30 August 2010

[make: Ladybug Birthday Cake]

So ... Katia's birthday, part deux:  The Birthday Cake.

For the last few weeks, I have been checking out various websites for ideas for Katia's birthday cake.  Of course, with a "ladybug" theme - it needed to represent.  I was so excited to do this ... a little girl's cake was a far cry from the Mack Truck cake, CARS Race Track cake, CARS Broken Road cake etc that I've been making the last few years ... 

Where did I start?  With a whole bunch a baking.  I did two 15x10x1 ... nice and thin, with the plan to fill with buttercream icing, a 9x9 and a couple of "ball" cakes too ...

... I added finely grated chocolate chips to the the buttercream frosting.

... and then started creating the shape of a leaf.

... and frosted the top with GREEEEEN frosting.   Very happy.  Very green.  Very "leafy."  *grin*

... Katia wanted to check it out too *smile* ...

... then I outlined with green candy shoelaces for the veining of the leaf ...

... and started adding details around the edge.  I chose to use rock candies ... but I won't lie.  They were super expensive.

... then came the ladybug.  I baked a "ball" cake and used the extra half for the "face" of the ladybug.  Then, I iced it BEFORE I put it on the leaf cake - to try and keep it less messy.

...  I added black liquorice shoelaces to outline the wings, and little yellow dotted candies to to outline the leaf veins.

Then I sprinkled black sugar to fill in the black places.  I put wax paper down to protect the leaf cake.  Unfortunately, I came up with this idea AFTER I put the ladybug on the cake ... I should've done all this BEFORE putting in on the cake ... it was such a mess.  Ah well.

... then more details.  I used pipe cleaners for the antennae and mixed in the black sugar with the red icing to make a textured brown/purple icing for the face.  The circles are chocolate coins, painted with frosting and dipped in the black sugar ... I loved the way they turned out.

... the final touch:  writing her name and adding a candle.  I didn't do "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" as there wasn't any room ... and hey, everyone knew it was her birthday, right?  *grin*.

Oh, I LOVED this cake.   Not because it was perfect - but because it was perfect for our little bean's birthday. I made it the morning of her birthday,  so within a couple of hours it was cut up and eaten ... But that's what a birthday cake is for, right?

Happy birthday, sweet little Katia.  You are so loved!!

Have a great one!

27 August 2010

[make: Ladybug Cookies]


Um.  I wish that this was an inspiring post ... but alas, I continue to create these little do-dads and show my massive inability to, um, do it well *grin*.

And I'm ok with it ... in fact - it's kinda becoming my identity 'round here.  I try - and have tons of fun creating too ...

Katia's first birthday ... oh, my friends, there shall be a few posts on this event.  But I have to do them in order (or else my intense need for chronological order will cause me much grief ...).

As the story goes, we've had a bit of a "ladybug" theme for our little girl.  Her nursery (click here to see) was done with a ladybug theme, and I thought - yup - ladybugs would be perfect.

I decided, on top of a bunch of other little ladybug items, I would make ladybug sugar cookies. 

Let me tell you ... I got so frustrated, I almost put them in my trusty Vitamix and tossed them in the garbage.  They were embarrassingly messy ... and actually, only 2 or 3 were eaten at the party *grin*.  But I have no shame - I'll post pretty much anything.

Here's how I made them.   And you can let me know how YOU made them better than me *grin* ....

First ... I made the dough.  And I mismeasured the butter.  So, it was gooey ... and spread when baked.  Not a great start *grin* ...  oh.  And see my stepladder?  I am short, yes, but that is Josiah's way of getting up and around to help me .. .

I took advice from a website and made the shape myself, instead of cookie cutting it ...

Then.   They spread.   And crumbled.  And I tried to make chocolate frosting to outline ... like the lady on her website instructed.  It was supposed to be easy.  Did I mention she was a professional baker?  Yeah.  I'm not ...

Ok.   SO that wasn't SO bad ... the next part made me go cross-eyed.  I made red frosting, which was really pink because you can't really make red frosting without a gallon of red dye ... and dolloped it on and spread it with a toothpick. 

By cookie number 3, I was done.  I hated this.  I hated them.  I wanted to just go to bed ... 

I finished it off with chocolate chips as the "spots", and I ran out of chocolate frosting - which I was too tired to make an entire new batch - so, I used black licorice candies as the head.  Which was lame.  

Anyhoo ... those were the cookies.  Probably the first thing that I've made in a while that I didn't actually ENJOY making ... so.  No more fancy schmancy cookies.  I shall buy them next time ...

Now, the ladybug CAKE I made ... oh, I LOVED it ... I'll be sure to post that one soon!!

OH ... and I have a new post on my RedHanded Photography blog, if you're interested ... leave a comment - love to know who stops by *grin*!

Have a great one!

25 August 2010

[talk: Off to the Fair]

Mom and dad, this one's for you ... keeping you up on what's going on around here!

We have been gone so much this summer - and it's been really great - but sticking around home during the great weather is so great too.

I wasn't sure if we were going to make it to the PNE this year ... we didn't go last year because of Katia's birth, and with her first birthday tomorrow and a week full of cramming, I thought it just wouldn't happen.

But - it did.  And we had SUCH a great time as a little fam with our friends, JandN.  In the past, we've always gone with my folks on their anniversary (Aug31) ... but with them being away, we figured they wouldn't mind a change in tradition for this year *grin*.  

The boys were pumped to go on as many "kid" rides as possible.  The height restraint kept them off a few that they had hoped for ... Tias was able to, but the others weren't.  And it's no fun going on rides without your friends *smile* ...

The coaster and "elevator drop" rides were the faves ...  it's debatable who liked it more: my hubby or the kids ...  *grin*.

and the giant slide ...

... and the carousel.

But if you've ever been to the PNE ... the donuts are legendary.  People come JUST for the donuts.  And we didn't miss out on the food part either *grin* ...

So, the rides were great, the food was - well, er, - great, and the company, lovely.

It costs a small fortune ... but the memories are worth every penny.  Thank you, Vancouver, for providing our families with a great place to go on a sunny afternoon and into the dead of night ...   

The final ride of the day?   The swings ... Can you see my hubby?  He's in the green shirt ... Tias is beside him with his black and white converse shoes on ...

OH.  And before I finish this massive post ... we bumped into Auntie Jo and Uncle Bob.  I persuaded her for a pic on my blog ... to which she laughed and laughed.  We talked about how a post is old news if it doesn't get up right away ... so here you are, my lovely lady *smile*!!

Now?   Off to make ladybug cookies and birthday cake ... tomorrow is a BIG day around here!!  Stay tuned for pics of so many things ... 

Have a great one!!

24 August 2010

[katia: Planning]


Katia will be ONE on Thursday and we're celebrating with a family/friends BBQ - all with families who have a child the same age as Katia.  The next two days are going to be dedicated to making it super special.  This is going to be our last "first" birthday - and I've also never done a little girl birthday ever ... soo - I'm nervous, excited and want to plan all the details.

As I've already mentioned, it's going to have a "ladybug" theme ... after all, her nursery is done in ladybugs and it seems to be a cute, summery theme too.

I've been online, and have come up with a few details that I think are going to make this a fun event ... I love details, and keep making lists (and checking them twice ...).

If you haven't seen her in a bit ... my fave pics of her were posted a couple of weeks ago.  You can find them here

So -  for today, Tias is off to soccer camp, while the other two and I gallivant around town to find treasures for the party.

I gotta feelin'.

That today's gonna be a great day ( oh!!  and headache free so far!!  YAY!!!).

23 August 2010

[tias: Out. Out. OUT.]

Well.  I'm on day 7 of migraine fun.  And I'm wondering what on EARTH is making my head pound ... too much photo editing on the computer?  Possibly.  Not enough water?  Maybe.  Sore back and neck?  Yup.  Maybe that too ...  Lack of sleep, due to tossing/turning and headaches??  Probably that too ... 

Whatever it is - it is driving me mental.  And if it doesn't let up, I'll be visiting my doctor.

All that aside - my little guy had a monumental morning.

For the last few weeks, Tias has been fiddling with his loose tooth.  And making us all queezy with the way he refused to pull it out.  In fact, last night we headed to Cold Stone after Recovery Church, and ordered Tias a waffle cone ... but he wasn't having any part of it.

Big tears, sniffles and outbursts of sobbing ... and he was so afraid to go to sleep because my hubby thought it'd be a smart idea to terrify Tias into pulling it out (ie "You'll choke if you don't pull it out ... ").  Brilliant.  Not.

So, this morning?  We're all doing our thing in the kitchen and voila,  Tias calmly looks at us and says, "It's out," while holding his tiny tooth in his hand.

We cheered and high-fived ... and I'm excited for the new role of tooth fairy and seeing the delight on his face tomorrow morning ... 

I'm so glad I took those photos a few weeks ago - because my little boy's smile has changed.  But it's still perfection to me.

Have a great one!

20 August 2010

[make: Aquarium Birthday Cake ... ]

"So, Tias ..," I asked.  "What kind of cake would you like this year?"

"Um ..," he replied with his eyes searching the top of his brain.  "OH!! I know ... an aQUARium cake!!"

Oh.  Brother.

How does one do such a thing?  ... well - here was my attempt!!  And I say "attempt", because the blasted thing kept wanting to fall over.  And the icing was messy, and I was getting frustrated, and and and ...

I am faaaaaaar from a cake decorator, and should probably put in the towel and buy a decent cake made by so many of my good friends ... but - for me - my cakes are kinda like the Christmas ornaments kids make.  You know?  The ones that look really homely, but you love 'em just the same?

Yup.  My cakes are just like them.

Thank goodness they taste good and I don't have to look at them very long ...

So.  An aquarium cake ... hmm.   I decided to bake 2 9x9, cut them in half and stack them, along with one something-by-something specialty cake that I cut in half as well ... I did vanilla and chocolate cake ... 

... I stuck bamboo skewers through them, to help ensure they wouldn't fall over.  More on that later *sigh*. 

I whipped up some buttercream frosting ... and tinted it blue, for the "water".

And my elementary-style-I-only-have-so-much-time-to-do-this-frosting ... Looks like my 3 year old did it *laughing* ...

Then added details ... notice the rack in behind - help it from toppling over.  

... and then.  Things started getting lop-sided.  UGH.   So - out came a box to lean it in ...  that was after it fell over ... twice.  And then, in the car on the way to the party ... oh the drama.

... and then the writing ...  see?  It's the "leaning tower of ... aquarium?".  *laughing*

Such a sad little cake.

And at the party?  Every kid wanted to know if they could have the "fish".  Oops.  Needed 20 of those, instead of 5.

So - Mattias LOVED it, my friends smiled with me ... and the moment was ... perfect.

... you can tell that it's been through a rough-go.  The icing stopped sticking *laughing harder*.  Oh, this cake ... I will be old and in a home, remembering this blasted cake.


One cake down, one to go.  Katia's first birthday is next week ... the theme?  Ladybugs.

Here we go again ...

Have a great one!!