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Archive for April, 2010

The birthday cake, part 2

Thoughtfully penned on April 30th, 2010 and generally concerning J

So, my last post was about the creation of Boo’s birthday cake. There was one thing about the whole cake experience that made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t sing “Happy Birthday” with everyone.

Check it out…

It was his second birthday!

(and in a room with four adults, Little was the one who noticed – “Mom, why does Boo have three candles on his cake?” Me – “Because he’s thr…no, he is only two!”)

The birthday cake, part 1

Thoughtfully penned on April 28th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, J

If you know me in real life or have been reading here for a while you know that I often have grand ideas that just don’t play out in reality. Well, it happened, once again, with Boo’s birthday cake.

Several weeks before the birthday Matt sent me the link to a great rainbow cake and told me that he thought I should make it for Boo’s birthday. I debated and debated what to do for his cake and finally decided that I would, indeed, attempt to recreate the rainbow cake. (check out the link in the first sentence; the rest of the post will make more sense if you see the “idea” cake.)

I, as I tend to do, waited until the last minute to set to work on said cake. As in I was looking at the recipe and buying the ingredients the morning of his birthday.

First things first. When I read the recipe thoroughly I noticed that it was going to take 19 egg whites, yes, nineteen. I decided that instead of making the cooked buttercream in the recipe I would make Wilton’s buttercream and use lemon extract instead of vanilla to flavor it. That part worked fine and the icing was very tasty.

As for the cake itself. I gathered all of my ingredients, my gel food coloring, my Kitchenaid stand mixer, and my new kitchen scale. I prepared the cake batter (of course, all three kids woke up from naps right as I started putting ingredients in the bowl) and set it on the scale. I figured in my head the weight I would need to make each layer in order to get six colored layers.

I divided the first couple of layers out and added the appropriate food colors (red and orange). I oiled the pans as directed and popped them in the oven to bake. While those two layers were in the oven I prepared the yellow layer and got it in my third cake pan and then set to work dividing and coloring the green and blue layers.

As I weighed the batter for the green layer I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough batter to make both a blue and a purple layer as well. Oh well, five layers would be fine, not a big deal.

Meanwhile, the red and orange layers are out of the oven and have cooled in the pans for about 10 minutes. I flipped the pans to release the cakes onto the cooling rack and the cakes didn’t budge. I ran a table knife around the edges of the pans and tried again. Still nothing. I put the pans upside down on the cooling rack and banged on the bottom of each pan. Nada. Finally, I scraped the red and orange cakes out of the pans and ended up with piles of cake crumbles, very sticky cake crumbles (which tasted delicious, by the way).

At this point the yellow layer was in the oven. I tried to decide if there was anything I could do to salvage the crumbled layers or if I should just scrap the idea and go buy a cake. After much deliberation it was decided that the cake preparations would continue and we would just go with whatever we ended up with (even if that meant cake crumbs instead of a cake). So, when I prepared the pans for the green and blue layers I greased and floured them to see if that would make them release better.

The yellow layer came out of the oven and Matt was able to (very) delicately work on the cake and get it out of the pan in one piece. One down, two to go.

The green and blue layers finished baking and cooling, and I set to work trying to remove them from the pans. The greasing and flouring of pans did not make a bit of difference; they were just as stuck as the other layers. Matt again worked his cake releasing magic and we had three layers for the cake.

I moved the yellow layer from the cooling rack to the glass plate on which I was going to assemble the cake. The plan was to let the green and blue layers cool and then assemble the cake as green layer on the bottom, yellow layer in the middle, and blue layer on top. When I went to pick up the yellow layer to put the green layer on the plate, the yellow layer was not going to come off easily. Scratch that idea.

We ended up with a yummy cake composed of yellow, green, and blue layers. It wasn’t exactly what I set out to create, but it was a delicious cake (the lemony icing was a perfect complement to the cake) and we ate every bite. Most importantly, Boo really liked it.

Ten on Tuesday #28

Thoughtfully penned on April 27th, 2010 and generally concerning Meme, Ten on Tuesday

It’s time for another round of Ten on Tuesday trivia (thanks, as always, to Chelsea for hosting); another Tuesday where you get to read trivial things about me. This week’s questions are mostly about the “firsts” in your life. There are some good questions here. Read on to learn more about my inherent dorkiness…

1. Think back a decade, do you remember what your first cellphone was? Was it as cool as Zack Morris’s phone?
My first cell was Nokia something or other (in 1995). It was not nearly as cool (or large) as Zack’s, but I do remember my parents having one like that.

2. What is the first children’s book you remember being read to you?
The first book I actually recall being read to me was Stand Back, Said the Elephant, I’m Going to Sneeze. I’m sure there were many, many before that (I remember being read to A LOT, especially by my brother), but I don’t remember specific books.

3. What was your first car? Did you love it or hate it?
A 1993 soft top Geo Tracker (white). I loved that car. Funny story about it – when I decided that was the car I wanted my uncle tried multiple times to talk me out of it saying it was too dangerous, too much of a risk to flip, etc. Now he drives it.

4. Who was your hero growing up?
My dad and my brother.

5. Think back to your first kiss. Was it everything you dreamed of?
Umm, no. Mainly because it was a kiss from someone that I really had absolutely no desire to kiss.

6. What was your first BAD hairstyle choice? (Extra points for embarrassing photos)

I had a bowl cut when I was preschool age, but that wasn’t really my choice. In early elementary I had a really bad choppy layers mullet-y thing. And then, my senior year of high school I got a “Rachel” shag. That was bad. Hair as thick as mine and that kind of style do not mix. I wish I had the pictures to share because it would definitely be good for a laugh.

7. What was your first realistic dream? (One where you had to think “Oh dang, was that a dream?”)

I don’t remember the first one, but the scariest one was when I was pregnant with Baby Girl and dreamed that the ultrasound showed she was a cat.

8. What was the first phobia you remember developing?
Probably either spiders or snakes.

9. Which character on Sesame Street do you most identify with?

Cookie Monster has always been my favorite. I can relate to never being able to get enough cookies. :-)

10. What was the hardest goal you ever accomplished?
Getting an “A” in Organic Chemistry is the first one that comes to mind (that class about killed me), followed closely by potty training Little.

Menu Plan Monday – April 25-30

Thoughtfully penned on April 26th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

We spent this weekend in Nashville visiting with family. It was a lot of fun getting to see everyone (Matt’s parents, my parents, all of our grandparents, Lu’s hubby, and various other family members), but I am tired!

Anyway, here’s what we’ll be dining on this week…

Sunday: lunch – out / dinner – pepperoni naan bread pizzas

Monday: lasagna, garlic naan bread

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: sweet & sour chicken, asian style veggies

Thursday: tilapia tacos, rice, chips & guacamole

Friday: homemade pizza

As always, for more menu plans and meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday.

I hope everyone is having a happy Monday. Have a great week!

Now I am two

Thoughtfully penned on April 23rd, 2010 and generally concerning J

Last week I had a birthday. Now, I am two and…

…I love to sing and dance.
…I LOVE to play outside and ride my bike.
…I have a thing for shoes. I will take anyone’s shoes and wear them.
…I love to torment my sisters and make them squeal/cry.
…I like trains, dinosaurs, trucks, cars, and balls.
…I can speak in sentences of several words and my vocabulary grows daily.
…I like to give hugs and kisses and snuggles (but only for a few minutes).
…I am a busy boy who is always on the move.
…Mommy & Daddy have to call my name often for doing things I shouldn’t.
…I am 100% all boy (even if I do like to wear my sister’s shoes).
…I really like pizza, spaghetti, hamburgers, and chicken tenders/nuggets.
…I LOVE fruit (except pineapple) and eat several servings a day.
…I have some crazy, thick hair that sticks straight up at the crown of my head.
…I like to watch Super Why, Bob the Builder, Veggie Tales, and Dinosaur Train.
…I have a quick smile for everyone and easily charm all the ladies in my path.
…I gave up my paci (“mah”) last week (mostly without a fight).
…I burst into rooms Kramer style.
…I love hard (sometimes literally) and am loved very, very much.

Bits and Pieces

Thoughtfully penned on April 21st, 2010 and generally concerning E, Goals, J, Life with littles, Motherhood, S

Here are a few random things that have been going on around here lately…

~Baby Girl stayed in the nursery this morning at BSF. It was the first time she’s stayed in a nursery. We both survived. In fact, she did great.

~Boo turned two last week. More on that when I get my act together and get pictures uploaded.

~Little and Boo go for their very first dentist appointments tomorrow. Should be interesting.

~We got new outdoor toys this weekend. The kiddos are having a great time playing in the backyard.

~Baby Girl has learned to roll from back to tummy over her left side.

~My best friend moves from 2 houses down to 20 minutes away next week. I can’t say that this makes me happy, but I’m excited to see her new house.

~Matt and I got to go out Friday night (thanks for babysitting, Mom and Dad!). All.by.our.selves.

~I’m contemplating buying a sewing machine again. Matt says I’m crazy and that I don’t have time to learn to sew (which is pretty accurate).

~I’m also considering taking up scrapbooking. Matt will probably say something very similar to his comments about sewing.

~We’ve planted a garden. Again, a post awaiting uploaded pictures.

~I’ve fallen off the “reclaiming my jeans” wagon this week. I need to get back on quickly! (so far I’ve lost about 5 pounds and several inches from my waist and lower abdomen, but I have a ways to go to get back into my jeans)

~Baby Girl has had a string of rough nights this week. We’re hoping to get a little more sleep sometime in the near future.

I think that’s about all I’ve got for now. More thorough posts to come soon assuming I can string together comprehensive thoughts.

Earth Day Celebration

Thoughtfully penned on April 21st, 2010 and generally concerning Babywearing, Blogging News

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Around here we are a little bit green and growing crunchier with each passing year, but we don’t really “celebrate” Earth Day per se. This year, however, I thought I’d share a great Earth Day initiative with you.

NAP, Inc., the makers of the fabulous Sleepy Wrap and Boba Baby Carrier, is partnering with PlantABillion.org to provide each of us an opportunity to help with reforestation efforts. For every new Facebook fan or Twitter follower this week, NAP, Inc. will plant a tree. All you have to do to help in this effort is click on the links below and become a fan or follower. How easy is that?!

Sleepy Wrap on Facebook
Boba Carrier on Facebook
Sleepy Wrap on Twitter
Boba Carrier on Twitter

NAP, Inc. is a very eco-concious company who strives to reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible. For more information on their Earth Day Celebration, check out the post on their Facebook page (click the link).

And a disclaimer (just in case): no compensation was provided in exchange for this post. I just feel it’s a great (and easy) way for each of us to plant trees.

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Bargaining, preschool style

Thoughtfully penned on April 14th, 2010 and generally concerning E, J, Life with littles

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to convince Boo that he should give up his paci when he turns two. The whole “you’ll be a big boy” spiel has failed along with the “only babies take pacis” route. In my latest venture I decided that maybe bribery was the way to go.

Me: Would you trade your paci for a soccer ball?
Boo: no
Me: Would you trade your paci for a new dinosaur?
Boo: no
Me: Would you trade your paci for a new train?
Little: yeah, Boo, a new train
Boo: no, Mommy
Me: Would you trade your paci for a slide?
Little: yeah, Boo, a slide would be fun
Boo: no

Little: I’d trade my thumbs for an octopus!

Ten on Tuesday #26

Thoughtfully penned on April 13th, 2010 and generally concerning childhood, Meme, Ten on Tuesday

This isn’t my favorite set of questions (mainly because I don’t really have answers for all of them), but sometimes it’s good to stretch a bit. Check out Roots and Rings for more Ten on Tuesday fun.

1. What book, movie or song has made you want to travel to a particular place? (eg. I went to Prince Edward Island because I was such a Anne of Green Gables fan)
Jane Austen novels make me want to visit Regency England, but I don’t think I would want to stay long. And that’s all I’m coming up with here. Sad, I know.

2. Aside from your significant other, who would you want to take with you on a dream trip?
That would have to be my besties, Lindsey and Stacey, or my sister (in-law), Lu.

3. Where would said dream trip be to?
Somewhere exotic, all-inclusive, and with a lovely spa.

4. If you were hosting guests or providing tips, what three things would you show visitors to your hometown? (be it where you live now or where you grew up)
I would suggest the zoo, the botanical gardens, and the river front (although those aren’t the most popular destinations for tourists in these parts, they are the ones I like).

5. If you had a long weekend ahead of you, where you head – beach, city or country/mountains?

That would be the mountains for some hiking.

6. Do you have a passport? If so, did you get it for a particular trip or just to have, in case?
I no longer have a valid passport. Once upon a time, many years ago, I got one for my trip to Paris.

7. Are there any travel souvenirs you collect? If not, is there something else you collect?
I’m not a big collector, so no travel souvenirs. If you consider a collection a group of things that accumulates because you enjoy buying them, then I collect baby carriers and cloth diapers.

8. If you could name a paint colour, what colour would it be and what would you call it?

I can’t say that I’ve ever considered naming a paint color, but I guess if I did it would have to be a shade of blue in the periwinkle family. I have no idea what I’d call it, though.

9. If you were heading away for a weekend citybreak solo, where would you go? (forget about practicality here and flight times, assume you can get to any city in the world for the weekend)

Well, I would never go solo, Matt would be along, but right now I’d head to Portland or Seattle. Two places I’ve never visited but would love to see.

10. Is there a song or a smell or something that you strongly associate with a particular holiday/place/time, such that it always takes you back?

The smell of sage makes me think of Thanksgiving at my Mema’s. There are others, but that one has been on my mind lately because my shampoo smells strongly of sage. Oh, and the song “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t be Late)” always reminds me of childhood Christmases at Mema’s.

Menu Plan Monday ~ April 9-15

Thoughtfully penned on April 12th, 2010 and generally concerning In the kitchen, Menu Planning

Yes, I do realize it is Tuesday (and that I’ve already posted today), but I’m backdating this post to Monday and posting my menu anyway. Look at me being the rebel. :-) Not only that, but I’m going to go back to last Thursday with my menus to get some recipes linked.

So, here’s what’s on the menu these days at chez sidetrack’d…

Thursday – Naan Bread Pizzas

Friday – California Pizza Kitchen pizza

Saturday – lunch: fend for yourselves / dinner: homemade pizza

Sunday – lunch: turkey sandwiches / dinner: fend for yourselves

Monday – mahi mahi skewers, spanish rice, guacamole

Tuesday – leftovers

Wednesday – salads with grilled chicken

Thursday – lasagna, breadsticks

And, yes, we really do like pizza that much!

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