Saturday, June 12, 2010

Roller Skate Cake

For Genevieve's birthday this year she wanted a roller skating party. Of course that meant making a roller skate cake!

Here's the step-by-step (my own invention after scanning for ideas on the internet):

First, make a 9x13 cake. I made a pound cake because it doesn't crumble much and bakes pretty flat. Box cakes are awful for cut-up cakes. I let Genevieve put some food coloring in it for fun, so don't be put off by the greenish tint!

Make a symmetrical cut: approximately 1/3 of the way across the cake from the top going about 1/3 of the way down, then angling to the same 1/3 up from the bottom.

This gives two boots, which can be shaped with some further cuts:

After a rough icing job, they looked like this:
Then I covered them in fondant: white for the tongue, brown for the heel and base of the foot, blue for the main shoe.

I made wheels out of chocolate mini-doughnuts covered in fondant.
Then I decorated with red licorice whips, red life savers and red sparkle gel.

Two things I would do differently next time. First, I set them too close together. I used the largest pan I had for a base, but there was barely room and one wheel ended up squished between the two boots. Second, I forgot the toe stop!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random stuff from February

February started out with Aaron getting surgery. He has been sick so much this winter that he finally got tubes in his ears. Sure enough, the surgeon found evidence of another ear infection beginning when he went in there. The surgery took about 15 minutes, and the only bad part was the recovery afterward. The nurses were like "get the mom!" because he was screaming his head off as soon as he woke up until I got a bottle to him, and then when it was empty he freaked out again. After a nap he was just fine, although he was kind of tipsy and goofy from the anesthesia for a while. So far it's working--although he did get another virus of some kind this week, at least we haven't had to go to the doctor recently (we were going every week for a long time; they know us well). It also happened to be on John's (and my mother's) birthday. Here is Aaron that evening having birthday cake:
In addition to all of Aaron's issues, we have been busy with Genevieve's gymnastics schedule. Here she is in her pretty team costume: She has been to her first two meets now, both in the Buffalo area. The first one she was so nervous that she forgot parts of her routines (which she normally can do in her sleep). She ended up with poor scores as a result and was very upset when she saw all the other girls getting awards and she got "a handful of nothing". I felt so bad for her. She just sobbed and sobbed. The next time, though, she did much better on those two routines and ended up winning 3rd place for her level/age bracket in bars and 5th place all-around. Man, was she proud! She has showed off that medal and trophy to everyone who has been to the house since, as well as anyone she talks to on Skype.
The kids really get along quite well...most of the time. Aaron has gotten to the age where he gets into everything and so is starting to become an annoyance to Genevieve at times. He would much rather investigate her stuff or go through the kitchen cabinets than play with his own toys. A couple of weeks ago Genevieve wrote a journal entry about how she hates her brother. And then a day or so later she relented and wrote that she really does love him. Sometimes I hear her muttering nasty things about him and then other times she giggles about how cute he is. Ah, siblings!Well, of course it's winter in Rochester, which means lots of snow. It's been a long, cold winter, and we can't wait to see the end of it. At least it's not dark as much as it was in December. Yesterday John gave Genevieve a lesson in making and throwing snowballs. They even made a snowman but haven't given it a face yet (distracted by hot chocolate, I think). My little bear got into the act for a while too. He seemed to prefer watching from the window, though. A boy after my own heart.This picture is from this afternoon. I just thought it was funny. He fell asleep in the middle of eating a cookie. He didn't even drop it when I brought him upstairs and put him to bed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aaron has been busy

Lots of news for Aaron lately. He's been sick a lot this fall/winter. The most recent double ear infection was discovered the day after Christmas (my birthday present). We are very fortunate that he is part of a research study where they tap his ear and culture the bacteria whenever he has an incident. This allowed them to determine within two or three days that he had a Superbug! We had to special order the antibiotic while in Florida and it took two tries to get it right. Since this was his 4th episode in his first year, we are now scheduled to get tubes in his ears. The poor guy is also teething. Lately either he's fussing or he's wildly happy. He cracks us all up when he's in one of those moods.

Here's an example of him shrieking with joy:

He loves to play peek-a-boo:

He's been crawling and pulling himself up for a long time. He has his own special style we call the crab crawl:

And best of all, now he is starting to walk!

Now I have to start planning a birthday party!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bouncing baby boy

Genevieve is not the only jumping bean in this family. Will Aaron be a gymnast too? Only time will tell...

He's also getting pretty good at moving around (scooting rather than crawling) and is strong as a bull. His teacher calls him "block baby" because he refuses to bend--he wants to stand up all the time, not sit.

Here he is on the other end of the activity spectrum...sleeping like an angel.

After two bad nights last week, I have become successful at putting him down to sleep at night in his crib with very little fuss. Now I need to teach him to "self soothe" when he wakes up in the middle of the night. He still gets up around 4 am most nights, and I always bring him into my bed at that point. I keep hearing that babies are supposed to sleep through the night by 6 months old, and he's almost 8 months, so it's time. Otherwise I'll end up with another Genevieve --who didn't sleep through the night until she was 3 1/2 years old!


In this video Genevieve demonstrates that she has learned something from all those dance classes she has taken over the past 3 years. Musical accompaniment by the exersaucer.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kickin' Back in the 'Dacks

John and I always like to have something to look forward to. I think it was during our trip to Cape Cod last summer (if not before) that he started talking about where we could go on vacation this summer. Considering the baby and not knowing how well he would travel, we figured it should be somewhere within New York State (a 3 hour drive max). And he even suggested that it should be somewhere not too far from Syracuse so that the grandparents could join us for part of the time if they liked.

So he started checking out places on the web as soon as we got back. It was probably April when he started getting serious about it. When he got transferred to open a new Target store this summer, we were worried for a while that we wouldn't be able to go anywhere. But he cobbled together 5 days in a row (cleverly needing only 2 vacation days to do it) and booked Camp Garoga on the edge of the Adirondacks. The place was perfect: cute, cozy, charming and comfortable. The location was just about at Aaron's limit for a driving trip, and it was close enough to a fair number of activities to keep us occupied.

We had some good family bonding time. The first two days, before John got there, my parents came up. We went to Howe Caverns, which was the first time I'd been there in about 20 years. It's exactly the same of course, but according to the tour guides they are planning on extending it soon. Genevieve was suitably impressed.

One day we went to the Adirondack Animal Land, which is basically a zoo with a lot of animal interaction and other kid-friendly stuff. Another day we went to Saratoga Springs, and as I already mentioned, we spent a day at Six Flags. We took turns going on lots of rides with Genevieve of course. Even Aaron got to take his first amusement park ride--the Big Red Car in Wiggle World. :-)

I had never been to a real racecourse before, so I thought Saratoga was interesting. When we were on our way there, Genevieve asked if you HAD TO bet--because she wasn't going to lose HER four dollars! (Incidentally she "earned" that $4 by getting change of a $5 bill I gave her to buy a cookie.) Of course, when you don't bet it's not very exciting so we didn't stay long. Plus it was pouring rain much of the time. The horses were really beautiful, though. Oh, and Aaron got his first taste of cotton candy.

Despite the rain we did sneak in a campfire with s'mores and a little bit of hiking in the woods behind the cabin. On the way home we stopped by to see Grandma and Grandpa.

And John started planning next year's trip...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I really thought it would be done by now

The kitchen project is making progress finally...but still much to do. The whole experience has been fraught with difficulties. Partly due to oddities of having an old house (such as uneven floors and crazy wiring), partly my fault (I didn't like the original counter I picked out) and partly to unreliable contractors (e.g. it took months for the electrical work to get done). One contractor has been great throughout, though, and he has done a lot of work on the house this summer besides the kitchen, including rebuilding the bathroom wall, one of our chimneys and a little cupola on top of the garage.

Here are some photos of the current state of the kitchen. I love the new countertops, cabinet, floor, built-in bench seats and lighting. I still need one of the contractors to come back and finish up moldings, etc. Mostly we have the DIY part left to do: tiling the backsplash, patching and painting the ceiling and walls, and making curtains and seat cushions. Also I need to find a new kitchen table and chairs and install some shelving. Stay tuned!