Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Comes to an End

Holy Cow!  Another year down.  How does it happen so fast?  Not quite as fast as the kids growing up, but still pretty fast.

All in all, 2011 was a pretty good year for me.  Heck, I actually finished - all the way to The End - my first novel.  I'll be flying high on that for a while.  I think that was probably my biggest accomplishment.

I lost 26# and gained back 5# over the holidays.  Oops.  I guess I should be glad it was only 5# I gained back; last year I gained a whole lot more than that.  When I started at the gym in February, I had a grandiose idea of losing 40# by my 40th birthday.  We all know that didn't happen.  In fact, I've been plateaued since my birthday (well, except for my very recent 5# gain), but I still feel a sense of accomplishment that I was able to lose 21#.  In 2012, I'll be working on losing the rest of the weight.

It was a tough year with the kids.  I've not posted about it, because they're at an age where I think they deserve their privacy about some of the things they're going through.  But let me tell you, the last three months have been so hard with (and for) them.  I hope we all get through it intact in 2012.

I don't really want to formalize my goals as "resolutions", since I rarely meet my resolutions.  But I will share a couple of goals:
  • revise/edit HUNTED LYON, send it for copy edit/layout by June
  • revise/edit/publish (probably self-pub) TALES FROM THE TRAIL
  • increase my riding ability; learn more leg cues
  • continue to increase my fitness/lose weight
Not a lot of goals, but I think they are attainable.

I'd add "win the PowerBall", but that's kind of out of my control.  But that would be one goal I'd love to meet. :)

Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope 2012 is better than you dreamed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Been Awhile

Long enough, that I don't actually remember my last post.  Yeah, sorry about that.

Anytoolazytoreadmyownlastpost, I have some crazy randomness that is my family.  In fact, I told Ashinator that she may have lost her spot as the funniest (Digger is going to kill me for that comment) one-line dealer in the family.  Nebalee's youngest is only three, but dang, is she a funny kid.

Exhibit A:
While riding Estes with her, Estes gave a hefty old farmer's blow and blew horsie boogers all over the place.  I was really glad we were riding and not in front of her - we would have been covered in horse boogs.  When I told Asset that was gross, she said, "I jus' pick my nose an' eat my boogers."  Then she shrugged her shoulders, tossed her hair back and said, "I'm jus' a little girl, I can eat all the boogers I want."

Well, hell, who can argue with that logic?

Exhibit B:
During the second weekend of baking, toward the end of the day, Asset came running into the kitchen, crying.  Nebalee dropped down to her knees and asked her what was wrong.
"I jus' burned my finger a little bit."
"Let me see.  How did you burn your finger?" Nebalee asked.
"I jus' burned my finger a little bit on a flashlight."
"Well, let me kiss it better then," Nebalee offered.
"No, Mom! Kisses don't make it better! Ice does!"

Again, who can argue with that logic?  Especially if she's right.

I'm kind of thinking Asset should get her own blog, "Shit my 3 year-old niece says".  But that would be just one more blog I'd neglect, so maybe not.

Other random thing:
On the packaging for my toilet paper, it very proudly announces that it is "flushable and septic safe".  Really?  I didn't know they made toilet paper that wasn't flushable.  Hmm.  Who knew?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Really?!

I had to call the child support folks today and while I was listening to all of the options, I heard this...
"Blah, blah, blah, press 1.
Blah, blah, blah, press 2,
Blah, blah, blah, press 3,
Blah, blah, blah, press 4,
If you are deaf, press 5"
Stop, rewind.
"If you are deaf, press 5"
 Yep, I heard it right. 

*shaking head*

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ashinator's 19!

Yep, that's my "adult" daughter in her footie pajamas.

Can you believe it?

Heck with you guys - I don't quite believe it.  The little girl who once (once, who am I kidding?) laid her hand ever-so-gently on her Grandpa Tom's arm, batted her hazel eyes, and said, "But, Grandpa, you're so strong, you can get them for me!" as she pointed at the cookies on top of the fridge after being told no she couldn't have any, is now nineteen.

This weekend, while baking, Auto Bot asked Ashinator how old she was going to be.  When Ashinator told her nineteen, Auto Bot made Ashee's day by exclaiming, "You're an adult!"

Poor Ashinator.  Today her aunt dropped of a birthday gift card to a grocery store and Ash was thrilled!  At first.  Then she realized how pathetic it was to get excited over a gift card to a grocery store - even if it meant she could now afford the ingredients for her birthday tacos.  Welcome to being an "adult", Ashinator.

When I was her age, I was newly married (just a month) to a man who turned out to be an alcoholic and who has a horrible inherited disease that he passed on to the kids.  While I wish she had a job and was truly living on her own, instead of with my dad, I'm thrilled that she's not in the same place I was at her age.

Happy birthday, Ashinator!

And thank you for not doing to me what I did to my mother :)

Love you, Pretty Girl.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baking Weekend, Day 1: My Super Secret Baking Project

My girls came!
Robs, Sue, Staci, Me :)
I love my girls.

They did lots of this...
This is Robs' double batch in a single batch bowl -
I was super impressed she managed.
And this...

Which resulted in these...
They were baking machines.
(Yes, SGG, there was alcohol involved)

I did zero cookie baking.  Zero.  I kinda felt bad about it, but I was focused on a project I've been contemplating for two years now.  I don't even know where I first saw these Snow Globe Coca-Cola Cupcakes, but ever since I saw them, I've been wondering if I could pull something like that off.


I mean, look at them...
Photo cred: Bakerella
In fact, I was pretty sure I couldn't pull them off, but I've been getting braver in the kitchen.  Last year, we had success with the bococcini.


So I gathered up my courage and hit the stores looking for what I would need: Coke in the "ornament" plastic bottles, rolled fondant, an edible pen, and a red sugar sheet. I followed the directions that I found on Bakerella.

I used the bears on the wrappers as inspiration.

Beel even got in on the act...
See the bandaid on the back of his hand?
Yeah, I wasn't sure that I should allow him to use a knife.
I'm happy to report that he still has all of his fingers.
I even tried the Cola Cake recipe that Bakerella linked to.  It was one jacked up recipe.  I've never baked cupcakes from scratch, but I'm a direction following fool.  I read the recipe a couple of times, and then obsessively referred to it while I was making the cake stuff.
Butter, veggie oil, cocoa, and Coke.
It's not quite as gross as it sounds.
I brought that crazy concoction to a boil and added it to the dry ingredients, which included a cup and a half of marshmallows...
It didn't taste too bad,
for a diabetic coma in a bowl.
I then baked up a batch of the cupcakes.  They were awful.  They fell, which was a bummer.  But they didn't taste so wonderful either.  Plan B - store-bought Devil's Food cake mix.  Win!!

While I was waiting for Nebalee to come up to the lodge with my Plan B, I worked on the fondant.  Oh God, what a disaster that was.  The store must have put out last year's fondant, because it was a brick.  I had to break it open and scoop out the inside just to have any to work with.

I lost easily half of the fondant I bought - the outside was unuseable.
Staci and Little Miss 'Mantha helped make the fondant bears.

Staci was a bear making fiend!  I made two.  She whipped out the rest.  Wait...Nebalee made the little cub.  Aren't they cute?
I used the red sugar sheet to cut out their scarves,
instead of the fondant recommended by Bakerella.
Auto Bot and Kyzzer helped me prep the snow globes...
We sprayed the inside of the bottles with sugar water
and then the kids sprinkled them with sugary thingies.

Mom and Nebalee put snow on the cupcakes after I frosted them...

And then I got to assemble...
Oh. My. God.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am with them!
They're not quite as polished as the ones at Bakerella, but then, neither am I.  I'm so not a professional baker - I'm pretty sure that once-a-year baking doesn't count - but I am beside-myself-excited about these cupcakes!
I'll post about the rest of Baking Weekend when I come down from my cupcake success high.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baking Weekend Is Almost Here!

I was trying to figure out how long we've been doing Baking Weekend, which started out as Baking Day.

It's been a long time; almost as long as Mom and Bill have owned the Lodge, so this must be our 13th year.  The first year was My Girls and Hall (my ex-boyfriend); the following year we added to our "menu" and the number of bakers grew.  Thirteen years is a long time for a tradition - we've been through break-ups, marriages, and children.  Some of the bakers come and go, but at the core of it has always been My Girls.
Me, Robs, Staci.  Missing Sue...not sure where she was hiding

During a relatively calm part of the day...
I've got a special project in mind for this year, one I've been mulling over ever since I saw it a couple of years ago.  I wasn't sure that I'd be able to pull it off (still not too terribly sure how it will turn out), but what the heck, I figure I'll give it a go and even if it doesn't work, it's still edible.

Other than my super secret special project (there will be posts), I don't have anything special planned this year for Baking Weekend.  I wanted to make more mozzarella, which was so much fun, but decided to try something new this year.  RCC has something up his sleeve too, that I'm sure will be wonderful.

Mostly, what I'm looking forward to this Baking Weekend, is getting to hang out with My Girls.  I love them and this is the only guaranteed time we get to spend together.  I haven't seen Sue since last Baking Weekend and I saw Robs and Staci in June when Robs had her baby.  How is it that a mere sixty miles can seem like half a world away?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blogfia Call Out!


I know it's been a while since the Blogfia call has gone out - I think it's been a year or more since I've sent out a call.  Let's hope the "network" is still open.

Rachel, over to Once Upon A Miracle, has made the top ten for the Tiny Prints Talent Contest.

Why does that warrant a call out?  Because she's not doing it to stroke her ego or to thrust her darling son, Itty Bit, into the limelight.  She's doing it to help one of her favorite charities, the Morning Star FoundationIf she wins, she has vowed to donate the $1,000 prize to Morning Star to help them help the little babies.

Now, I'm sure those other nine finalists are perfectly lovely people who have plans for that $1,000, too.  But they're not Rachel, who is following her heart to help out babies who only have the Morning Star people to help them this Christmas.

So, how do we help?  Here's the great thing - it won't cost a dime!  Just a few seconds every day to vote for Itty Bit. 
Photo shamelessly stolen from Rachel.

Reposting this would be a great way to help out, too!

I think with the power of the Blogfia and the blogosphere behind her, Rachel and Itty Bit can win, in which case, Morning Star wins as well.

What are you waiting for?  Go vote!