Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here is some video from Alex's birthday week, actual birthday day. I started filming after we'd done the candles about 5 times already. The idea for the ice-cream-cone cupcakes came from my friend Kari, and it is a GENIUS idea. My little friends have been decorating the tops, eating them, and then decorating the next level. These cupcakes are way less messy than their paper cup counterparts, and super moist. I'm trying to come up with another reason to make them - maybe we'll be celebrating Alex's birthday in nursery at church on Sunday!

video
Here is some

Saturday, April 25, 2009

aunt mag is coming to town

I figured I could remove the poll finally, since about one day after I put it up Mag bought her ticket to come and visit! (The winning answer, by the way, was 'won't the trip pay for itself in baby gear?') We are happily counting down the days until her arrival, when phase 2 will begin in person.

We need to give Mag the 'PROS' of moving to Colorado. Your help is being solicited.

  • Houses larger than 500 sq ft are actually affordable in CO. And most include basements with drum-playing capabilities.
  • Availability of babysitters: Oma, Opa, and Aunt Kat
  • Adventure potential: Aunt Kat again
  • Fun with cousins: Katie, Alex and Max are happy to take up the slack until Kat and Griffin move out here.
  • Spending a lazy Sunday afternoon making dark chocolate raspberry truffles - and then being able to eat them because your gestational diabetes is gone. Also discovering that when the manufacturer says the capacity is 1 1/2 lbs, they aren't kidding.
  • While waiting for the chocolate to melt, picking out adorable little sweaters to have knit for your cute little baby-to-be.
I would have tried to tout the magical properties of Longmont, sighting among other things the home-town feel we have here, and the fact that it's a nice safe place, but the stabbing that occurred on Monday at the park nearest our house makes me think I need a new selling point.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

tumbling class

video

Katie has been taking a tumbling class at the rec center the past few weeks. Monday was my turn to observe - the teacher tries to limit the parental pandemonium by allowing 3 parents each week to observe. It was fun to watch Katie catch on to things - when she wasn't busy checking herself out in the mirror and watching everyone else. Who doesn't love watching all that pink bouncing around?

Let the record show that she chooses what she wants to wear, and Oma is the one who hooked her up with the pink princesses tutu number.

And since I've rediscovered the quick-editing magic of Windows MovieMaker, here's a little Max for you in the sink.

video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

mini-project

Last night Super Rog busted out a little project, with the help of his trusty assistant. Saturday he took down the old hood and dismantled the cabinet above. Monday the new microwave arrived and made it into the wall. I think this is the fastest turn-around time on a project yet! Roger built and installed a new cabinet and microwave in around 3 hours - and he used melamine so he wouldn't have to hear someone whine about joys of painting. (We're still debating about what to do with the doors to the cabinet - any votes?)

Two things stand out on this project:

1 - Roger got to use one of his Christmas presents: he got to put in his second junction box. He has a long way to go to catch up to dad, but he's on his way.

2 - For Alex, the sound of power tools has the same effect that the ice cream truck song does on other children. Installation occured around 9:30 pm, and he came tearing out of his room as soon as he heard the drill going. I didn't even bother trying to put him back to bed until we were finished.
It also needs to be said that, given the choice, Alex's go-to shirt is this one (worn today, but he was not feeling the photogenic vibe) featuring tools. Squinting is again required, but the shirt is covered with pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. No power tools - just the old-fashioned kind. The kind he likes to sleep with on his pillow.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

max and grandma kathy

When Max and I flew out to Utah for my friend Betsy's wedding, we went to visit Grandma Kathy but since we didn't call ahead, we missed her. My friend took a few good pictures of Max by Grandma's mantle and in Grandma's kitchen - to prove that we were there and that we really did try to visit, but I have not been able to get my hands on the pictures yet. This last trip to Utah we managed to see her, and to document the event. I am no digital publishing expert, so you might need to squint to see the pictures, but here is Max on Grandma's lap, and he's even smiling. Katie and Alex were too cooked to be social, but luckily Max made up for his siblings.

casual easter

We celebrated Easter this year by taking Katie to the emergency room. She really did just have the croup, or a 'croupy cough' in her words, but after Alex's adventure last month, any retraction in their breathing is taken seriously. We missed out on church, so the Easter clothing fashion shoot will be coming soon. Alex was a trooper, and didn't let his sleeping sister stop him from hunting for eggs, and devouring the contents. It was nice to learn that there is a limit to how much candy he will eat. After he had his fill, he'd run around the living room looking for eggs, shake them, and then carefully put them back where he found them for later. He was not interested in gathering the eggs, just in locating them. Katie was feeling good enough later to make it up to Oma's for egg hunt #2. Maybe we'll use some of the candy for Halloween - or just turn those Dove eggs into more truffles!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the power of princesses

The potty training wars are, happily, essentially over.

We finally got serious about things over here recently, and boy did the battles begin. It was particularly frustrating to me that Katie could explain the mechanics of how the toilet worked, but had ZERO interest in putting her theoretical knowledge to the test.

There were many times when I mentally composed lists of things I'd rather do instead of potty training Katie. Luckily, we discovered the carrot for Katie before mom went completely bananas.

I myself do not understand the magical superpowers that Disney princesses possess, but what matters is that they DO exist, and they work on our specific princess. Tell that girl that she can pick out a princess outfit, complete with 'glass slippers,' crown, and purse, and amazing things happen. It only took one backslide (conscious, as opposed to accident) for Katie to decide that things were better while wearing 'Sleeping Princess Aurora,' and we've had relatively smooth sailing since. What's funny to me is that when I hear a little voice coming from the bathroom singing 'MOM! I have a present for you!' I actually think 'EXCELLENT' before I think 'how disgusting.' Non-stop glamour over here.

I keep wondering what prize I should get for completing my part of the potty training. Surely I deserve something a little more exciting than a sticker chart. And I don't really need my own Sleeping Princess Aurora dress - I would NOT want to compete against Katie in that arena.

When it warms up here for real in the next month or so, and we're outside much of the time, Alex is going to be on deck. My hair will need some more thinning out then I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

vindication

Well, lest you were worried that the white chocolate emerged victorious overall, a night's rest brought new resolve - and patience - and I did get those silly centers dipped. The extra white chocolate added to the key lime pie centers did the trick, and they dipped fairly nicely. The key to the strawberry centers was to take them out of the freezer in small batches. 5 centers turned out to be the optimal number before they warmed up and became too ridiculous to work with. The other key was to keep the dipping tool moving.

Moral of this little adventure: I really prefer caramel, mint, and nut centers anyways. I was going for a different taste here, but the fruity centers just don't really do it for me.

I did freeze some for Margaret for July, just in case they work for her. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the devil

Today I revisited my old foe, the white chocolate truffle. I need a challenge since potty training Katie is such a total cake walk.

For a couple of years I have been trying to replicate these bad boys. The sweet/tart center surrounded by dark chocolate - ahhh, heaven! I've also tried a strawberry center a few times. Good flavor, but the centers did not ever set up. I thought I finally had these bad boys beat. 1 lb white chocolate - 3/4 cup cream - essential oils to add flavor without adding liquid - the tempering machine to keep the chocolate at the perfect temperature. How could these go wrong? THE CENTERS WILL NOT SET UP! I am pinning the blame on the chocolate. Peters, you have failed me. Your milk chocolate is too light, and your white chocolate is ridiculous. Maybe I'll have to try adding butter to make the ganache set up.

I tried to save the key lime centers by adding more white chocolate and using the candy molds. I also put some on some popcorn. That experiment is, to quote Roger, 'adventurous.' I can't say I'll be trying that one again. If you're feeling adventurous, come on over for some 'Easter popcorn.'

Maybe my subconscious has a solution lurking about in there.

Friday, April 3, 2009

travel adventures

Margaret and Kalle recently went here.

image of kaanapali beach on maui from www.travelpage.biz/maui.html

Tommy just got back from here.
image from salamcotours.com

Now that it's spring, we decided to drive to Utah on what turned out to be the first snowy weekend of the year.
Our departure was delayed for a few hours, due to the above, but a short 13 hours later we arrived in SLC. Friday we hit the pool in the hotel - FREEZING! - and Moochies for some Philly cheese steak and meatball subs. We also increased our chocolate storage up to - by Roger's calculations - 10 years. That night we went over to Rob and Cynthia's. Josh got to play babysitter for Katie and Alex, and got to watch Sleeping Beauty for the first time. The big kids went out to dinner with some neighbors. The women in the bunch were very excited to see Roger not only married but now sporting 3 children. Apparently they had done there best on his summers in Utah to get him hitched. It was great to see with our own eyes that Cynthia is really doing well with her treatments and that she's so healthy. We are very grateful for that.

Saturday we hit IKEA, a store which NEEDS to be in Colorado NOW! All our searching was finally rewarded: the kids now have some new bunk beds. And we only had to drive 1000 miles to find them. The duvet covers are all done - I was trying to channel Julie and get creative, but in the end I just put a stripe down the front of each one. Maybe the next round of bedding will be a little fancier.







Saturday afternoon I had a chocolate party with the Hall girls, and then we had a candy-making fest. We even created a new center: butterscotch fondant. In demonstrating how to rescue a crumbly batch of fondant, I somehow caramelized the sugar a tad and turned it into butterscotch. It tasted great, but what are the odds that I can ever duplicate that little mistake again? The kids got to see Grandma Kathy - Katie was not feeling too social, but Alex at least waved hello. We'll have to try and get copies of some pictures to prove that at least one Young child - Max - smiled for grandma.

The trip home started out with a little blizzard in Utah - Parley's Canyon was closed in the morning - but that gave us a chance to hang out with the Angells for a little while. The drive home only took 9 hours, and the pedal wasn't even hitting the floor. The kids survived their first real road trip with flying colors. I don't know that we're ready to take this party out to CA yet, but I think it at least could be done without too much trauma.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

kiddies

Here are some recent shots of the kiddos. So far, they all seem to like each other about 95% of the time. Here's proof for later when they all want to use the car at the same time.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

back in action

Alex is pretty much back to his normal happy self. He's been a little more velcro the past month, but otherwise he's back to teasing his sister and walking around with whatever tools he can get his hands on.













Alex hears the tempering unit fire up and comes running. He is naturally my biggest helper when it comes to busting out chocolates, but Katie is definitely a close second.