Sunday, March 28, 2010

Many, many, many, many, many macarons.

Last year, I attempted to make french macarons for the first time. Complete failure. They're a tricky little recipe to get right, and I just didn't have the patience. But then I found this ADORABLE book called "I Love Macarons" and it inspired me to try them again. And what better occasion than Lathi de Silva's 39th birthday!

I had myself a mini, macaron-making marathon this weekend. I baked 5 batches total. The first ones went straight into the trash. Too much almond flour. The 2nd batch - raspberry - turned out OK. Still too stiff though. The 3rd batch - chocolate toffee - turned out better. The 4th batch - lemon - turned out PERFECT. And the 5th batch - orange almond - turned out swell as well.

They must have tasted pretty good, because Eric could not stop snacking on them. I put an assortment inside this glass apothecary jar I found at Target and wrapped up another "I Love Macarons" book for Lathi to enjoy. She really does appreciate all the finer details in life and food, and I knew she'd enjoy unwrapping this present.

I was right. She was all smiles. (And so were her boys, Luc and Ian. ) They couldn't take their eyes off the jar when I brought it over last night.

Happy Birthday Lathi. And many, many, many, many, many more!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not-so-funny Bunny.

Guess who DIDN'T enjoy going to Cero's Candy to visit the Easter Bunny?
Bea wanted nothing to do with the 6-foot hare-ball or his generous offering of a candy-filled egg. Although, I was pleased at her politeness. As she clung to the right-half of my body and attempted to climb me, she said "No thank you Mr. Bunny."
Gus, on the other hand, was a real pro. After 7 years of visiting the same candy shop & rabbit, he posed dutifully, took the free goodies, and then proceeded to pick out six more bags of chocolate treats for his Easter basket. He ain't scared of no rabbit.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hello Spring?

Funny, the first day of spring looked a lot like the last 93 days of winter. We got about 3 inches of snow on Saturday, which meant Gus and Bea wanted to build one more snowman, have one more snowball fight, and we dried one more round hats, gloves & boots on the heater vents.

Just the day before, we'd had the lid off the sandbox in the backyard and Bea was wearing sandals. Go figure.

Luckily, this last blast of winter is short-lived. The sun is out, the melting has started, and the weatherman is calling for highs in the 60's this week. Come on spring! (I just got a pedicure and my toes are begging to be on display in some flip-flops.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's all in the details.

Eric's been on an odd woodworking binge lately - building things we don't necessarily need or have room for, but yet he feels compelled to build it anyway. He considers it a personal challenge. Whatever. It keeps him out of trouble and it gives me an excuse to rearrange furniture or sell off past projects to make room for new stuff.

Last week he completed another Krenov-style cabinet with lots of interesting details. The outside is cherry, the inside is white oak, and the drawer pulls are made of walnut. Oh but wait, the porn-like woodworking terms get even better. The veneers are hand-sawn and the drawers are hand-dovetailed. Yeah baby. That's what I'm talkin' about.

It looks gorgeous. And for now, this little beauty is residing in our bedroom. I'm just not sure if it's true purpose in life is to hold the bingo card collection that I bought at a flea market six years ago, or if there's a higher calling in another room or another home. Time will tell.

Spring Break with Grandma Nette.

This week was Spring Break for Gus. And since my mom's been feeling better after her last back surgery, we made plans to have her come spend the week with her youngest grandson. A 72-year-old woman and an 8-year-old boy don't typically have the same interests. So, each morning I invented a mini scavenger hunt for Gus and Grandma Nette to figure out. And the prize at the end was always something to keep the two entertained during the day - puzzles, movies, video games, Legos, art projects and Hot Wheels Cars.

I think they both enjoyed hanging out together and I'm pretty sure Grandma Nette got her fill of SpongeBob Squarepants.

Bea managed to sneak in some quality time with Grandma too - painting toenails and playing My Little Pony. You know, girl stuff.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bea the Baker

I love when Bea wants to watch or "help" me bake. She can even (sorta) crack open the eggs for me. Watch out Betty Crocker. Bea Denneler's in the kitchen, and she knows how to use a spatula. Or, at least lick it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A venti, triple-shot, half-foam, double-whip, mocha, Happuccino Birthday!

My coffee-lovin' husband turned 43 this week. And to celebrate, I made him a "Coffee Cake" - a birthday-themed Starbucks coffee cup filled with layers of chocolate cake, brown sugar frosting and coffee-flavored ice cream.

Wowzer. It was delicious, if I do say so myself. But, then I really like coffee. And apparently, Bea really likes it too because she ate the "tall" cup. Should we be worried? Probably.

Have a Hap Hap Happuchino Birthday, Eric!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Don't let the smiles fool you.

If you only knew the agony and stress Bea caused while we tried to get these photos taken - running around the studio, throwing her monkeys in the air, refusing to look at the camera. I'm not sure what her problem was, but after 10 minutes we had to call it quits. Even mild-mannered Gus was frustrated with her.

We've never had very good luck taking our kids to professional photographers. I think I get my hopes up too much, only to have them drown in the tears of a temper tantrum. It used to happen with Gus, and now it's happening with Bea. Apparently, we're better off sticking with the candid shots we take in our own the backyard.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Bittersweet Thank You

In January, my sister-in-law, Susie, found out that she had breast cancer. They discovered it early before it had spread to any lymph nodes, thank goodness. But rounds and rounds of tests determined that the breast tissue contained more cancerous tendencies, so she decided to go ahead with a double mastectomy two weeks ago. (She was able to have reconstructive surgery and implants put in at the same time, which was nice.) They're still waiting to hear if she'll have to go through any chemotherapy or not. Obviously, we're all praying for NOT.

So the healing process has begun for Susie, my brother Kevin, and my two nieces, Kirsten & Paige. My sister-in-law is a nurse herself, so it's been hard to be on the patient-side of medicine. She's had to let people take care of her instead of being the caregiver. And she's received so much support and kindness from her friends, that she wanted to give something back. Naturally, my Cupcakes for the Cure came to mind. She and my nieces love to bake. And I had plenty of leftover boxes for her to use. So today, she is delivering 24 sets of boobcakes to her caring friends.

I hope they make people smile. I'm sure that making and delivering them is helping Susie heal as well.

I made a new sticker for her to put on the bright pink boxes: A bra with the words "Hey, thanks for all the support."


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