Sunday, April 15, 2012

My new BFF

In my house there are 2 girls and 2 boys.  Total.  Me and Jenny and Shane and Will.  Shane and Will are always traipsing off on a Boy Scout adventure.  Camping in the rain, sleeping in huts made of sticks and leaves, and doing things that they will tell me about in 20 years when it's "funny."   Of course we miss them when they are gone but we do enjoy our "girl weekends."  I don't know how much longer she will want to spend those with me but I'll take it as long as I can get it.  We like to go shopping and make crafts.  She helped me repaint the bathroom one weekend, and one weekend we spent the entire day Saturday making valentine goodies for her class and other friends.  It was fabulous, but  every once in awhile we get a hankerin' to go somewhere.  So when the chance came along to go to Birmingham and hang out with one of our favorite cookbook authors we jumped on it.

Ree said to tell you all hello.

We got to visit with her for awhile.  Ok.  She signed our books, took a picture and we had to  move on but she was super sweet.  She's very pretty in real life and had the same quirky sense of humor she writes with.  It was such a fun thing for Jenny and I to do together and I'm glad she was excited to go see an author and chef and not some pop star with only half her clothes on.  I hope we can keep it that way!

I'm going to go now and cook my way through Ree's new cookbook.  She told me to make the orange sweet rolls.  She really did!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jenny's birthday cake

This is my baby girl.

She turned 11 last month and now she looks like this.

I love this girl.  She amazes me.  I can't figure her out most days and I think that's how she likes it.  From the day she was born she has known exactly who she is.  I love many things about this girl but that is my favorite.  She's not easily influenced and as we enter middle school next year I pray that quality remains strong.  Stay strong baby girl, stay strong!!

We had to have a party of course and we decided to have an art party!  I love a good theme and we ran with it!  My friend Jill's daughter Reagan came and painted with the girls and they had a great time.  Jenny and I always like to bake her cake together and this year we decided the rainbow cake we've all seen on Pinterest was the perfect cake!

Here is the finished product.

And here is the inside.

This was not a hard cake to make.  It was however a very time consuming cake to make!  My advice?  Buy 2 or 3 cake pans.  We only had one so it took a long time!  We had fun though!

We started with a basic white cake recipe which we doubled.  We used an 8 inch cake pan.  We colored a small amount of batter using gel colors, not liquid food coloring.  You can get gel colors at any craft store in the cake section.  We then poured about an inch of batter into the well greased pan and baked it for about 10 minutes.  We ended up with lots of these!

We ended up with seven total.  My daughter is very organized and she likes things in the right place and order.  Yes she's just 11.  As a result please notice from top to bottom the order of the cake.
The orangey looking layer second from the top is actually pink which I convinced her could substitute for indigo.  Therefore our cake is in perfect ROY G. BIV order.  Can you say OCD?

Anyway, we used plain white buttercream in between the layers.  Obviously we needed more between some layers to make things nice and flat and even.
We then covered the whole thing in buttercream and made the banner and added the large gumdrops which we bought at the party store.

And voila!
Excuse the dishtowel and the mess behind the cake.  It was LATE!!

Here are some scenes from the party!
The artist table all set up

Jenny and our friend Reagan.

The masterpieces!
It was a really fun party and as hard as it can be to see them get big it really is a joy to watch them grow. They sat around and talked and giggled and painted and thankfully did not talk about boys just yet!  So far 11 has been great!

And in case you were wondering, in between the two pictures above she looked like this.

Be still my heart!  Love that girl!

Hard drives, restores and a nervous breakdown

Well that pretty much sums up our computer experience over the last few months.  I should have emphasized the nervous breakdown part.  Computers are like cars.  They should just work.  I don't want to spend my time fixing you.  I have supper to fix I don't have time to fix you too!

It started simply enough with what appeared to be a power supply problem.  As in, it was stone cold dead.  Nothing. Nada.  That happened the week my 8th grader had two projects due.  One of which was a web site he had to build and the other a paper he had to research.  The computer was going to take a week to fix. I seriously asked the apple guy for a school excuse.  We made it through that, but our back up software wanted us to restore the computer.  I'm not sure why.  But it seemed harmless enough so we did that.  Big mistake, big, huge, I have to go shopping now. (Sorry, movie quote!)  Anyway, the restore took forever but the computer was working ok and then.... it all went CARAZY!!!  The computer would not allow us to use more than one application at a time.  As in I cant open pictures and the Internet which means no blogging!  I can't research and write a paper at the same time, etc.  After about a month of that it became completely unusable and there was probably a nervous breakdown or two.  So back the store we go where the little man says it's the hard drive.  They wipe the computer clean.  As in, when I turned it on for the first time it was a blank white screen flashing a question mark.  But two hours and two phone calls to Apple later I had installed an operating system and we were cooking with gas....until I hit the restore button.  After much angst it appears the off site backup we used had some corrupted software or some such computer talk and it was wreaking havoc every time we tried to used it.  It did restore but it took an entire week and then the computer was once again useless.  SO back to the store we go again.  A major issue was that despite the fact that the computer had restored I could not open my picture files.  I was holding the panic at bay but after an hour at the apple store when the man said, "There that should get everything back!" and pressed the button and the message, "picture files corrupted, cannot restore" or some such gibberish flashed on the screen the tears began to flow.  He handled it well, bless his heart but when I say I left with my big old computer in arms with tears streaming down my face it's not an exaggeration.

Too make a long, boring story only slightly shorter I had to walk away from the situation.  Way too emotionally involved and Shane took over.  Many phone calls later my precious pictures have been restored all 17,000 of them (who knew there that many.)  I can once again see my babies faces and that is so good!  We have a new back up system in place and that also so good.  I lost some of the organization of the pictures but at this point it doesn't even matter.

All that to say... I can blog again.  Some may be happy, some may say who cares, some may groan.  Either way, I've been cooking up a storm over here so I'll be seeing you soon!