paper and what looks to be the same cricut pattern (cartridge? design? What do you call those things?). I just used a smaller embroidery hoop and kept the rest pretty much the same. I'd actually recommend using the bigger one that she uses. But she calls for 15 yards of tulle. That's a lot of tulle! I think I only used like 2 yards. Maybe a little more. Maybe I just skimped, but I can't see where. Oh well!
If you like it, go check out the actual instructions on her website. And post it on your blog and send me the link so I can see it, too! Oh, and my in-laws told me they just went to the Parade of Homes around here and said that they saw this same thing in one of the bedrooms in one of those designer homes, but they liked mine more because it seemed more "airy" -- or something like that. See, blog hopping totally pays off!

Teddy Bear Cake

I think the best way to start this post is by showing the after-effect. Would you look at the look on that little boys face? That's my big one year old! He just adored his chocolate teddy bear cake! We have this tradition of making a teddy bear cake for each of our kids on their first birthday that they get to just rip apart and devour. Nothing super fancy, but, oh, how they love it!
So what kinds of traditions do you guys have for your kids first birthdays?

First Attempt at Fondant/Baby's First Birthday!

My little boy just turned 1 today!!! I can't believe he's so big already!

Well, one of my favorite parts of birthdays is the cake! Yum! And since it was a first birthday, it couldn't be just any cake. It had to be the family traditional teddy bear cake. I'll post a picture of that in just a minute. But first, I wanted to show the cake that everyone else got for little man's birthday! It started out with boxed chocolate fudge cake mix. I know, super fancy, right? That's why I spiced it up a little. After it was all made, I filled it with almond flavored buttercream frosting and this amazing raspberry filling. Trust me. You have to try this filling! I had lots leftover, so we snitched tons. It may not look like much here, but I wanted to show just how thick this stuff was. And it all started with a couple bags of frozen raspberries. Yum!
And here's what's left of the frosting. Again, not a great picture, but I can just look at this picture and remember how amazing it tasted!
BTW, here's my way of making buttercream frosting. It's not my mom's way. My mom's way always looks/tastes gross when I make it. I can't figure out how she does it!!!
Buttercream Frosting:
1/2c butter/margarine (I honestly use the tub stuff)
1/2c shortening
1 tsp vanilla (or almond extract -- or whatever other one you want, I guess)
2 lbs powdered sugar
Put the first three ingredients in your mixer and let her rip. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time and let it really mix in well. I know I've put in enough sugar when it kinda starts to look like playdough being rolled around in powdered sugar. Once you get to that point, let it go a couple more minutes on about medium in your mixer and it should be pretty good.
My mom will frequently add milk at this point, but that's the part I always mess up, so I never bother with it.
I froze my cakes before I started working with them just to be sure they would be strong enough to withstand my abuse to them.
This was the crumb coat I put on the cake after I layered the whole thing but before I put on fondant. And here it is all done! This was my first time making fondant and I have to say I wasn't super impressed with the taste or the quality, but I know this was just a beginning try, so I'll keep trying later on other cakes and see if I can't make it work better. I just used the Allrecipes.com marshmallow fondant recipe. I'm not linking to it because I'm not sure I'm in love with it yet.
My wonderful little 2 year old decided it looked so yummy before I put all the dots on it that she just HAD to take a fist-full out to try. Hence the reason my dots aren't placed evenly. Oh, and I kept having my fondant sticking to my parchment after I rolled it out, so I used some water to be able to make it a little stickier and apparently I used too much, so the water kinda sweated all over my cake. I just had visions of my high school rivals that used to always say they "bled blue" since they had so much school spirit. (Don't ask. We thought it was weird, too.)

I took pretty much all week working on this wonderful little cake. I think if I do something like this again, I'll just do it a couple days before because the raspberry filling kinda soaked into the cake a little. But overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out!