Monday, May 31, 2010

Villa High

This weekend, I introduced Gus and Bea to a classic, little pond & playground area I grew up with in Colby called Villa High.

The horse swings were extra squeaky, but brightly painted. The crazy bridge had plenty of sway, but could still withstand a herd of kids. And the merry-go-round was my kids' favorite, with dual-action bounce & dizziness capabilities.

We skipped rocks on the pond for a good 30 minutes or more, and if Bea hadn't needed to "potty" we probably would have stayed for another hour.

Thanks for the memories, Villa High, past & present.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Catch & Release.

Today was Gus' first day of summer break.
So he and Eric decided to go fishing.
He caught his first catfish, and stood proudly for photos.
And then he noticed the fish was bleeding.
And he got all teary-eyed, and felt bad for catching him.
So Eric unhooked the fish, and put him back in the pond.
Poor Gus, I bet he'll never want to go fishing again.
Or eat another fish stick, for that matter.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If you inflate it, they will come.

The kids in our neighborhood have a 6th sense for summertime fun. It's almost as if a "Bat Signal" went out on Sunday for an impromptu pool party in our backyard.

Mere minutes after I inflated our little pirate ship pool for Gus and Bea to splash around in and cool off, we had four kids knocking on the door to see if they could play. And then two more showed up, and then two more ... I even had a mom drive by and drop off two girls that I'd never met before. No kidding - didn't know them, didn't know their mom, but they jumped out of the car with waterguns in-hand and headed to the backyard to play.

Sure, why not.

Before I knew it, we had 10 kids running around with squirt guns and water balloons and trying to do cannon balls in our pathetic, 48-inch-wide Scurvy Dog. (BTW - the pirate pool has seen it's last hurrah. We'll be heading to the store for a replacement the next weekend we get temperatures above 90º.)

The waterpark fun lasted for three hours. And while I'm glad my kids and their friends had a good time, I'm not sure I'm prepared for a whole summer of this. I can't handle the popsicle demand.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Not-So-Starving Artist

Bea was a watercoloring machine on Sunday. I think she must have painted nonstop for almost two hours - cranking out one refrigerator masterpiece after another.

She didn't even stop for lunch. One hand worked the paintbrush while the other secured her cheese sammich.

Looks gouda, Bea.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wood workings.

In January, we bought a new TV for the basement and Eric's been meticulously working on a stylish walnut cabinet stand for it to reside. He's almost finished, with the finish. (His least favorite part of every project.) When it's done, it will have two fancy, dovetailed drawers and compartment shelves to hold the DVD player, the cable box and the Wii.

Those flat screen TVs always look so nice in the store - hanging on the wall in a clean, uncluttered environment. But that's not reality. Once you hook up all the devices you actually use with your TV, you need a cabinet to hold it all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Backyard Rocket Ship Launch Party

Summer turned into fall, fall turned into winter, and winter turned into spring - but, we finally had an official "launch party" for our backyard rocket ship last weekend. As the rain stopped and the clouds parted, we enjoyed a glorious evening of sunshine with the Lauers, the Lindemans and the Diefenbachs.

There were plenty of cookies, Nerf ammunition and giggling to go around. I guess you could say, we had a blast (off!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gimme an "A!"

My niece, Alyssa Peppiatt, graduated from Salina South High School this weekend. Yippee! So, the dessert I made for her big party on Saturday was a giant, angel food cake "A" with fluffy, white meringue frosting. (Reminiscent of the giant, furry "A" I made for her bedroom wall on her 13th birthday. Awwww....)

Note to self: Never build a cake bigger than the door you have to carry it through. Let's just say, that getting the giant "A" to it's destination was a trick. The board I put under the cake, with all of Alyssa's senior photos, was slightly larger than most door frames. Oops.

When I bake, I bake big.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chocolate Brownie Graduation Cap Lollipops

My 27-year-old oven has been working some serious overtime lately.

I made some fun desserts for work last Friday as we celebrated the graduation of our friend, Barbara. She got her bachelor's degree in accounting from Southwestern College on Sunday. Yeah Barbara... job well done!

These little graduation caps were made out of mini cupcake brownies on lollipop sticks, Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares, black M&Ms, and a little red icing for the tassels.

Bite-sized party pops, perfect for celebrating.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Graduation Gâteaux.

(Four years of french and I can still remember the word for "cakes." Not bad. Just don't ask me to conjugate a verb.)
This week's sugar stress and baking marathon nearly killed me. Last August, my friend Jodi asked if I would bake some special treats for her daughter's graduation party in May. "Oh, sure. No problem. May? Sheesh. That's months & months away. Absolutely. Sure. No big deal."

Wrong. What was I thinking? I'm not a bakery!?! I'm a crazy woman with a KitchenAid mixer & a 27-year-old oven. And for some reason, I believe I can create whatever idea pops into my head. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

Well, these graduation treats multiplied between August and May, and I ended up making:
- One hot pink & lime green graduation cake for Emily (She told me the colors she wanted & left the rest up to me.)
- One Fort Hays State-themed, pennant graduation cake for Payte (Emily's cousin, who's attending FHSU in the fall)
- Four dozen, HUGE, cosmetology-scissor sugar cookies. (Emily's attending the Eric Fisher Academy in September.)

Needless to say, I took the day off from work to complete all of these, and still ended up spending 18.5 hours in the kitchen that day. Insane. Even for me.

But, the stress and the baker's meltdown I experienced halfway-thru were all worth it. (Eric might not agree.) The smile on Emily's face yesterday was awesome. Yeah!


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