Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blueberries for Sal

My mother-in-law's birthday is on September 11th. What an awful day for a birthday!! It's so hard to celebrate when the entire country is remembering one of its greatest sorrows. As part of her gift, and in an attempt to bring a little cheer to the day, I said I would make the cake.

Blueberries are my mother-in-law's favorite. I decided to make her a cake that had blueberries in it somehow. I scoured the Internet for hood recipes. I checked all my favorite food blogs. Finally, I settled on this recipe for a Blueberry Lemon Cake from the food blog Sweetapolita.

The cake was completely by scratch, which I loved. In hindsight I really should have picked something a bit less ambitious. I was looking for a recipe that I would have excelled making in my pre-baby life. In my post baby life I have so much less time. Also, I really seem to have less brain power. I'm always forgetting things.

Needless to say, the blueberry from scratch cake was an absolute mess. It was supposed to be a three layer cake, but I didn't distribute the batter very well. Two layers were too thin and one was too big. The cake itself was so dense. I’m pretty sure I did something wrong. Actually, I think I know exactly what I did wrong. I forgot to buy sour cream. Instead of going back to the store I tried to “make” it with lemon juice and whipping cream. I’m not sure if that worked. Or maybe I mixed in too much flour one time. Whatever it was, the cake was much denser than I had expected.

Regardless, it tasted good so I kept plugging along. I had decided to use the big layer on the bottom and the two smaller ones for the middle and top. As I cut into the top of biggie to level him out, I noticed the middle was kinda gooey. It hadn’t cooked all the way though. I had checked three times that it was cooked before taking it out! Maybe I could just scoop out the middle and fill it with lemon curd or frosting I thought. Once I started scooping I realized that there was a very small ring of cake around the outside that had actually cooked properly. The only thing this layer was good for was the trash, and that’s where it went.

Panic ensued. I frantically looked through the cupboards for a white cake mix. I thankfully had all the ingredients. I mixed it up, threw in a little lemon flavoring and put it in the oven. It cooked up beautifully….of course. The new plan was to put the remaining lemon and blueberry (cakes as one layer) between the box cakes.  It looked okay (precociously leaned to one side) and tasted GREAT! Cutting it was another story. The lemon blueberry middle was much harder to cut then the top two layers. It kind of made each piece topple over. Whatever.

Because I knew I wouldn't be able to make a cake and decoratively frost it I made a little pennant garland for the top. I made it out of paint chips. I thought the cake came out really nice considering all the trouble I had with it.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Take this as a Warning....

I’ve put off telling you guys about this, even though it’s a hilarious story, for some time now. I didn’t want you to think that my house is filthy. This morning, I decided it was just too good to pass up. Also, I need to start being honest with myself, my house is filthy. It’s an absolute MESS and it’s my fault (and Hubs).

I have never been a great housekeeper. In college I remember many (arguments) conversations were had with my roommates about my lack of cleaning. Once freshman year, my roommate told me that I wasn’t allowed to leave the room until I vacuumed and did my laundry. I realized she had no authority, but the clothes, which I kept in a basket under my bed, were spilling onto the rug that we deemed our “common area”. I had already bought news jeans and underwear …..so I could have “clean” clothes. I knew it was time.

Long story short….Hubs and I aren’t dirty people, we are just lazy, and our apartment usually reflects that (unless company is coming). So….keep that in mind as I’m telling this tale…and please….don’t judge me…….

Hubs has a bizarre hatred of moths. Whenever he sees one in the house he goes absolutely crazy trying to kill them. Expletives are shouted, and usually the dog is terrified. Why does he hate moths so much?? He says they eat holes in his clothes. I had never heard of this, or had it happen to me until I met him. Now I have grease stains and moth holes all over my shirts. We still have yet to figure out where the grease stains are from.

According to Wikipedia "Despite being notorious for eating clothing, most moth adults do not eat at all. Most like the Luna, Polyphemus, Atlas, Prometheus, Cercropia, and other large moths do not have mouths. When they do eat, moths will drink nectar". Just as I suspected.......

A few months ago (that I have let this go on so long is so embarrassing) Hubs killed a moth above the back door. For whatever reason it stuck to the wall. Did Hubs pick it up? No. He left it there as an example to the other moths (yes, he did say this to me). He left it so the other moths would see what would happen to them if they dared come into our apartment.

We haven't had a moth in the house since and Hubs really and truly believes that this is why.

I asked this morning when we could clean this up and he said "once there is a really good frost".

I know I should clean it up myself, but I just find it too hilarious. Plus, life is just way to short to be worried about one dead moth stuck to the wall right?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daddy's Diaper Bag

Hubs needed a diaper bag, since mine was too "flowery" for him.  I decided I would try my hand at making one for him instead of buying it.  I used this tutorial as a guide. 

I added magnetic snaps to the front flap for a closure.  I had never done this before, but had bought some for a project I never finished ages ago.  It was a lot easier to add them than I had anticipated and I think it gave the bag an almost store bought look.

 In the tutorial they made the strap out of the same material as the bag.  I bought some belt webbing (is that what it's really called even? I don't know) because I thought it may look more "manly".  When I got to the strap part, I thought it looked a little narrow, so I put two pieces together and zig-zagged them.  I think it looks pretty cool.

The lining was made of just a basic muslin and has three pockets on one side and two on the other.  The tutorial suggested using vinyl to make it easier to clean...but I was scared.  I've never sewn with vinyl before.  I didn't think this was the project to start!

 There's plenty of room inside for all the things that Daddy's need to keep their baby girl's happy.

Two more pockets on the front.  I can't think of what I use these for when I pack the bag for Hubs.  Maybe pacifiers?

And finally, there is one zippered on the back.

I'm really happy with how the bag came out.  I think it looks really good, and, best part, Hubs actually uses it. Now if I could only get him to empty it of bottles and poopy clothes..... one step at a time I guess.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Summer commin to an end....

Wednesday was such  nice day in Boston.  It was very warm and summer-like for September.  With colder fall like weather forecasted for the next few days, it felt almost like it was the last nice day of Summer.  Both Hubs and the baby were sweating bullets when they picked me up from work.  We decided to cook dinner on the grill and to all enjoy the weather on the porch.  I snapped a few pics....

Is there anything cuter than a topless baby?? Maybe a baby with a towel on their head.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pears from the Pear Tree

My parents have a pear tree in their yard.  It doesn't bear the prettiest or most symmetrical fruit, but (I don't discriminate...) its usually pretty loaded down.  Hubs and I had been anxiously waiting for this years pear harvest.  We thought we could use some of the pears to can with.

Over Labor Day weekend we went up to see my parents in Maine.  My mom had a BAG full of pears waiting for us.  Apparently they were starting to get rip, then Hurricane Irene knocked a bunch of them off the tree.  I guess she decided they were ready to be harvested.

Talking about Hurricane Irene, it was really nothing more than a rainstorm for Hubs, Olivia and I in Boston.  Somehow, in Maine, it was much worse.  The wind was awful and there were lots of power outages.  We've lost our power at least three times this summer during thunderstorms, but didn't lose it during the hurricane.  Go figure.  Weather is so weird isn't it?

We stayed in Maine until Monday since it was a holiday.  The bag of pears came home with us, along with lots of fresh veggies from my mom's garden.  She even grew potatoes this year (which I am soooo excited to eat).  I put the bag on the dining room table when we got home and it stayed there until Wednesday of that week.  I only left it there for one day (which is really good for busy/lazy me)!

Wednesday night, when I picked through the pears it was a very sad sight.  Lots of pears had gone bad and were soft and moldy.  I started picking out the bad ones, but realized it would be much easier to just take out the good ones.  Unfortunately, there were only a few pears left that were good.  So much for canning :(

Hubs and I decided to make desert with our remaining pears.  We made a pear crumble.  It was both easy and delicious.  It didn't make a ton because the pears were pretty small, but there was just enough for us to  enjoy it Wednesday and Thursday night.

Doesn't it look good???

I asked Hubs to send me the recipe so I could post it, but he must of forgot.  Now a week later I'm sure he doesn't even remember where he found it.  You'll just have to trust me that it was easy and really yummy.

What was Miss Olivia doing while Hubs and I were being culinary geniuses in the kitchen?  She was sleeping in the living room in her little Rock N Play Sleeper.  She had her 4 month check-up that morning and got her vaccinations.  She decided the experience was just too much for her and that she needed to recover by sleeping the entire day and night.  If I remember correctly, it was an awful rainy day.  I think she had the right idea!

I know she's my child, but she's just too cute isn't she??  Look at how she's holding that blankie like she has complete control of her hands :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Paint Chip Coasters

I have a HUGE list of blogs on my RSS reader.  It's actually so huge that most of the time I don't update my own blog because I am so busy reading everyone else's.  So many of my favorite blogs have mentioned Pinterest in the last month or so that I got really interested.  I didn't really understand what it was all about at first.  The fact that I had to request an invitation enticed me even more.  The few days that I waited for the email telling me I could join were like torture.  Once I got it, and was able to look around I was completely hooked.  What a great place to look for crafty inspiration!!

Lately, one of my favorite things to look for on Pinterest are Paint Chip projects.  I can't remember what made me first search for it, but there are so many cute things that people do with paint chips.  Check out a few of my favorites:
graceandlightstudio.com via pinterest
howaboutorange.com via pinterest
jos2ndact.blogspot.com via pinterest
My sister just bought a new house, and had a housewarming BBQ over Labor Day Weekend.  I figured that her housewarming gift would be a great opportunity to try making a paint chip craft of my own.  I made her a set of six coasters.

Of course I forgot to take pictures of the coasters before I gave them to my sister, so had to ask her to take a few shots for me.  They didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned.  It ended up being kind of a mismatched set because I kept changing my mind as to what would look good.  I think what I really needed was a die cut so that everything would be punched out evenly and pretty.

For a first attempt though, I think they look pretty good.  My sister liked them, and that's all that matters right? The two that she shot by themselves are her favorites.

What do you think?  Are they "pin" worthy?

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11/01: The Day I Thought the World was Ending

September 11th is not only the day that the World Trade Center Tragedy happened, but my mother in laws birthday. I meant to write this entry yesterday to commemorate the day, but there was a birthday cake catastrophe (more on that to come). I had really wanted to take a minute to talk about September 11th, 2001, in memory of its 10th anniversary. If figured it wouldn’t really matter if I was a day late or not.

In September of 2001 my life was so incredibly different. I was 19 and in my Sophomore year of college. I had met, but not yet started dating Hubs (we started dating in November). In all honesty , I was still a kid.

On that fateful morning of September 11th I went about my morning as I normally did. I woke up and got ready for my first class. I took most of my classes in the morning cause I liked being out in the afternoon, but my roommates were the exact opposite so I was usually the first one up in the apartment. Once I got to class, my friend Charles told me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center building in New York City. I remember asking him if anyone had died. It seems like such a silly question when I think back, but I couldn’t fathom that it was a jumbo jet. I was thinking that he meant that a little single engine, one manned, plane flew into the building. When he explained it to me I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t even believe how something so awful could happen. The professor came into the room and explained the situation and that a second plane had flown into the building and that class was dismissed. I remember being terrified. I had so many questions and so many thoughts flowing through my head. How could something like this happen? Who would do this? I couldn’t stop thinking about all of those poor innocent people on the plane and in the building. What must have the people on the plane have been thinking when they realized that they were in the last few minutes of their lives? To this day, I'm still extremely upset when I think about how those people on the planes must have felt to have their lives unwilling riped from them.

I remember being so worried about what all of this meant. Someone hated us enough to fly two huge planes full of innocent people into one of our biggest office buildings, another plane into the head office of our military, and to crash another one meant for who knows where (was it the white house?). But, what did all that hatred mean? Were we going to go to war? Who would we go to war with?? I remember one of my biggest worries that day was that the president would reinstate the draft and that my brother would enlist and be sent to fight this unnamed murderer. Looking back and remembering I see how much of a jumble my thoughts were that day. Nothing really bad had ever really happened in my life until that point. Operation Desert Storm was the closest to anything bad that I had ever experienced, and that only lasted 90 days.

Terrorism is a way to wage war on someone else without giving them the dignity or respect of letting them know about it first. I just don’t understand it, especially in this situation. I believe in God, and cannot imagine a scenario where he would look favorably killing so many people.

On September 11th, this year and every other I think about the senselessness of all the anger and violence in this world. I remember all of those people, on all three planes, and in the Pentagon and World Trade buildings that got caught in a fight that they had no part of. I think about those pilots and hope (forgive me for saying this) that they are suffering for what they have done.

This year especially, I think about how I want to raise my daughter to be tolerant and loving. And how I hope she never has to see something like this happen in her lifetime.

On September 11th, 2001, I thought the world was ending, and in a way it did. The world will never again be like it was on September 10th. I'll never forget and I don’t know how anyone ever could.

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