Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This little guy is Tiff's. I thought that the stars amongst the roses was pretty cool. I would have never thought of that, but I liked the texture that they added.
This is Christine's. Please note the bow. She's a friggin genius that she can make a bow look so easy. (I'm telling you people, it looks easy... IT IS NOT EASY.)
And this is the top of Christian's. Again, I was so fetching busy with my 13 (yes, count them, 13) roses that I totally lost track of time and missed all the good photo ops. The border around the edge of Christian's cake was the same teal/burgundy that she did her roses out of, and it was totally awesome. I'm sorry to say that by the time I had the camera out to take a shot, she'd already put the cake in the carrier, so the top shot is all you get.
And by now, I'm sure (I like to flatter myself, as we all know) that you're DYING to see my own little lovely. But first, I have to tell you - I had a vision of what I wanted my cake to look like this week. I wanted to do a tiered number, with an 8 inch on the bottom and a 6 inch on top, with roses (purple roses, actually) all around the top of the 8" tier and then covering the top of the 6" top. Uhm, that plan was shot plum out of the water when I realized that my 8" pan is actually a 9" pan... and is actually closer to 10" than 9", thanks to the weird lip on the pan. (Yeah, I have no idea how I don't even know what cake pans I have until I go to use them. Someone should just shoot me in the head (or maybe just buy me an 8 inch round), I swear.) Of course, because necessity is the mother of invention (or rather, because I'm too dang cheap to go and buy an 8" round when I have a perfectly good, albeit weird sized, set) - I ran with the funky 9 1/2" pan and the 6 incher. Sadly, once I got it put together and frosted, it looked more like a hat. Like, circa 1930's hat. Or maybe the purple ladies hats... you know what I'm talking about. Oh geez. (And yup, as always, there's my Cherry Coke cup there in the shot. Me + caffeine = creative genuis. Or maybe it = distracted woman manned with decorator's tips... Either way, there's my Coke cup. And my funky hat/cake.)
But don't you worry, I still went to class fully intending on making enough flowers to cover the now 11 inch (thanks to the icing, it grew an inch) bottom layer. Thus... the 13 roses. These are pretty much lined up in the order in which they were made. As you can see... it... uh... took me some time to get good. (Check out #3 from the left, this is what I'm lovingly referring to as my hydrangea. Hey... it's in the flower family, okay?) And then as soon as I got good (by about #4), my icing got warm and squooshy and... I got bad again (case in point, #5). But, like I said, it's just a good thing that I'm not a perfectionist... and I just kept going. I whipped through every blasted spot of what-I'm-loosely-calling-purple icing that I had and ended up with 13 roses. 10 for the outside rim and 3 for the top. (Okay, 12 roses and 1 hydrangea. But still.)
After I got the roses on, I TOTALLY FAKED some leaves (it's a really fun tip, the texture is totally awesome... but it's killer to get those suckers to come to a point) - I found that if I drug the end of the leaves out a bit over the edge of the cake they looked more leaf-ish and less, uhm... weird-blob-of-green-ish. But that still wasn't enough color for a colorful chick like me, so... I added the yellow border around the bottom and at the top. All in all... I'm pretty happy with the end result. It isn't my total dream come true (so much for the idea that I could see the future... because this cake is so not the vision that I'd had earlier this week), but I've found that as I've been able to let go of the perfectionism thing and just have fun... the cakes turn out pretty, even when they don't turn out they way I'd planned them to. (And if I wasn't so determined to just start posting pics right about now, I think I could probably turn that last bit into a life lesson and wax all profound. Lucky for us all, it's time to show some cake and you're all spared my Thursday night philosophy lecture. Woohoo!)
And because I'll all kinds of proud of this sucker, here's a pic from another angle...
And yet another of just the top. (Yeah, that's Hydrangea up there amongst the roses. I figured since she was the biggest flower of the bunch, she should have prime seating.)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
1) My favorite color is red
2) I haven't grown (taller) since the 7th grade
3) I turned 16 1/3 of the way through my Junior year in high school
4) My high school driver's ed teacher gave up on teaching my how to parallel park (explains a lot, doesn't it?)
5) I have the movie You've Got Mail pretty much memorized
6) I played the flute in jr. high/high school
7) I'm the shortest person in my family (including my mom & sister)
8) I love banana popsicles
9) Ladybugs make me smile
10) I cheated my way through high school algebra (and still barely passed)
11) My first pet was a black cat named Snow White
12) I've been cracking my knuckles since the 6th grade
13) I HATE being called Lori (the name is Laurie, it rhymes with sorry)
14) I don't allow myself to make fudge, because I'll eat all 3 lbs by myself (sad, but true)
15) Homemade ice cream is my favorite
16) I don't really like brownies
17) I've always wanted to be in a play, but I never have been
18) I read over 300 books in the 4th grade
19) When I was in 2nd grade, I loved Spencer Decker
20) When I was little, my favorite color was blue
21) I've always wanted to get laryngitis (but I never have, it's tragic)
22) My first celebrity crush? Bruce Boxleitner
23) The first country song I ever left on long enough to listen to all the way through was a George Straight song (yup, I'm a country music convert, thanks to my friend Jo & The Chair music video)
24) I usually cook/bake without a recipe... I just make it up as I go
25) I started painting my fingernails when I was 11, haven't stopped since
26) I cut my own hair
27) I've been a grammar nazi since grade school, I use to fight with kids on the playground over whether ain't was a real word or not
28) I use to T.P. my high school English teacher's house every Tuesday/Thursday
29) I once tried to set a toilet on fire (it didn't work)
30) I was blond when I was little
31) My hair didn't get really curly until my mid-20's
32) I own over 200 movies
33) I can sing along with the entire Evita soundtrack
34) I sleep in the same pajamas, with the same bedding, all year round
35) I love chocolate cake
36) I'm a candy snob... I don't eat Nestles.
37) Benjamin, hands down, is my favorite of the 7 Pontipee brothers
38) I love root beer floats
39) I got 2 tickets (in one night), 2 days after I got my license
40) I get pukey at the sight of blood (even thinking about the sight of blood, actually)
41) I don't like Ruffles potato chips
42) I made myself sick in jr. high eating Cool Ranch Doritos - haven't really enjoyed them since
43) Coke is my fav soda
44) Nutty Bars are my fav Little Debbie snacks
45) Raspberry jam is my fruit spread of choice
46) I'm not much of a dog person
47) I could eat cake every day
48) My favorite Matthew McConaughey movie is How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days
49) My favorite X-Men movie is X-2
50) I love Peter Petrelli
51) True story movies always get me
52) I love the book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
53) I love a good acronym
54) I don't own a dictionary (tragic)
55) Or a thesaurus (strangely enough)
56) My favorite Disney princess movie is Sleeping Beauty
57) I use to ride horses every weekend with my friend Holly when I was a kid (her horses)
58) My childhood dreamhouse is now an abandoned mobile home that sits by the creek in my hometown
60) I always wanted an easy-bake oven (never got one)
61) My mom use to make homemade clay (play-doh cost too much)
62) My favorite hot cereal is cracked wheat (with brown sugar and half & half... YUM)
63) I want to go to Rome like none other
64) I love cold OJ with my warm chocolate chip cookies
65) I've worn glasses since the 5th grade
66) I've never taken a foreign language class
67) I love Jello Pudding Pops
68) Christian Bale is my fav Batman of all time
69) Who's kidding who? Christian Bale is pretty much my favorite everything he's ever done
70) I love to make pie - all kinds of pie
71) My fav vacation of all time? DC with Mom last summer
72) I can't make good bread to save my soul, it's always too thick & tough
73) Mint chip and cookies & cream ice creams are SO FREAKING GOOD together
74) I don't love pizza
75) I do love lasagna
76) I love to go to the movies
77) I like both black & red licorice
78) I've never read the Bible from beginning to end (I really should, I know)
79) I'm thinking about making a paper chain to count down the days until Heroes is back on
80) I sewed my finger to my hot pad in jr. high Home Ec class
81) I love to color (with crayons & colored pencils)
82) I played the cymbals in the marching band (yup, I was a band geek)
83) My current fav snack - cheese crisp with ham rolled up inside
84) I'm not big on maple syrup
85) My 2nd grade teacher had a piano in the classroom - we sang every day
86) I use to re-sell suckers on the playground in grade school to make money (I'd inflate the prices, of course)
87) My first dog's name was Harvey, I named him after the dog in E.T.
88) Hugh Jackman's my favorite singing movie star
89) I do not love Stephenie Meyer's books
90) I like to mix ketchup & A-1 together and dip my fries in it
91) I could eat mashed potatoes every day of my life
92) I prefer fluffy waffles to thin/crispy ones
93) I actually like to have my picture taken (usually)
94) I dig a man in uniform
95) It's A Wonderful Life is my favorite Christmas movie of all time
96) I LOVE crackers and spray cheese
97) The Count of Monte Cristo is my fav classic book
98) I scored an accumulative 12 on the math section of my ACT (go, me!)
99) Sayid is my favorite character on LOST (though I do love Dr. Jack, Sawyer, and Desmond as well)
100) I love to make lists
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
|What Your Bed Says About You|
Outward appearances are a concern of yours, but not your primary concern. You try to take care of yourself and your home, but it's not an obsession.
You try to be an organized person, but you often fall behind. Certain parts of your life tend to fall into chaos.
You are not very high maintenance in general, but you are high maintenance about a few things.
In relationships, you tend to be quite dominant. You enjoy taking charge.
You tend to be a dreamy, head in the clouds type of person. You think in terms of possibilities.
You are a traveler. You are comfortable anywhere, and you rarely feel homesick.
This quiz nailed me pretty well. I'm impressed. Who knew that lying on the right side of my bed and using 2 pillows would cast such a defining light on my personality?
I don't know that I agree with "certain parts of your life tend to fall into chaos"... chaos is such a strong word... but I will give that "mi vida loco" was one of the names I'd thought about giving to my blog. (I mean, sometimes things do get just a little bit crazy around here.)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
And as cool/easy as she did make it look, none of the rest of the class (myself included) opted for trying to repeat the experience. Mind you, Christine, Christian and I had planned on doing clowns (mostly because we thought we had to), and so we went into class with the "teamwork" mentality. Since we'd thought we were clown-bound, we'd decided pre-class that we'd each do a primary color with our icing and then we'd share bags (and thus all three of us would have a super cute multi-colored clown). But then, uhm... we decided not to do a clown, and so we were each kind of stuck with only one color of icing. Oops. (Lucky me, though, because I chose red. We all know that I'm a big fan of red, so it turned out well for me.)
And since this post is (as they pretty much all are), all about me... please allow me to show you a close up of the top of my cake. Look at all those red flowers. They make me absolutely giddy! (And I just learned how to make them tonight... I'm in love with this tip!)
But now I'll move on to the rest of the class... Angela (of Starred Cake Fame) was the only other girl to bring an actual cake (the other four ladies brought cupcakes, which looked fun and easy... but since when do I go the fun & easy route?). This is her Lovely from this week. (Seriously, I think she's gifted. She claims not to be gifted, but rather, to be a practicer of the art. So, if she's practicing throughout the week, I guess we can still be friends.) Seriously, isn't this bee-yoo-tiful?
Here's a shot of Christine showing her school spirit ("Go, Lobos, go!"). Pretty sweet blue & white cupcakes, if you do ask me. Of course, as a fellow SHS grad, I am always a fan of royal blue & white.
And here's a shot of Christian's primary colored collection of cakes. (Her "assigned" color was yellow, and then she made a bit of blue and borrowed some of my red to offset the yellow.) My favorite of hers was the yellow all-starred guy. He reminded me of a crustacean, and literally had me wanting to sing Under The Sea in class. (I held back, but only because not all of the ladies know me well enough to know that my life is a musical. Yet. Maybe I'll let them in on that little secret next week. I'll keep you posted.)
All in all, it was a VERY FUN night. I hadn't been sure if I was up to it this week, but I'd frosted myself this little white top hat... just in case. (And yup, there's my McD's cup there in the pic along with. I'm nothing if not predictable. I've gotta have my Coke, y'know.) The good news? This week my icing wasn't as crumby. It turns out that what the teacher said is true... If you put a thin glaze on the cake while it's still warm, and let it get hard, the glaze'll hold the crumbs in and they won't get into your icing. GENIUS!
It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. (The cake, not me so much... but I was so proud of my red flowery creation that I had to be in the pic - even if I have been sick all week, look dog-tired and am still a little swollen from the crud.) I'm a silly goose (and a bit of a camera hog), what can I say?
AAAHHHH!!! I love this class! It's the most fun EVER!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Grammar Advice for the Coming School Year
1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually)
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used unless you don't want to seem too formal.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.
13. Do not use more words, phrases, sentences, or other linguistic elements than you, yourself, actually really and definitely need to use or employ when expressing yourself or otherwise giving voice to what you may or may not be thinking when you are trying to say how many words you should use or not use when using words.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
16. Don't use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, i.e. etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill excessive exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others elude to them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate distracting quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson is said to have once remarked, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This is my mom's mom... isn't she gorgeous?
I love that we finally have another Hazel in the family. There've been a few Russells (one of which also belongs to Kirk), but she's the first Hazel amongst the grandchildren & great-grands in my mom's family. It's so cool to see family names going into another generation. What's really cool is that Hazel is a family name for Mar, too, so I know her family is as stoked as ours is that this sweet little baby girl is here and is carrying such a beautiful name.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Un-freaking-believable, isn't it? And the worst part was? It didn't even taste good. Nope. Why? Because, for one thing... the icing was terrible. It seems that I am unable to measure butter flavoring in its proper dosage. I, for some unknown reason, thought that the recipe was calling for a teaspoon of vanilla AND a teaspoon of butter flavoring. (For the record, it was an "either/or" recommendation. Oops.) Turns out that I had movie theater butter popcorn with just a hint of vanilla flavored icing. Uhm... not a treat. But since the bottom layer of the cake was burnt (Mom cooked the bottom layer - and I'm not judging when I tell you that... I'd asked her to bake the cake, but forgot to tell her that my oven cooks hot... it was so not her fault), I figured that a burnt cake didn't need yummy icing. So, rather than pitch the burnt offering and the butter flavored buttercream, I did just stacked and iced them. And, let me tell you... when I got to class and saw the beautiful, even, white creaminess that was the cute & perky blonde girl's cake... I wanted to crawl under the cake decorating table and die.
To recap: this is my HIDEOUS cake, stuck on a piece of cardboard that I cut out of a box that I had in my closet that I covered in tin foil. Laid out there on my nasty old towel, surrounded by frosting in ziploc baggies and my other supplies strewn from here to kingdom come. Oh, and... uh, yeah... that's my Taco Bell cup, too. Classy.
And this is The Beautiful Blonde's beautiful cake. Check it, creamy white icing with nary a crumb to be seen, atop a lovely cardboard cake holder that I'm sure she paid good money for. What you can't see is the pristine AJ's cake carrying box she brought The Circular White Beauty in - what you can see are her lovely plastic containers full of extra icing, beautifully and aesthetically arranged. (And the real kicker? She is as lovely as her cake. In every way. She's gorgeous, but she's funny and nice and... one of those women you want to think doesn't exist, but she does. Ugh.)
This week we learned how to work with the different consistencies. We did wrote with the thin icing (with a little piping gel mixed in). I was in love with the letters. Clearly, as I not only traced over the sample letters, but also wrote "congratulations", "ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho", and "Laurie" along the borders. I'm telling you, I get absolutely giddy when I get to write with icing!
We learned (in theory) how to make frosting roses. This is Christian with her FIRST TRY EVER. (She's kicking my butt in this class.)This is me (HA!) with my first try ever. (Note the lack of all capped excitement.) Yeah, I had a hard time even getting the rose center to come out right. This was, amazingly & sadly, my 4th try.
AND we got up close & personal with the star tip. Here are some of the other girls' cakes.
This is Christian's super cute (and SUPER DELICIOUS) little number...
This is the Holy Moses, That's A LOT of Star Tips Cake (I can't believe it... she spent about an hour doing this)!
This is the circle cake you saw before, finished. It was pretty as a picture. Even prettier, actually. (She copied a cake out of the book - AND - I liked hers better than the sample pic. I'm telling you, it was a thing of beauty.)
And this little lovely... this is mine. Please note the purple & green loopies around the edge. I couldn't think of a thing to WRITE on the cake, but I was so enamored of the thin icing that I felt the need to get down with it and do some squiggles. The flower in the middle? Uhm, yeah... totally free-hand (which is why it was off-center, HILARIOUS, but I "saved it" with the stem & leaves). Since the bottom layer was an inch smaller than the top layer (don't ask, I'm not sure how it happened, since they were baked in the same exact pan), I went around the bottom TWICE to fill in the gaps. And then went a little nuts with the stars on the sides, so as to hide the chocolate-chip effect that I got from the crumbies in my white icing.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.
Lunch: One pound of pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread, plus 1,000 calories of energy drinks.
Dinner: One pound of pasta, an entire pizza and even more energy drinks.
Now that I know that Olympians can eat 12,000 calories a day, I'm thinking that maybe I should look into becoming a swimmer. I think I'll go have a snack and hit the pool. Maybe if I eat half a pizza, I'll have the energy to swim a few laps. What do you think? It's worth a shot, right?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
1) That there are three different consistencies of buttercream - stiff (feels like cookie dough), medium (feels like regular icing) and thin (about the consistency of cool whip)
Stiff icing is for roses & petals
Medium is for actually icing the cake
Thin is to write with
2) You can use a pudding cup as a filling in between layers instead of icing (how cool is that?)
3) The Wilton buttercream icing recipe doesn't call for butter (you add butter flavoring instead of the real thing)
4) You don't have to use couplers with the tips (you can just put the tip right inside the bag, before you add the icing) - I was shocked (my mom always made me use the couplers, and I hated washing them)
5) You can make a dunce cap... I mean a disposable bag... out of parchment paper
6) You can buy unfrosted layers of cake at the grocery store bakery (seriously - who knew?)
7) My instructor's name is Ilene, and she has a (divorced) son who is 40 years old, lives in Flag, and is a carpel tunnel specialist (can we all say "he probably makes more than $9 an hour... bring it on!"? ... awh, heck, even if we can't all say it, I sure as heck can...)
Next week we frost our first cake in class. I'll be taking my camera with, so you all can get a gander at my maiden cake decorating experience. Woo-woo!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
These are from Friday night. We were all home (yup... all 6 six kids, 2 daughters-in-law, 4 grandkids... everyone). It was a party all day long (and into the night). Here is a sweet pic of The Tough Guys.
And here they are in the front yard with Ty, checking out the "HUGE GRASSHOPPERS" (yeah, they were not actually that huge... still disgusting, mind you, but not HUGE)
Saturday afternoon, we all just hung out at the folks'. The little boys played "good & bad guys". Here they are with their "guns" made out of blocks. Oh man, boys are funny!
Here they are having fun with Uncle Tyler, playing a SERIOUS game of CandyLand. Check out Russell-Bear's face. (He's the little one sitting cross legged on the table.)
Sunday morning we did the "local" thing and headed over to one of the local hot spots and had our pictures taken. My FANTASTIC friend Mel came and took the big group photos for us, and then we split into smaller groups and Mom, Mary & Brea did the honors. What with the tractors, chickens, cows & pigs... the boys were entertained and happy long enough to get some really good shots.
Kate, Mom & me, for those of you who may not know all three of us on sight. (Looking at this pic I'm suddenly bummed that I whacked off the hair. Granted, I don't have to try quite as hard to keep it tamed these days - but still... HOLY MOSES, it was long, right?)
Seth & The Big Bull. This was as close as any of the boys got to the bull pen. (Go, Seth!)
And this is Spencer's family. Those of you who are big Razzzberry fans will recognize the boys from The Hulk photoshoot last month. :)
And this... you guessed it, this is the title photo... The Whole Fam Damily, in all of our glory (or silliness - whichever). Love you all! :)