Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Company Party

My company had a summer party on the 21st up at Sundance. I've never worked for a company large enough to have a summer party like this so it was quite a treat. They had crafts going on for the kids, horseback riding, mountain bike riding, inflatable bouncy things, and we could ride the ski lift. So we rode up the ski lift, it took about a half hour to go up. I rode with Jack and Taylor and Lane rode with Addie. Evidently, Addie found the ride to be very scary and cried most of the way up. Once we were up there, we looked around some and followed a trail around a little bit. I took some pictures of the kids and the scenery and found out today when I downloaded the pictures that I had the camera on the wrong setting. Luckily, Lane discovered my mistake when I handed the camera off to him, so only the first few pictures are bad.

Coming back down the lift I rode with Lane and Addie, and sent Jack and Taylor ahead of us. This calmed Addie down quite a bit and she had fun on the ride back down. It seemed to be the really steep parts like this that she found upsetting. That's Jack and Taylor right ahead of us. Or should I say below us?

They had a whole bunch of the inflatable bouncy things, and Jack and Addie bounced forever. Taylor finally had to give in and bounce too, but I was under strict orders that that there should be no photographic evidence of it. We should have known better than to let Addie bounce so long. It was so hot and she did too much, and when we went to have dinner she didn't feel good, and looked even worse. As she rested and cooled down some, she felt better. Sundance catered a nice barbeque for us.

For the final event of the night, Xactware had Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band do a concert. It was so good, and everyone had the best time! What a great company I work for!

Back to school and Baking Day

The first day of school! It's the most wonderful day of the year! Again, Taylor didn't want her picture taken, but the other two think it's the best thing ever to have "The First Day of School" picture taken.

I was lucky enough on Saturday to get to have a baking day. I baked 2 dozen rolls, pretzels, and 6 dozen lime cupcakes. I love baking days! The cupcakes lasted until Monday evening, the pretzels lasted until Sunday afternoon, and the rolls were gone by Saturday night.

I also rounded up a few tomatoes from a friend, and managed to get 4 1/2 quarts of tomato sauce done. My tomatoes are mostly all still green, but even still my garden just didn't produce as well as it has in years past. If you know of surplus tomatoes, I will gladly take them!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Raspberry Lemonade & Pink Velvet

This is my regular pink lemonade cupcake, but I decided to be a little crazy and add raspberry extract to the frosting. It was ok . . . pretty good I guess, but not nearly as spectacular as it was in my head. I think I'll try it again, a different sort of way, and see if I can make it as spectacular as I think it should be.

This is my pink velvet. I make it from scratch and it is so good! It's not at all heavy or dense like some scratch cakes are. I think I've shared the recipe before, but in case I haven't:

Pink Velvet Cupcakes:

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/8 t pink paste food coloring (I have also used regular food coloring, but now that I have some paste, I like it better)
3 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (I NEVER buy buttermilk for anything - shhh, don't tell - but you can quickly sour milk by putting 1 T vinegar in a 1 cup and adding enough milk to fill it. Yeah, I cheat)

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and food coloring until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately wth the butter milk and beating well after each addition.

Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 until done. (The recipe says 23 - 25 minutes, but that's just crazy. Mine are done in 15-17 minutes.)

I have frosted them with white chocolate mousse frosting as well as plain whipped cream. I believe that all cupcakes need to be sprinkled with something, so I used sugar crystals, and then white chocolate chips just to dress it up and because there must ALWAYS be chocolate somewhere.

I found a shirt at Kohls that said "Cupcakes make me smile," but unfortunately it didn't come in size fat so I had to take a pass. Bummer. But one of my aprons is all cupcaked-out - like my blog wallpaper, so I guess it's ok.

Monday, August 9, 2010

White Trash

We live on White Trash Lane. So after 6+ years here, I have decided to truly embrace my own White Trashiness and watch Wipe Out. It has become a huge pasttime for us around here, thanks to the beauty of the DVR. We get our popcorn, chips, soda and bunch up on the couch and laugh until we cry, or wet ourselves, whichever comes first. So much do we enjoy our Wipe Out time, that I found a Wipe Out game for the Wii that everyone has had a great time with. Sometimes they have to pause the game for a minute to catch their breath from laughing so hard. Me - I don't play the video game. I watch and I laugh, but I don't play. I was not blessed with the gift that would allow me to play video games that require 2 controllers. Can't do it. I'm far too spastic, I guess. But everyone else is having a great time. I'm having a great time too, just in an observational/supervisory role.

I sit here tonight $200 poorer. That's what it cost for Taylor's high school fees. And she isn't even doing anything extracurricular! That's just all the regular stuff! Oh, I know, I complain about it every year, just as my mother complained about it every year, and just as my kids will complain about it when they are the parents. $200 is actully less than what I was expecting, so I guess it isn't so bad, and that does include her yearbook. I still have her school shopping to do; Jack and Addie are both done.

And speaking of Jack - I took him to Kohls to get his clothes, and after much wandering around finally found the "young men's" department. Yeah, everytihng was too small. So off we went to the MENS department. MENS?!? Are you kidding? He isn't quite 12 yet! The pants in the boys/young mens dept fit his waist but were too short. The pants in the mens dept were too big in the waist but the right length. There is no inbetween. I managed to find him 3 pairs of pants (because that's ALL THEY HAD with a 29 waist), but he will have to wear a belt or the will quite literally fall off. I teased him about being too thin and too tall, and he respoinded with "What do you want me to do? Eat non-stop and just sit around?" I told him that's pretty much what he does now, and it doesn't seem to make any difference. I expect I will have to go back to Kohls at Christmas and completely replace the 3 pairs I bought. I don't think they will still be long enough by then. I need a 28 waist and a 31 lenghth, if anyone knows where I can find such a thing. The shirts I got for him are Mens Medium and fit perfectly. Again, he's 12. ALMOST.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I really adore summer thunderstorms. Way back in the olden days when I was a kid, we all would go sit on the front porch, (which faces west) and watch the storms roll in from the south. The view of the lake was somewhat less obstructed back then, and watching the lightning dance over the lake was a real treat. So whenever the thunder begins, some one in the family says "SHHHH!" an then we listen to the thunder, and then in something resembling unity: "Ooooooh!" It's weird, but it's what we do.

Occasionally, there is a storm in the middle of the night - like last night. Ok, maybe not the middle of the night, but if I'm still sleeping, it's "the middle of the night." Around 5 it woke me up. My first thought was, wow! that's good thunder! That was followed by, No . . . that can't be thunder. There isn't any pause between. So I went to investigate. (It is important to note that my bedroom is in the basement.) Not only did it prove to be thunder, but it was THE BEST thunder, accompanied by THE BEST lightning. It was HUGE bolts of lightning, seeming to touch the ground over in Saratoga Springs, and the accompanying thunder crashes were so loud! The whole sky would light up when the lightning would strike, and the thunder just rolled and rolled . . . like one on top of another. It was a thunder storm that hasn't been equaled by these eyes in quite some time. Eventually the skies opend up, and did it rain! I sat and watched all this majesty for about 45 minutes and then went back to bed, only to get up again a half hour later to get ready for work.

Then it all started up again this afternoon. It rained hard again, with some hail, and the thunder was again magnificent. The lightning wasn't quite as good, but it also wasn't as dark. I love the storms! Our plans to go to the pool after dinner were spoiled, but that's ok when the trade-off is so worth it.

Taylor and Jack (mostly Jack) made tacos for dinner. I must say, it is pretty great to come home and have dinner at least started.

I finished another book. That makes 2. Oh yeah, count them, baby. 2 books. Since June. If you really want to be generous, I listened to "The Magician's Nephew" at work today. There are a few books (mostly The Lord of the Ring series and Harry Potter) on the network at work, but luckily they also have the Narnia series. I'm already getting tired of my music, and the network music, and the pandora.com music . . . I just needed a change, and I do like the Narnia books so it worked out good. So if you count that, it's a whopping 3 books. I have 2 books loaded up on the ipod to listen to tomorrow. The book I just finished is "Gods and Angels" by Jeff Shaara. It was really good to begin with, but towards the end (the war chapters) it got a little too . . . um, what's the word . . . detailed? I don't know what I mean. I love the Civil War period as much as the next guy, but it just really seemed to bog down in military strategy, which I didn't care much for.