Friday, November 22, 2013

Books I have recently read

My mom asked me yesterday, "Remind me again which book were you telling me about?" and I honestly couldn't remember which book I might have been sharing with her, because I have been reading quite a few good ones lately. All genres as usual. I just finished The Persian Pickle Club, by Sandra Dallas. Historical fiction, Great Depression in Kansas/women's quilting group/friendship/murder mystery with BEST twist ending ever! Also, Liam just got a cute book from his Sunbeam teacher titled, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, by Jan Thomas. Children's literature at its best. You will laugh out loud every time! Lastly, Jerry and I are reading together a parenting book titled The Whole Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson. You know it's a good one when Jerry gets excited about reading it. He got it on e-book format and is listening to it audio while he multi-tasks. It has a lot of fun "comic book" inserts and other unique formatting points that appeal to multiple learning styles.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to Mr. LO! And the saga of 4 Disney Cars Cakes.

Have I mentioned yet how my birthday, my son's birthday, my daughter's birthday, and Halloween all occur within a 2 wk. time frame. It is ridiculous. We have GOT to figure out a system for managing this traffic jam of celebrations. Also, it drives me crazy to do this post without photos. But as aforementioned, I cannot upload photos with our current internet situation. I do what I can. Anyway, in order to space the birthdays somewhat, we had Lo's party a whole month before his actual birthday. This was an experiment we shall not repeat. It just made him think he needed another party by the time his actual birthday rolled around. Which we sort of ended up doing, though Jerry and I refused to call it a "party." We just had a few families over for a special lunch in which we served Lo's favorite foods (orange chicken and wontons). And we gave party favors and cupcakes. And they all gave Lo gifts even though we told people they didn't need to. Okay, it was a second party. He was even going to get a THIRD party, thanks to the fact that I recently happened to find an extra Disney Cars cake in my possession. Read on. The story of The Cakes: The first cake, I was all set to try my hand at a Wilton Lightning McQueen form pan. But Lo insisted he didn't want a cake that looked like a car; he wanted a cake that had loads of TOY cars on top of it. Toys he could keep and play with forevermore. So that is what we made for his first party. It was a cute cake, three layers high with a race track and plenty of sprinkles, etc. plus a handful of microdrifter cars racing around on it. Lo helped me with pretty much every step of the cake-making process (the kid is great with a hand mixer!) and I'm happy with how it turned out. For the second party, er, non-party luncheon we just did cupcakes. Still Disney Cars themed, with racing flags topping some, and even one red-frosted cupcake with a yellow lightning bolt logo on it. Then, I signed up to make a Disney Cars cake for a charity I've gotten involved with. It is called Cake4Kids, and delivers birthday cakes to kids who otherwise wouldn't have a birthday (children in foster care mainly). I feel great getting to do some fun baking, and brightening lives in the process. Plus, I wanted a service opportunity that my kids could get involved in alongside me, and delivering a Cars cake to some little boy has Mr. Lo so excited! So a few days ago I made the Wilton Disney Cars cake. One of the ladies in my ward was a Wilton instructor, so she came over to my house for THREE hours and gave an awesome personalized lesson. I got myself the Wilton basics kit with some of my birthday money, and I'm feeling thrilled to learn this new skill. But anyway, I'm being a perfectionist about this cake for charity. The Cars cake we did a couple days ago just wasn't good enough to give away. :) So I was going to bring it to park group on Friday where my son would have yet another birthday party, eating cake with all his friends in the glorious Fall California weather. But then Mr. Lo got the stomach flu, missed park day, and we ended up throwing the cake in the trash because nobody wanted to eat it. I spent about 6 hours making that cake. It hurt a little to throw it away, but I guess the point of it was to practice and learn so the cake I deliver this week to the boy in Cake4Kids will be the best! Including the cupcakes from Lo's 2nd party, this charity cake will be my fourth attempt at a Disney Cars cake within the past month. I'd say I'm getting to be a tad expert at this category.