Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I want to be when I grow up.

So someday it's going to hit me that I'm almost 30, but I still feel like I'm growing up. With our upcoming joblessness I've been planning what kind of employment that I would like to do and my list just keeps growing and growing. There are so many things I want to do before I die! So here is the list as it stands thus far of all the random jobs I'd love to have someday (in no particular order):

1. Travel Agent (Already did this but would love to do it again)
2. Professional Genealogist
3. Cake Decorator
4. IKEA anything, sign me up for those discounts!!
5. Financial Planner
6. Cafe Rio Franchisee (I know they don't franchise, but I can always hope.)
7. Astronaut
8. Fluent in another language (This isn't really a job, but it could lead to one!)
9. Broadway Singer, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat to be exact
10. Triathalete (long way to go on this one)
11. Professional French Horn player (have the equipment, just not the time)

Then again, sometimes it's nice to be jobless all together and get to stay home and do whatever I want all day long. But that would mean we'd need to come into a lot of money somehow. And since no one seem to be obliging us in this matter we'll just have to look else where.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Zoo

Yesterday we headed to the zoo with our friends Andre, Tonia and their little girl Bella. It was kindof a ghetto zoo, but the kids didn't care as long as there were animals to be seen.

(Be warned, there are a lot of pictures ahead.)

Since this was a smaller zoo they seemed to be a bit more laid back, because you can buy a big bag of animal food on your way in the gate and you are pretty much free to feed it to whatever animals care to eat it. That was pretty cool and we took advantage of it!

Our first feeding stop was at the alligators.

Ella thought they were really cool, but couldn't quite throw the food far enough for them to get.

They all gathered round when we showed up like they knew they were going to be getting food or something.

Look at that mucky green water they are in. Gross. But it's a really cool color for photos!

Alex really wanted to climb right in there and play. Thank goodness for stroller straps.

Our nest stop was to see the biggest black bear I've even seen. He was HUGE!! Now you would think a 1 year old would love to see a giant black bear, but he only had eyes for a little bird up in the tree.

See daddy? That bird over there. What a goof.

Walking along the sidewalk we came upon a section they had painted to show how far various animals can jump. Everyone took a turn testing their jumping skills, even Tonia who is 8 months pregnant.

Ella got a little help from Dad.

Next stop the kangaroos. Who were all laying on the ground doing nothing. Boring kangaroos. So we made our own jangaroo fun:

Look at my cute baby kangaroos!! OK so one is a baby and one is the mommy, but they are still so cute! It took forever to get them both sticking their heads out at the same time.

Onwards to my favorite part of the whole day. We'd read on the internet that they had a platform you could feed the giraffe's from. We were really excited until we got to the giraffe enclosure to find the platform closed off.

(Ella is trying to feed it through the fence.) But this minor inconvenience didn't stop this griaffe from getting her food. Oh no. She was a smart one and had it all figured out. She came over to where her enclosure was closest to the sidewalk and stuck her head right inbetween two of the fence posts so she could be face to face with us. See:

She was eating right out of my hand. Isn't she cute?

Look at that tongue! Ella wanted nothing to do with a giraffe this close but Alex was brave enough to give it a try and I was ready with the video camera so you can all see how cute he was feeding the giraffe.

How cute is that? He's so brave.

But the feeding fun wasn't over yet. They also have a whole petting zoo feeding area full of goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys, rabbits, and even cows! The kids were in animal feeding heaven.

Ella was very particular about which animals could have her food. Here she would only feed the black goat down below, but not the brown one up above. I guess she didn't like his fur color. Who knows.

Alex got in on the action too. Look how red his face is. So hot outside. Yuck.

These 2 guys were literally begging me to take their pictures. They climbed up as high as they could go on the fence and kept banging their hooves until I accommodated them. Then they turned their heads this way and that to be sure I got their good sides. Silly animals.

Towards the end Ella got brave enough to feed this big cow-like animal who's real species has left my mind. Lots of slobber. Such fun.

After a good hand-washing and a lunch break we piled on a little train to see the back pasture of the park. I'm sure they call it something other than a pasture but that's pretty much all it was.

Here's our crowd ready to roll on our back country adventure. While we were waiting Ella insisted that I take her picture. Over and over again. She really got into it.

First she started with the pouty look. You work it girl.

Then the sly look.

She knows she's cute.

Oh does she know.

OK, you're killing me here.

So back to the train ride. Alex was really excited to see the gorillas and various deer they had back there.

You can practically hear him screaming in delight.

Look mom, a zebra!!

We were just about done being outside in the heat after all that. We made one last stop in the giant snake house. Not wanting to be outdone by the kids cuteness, here's one of Anton looking just as cute:

It was sooooooo hot and we were all negligent in bringing drinks for ourselves (the kids were well stocked) so when we finally laid out hands on some water it was chug, chug, chug.

Water is good.

After all that fun we decided to hit up a local Irish pub/steakhouse for a second lunch. This place was really cool. They had over half a million dollar bills stapled up all over the ceiling and walls. It was crazy. You can see some of it behind Anton here:

Not the best picture taking locale since the only light we had was a neon sign behind our table. I'd love to describe the place more but it's one you just have to see for yourself. I got a giant blue cheese burger that I was only able to eat half of. Yum.

We then came home where I promptly pooped out on the bed for a short little refresher nap. While I was sleeping Anton took the kids and got me these beautiful flowers:

I have the best husband in the world.

Today held some geocahing and a bike ride for us. Nothing too exciting. Sorry this was so long! Hope you made it through this far OK. Maybe you should go get some water now too!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A quick one.

Had to fulfill my scrapping obligations for this month so I whipped me up a page tonight. Here's what came of it:I used Melanie Chynoweth's Zest Summer that you can grab here at Digital Freebies.

I did this one so fast I didn't even check to make sure all the pictures were lined up perfectly like I normally do. Sometimes it's nice to give up the analness for a moment.

We went to the zoo today but I will blog more tomorrow with pictures since it's a bit late and we wouldn't want to mix scrapping and play now would we. Good night!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Playin' in the Rain

So the other day we were sitting in the house and it was a nice sunny day outside. All of a sudden I heard what sounded like pouring rain outside. I looked and sure enough, it was pouring rain! And since I passed 5th grade science I know that rain plus sunshine equal a rainbow! So we all ran outside and there it was:

(Really bad photo thanks to me forgetting to take the camera off of the preset white balance. The picture was blue before I attacked it with Photoshop.)

It continue to rain and rain and since the kids LOVE rain we let them play. Anton was so good as to catch it all on video too. Here's a sampling:

It's a bit long, but you will get to see Ella pushing Alex into the street, me kicking Ella in the head, Ella and Alex drinking water runoff from the roof, and Alex signing water multiple times. Good fun. You don't have the watch the whole thing by any means. My favorite part starts right around the 4 minute mark so you can always fast forward to there.

Just now when I went downstairs to get my camera so I could blog I found Ella doing this:

She had been downstairs for a good half hour being really quiet and I found out why. She was cutting with her own scissors and her own paper so I didn't care. I was just surprised that she stuck at it for so long. I told her she could cut as long as she wanted as long as she cleaned up when she was done. And she did! I'm amazed.

I also took her to story time at the library this morning. They line up all the kids and lock them in a back room, no parents allowed. It was nice because I could wander the library undisturbed. I wasn't sure how much she would like it. But all the way home she kept asking if we could go again tomorrow so what ever they did in that back room must have been worth it! We'll definitely be going next week.

Last night we got ice cream cravings so we made a spur of the moment trip to the store for some Blue Bell Cookie Dough Ice Cream. So good. We also hunted down a geocache along the way. That ice cream is so good. It got me thinking if I could somehow make cookie dough flavored frosting/filling for my cakes. Definitely one to experiment with.

Tomorrow we hope to go to the zoo with our friends if the weather cooperates. We'll see. Otherwise we haven't been doing much. Take care!

Monday, September 24, 2007

New set of templates up!!

Just a quick note to let you all know I have a new set of templates up in the shop!! These are nice and frilly:

You can snag them in my shop at Scraphead, here.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Scrapbook Stuff

So I did manage to squeeze some scrapping in tonight. I made this page for my sister, Andrea, because she just had a cute little baby and babies are so fun to scrap!

You can find the credits here.

Nice and simple.

And how about a freebie perhaps? Well I have one up at Scraphead right now! You can snag this 8x8 template sampler:

You can download it here. Enjoy! And let me know what you think of them.

I hope to be getting more templates up in my store tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Have a great night!

Tired of Cakes Yet?

Well too bad, you're getting more. Today's cake is brought to you courtesy of a baby shower for a friend. I volunteered to make the cake so I could practice some more. I had grand visions in my mind of what I wanted it to look like and of course, it didn't turn out that way, but it worked well enough in the end. Besides, it tasted REALLY good. It was an almond sour cream cake with raspberry filling. So yummy. Here's how it ended up:

The baby's name is Jax. He is a week old. So tiny and cute. His room is decorated in orange, green and brown, hence the cake colors. Here's a top shot:

Those balls on the wires did not want to stay put. They kept twirling in all sorts of directions. It was frustrating. I'm going to have to come up with a new method next time. Here's a close-up of the letters:

They were cracking and I was so afraid they wouldn't make it to the party, but they survived. They're stuck in with spaghetti. The cake was a little stressful to make, but I'm satisfied with how it turned out. And like I said, it tasted so good who cares what it looked like. One girl actually told me it was the best cake she'd ever eaten.

In other news, still nothing on Anton.

We've been bored alot the last few days. With Anton here all the time we seem to have run out of things to do. We spend a lot of time on the computers. We do get out for walks most days, thankfully, or I would probably go stir crazy. Yesterday we drove to an outlet mall. We had dual goals, winter clothes for Alex and jeans for Anton and I. We found some stuff for Alex and got them in nice large sizes since the boy likes to be bigger than average. We weren't as successful with the jeans thing. We both love Old Navy jeans, but their outlets are all going out of business. They are turning them all into regular Old Navy's. So the store was pretty much empty. If you live near an Old Navy outlet get there now! Everything is 60% off.

I hope to scrapbook today since I have a couple pages due by the end of the month. So I'll post all my scrapbooking news in another post. Take care!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cakes and Caches

I made up a batch of cupcakes and mini cakes for a lunch at church. Really I just needed an excuse to practice some more. Here are a plethora of photos showing only the good sides of course.

They were vanilla caramel cake with vanilla caramel frosting and fondant decorations. Yum.

In other family activity news, Anton is still just waiting around to find out what they are going to do with him. First they tried to tell him that he couldn't separate. But when they finally figured out that wasn't true they moved on to saying he was going to have to pay back his enlistment bonus. Now, we know that isn't going to happen, but we have to wait for them to figure that out. They really don't want him to drop out of the program. Some Admiral way up in the upper echelons of the Navy even said unofficially they would give him a year off if it would make a difference in him staying. I guess of all the Warrants he has the best scores on all of his flights, which is interesting since he was sick on all of them. So until everyone figures out what is going on he just stays home everyday with us. It's nice.

We've been using this time to our advantage, and since the weather is finally getting cooler (as in the 80's rather than the 90's) we decided to head outside yesterday. We hadn't been geocaching in a while so that what we did. Our first cache was out at an archaeological dig near here. Anton and I both got ant bites looking for it but find it we did. Here we are mid search:
Ella snagged a necklace from the cache and Alex got a ducky sippy cup. All sorts of our collection of little toys have come from geocaching. We love it. It's like treasure hunting. I would've taken more pictures but the GPS ran out of batteries and we had to salvage them from my camera. We did get videos of it all but I'm too lazy to upload them.

Last night we had dinner with our friends. It's so nice to have friends for real and it's going to stink when we have to move.

Other than that I've just been working on more cake stuff. I'm doing one for a baby shower on Friday. I'll of course post pictures of it when it's done. Have a good one!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Practice Cake #2

I finally worked up enough courage to try covering a cake with fondant. The concept always seemed easy enough, but I knew it would be more difficult in reality. It actually wasn't too bad. I probably should have purchased the fondant so I could be more familiar with the correct texture and such, but I'm cheap. So I made my own. It was so gooey and sticky. I kept adding more and more powdered sugar until finally it seemed right. Though in the end I think I made it too dry because it was wrinkling and cracking a little bit. I didn't get it on the cake very well. There were all sorts of air bubbles and such, but I look at it with a much more critical eye than others. Anton thinks it looks fine. So without further ado I present Practice Cake #2:

And the obligatory closeup:

Thank goodness for all the polka-dots that helped me cover up all the really ugly parts. There was actually supposed to be a bow on this one. I was doing OK making it, but I got a little impatient waiting for it to dry and a few of the loops crumbled on me. Then I didn't have enough loops to make a good bow. Then I was also too lazy to color the "glue" holding it together to match the bow. Needless to say, the bow didn't end up on the cake. But here it is looking ugly in a bowl:

Now I know how not to do it I'm pretty sure I could pull of a decent one next time.

I had no problems doing the demolition on this one:

It tasted really good too since I changed my cake making methods. I though the fondant was too strongly flavored, but everyone else really liked it. It was a yellow cake with a buttervream filling. Yum. I bought a few things today at the store to try out. Powdered coffee creamer in vanilla-caramel to flavor my frostings with. And a coconut extract. I have visions of coconut covered white cakes with that one. Yummm.

But enough about cakes. I actually also scrapbooked tonight. First time in a while. Here's my page:

I used Minna Rajala's Falling Leaves kit available here at Scraphead.

Earlier today I told Anton that I was taking the day off from responsibility. It was so nice. He made the menu for the week and the grocery list. I did go with him to the grocery store because honestly, I had to make sure we got some real food. But he bought all sorts of stuff to make a fabulous Chinese dinner and he made it tonight. There was so much food that we had to invite our friends over to help us eat it all (and the cake too of course). Anton made Sweet and Sour Pork, Chicken Chow Mein and Fried Rice. Good stuff. I'm surprised we had room for cake after all that.

It was a pretty good day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Practice Cake #1

So in an attempt to see if cake decorating could be a possible viable business for me I thought it wise to dust off my cake decorating skills and give it a whirl. I made a yellow cake from scratch and also buttercream and royal icings. After much powdered sugar mess and many hours later this was the result:

It didn't turn out like I'd initially planned, but I like it nonetheless. The flowers are made of royal icing, so they are harder, but the rest is buttercream, a really yummy buttercream if I do say so myself. I really need to buy some new cake pans. The ones I have are 9 inch and have sloped sides. Not conducive to straight cake baking. I got some other shots of the cake too:


Now since I really don't want to gain 25 pounds in my venture to practice cake decorating we needed a plan to get rid of the cake. So we called in reinforcements. A few of our friends (more the the usuals, amazingly enough) came over to help us out. Anton made sure to snap a picture of me with the cake before the demolition began:

(Horrid fluorescent lighting!!)

I couldn't bring myself to cut into it after all the time I'd put into it so I passed the knife to our friend Andre and he did the deed for me:

Bella couldn't wait to have a piece:

Once the initial cut was made it didn't take long for the cake to go from this:

To this:

To this:

And finally to this:

We ate the last piece for lunch today. I ate one piece and it was so rich I almost couldn't finish it, but Anton bravely swallowed down 3 pieces, all for my weigh loss' sake. What a brave, selfless man. Andre managed 2 and Ella 1. The rest of us adults stuck with one. Even Alex partook and quite enjoyed.

The final consensus was that the cake was good, but a bit dry. I'm just not good at cakes from scratch. I'll have to go back to my secret method that always works perfectly!!

Today I started on practice cake #2 and it will be my first foray into the world of fondant. All the pieces have been prepped and tomorrow it will hopefully be assembled. Wish me luck!