Friday, October 30, 2009

I made some cute treats for tomorrow's Halloween party!

Here they are naked:

And dressed:

One ended up icing-down on the floor...oops! That took a while to clean up. Darn orange coloring!

Oh, and to my hand mixer that I bought 2 weeks ago and have used twice - thanks for breaking on me tonight! Straight in the trash!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good view...

Happy Birthday Karen!

Yesterday, I tagged along with Bonnie and Ashley to celebrate their aunt Karen's birthday!

She knew that she was to come straight home from work yesterday, but didn't know why. I'm sure she was suspicious. Lora and Bonnie planned it out so we'd be at her house when she got home, but she got off work early and was home before we got there! Luckily she was in the backyard taking care of the leaves, so she didn't see us pull up! Once she came inside and saw us pop out of the dining room, she was so surprised!

We all wished her a happy birthday and then headed to lunch at Uncle Julio's in Fairfax Corner. Be sure to turn the sound on if you visit the restaurant's website! ;) It was really tasty, but the company was even better. It was a perfect fall day for walking around, so after lunch we explored the town center and went into some really cool stores - like Plow and Hearth, The Nest Egg, and Wylie Wagg, a specialty pet supply store. So cute!

After our shopping adventure, we went back to Karen's for birthday cake and caramel apples that Bonnie and Ashley brought - yum! Then we chatted for a bit and headed home.

Can't wait to see the girls again soon!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Success and (potential) failure...

Today was a lazy day at home, so after I cleaned a little and did like 17 loads of laundry, I went to the kitchen to get my bake on!

First up was banana bread with chocolate chips. This was the success of the day:

Then, I decided to use some of the apples I got in Graves Mountain last weekend, so I whipped up an apple crisp. Maybe I whipped wrong, or too fast, or sideways, but something isn't right about the dough. It was more like peanut butter than a dough...

We'll see how it turns out. The topping seems to be spreading out as it cooks, so it may be salvageable...

Friday, October 23, 2009

My commute...

I took some pictures on the way in to work today. That's not illegal is it?

In a few more weeks, it'll be even prettier!

I love Virginia!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buying new glasses is just like this scene from "The Jerk"...

My trip to the eye doctor today reminded me of a scene from "The Jerk." Here's why...

I broke my glasses a few weeks ago. I guess all the nights I fell asleep with them on weakened the right earpiece and one day when i pushed on it to adjust them, it just snapped off. So Dave MacGyver'ed them with a wooden BBQ skewer and some duck tape. Here's a pic:

My eye doctor, who I've been seeing since I was 4, is in Fredericksburg and always booked for weeks in advance. So I cheated on him by visiting the optometrist at Pearle Vision...I know, I know.

Anyways, after I got my eye exam and prescription, I went next door to the sales place, and showed my insurance card. The lady looked up my plan and showed me the section that I could choose from. The section was approximately 4 rows of 8 pairs of glasses each. WTF?

I came home and realized it reminded me of the guy who won the weight guessing game in "The Jerk" and asked what his prize was...he was disappointed at the selection he could choose from.

Watch me:

Navin: "For one dollar I'll guess you weight, your height, or your sex. The most exciting thing on the midway. Imagine the thrill of getting your weight guessed by a professional. You can blow up your cheeks, you can stick out your chest, but you're not going to fool the guesser. How about you sir? Step right up!"
Carnival Rube: "Hey honey, let's see how good this guy is. What'd I win?"
Navin: "Uh, anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers."

I found a pair that looks pretty similar to my current pair, so I think it will all work out. There are worse things that could happen, after all...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

These make me happy.

Crate and Barrel is the best. These aren't new or anything, they just caught my eye today and asked to be featured on my blog. Your wish is my command, lovely set of rainbow bowls.

I haven't seen so much camouflage since the last Stafford football game I attended in 1997...

This weekend, Bonnie and I went to Graves Mountain for some apples and fall goodness. I missed it last year because I felt flu-ey so I was determined, rain or shine, to go and get too many apples and then come home and complain that I'll never be able to use them all. Well folks, mission accomplished!

When we got there, we walked around the craft tents, looking at all the home accents and collectibles that we would have been all over in the past. Recently, we've gotten better about buying stuff that will ultimately end up in a yard sale pile within 2 we exercised some restraint and didn't buy anything. We did have a good time making fun of all the weird items and misspellings on signs.

After the craft tents we visited the building where they were selling all the fall goodness you could imagine: applesauce, jams, apple butter, etc.

Making cider:

And funnel cakes...

Then we walked by the vat of grease that was being used to make pork rinds - if you have never had the pleasure of inhaling this smell, consider yourself lucky! It is the foulest thing I have ever smelled! But the guy who was making it looked festive...

Next we perused the apple selection. There were plenty of types to choose from - Stayman, Crispin, Winesap, Empire, and some others. I found the cutest little gourd that I wanted to buy, but I decided he'd still be there after lunch, so I put him back down...yep, you guessed it, when we came back the little guy was gone :( I did manage to find one that is almost as cute, though...

After we picked out our apples we were ready to go, but decided to drive up into the orchard on the way out...that was worth it! We walked in between the trees and felt sad for all the apples that had fallen onto the ground. It reminded me of the apple tree we had in the backyard at Wakefield - we never used any of them, I imagine because my mom grew tired of them after a few years of baking, and most ended up smashed on the ground by the end of the season.

We found a wonderful country road near the orchard that promised a winery, but did not provide one. It looked like a back road in West Virginia, and it was everything we love about Virginia:

Last stop on the way out of the festival was to get drinks for the ride home, and across the street was an old barn that was picture perfect:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not a Cake Wreck (IMO)

My kitchen project is done, and I think it turned out okay! Not bad for my second try at a fondant cake ever!

The first was last year for Bonnie's birthday - Ashley and I gave up on the fondant when it kept cracking and just put a fondant Neopet on top of regular icing. We cheaped out but it was still cute. I wish I had a picture.

A few weeks ago on "Cake Boss," Buddy was using this awesome tool that made the fondant look like it was quilted. I thought it was the coolest thing and Dave bought me one that weekend so I could try it out. So, the other day I was trolling the internets, trying to get inspired, and found this cake:

How beautiful? I was sufficiently inspired, but knew my creation would have to be much smaller than this one - in order to retain some of my sanity.

After a quick trip to the cake store this morning to pick up some supplies, I got to work on my cake. The first snag was that I only have 1 8x8 baking pan, so I had to cook the 2 layers separately and wait for them to cool separately. This process left me plenty of time to watch JMU lose to UofR 21-14. Boo.

Once both layers were cool I stacked them, added the crumb coat, and put the cake in the fridge for about an hour for the icing to harden.

Layers (notice the imperfections - just like a quilt they make it homemade). I know, nerd.

Crumb coat:

Next I added the real layer of icing, thicker and more even and smooth, and added the fondant.

Then I added the quilt design with my new Wilton tool.

Next I added the silver pearls where the quilted lines intersect, using icing as the glue - this took forever!

Lastly, I added some icing around the bottom to cover up any gaps between the cake and the board. I had mad piping skills in the cake class I took, but it's been a while and you can really tell. And Voila! Project finished!

I think it looks like a princess pillow. :)

EDIT: Here is a picture of my first fondant attempt (without the fondant) :)

First, flour bugs. Now this!

Lawn mushrooms! Look out!!

Apparently our backyard has been so wet the last few months that we now have mushrooms! Gross!

According to this lawn care website, it is the result of fungi in the lawn from pet waste, rotting tree stumps, or old mulch. There is a bare spot in the lawn in the middle of the 3 patches, so I assume an old tree stump that wasn't properly removed is to blame.

It's always something...

I'm working on a little something in the kitchen to test a new cake tool Dave got me. We'll see how it works out! Cake Wrecks, here we come (maybe)...

Friday, October 9, 2009 Hey guys, POTUS just won the Nobel Peace Prize! SHould we put it up on the site?

Minions: Sure, we'll post it, but it's competing with some other pretty major news stories. We'll see what we can do.

The Duggars get top billing? Really?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A costume and a project

I've been collecting articles of clothing over the last few weeks that I'll need to complete my Halloween costume. I found the final piece yesterday, so today I worked on enhancing these items! Being vague on purpose to see if anyone can guess what the costume's a peek!

Any guesses?

Once I finished my costume, and since only God knows when I'll have the iron out again, I decided to complete another project that was in my queue...

Make fun all you like, I think it's cute.

Other than these projects, it's been pretty boring around here today. Lots of sh/c/w/oulda's in my head right now. But, there's always next weekend for those :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Final Act - a review

I just finished Final Act, by Daniel Brown...

This is a book written by a friend during National Novel Writing Month in 2007, and I promised to read it over a year ago. I have had it on my nightstand for at least the last 6 months begging to be read, but it didn't happen - no good reason, just didn't. But last night, I decided I was going to follow through, so I started it and could not put it down - although I did tear myself away for an episode of Glee!

Final Act is the classic murder mystery, and played out just like I hoped! Foreshadowing and clues told me some things, and then a little twist at the end brought it all together! Love it! I'm not giving anything away so the next person who reads it will be surprised. I wanted to wake Dave up at 1 when I finished to tell him all about it, but I remembered him saying he wanted to read it, so I kept quiet!

Daniel should be proud that he has created a piece of art like this! His grandkids will be proud :)