Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby Shower Cake

I have been in awe over the new fondant cakes, and decided that I wanted to try one of my own. I found some books at our local library that have awesome cookies, cupcakes and cake designs in them, along with recipes, instructions and techniques - everything you need to know to make them.

With a dear friend's baby shower coming up I thought I would volunteer to make the cake - easy enough, right? Wrong! lol... I picked out something that was probably fairly advanced for cake-making. I'm not typically a "cake" girl, and after this I am more certain than ever that I am a "cookie & cupcake" girl.

I also made some cookies for the shower, because I wasn't sure how the cake was going to turn out. These were lots of fun to make, and actually turned out really yummy! Like I said, I'm more of a cupcake and cookie girl!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Soccer 2009 - Green Giants!

September 12th was Hunter's first soccer game of this season. It was a beautiful warm day and lucky for us his game was at 9:45am, so it was perfect outside. Our team consists of 5 boys from last years team plus 2 new boys. It's great to see how much they have progressed since last year - even while they've been playing baseball all summer! Our team is a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure. Of course, we have some great coaches and helpers which I feel really helps to round out the boys. They get a little different teaching style from each one, but this helps the boys overall. We've had 2 games so far, and our record is 2-0 (but we're not supposed to be keeping track... lol...). And I have to brag and say they've both been blowouts!

Hunter is really starting to get more coordinated with his feet and thinking fast. His passing and dribbling skills have really improved. Last weekend I got there just in time to see him dribble the ball all the way down the field and score on his own!

Needless to say, the games have been really fun. We have a great group of parents that cheer and encourage the boys. We couldn't have asked for a better team!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Birthday

I have to say that my birthday came and passed fairly uneventful this year. The boys were on a camping trip all weekend, so Shianne and I got to do some shopping and have some girl time. Sunday when the boys returned home it turned out that we all had head colds - except Shianne. My actual birthday was spent in bed all day with Hunter, as we both were home from work/school.
I'm not big on birthdays anymore - I can do without the parties with everyone drinking and hanging out in little cliches. I'm not 21 anymore. I'm good with just dinner with my family and us going to do something fun. I'm hoping that this next weekend we can go to the fair. That's what I love about my birthday - it's always during the fair. I've loved the fair since I was kid, so taking my own kids even better!
My only disappointment was that I got no gifts on my birthday, other than a fresh box of Kleenex and some cold medicine! I may be old, but not too old for presents! I did, however, get a bowl of chocolate chip cookies from the girls at work. VERY yummy, but I ate too many. It'll be extra time on the treadmill for me next week. That's fine.... I'll buy myself an extra elephant ear at the fair this weekend too....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School 2009-2010

My babies are growing up so fast ~ it doesn't seem possible they are starting the 4th and 1st grade! Where have the years gone? They pass us by with the blink of an eye...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sports Cupcakes

I've really been feeling the baking bug lately ~ it must be that fall weather rolling in. I've always loved to bake, but over the years I seem to have the need to outdo my previous year successes. So this year I've been googling over fondant cakes. I was even feeling so light hearted about them, that I voluntered to make the cake for a friend's baby shower! hmmmm... I may have just gotten in WAY over my head.

So I've been checking out books at the library, and found these amazing books with cool pictures and step-by-step instructions. This seemed to easy my fears some, but I still felt like I needed to "practice" with this stuff before I embarked on a full fledged cake for a social event.

My nephew turned 12 this past week and he is a big baseball and basketball player. I voluntered to make some cupcakes for his party, which was mainly just family and close friends (thus, less pressure...).
Hey, I never said I got all dressed up to bake! =)

I started out with Red Velvet Cake ~ this has become my new favorite cake. I just love the bright vibrant color.

These only took 20 minutes to whip up and bake.

After they had cooled, I lathered them up with some sweet cupcake frosting. I made this out of butter, milk, pure vanilla extract, and lots of confectioners sugar!

The next step was to roll out the fondant and cut it to fit over the top of the cupcakes. This was a trial-and-error process, as the cutter size they suggested using was much too small. One I got the right size, it was much easier.
The baseballs were the easiest - just cut out the fondant and draw some stitching on there with an edible marker.

The basketballs were a little more challenging, and I didn't get any pictures of them as I made them (my hands were a MESS and I was rushing and running out of time!). First I had to color the fondant orange. This was the time-consuming part ~ kneading the fondant like playdough until the color was consistent throughtout. Then I cut out the circle and rolled lines on them. Texturing came next - for this I used the end of a #3 pastry tip. After they were placed on the cupcakes, I whipped up some black royal icing (egg whites, lemon juice, and confectioners sugar). I then put this in a pastry bag and used a #2 pastry tip to put the black (or in this case, dark gray) on the basketballs.

Over all they turned out pretty good. I learned a lot about working with the fondant, different frostings, and my new pastry bags.

But most importantly, the birthday boy loved them!!

Indians Baseball

Took the kids to an Indians game last night. We got tickets from a great guy that Brian works with. We bounced between those seats and a sky box where Cousin Eric and crew were. Turns out some school friends had the box next to it and the kids had a blast with them!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fun with Fruit...

It's hard to believe that summer is over... really. We look forward to it all year long ~ days at the lake, soaking up the sun, sunblock & sprinklers, vacations, sleeping in late, camping, sleepovers... Then, as soon as we get into the swing of things, it's over!
Our friends had an end-of-summer BBQ last weekend and my thinking was "might as well go out big". My friends know that I don't typically do things the ordinary way; I like to spice it up a bit and make things fun, creative.
Fruit salad was sounding good, especially as I'm trying to trim down before the holidays (we won't discuss the Milky Way Midnight Dark I just wolfed down!). So we went to the store, picked up some fresh fruit, and headed home to throw it all together. Oh, but that would be too easy....... =)

First, gather your fruit together.

Don't forget the watermelon!
The first thing you'll want to do with it is cut just a little bit off the bottom so that it's flat and doesn't roll around. Then slice the top off.

Next, you need to "gut it" - basically scoop out all the watermelon so it's hollow like a bowl. This was fun and geared me up for pumpkin carving season, which is right around the corner...

I thought that still looked a little "plain Jane", so I also cut a zigzag along the edge.

Then, just toss in all your fruit, and VOILA!! Fruit salad in a totally decomposable bowl! So if you happen to leave it at your friends house by accident (either because you're trying to herd your wild screaming kids to the car or because you've had just a little too much to drink), you're not out any dishes!

If you're really feeling creative, you can carve a spoon out of the top of the watermelon. Less waste, right? Hey, it worked! Just wrap the handle with plastic wrap so peoples hands don't get sticky.

Overall, it was success ~ the salad AND the BBQ. Thank you, Amber & Eric, for having us over for once last get together before summer is over. :D