Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday Cakes I Have Crafted

In just two days, my little boy will turn six years old. Six! It's going to be a full week of celebration. We are going to the Children's Museum, to a state park, and having a family party on Saturday. Yesterday we had a party with our weekly playgroup. I brought cupcakes and balloons, the kids played and the adults talked. After it was over, he said, "So many people told me 'happy birthday' didn't they?" He was really happy.

When he turned one, I decided I wanted to make my kids' birthday cakes. The only cake decorating experience I had at the time was from working in a Great American Cookie store, where I decorated big cookies. Mostly just stars and writing.

So I kept it simple that first year. Polka dots.

He liked it.

By his second birthday, he had latched onto Froggy as his lovey. He started sleeping with that frog every night, and still does. So I decided on a frog cake. I also decided to try my hand at fondant icing.

Of course there had to be frogs peeking out of the water too.

For his third birthday, he told me that he wanted an elephant cake. Not a flat one, he said, but a big standing one. Hmm. It took me a while to settle on a design. It took forever to make this cake. But it was fun!

Yes, he's an edible elephant.

At age 4, he was really into dinosaurs, and requested a dinosaur cake. This is what I came up with. One funny thing about this cake was that he was with me when I bought the fruit leather for the spikes on the dinosaur's back. He did not understand how it would work, and he protested loud and long about how he didn't want fruit leathers on his cake. He thought I was going to lay them flat over it. No matter how I explained it, he didn't get it. So I just made it, and then he could see it, and he loved it a lot.

For his 5th birthday party, he couldn't decide between crocodiles or pirates. So we did both.

This year, he asked me for a combine cake. Combine, as in combine harvester. One of these:

I think it's super cool that he wants one. But gah, how will I do this? I think this will be the hardest one yet. I'll post pictures after the party on Saturday, so you can see either a lovely cake or a terrible disaster. My friend Kim loaned me her tractor cake pan, so there is a backup plan!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Old Picture

After the kids are in bed at night, I often spend a few minutes looking at pictures of them. Don't ya know it--many nights I can't wait for their bedtime to come so I can get a break, then as soon as it does I spend my time mooning over their pictures.

Anyway, tonight I found this gem of my sweet girl.  My heart practically bursts with the joy that is on her face.

I can barely stand it. I'm about to go wake her up!

Or maybe I'll have a snack...that I don't have to share...and watch some tv...and sit with nobody asking me to do something...yeah, that sounds good!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009


My sister, my dad's partner, and I decided to throw a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. We made lists, split up tasks, and got to work. My jobs were: invitations, cakes, green beans, help decorate.

The party was Saturday night, and it was wonderful!

It was a hilarious afternoon, trying to sneak me in. Because see, the party was at my sister's house, which is right next door to my dad's house. I couldn't just drive in, or he'd see me and get suspicious. Our original plans didn't work out for getting him out of the house, and my family ended up hanging out at the church down the road waiting on a call to tell us it was safe to drive in. But it was nice, because we visited the graves of some family and enjoyed the weather. It is a bit morbid hearing your 5 year old tell you which gravestone he wants though. Dad finally got into the shower, and we rushed down and parked our car behind a grain bin, then ran into my sister's house. He left later than we hoped, only giving us 45 minutes to get ready for the party.

The men drove off to get the tables and chairs, and the rest of us started running around decorating and setting stuff out.

My kid thought it was hilarious trying to tape down the tablecloths in the wind.

After a lot of quick work, the place was decorated and ready.

So many people came. I'd guess around 50. We noticed the line of trucks parked in the grass. I guess if you want to be my dad's friend, you better own a truck!

I think he was really surprised to see us all there. I know he was suspicious, but I don't think he knew exactly what was happening. He was pretty red in the face, but very happy.

My son told him, "We wanted to surprise you!"
We ate fried fish and lots of other delicious food, talked and laughed. It was so nice to see family I hadn't seen in years. Later in the party, my niece had arranged for dad's old army buddy who lives in Alaska to call him. That was a nice surprise for him too. My guy and my sister made a video for him, and I think he liked it.

My girl loved the party too, especially trying to sneak into the ice chest.
She did hide from a few people she didn't know though, until she would peek her head out and say "boo."

I love my dad so much. He is such a generous person, a giver through and through. I'm so glad that we were able to give something to him.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Small Things

I sure am a lucky duck!

We had quite a lovely weekend. It all started on Friday when my cousin came to visit, with her 3 month old daughter. We had a picnic (of course) at the pond and then came back to my house to talk and talk and talk. She is such an attentive and caring mama.

My baby loved her baby.

Saturday we worked on a project in the backyard.


Later that night we went to a party at a friend's cabin. It was an awesome time. So many people, so much food, and nature all around us. My guy took pictures, I sat in a chair and talked with some gals, My daughter got really dirty, and my son went down the slide backwards.

Today my guy made some laundry soap. I love his soap. It smells just right and works great. Here is what it looks like. It's kind of like a gel.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lora Loves: Driveway Hangs

Something I love dearly is hanging out in the driveway with my family. We pull out all the chairs, drink tea and eat watermelon, and talk. We watch the kids play in the grass, we play games.

My niece taught me how to text.

My son and I had a snuggle.

My mom read books to my daughter.

My other niece relaxed and enjoyed the activity.

My guy played swingball. Look at this guy! Whew, I sure do love his forearms.

There are no pictures of my nephew because he spent the afternoon in the pool with his friend. We saw them a couple of times, when they emerged from the water long enough to eat. My sister was there too. She and I played Mancala, and she beat me many times.

There is just something about hanging out in a group like this--it's like communal parenting. It all feels so easy. Sometimes I wish we lived in big family groups like many cultures do. But since we do not, I will savor the times that we gather, I will drink the tea, and I will watch the children play.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bento Snack

I've been using my small bento boxes for Bee's snack at school. I take great pleasure in packing his snack each morning. Although I'm not doing anything fancy yet, I do enjoy trying to fit a lot of "small bites" in each box. He enjoys finding out what's inside, and he also enjoys the notes I tuck in there too. I'm a terrible artist, but my 5 year old appreciates it anyway, so I carry on.

Yes, that's supposed to be a picture of him riding in the back of a truck. Hmm. Anyway, The box has a zucchini muffin, cheese, grapes, and goldfish in it. Kindergarten sure works up my kid's appetite.


Thursday, September 3, 2009


Today I did something I've never done before! I went raspberry picking. The kids and I drove to an orchard about an hour away. I secured 3 small buckets, and we dove in.

I showed the kids how, then I immediately set myself up with a frantic picking pace. I had a feeling that they wouldn't be interested for long and I wanted to get several pounds. My hands were hungry hungry hippos grabbing at raspberry marbles. But in the first 10 minutes, my son said, "Can we please do this more often?" and "This is so much fun, can we stay until I'm ready to leave?" So I relaxed. I took some time to look up at the enormous and incredibly blue sky. I watched my girl pick a few and drop them in her bucket, only to dump them out shortly after. I watched my son put berry after berry in his mouth.

My daughter peered into my bucket, and saw that it was half full of berries. She grabbed a handful, and walked to her bucket and dropped them in it. I told my son that she found an easy way to pick the berries, and he howled with laughter. He copied her, and their hands nearly emptied my bucket. But I didn't mind starting over.

I loved the way my girl grabbed the raspberries with such fierceness. In the end her bucket contained berries that were mostly mush. Perfect for a cobbler.

Never in my life have I had enough raspberries in my possession to feel like I've eaten my fill. Until today. We ate berries the whole (hour long) drive home. I made a cobbler for dessert. I have enough left for muffins, and also some just to eat.

It's nice to get enough of a good thing.