Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The gifts that keep on giving

For my 27th Birthday, I received the following: a tooth, a tub of Crisco, and 3 kittens.

Care for an explanation?

A Tooth
June has been chewing everything in sight lately, and Tuesday afternoon I think I spotted a little tooth coming in. It could just very well be dent in her gums, but I think my little Junie is growin' up!

Tub of Crisco:
I told William that for my birthday I wanted a bunch of ingredients so I could bake more treats. He pulled through (very enthusiastically) and bought me several baking ingredients including a huge tub of Crisco. Can't wait to use them.

3 Kittens:
So last week, I was downstairs, and it was really late, and all of a sudden I heard some sort of animal screaming like a banshee. I got so scared and woke William up because I thought it was dying or being tortured, and he basically said, "Don't worry. I saw a cat run out from under our porch the other day. It's probably just that cat going nuts." Okay, so remember that was last week....
YESTERDAY, I went outside to water my plants and sitting in our yard was that cat feeding three little kittens. I froze. The cat then proceeded to lead the kittens back UNDER OUR PATIO, and then it took off over the fence. I ran inside, grabbed the flashlight, and looked under our deck.
I made a diagram to show a precise view of what I saw. The angle of the diagram is MY point of view looking under our patio.

Do you see the cat eyes?! Well guess what...THERE'S A FAMILY OF CATS LIVING UNDER OUR PATIO. I'm not sure how long they've been there but it's probably been a while, since they seem pretty settled with their cat furniture and mini fridge. (okay no furniture or fridge but wouldn't that be awesome?) Seriously, GET BACK HONKY CATS. We have got to get those cats out of there cause there's NO WAY I'm becoming a cat lady. OR one of those ladies from Hoarders that think they're taking care of a bunch of stray cats but then the cleaners find like 15 dead cats around their house. SO GROSS.

Oh and for some reason, William says the word "CAT" like this:

Anyway, no more cat talk. Let's talk more about my birthday:

So I was going to make an AMAZING cake for my birthday.
First, I made a bunch of mini donuts to decorate my cake with. I think that anything mini is adorable (except for mini cats living under our patio).
Then I made chocolate frosting for the cake... it turned out really gross. I decided I wasn't going to have a birthday cake at all...

...until we went to Krispy Kreme and created this beauty:

I didn't invent this Donut Cake idea, but I sure like it. And see the mini donuts? Aren't they precious? I'm going to try to create a better recipe for them, then share what I come up with on a later post.

So then, William and I went to all the 'Joe's' Birthday stops, starting with Joe's BBQ:

Thanks to my favorite people (the family Coombs) for joining us.

Then we went to Liberty Market and Farm Grill. I got a few pizzas for William and I to share.

Here are some of my real presents I collected today:

27 is going to be so fun, AFTER we get those cats out of our patio.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

100th post

June's so proud that I've reached my 100th post, she's gonna put her whole fist in her mouth.

For my 100th post, I decided to share 100 things that most people don't know about me.

So here we go:

1. I've always wanted to try working as a postman (postwoman).

2. I HATE getting my oil changed. Not because costs money and it's time-consuming, but because I hate when the mechanics remind me how truly crappy my car is.

3. I love snacking on cookie dough. Yeah, you heard right..."snacking".

4. Before William, I had a strange obsession for anchormen... preferably Brian Williams, Stone Phillips, and Matt Lauer.

5. I could eat toasted marshmallows all day, everyday, and guess what?! National Toasted Marshmallows Day falls on my birthday.

6. I once rode on the same elevator as Prince... yes, Purple Rain, Prince. He was wearing a top hat and I was still taller than he was.

7. Sometimes, when I'm loading a stapler, I pretend that I'm loading a gun. And then I get tough and shoot the staples out.

8. I'm not a hat person because my head is abnormally large and most hats don't fit me... I wish I was exaggerating.

9. Cream cheese is my favorite food group.

10. I don't think Ringo gets enough credit.

11. N*Sync was my first concert. And Sisqo opened for them. And I enjoyed it. A LOT.

12. I'm always a little embarrassed when people say they saw me driving because the next thing I ask is if they also caught me lip synching or talking to myself. Without fail, I'm doing one of those.

13. I don't care that moths, crickets, or daddy long legs don't bite or harm you. If they come near me, I'll scream bloody murder.

14. At Paul McCartney's concert, I was in the front row and Paul and I gazed into each other's eyes and sang "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." That will forever be one of my favorite moments of all time.

15. If I really want a good laugh, I just have to tell William to dance. He'll have me laughing in tears within a minute.

16. Without fail, I cry when I watch the following movies: Apollo 13, Toy Story 3, and Saving Private Ryan. What is it about Tom Hanks that puts me to tears?

17. I really really really really miss new seasons of 24.

18. I don't care how many times I've seen every episode of Seinfeld. I'll still sit and watch it and I still think it's funny.

19. I hate hate hate hate blue-ray advertisements. I get it: I'll eventually have to replace all our DVDs 'cause you're taking over, so shortly after I finally stopped buying VHS's.

20. I want to dress like the children in the J.Crew (Crewcuts) catalog.

21. My goal is to be a hipster mom...but I can't, because I care too much.

22. One of my former 5th grade students thought that Sarah Palin was our Vice President... For some reason, this angered me and I was in a really bad mood for the rest of Social Studies.

23. My favorite Disneyland moment was when I rode Indiana Jones for the first time with William. He pretended to be swinging his "Indie" whip, but instead he whacked the poor stranger sitting behind us.

24. I LOVE going to airports.

25. I have to admit that I saw the Justin Bieber movie. I tried to come up with a valid excuse for seeing it like, "I only went cause William dragged me" or "I was just seeing why my 5th graders were all hyping about it". William didn't drag me. My former 5th graders hated the Biebs. I may have gotten chills a few times in the movie too.

26. What is it about my family and our addiction for cold, iced-up sodas in styrofoam cups? Seriously, I need one right now.

27. I consider myself a really good speller, except I always misspell the following words: unfortunetly and definetly. Curse those little red dotted lines.

28. I used to play Wall Ball with my students, and I don't care that they are only 10 years old, I WANTED TO CREAM THEM.

29. I get lazy sometimes, and that's why I can't think of 100 things about myself right now.

Yeah really that's it. I guess the other 71 things will have to wait. And sorry if you are disappointed because you were looking for something exciting or juicy.

Happy 100th post!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Party Birthday Cake

My cute friend, Debbie, threw a birthday party for my cute friend, Connie, and it was amazing. I've known Connie and Debbie growing up in Gilbert. Every time I hang out with them, I get a little sad that I don't have a sister of my own. They are so fun like that.

Connie is an avid reader so all the guests brought books to add to her library. She has great taste in literature, and she received some books that I'm definitely going to peruse, but more on that later. It was a good time and Connie has some really funny friends.

I made a book-themed cake for Connie's Birthday. For some reason, this cake topper has been on my mind for some time, so when Debbie told me the theme, I jumped on it.

The garland on the cake has little mini books strung to it. They are titled with some of Connie's favorite novels.

The cake itself was okay. But I would DEFINITELY make the frosting again (next time, I'll use the frosting on cupcakes... it was too light to hold up the heavy cake, so it turned out slightly crooked).

Here are the recipes:

That's the Best Frosting I've Ever Had (via Tasty Kitchens)

  • 5 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

Bake your favorite chocolate cake and let it cool.

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

I'm not the biggest cake-from-scratch fan. I still like using a boxed cake, with a slight variation.

Here's the recipe I used:

Easy White Cake (Via Our Best Bites)

1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines super moist is best, and yes that’s not what’s in my photo)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white cake)
1 tsp almond extract (Next time, I would use a little less than a tsp. It was slightly overwhelming)

Mix all dry ingredients with a whisk, then add wet ingredients. Beat for two minutes until fluffy.

For Cake: Pour into greased, floured pans (fills two 8 or 9″ rounds) and bake according to cake package directions.

For cupcakes: fill paper liners 3/4 full and bake according to box directions. Makes 36 cupcakes.

Yay cakes! My next cake is going to be my favorite kind... yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Blue Belles

Oh I can't tell you how excited I was to make this recipe.
I love lemons and I love blueberries, so together I imagined it would be heavenly.
Oh and I also love the name of this recipe.

Here's some befores I took:

Blue Belles (via Martha Stewart)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 ounces blueberries (1 1/4 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter nine 2 1/2-by-4-inch baking pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

  2. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup is thickened, about 4 minutes. Let stand while making cakes.

  3. Meanwhile, combine heavy cream, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the vanilla in a bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl.

  4. Beat butter, lemon zest, and remaining cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in blueberries using a rubber spatula.

  5. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

  6. Transfer pans to wire racks, and brush tops of cakes with lemon syrup. Let stand for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, and brush all over with remaining syrup. Let cool completely on wire racks.