Tuesday, December 29, 2009

red velvet cake

Mom made James a red velvet cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting for his birthday. This cake was fantastic! When James blew out the candles, we were all eager to try a piece.

And, it tasted even better than it looked.
Lemon cake has always been my favorite, but this one is definitely nudging its way close to the top. If you want to make this yourself (like I do), I found the recipe here.

Between James' pizza and Mom's cake, I think they could start a gourmet restaurant and have it a smashing success. And, I am willing to do the very hard task of sampling!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Space Humor

The boys decided to make up jokes about outer space today. Here is what they came up with.

Why did Mercury sit in a hat? So he'd shine it up!...... See - there is the stuff called Mercury that people used to put in hats to shine them up that made them crazy - you know, like from tuna? And Mercury is a planet?!

Why did Pluto visit Disney Land? He wanted to be a movie star.

Why did Pluto go to Disney Land? Because he wanted to be a star. ............You know, like since he is so small, he could be considered a star. Cause he isn't considered a planet anymore. Did you know that, Mom?

Jamey: Why does the Sun's torso hurt so much? Because his asteroid belt didn't fit.

They had each other in stitches over the jokes, and me as well listening to them come up with them.

Arthur declared that space jokes are the funniest, followed by all other science jokes. Jamey concurred.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Arthur woke us up this morning to let us know Santa came. We all assembled in the living room to open presents. Arthur and Jamey were extra good this year and Santa spoiled the pants off of them. Here they are excitedly ready to start unwrapping.

And, here is the aftermath of their excitement!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas full of family, love, and joy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Necklace

Although I have made a number of jewelry pieces, I found that I didn't have what I was looking for to go with my holiday outfits. I wanted a piece that was darker and more understated. So, I came up with this black and silver piece.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

fun apron

I had some great fabric that I picked up three years ago simply because it was too cute to pass up. Maybe your shocked, thinking to yourself three years?! She's had fabric laying about for three whole years?! Or maybe you are thinking who on earth picks up fabric with no project planned for it?!.

Well, while it is true that I might have some slight hoarding tendencies, anyone with a fabric fetish understands me completely. I couldn't leave such great fabric behind because I just knew that when I finally figured out what to do with it, I'd never find it again. That's right - always be prepared.

Now here I am, three years later putting this fabric to great use as an apron! So simple, so cute, so fun!!!!
Here is a closer look at the fabric. The blocks have drink recipes! How cool is that?! I love it.

Yes, it's true - I'm feeling inordinately smug right now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

sleeping attire

Everyone has a preference on how they dress for bedtime. Some like nightgowns and p.j.s. For some, it has to be cotton or fleece. Some even prefer Au natural.

Here is what Arthur chose to go to bed wearing:
1) bunny hat
2) penguin scarf
3) dragon tooth necklace
4) cow fuzz blanket
5) I didn't get it in the picture, but on his feet are super fuzzy royal blue and gold striped slippers.

He is now ready for a good nights sleep.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

giving and getting

Thursday night, James, the boys and I headed to the Kiwanis building in Battle Ground to help with the Food Bank's toy drive. The community donated toys at local businesses and they were then gathered up and brought to Kiwanis.

The goal: to match 57 needy families with children 14 and under with the donated toys. Every child was allowed one big gift, two small gifts, and a stuffed animal.

All the volunteers paired up in teams of two (Jamey G and I together, and Arthur with James) and the teams were given a sheet with the children in a family - their age, gender, favorite color, and a list of three items they would like for Christmas. Once fully equipped with a large bag, we commenced in trying to match each child with the right present.

We really enjoyed trying to get the perfect item for everyone. Arthur said it was better than playing computer games, and Jamey G was so excited picking out toys that he was emitting energy at his top level.

That night, we were able to participate in giving families a better Christmas. But, I felt we got much more out of it than we gave.

Several children were asking for shoes, coats, school supplies, etc, without even thinking of toys. This was surprising to me, as well as the boys. At our house, we are all asking for fun, nonessential stuff and seeing these wish lists of basics really got us thinking how fortunate we are.

Having the opportunity to share this experience with Jamey and Arthur was especially rewarding for us. They loved helping, and are already asking to do this again next Christmas. I loved seeing their enthusiasm and pure hearts shining through. I definitely think this will become a Christmas tradition for us!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Trees and Crumbles

Last weekend we went on our annual hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. The weather report called for freezing rain and we almost canceled our plans, but since all looked stable, we decided to scoot on out quickly and off we went to Maxine Lester's house for a tree.

The hunting was fierce, but once we spotted our prey, it was no match for the three Zimmerman men who stealthily snuck upon the tree and surrounded it before it had a chance to drop a single needle in preparation for flight.

As we left with our tree, the rain began to fall, and we made it home safe and sound before the weather turned harsh (we did end up with both freezing rain and snow this weekend).

At home the tree was decorated with enthusiasm.

And after all was said and done, we enjoyed some cherry crumble that I made from the cherries that I picked and froze this summer. Yum schmum! Below is the recipe if you would like to try it out.

Cherry Crumble:

4 cups sour pie cherries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking spice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup butter (smart balance vegan spread works great too)

1) Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C
2) In a pot, mix cherries, 1/4 cup sugar, almond extract, and baking spice and heat until the juices thicken a bit - about 5 minutes on medium
3) Transfer cherry mixtures into a baking dish
4) Mix the flour, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, and butter until nice and crumbly. Spread over the top of the cherries.
5) Dust the top with cinnamon
6) Bake 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, December 11, 2009

How do you like your eggs?

Do you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or poached? How about frozen?

It has been cold down here, very cold. I think the lowest temperature was Tuesday which according to my neighbor's outdoor thermometer was 7 degrees F at 7:00 am. And, it hasn't been warming up much even with beautiful sunny days.

Which leaves me with frozen eggs in the hen house. The ladies have been troopers about all this cold frozen weather and haven't slacked off in giving us plenty of eggs. The trouble is collecting these eggs before they freeze and split the shells. I have lost several eggs this week for not getting to them soon enough.

Now, we have been running watering cans down to them daily just to keep them in fresh water that they won't chip a beak on. The first one is brought down about 7:00 in the morning, and I take the second one down between 1:00 and 2:00. By this time, any stray eggs that are not laid in the main box are frozen solid. How long does it take for an egg to freeze? I'm not sure, but I upped my egg collecting from once a day to three or so times a day and I still have had anywhere from one egg up to three eggs frozen solid in a given day.

It has now become a bit of a game for me to try to time my runs down to the coop to save as many eggs as possible and not waste a trip coming up empty handed. And, I'm getting better at it!!! And yes, I realize that I must spend way too much time on the hill by myself to make egg collecting a sport of anticipation.

Friday, December 4, 2009

the 9th year has come

Yep, it is official. Jamey is now nine! We celebrated in grand style last night with one of his favorite dinners followed by cake and ice-cream. Here he is blowing out his birthday candles on an angle food cake (the one and only cake he actually likes).

Jamey anxiously observed us eating, waiting for the last bit of dessert to be consumed so gift opening time could be started.

What words of wisdom does the now older and wiser boy have to say? We found out by asking him some questions which he shared his thoughts with us. They are as follows:

What did you like about your birthday?
Everyone caring for me and treating me special.

What was hard about your birthday?
All the birthday comments. It was embarrassing - it doesn't feel right to brag about oneself. Also, I couldn't play much before the present were opened.

What was your favorite gift?
The Dr. Slump books, and the Shonen Jump magazine subscription and the Connect 4x4 game, and oh I don't know - this is all so hard. I liked it all.

What did you learn?
Having a bunch of kids at the party doesn't help because they all shout at you to open their present first and it is a lot more fun just having your birthday with your own family.

Any words of wisdom to share?
Cake can be used as a candle holder. So, it is good to have it on your birthday. I prefer just ice-cream to eat though.

Also, look both ways when crossing a street.

What are you proud of doing/learning this past year?
I felt like I was being nicer to people.

While the big day is over, the fun isn't. Last night was the family only dinner, but on Sunday Jamey gets to take two friends out for swimming and pizza as the cherry on the birthday celebrations.

And as Jamey says
"my birthday is the best - it is the start of all the holidays, and it is the start of winter, which means - SNOW!!!".