Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Walk in the woods.

We went for a hike by Minnehaha Creek today and followed it to the Mississippi River.
We saw some beautiful things-
A heron

A stonework across the river
Some amazing treesAnd a mountain made of cheese
and Pirate Hieroglyphics.
The cliffs down there are made of sandstone. There was a lot of graffiti carved into the rocks, and the sand is quite yellow, reminding the kids of making macaroni and cheese.

It was a lovely way to spend the morning, but it made me kinda hungry...

Monday, June 29, 2009


I worked most of the weekend, but I still got a chance to take the kids to the park last night and do a little swinging.
Followed up with a little backyard Camp-out with the Elder Hug-a-Bug.
Hooray Summer!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Morning Walk

I went out for a walk this morning.
Looked at my garden.
Wandered around the neighborhood.
Got stared down by a cat.
And wondered at the beauty and resilience
of nature all around.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the recipe

I haven't had much to say lately, and I may not for a little while.
However, as the question was asked, here is the recipe for the cake in the previous post.

Classic White Layer Cake (from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

1 cup whole milk, at room temp
6 large egg whites, at room temp
2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 8 or 9-inch or one 9 by 13 inch cake pan(s) with vegetable spray and line the bottom(s) with parchment paper. Whisk the milk, egg whites and extracts together in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Beat the flour mixture and butter together with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, 1 to three minutes.

3. Beat in all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth, 1 to 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the remaining 1.2 cup of the milk mixture.

4. Give the batter a final stir using a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake(s) comes out with a few crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes for the round cakes, 25 to 30 for the sheet cake, rotating the pan(s) halfway through baking.
I highly recommend everything in the this cookbook. The beauty of the test kitchen is that they figure out why stuff works, and what doesn't. I usually follow their recipes to the letter, though with my new dietary restrictions, I had to make some modifications.

For my cake I used soy milk and vegan golden buttery sticks to replace the dairy (sniff), and as I can no longer have tree nuts either (sob), I couldn't use the almond extract.

I was going to use all vanilla, and then I remembered that vanilla extract is made the same way that I made my fruit liquors. So, I substituted 3 tsp of plum liquor for the almond and vanilla. It gave a light fruity taste to the cake that I quite enjoyed.

The topping was straight up jam.
We went to the farmer's market last week and bought a bunch of strawberries and the Elder Hug-a-Bug and I made some freezer jam. I used about 1/2 cup in the center and about the same on top.

The texture of this cake is really light and moist. It may be my favorite cake.
It is perfectly spectacular with whipped cream and fresh strawberries cut up, sprinkled with sugar and kept in the fridge for an hour.
It would also be a good cake to frost, though frosting is not my forte, so I never do it.

My needles have been very busy lately, so there should be a knitting related post coming soon, but until then I will just keep putting up pictures.

Make the cake.
It's really good.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Ride

Vroom! I'm riding my motorcycle!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Great idea.

Where age-appropriate and within reason,
I pledge to help my kids
develop their independence
through practical activities that are
directly related to life skills

Thanks for the great idea Julie.


I made Siobhan some pants yesterday, and the reaction from the Elder Hug-a-Bug was this -
Elder - "Blue? I wanted Pink."
Me- "I made her some jeans, they're blue."
Elder - "I hate long things. I hate her sweater. I wanted short."

Now I am torn.
I was planning on making a summer wardrobe for this doll, but if I make it now am I bowing to the sass of a 5-year-old?

Also, I have terrible luck, or should I say less skill than necessary, with faces.
She looks nice enough sitting next to me, but in the above photo she looks pretty mischievous.
Perhaps she is reflecting the mood of the lady of the house...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I missed my 300th post! so now here we are on the 301st post.

That seems like a lot. Whew.
Thanks for sticking with me for so long everyone.

I did some work on Siobhan today, and she has hair!
I didn't end up with the dark brown yarn hair. It was just too much contrast with her skin.
Instead, I used two colors of Naturespun Sport, a tan and a darker tan. It is almost the same color as my Elder Hug-a-Bug's hair.
The Younger saw it and said that he thought I was making a boy, and I should start on that right away, and, as I live to obey, I will start on that next.
Also, when I was at the store today I saw a newborn-sized sweater that I had knit for a class that was ready to come home. I tried it on the doll and it fits pretty well.

It's a little long in the sleeves, but I just rolled them up, and now she has half of an outfit. I started on some pants today, and I think they will be finished by tomorrow, so she will be all set to go out on the town.

Morning Bike Ride

Thursday, June 11, 2009


It must be summer, because I have been sewing up a storm lately.
I finished up this shirt this morning. I am not too sure about the fit. It's kind of boxy, but I like the puffy little sleeves, and the bow.
I am going to wear it for a day and see how I feel about it after that.
The new Siobhan is getting some attention as well. I put her face on the other day, and I think this is the hair that we're going with.
I have to attach it and then I think she'll get some braids.
I have a lot more stuff in the sewing queue as well.
Clothes for Siobhan, a new shirt for the Younger Hug-a-Bug, some skirts for the Elder Hug-a-Bug, and probably shorts for both of them.

Moving on, the weather is finally nice outside so we are going on a field trip tomorrow.
Hopefully there will be lots of pictures and I will tell you all about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Last Day

First Day-Last Day

Here it is, the last day of school.
My lovely little lady is excited to go to a new school next year, but also sad to leave her friends.
I feel like no amount of reassurance that she'll make new friends next year will comfort her in this first week or so.

When I was young I switched schools many times, and it was hard every time.
There were always extenuating circumstances, but I wish it could have been different.

I carry so much baggage from my childhood relating to school, and I hope that I don't pass that along to them.

I just want them be curious, be creative, make great friends and learn a lot.

I don't think that's too much to ask, and we will be there along the way to help them do all of those things.

For today, I think we'll have to just take our cues from the Elder Hug-a-Bug, and perhaps some feel better cupcakes are in order.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I was dreaming when I wrote this-

Last night some friends and I kicked it old school.
I am talking really old.
We partied like it was 1899.

I attended my neighborhood ecfe class for 3 years, and was fortunate enough to have a superior teacher. This teacher is retiring after 30 years and as a thank you for her guidance, wisdom and patience many of the neighborhood families decorated fabric squares to put together as a quilt.

I wasn't able to be a part of ecfe this year, our schedule didn't allow for it, but I was happy to be able to help assemble the quilt for our wonderful teacher.

Last night I asked folks to come over and help out and we had an honest to goodness quilting bee at my house.

I even made lemon pound cake for the occasion.Our great-grandmothers probably did not have any beer or chips and guacamole when they had similar gatherings, but one must change with the times.
This quilt is so wonderful. I will post more pictures of the quilt when it is finished, the workmanship and love that went into each square is truly inspiring.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Morning Garden Tour

Out in the garden this morning-
How's the baby grass going? coming in, slow but sure.Hey, those Red Coral Bells didn't bloom last year, how tiny and sweet are they?And let's take a look at the straw....
Oh, Come ON!
o.k. I guess I should have covered the strawberries.

@#*#@#@#** squirrels.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friday night in the woods

I spent Friday night this weekend away with my friends in Caritas.
We drove up to Cambridge, MN to have dinner and then on to ARC retreat center.
I was advised to leave quite early due to the Northbound Cabin Traffic, so I did, and I got to Cambridge an hour before the rest of my group.
I wandered around, went into my first Ben Franklin, saw some cool signs (o.k. this last one isn't a sign, I just loved the textures in the stone.)

and finally met my friends for some great food.
Then we went up to ARC.
It's back, back, I'm talking about way back in the woods.

I found this beautiful abandoned house along the gravel road that we traveled to get there.
We made S'Mores, played some fun games, and in the morning we had walks on the grounds, and talked about our group's future.
I wish I had been able to spend more time there, it was really lovely, but I had to rush back to Saint Paul to go to work.