Monday, October 29, 2007

Cupcakes and parties and pumpkins, oh my!

Well, it has been a doozy of week around here. Busy, busy, busy.
I was in baking overdrive. I am in love with cupcakes. They could not be easier. So little effort and a whole lot of "ta da". Seriously, 5 minutes of prep and you are rewarded with a bounty of yummy. I made 3 batches on Friday (72 in total) and discovered the joy of piping the frosting onto my cupcakes. I usually smear a big plop of frosting on top, but that just seemed too slow. I have a big tip and collar, but I couldn't find my pastry bag so I pulled a "Sandra Lee" and used a ziploc bag. It actually worked and held up to all the refilling. I was very glad. Usually when I try and use a baggie, it bursts. I guess I just lucked out. All in all the cupcakes were great. They all went at the cake walk and a mom even thought they were store bought (I'm taking that as a compliment)
Saturday was a whirlwind of parties. Preschool Harvest Party, Haunted House for the kids and another birthday dinner in the month long celebration that is Jojifest. 9:30 rolled around and we were wiped out. Good thing the kids went to Joji's mom's house to spend the night. It mean no one would be tapping me on the cheek at 1 am wondering where apple juice comes from. I'm pretty sure I spent most of Sunday sleeping. Although I did manage to make it into town to get a 4 tiered swing arm serving stand. I can't wait to use it for the Christmas party. Hopefully, I can get some recoup time, before that fun begins.
Every year, it seems that we are frantically carving our pumpkins at 5:30 on Halloween. The kids have fun, but it can be a little stressful. This year, Joji took the kids today to get some pumpkins an we actually got them carved tonight. Well, all of us except Ben. When we took the lid off his pumpkin it was all black an furry inside. He is getting a new pumpkin tomorrow.
I don't know about you, but in our family people always seem to get the same kind of pumpkin. My dad ALWAYS gets the tall pumpkin and carves flaming eyes with a scary smile. I always get the cute round type and make circle eyes and a 3 tooth smile.
This year as I sat down to draw out my circle eyes, Ben suggested I draw the whole family. So breaking from tradition, I did and I LOVE it. Had I planned better I would have made the faces bigger but I will know better for next year.
Hope you all are finding a little time to stop and carve some pumpkins :0)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Old Man River

I have been feeling really old as of late.
Last night was Joji's 39th birthday. It was a mellow birthday, but it made me feel old.
It didn't help that this past weekend, Joji's cronies from "back in the day" got together. Even though I have know these guys since I was 13, I was informed it was a "no wives" dinner. Whatever. Of course, when Joji got home I kept him up until 2am making him recite every conversation that took place.
There are so many stories that involve this little group of boys. The kind of stories that involve situations you never find yourself in now. When was the last time you were grounded all summer, only to be left unsupervised the weekend before the start of your Sr. year? How could you not invite a couple friends over for a small get together? How could you possible predict the entire FW student body would show up? Every week there was always a new adventure. For some I had a front row seat and others I got the juicy details Monday at school.
Now I realize you get to a point in life where friends passed out under the neighbor's tree isn't funny and I'm glad my Monday morning conversations don't involve evading the police, but it sure is fun to revisit a time when the pressing issue of the day is NOT the broken water pipe at the rental house, but how to recover from eating too much fruit from the spodey before you had to go home.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Patch and Apple Pie

It has been a very busy week around here and I really don't see it slowing down anytime soon. I'm trying to keep everything in perspective so that I can enjoy what is happening instead of stressing over whether or not things are being done the right way. ( I too have a little bit of "Bree" in me)
Last week we made the annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch with the preschool. Field trips tend to stress me out a little bit due to the chaos of it all, but this one is great. Terry's Berries is a little organic farm down the hill from us in Puyallup. The kids get to go on a hayride, feed chickens, pick berries, dig potatoes, pick apples, make cider and of course pick a pumpkin.

(I found out this year, they don't actually grown pumpkins on the farm, oh well, still fun) They end the tour at their little veggie stand and of course we bought some stuff to take home. The apples they grow there are so good. We bought a couple and decided we needed to make an apple pie for dessert.

Now, I can make a decent one crust pie (pecan, pumpkin, etc), but fruit pies are tricky. I believe you should be able to "plate" a slice of pie without it running all over the place. The filling can ooze out slowly, but not be a juicy mess. I googled apple pie recipes (I bet the google guys love that "google" is now a verb) and found one that looked promising. I usually google "killer whatever I want to make" I figure if someone calls their recipe "killer" it must be good. I actually found a recipe for "killer apple pie". Bingo
So I assemble all my stuff to make the pie. Sammie was quite the good little helper. Everything was going great. Even used my "good thing" rolling trick and viola, the pie was done.
Fast forward a couple of hours...
The house smells great... we had a yummy dinner... are ready for dessert... we cut into the pie and it was a big soupy mess!! Ugh!!!! All that work down the drain and it was not very "killer" at all. I also learned that juicy, messy apple pies are the world's best fruit fly traps. (Let's just say we didn't finish the pie) Oh, well. Better to toss a non-killer apple pie than have to say goodbye to one that was really good. So the search continues...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

random stuff

Here are couple of things lately that have made me happy.

1. I was crafty.

I like to think of myself as artsy, but I have the hardest time actually finishing anything. This weekend I actually completed a project and might actually do more. I was inspired by Tina's daughter, Micha, to try my hand at some fun letters. It is hard to see in the pic, but I found some great cobweb paper and I love the yellow "calico" paper as well. I would love to figure out a way to string them somehow, but that would require another trip to the craft store. Maybe later this week. So fun and super easy.

2. People like my cooking.
Now I am in no way a super cook, but what I can make, I make really well. I love the fact that Joji's friends look forward to coming to our house because they know the eating is good. Last time around I made a big batch of General Tso Chicken. It was my best batch yet. The best part, it is so easy.

3. I make a mean cupcake.
Well, actually the cupcakes are okay, it is the frosting that is really the star of the show. One of my favorite combos is chocolate an peanut butter. These little gems are devils food cupcakes with fluffy PB frosting. Yummy!!!! In a couple of cupcakes I put a peanut butter cup into the batter. This I think was a bit much. I liked the ones without it and preferred the sprinkling of crushed cups on top.
With all the business of school stuff and feeling like if it isn't done right, it's my fault, I just have to take a minute and remember that I can do some things really well. If only housework was on this little list. :0)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!!!!!!!

As crappy as my weekend was I could not be happier at this moment.
Thanks A-rod, you didn't disappoint.
Go Red Sox!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I would like to send a sincere to thanks all of the ladies out there who create the wonderful blogs that let me escape from all "have to's" and "you should have's" of everyday life. I know I can count on fun, whit and a little inspiration wherever I visit.
Thanks a million :0)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Baseball in October

The time of year has come again to put away my M's stuff and pick another team to cheer on to the world series. Tonight I was all about the Cleveland Indians. During the regular season they tend to be a thorn in our M's side, but when they play the Yankees, I'm all about "The Tribe". What a game tonight. I hope it is a sign of things to come.
I am routing for the Red Sox to win the AL and the Cubbies the NL. We usually route for the AL team in the World Series, but if the Cubbies make it, how can you not route for them?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Garage Zen

I guess you get to a place in your life and a weekend spent cleaning a garage is considered fun. I actually found myself doing the girlie jumping/clapping thing (you know what I'm talking about).
Over the 4th of July weekend, Joji and I spent 4 days cleaning/purging/organizing our garage. It was a lot of work, but it felt great after we were done. Things were cruising along just fine until our friend Matt came over and did one of those, "you know what you should do" things. He put the bug in Joji's ear that he could build a complete shop in our garage without taking up any more floor space than what was currently being used. I didn't really pay attention until I heard, "and Laurie could park in the garage too". Okay, I'm in and I'm going to do everything I can to make this happen.
This Saturday, the boys hit the home depot and returned with the stuff they needed and in a couple of hours cranked out some pretty sa-weet shelves. The best part is that there is now a home for everything. I was in charge of organizing the peg board. It looks great. I went into the garage this morning and the sunlight streaming into my clean garage made me all tingly.
My side of the garage is a Goodwill trip away from being useful. With the rain we get around here, it will be so nice to just get into my car and go. Joji is already planning lots of little projects. He mentioned building me new kitchen cabinets, but I think we will start with something a little smaller. Of course, the beast called I-Need-A-Nail-Gun has been awakened and with Joji's birthday around the corner, he just might get one.