Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Sold My First Cake!


Well the title pretty much sums it up.  I had my first cake order from my sisters work for a coworkers birthday.  I was so nervous, I don't by any means think I am a professional cake decorator.  It's something I like to do and would love to get better at.  Anyway, they wanted a 40th birthday themed cake and this is what I came up with.  It's a chocolate cake with buttercream icing, and fondant and buttercream decorations.

I used this recipe for the cake from Smitten Kitchen.  It was a great cake very sturdy but maybe not the best for carving as it was a little crumby.  The scariest part of this whole thing for me had to be driving the cake out to my sister's office.  Every bump I drove over nearly gave me a heart attack, but we arrived with both myself and the cake in one piece.  I got great compliments on it when I dropped it off and overall feel pretty good about the whole experience.  The pictures are pretty bad since I was too scared to move it to better lighting!

In other news, my new Living in Domesticity Etsy store is up and running.  You will find great vintage house wares, sewing patterns and accessories along with some handmade items.  Keep checking back as I will be updating the shop's inventory regularly.



Kim

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

KY State Fair

Every year I look forward to the State Fair.  It's crowded, hot and overpriced, but there is something I just love about all of it.  I think it's the fact that for one week all of the normal handy work that gets overlooked has it's moment in the spotlight.  People are lined up to ooh and ahh over cakes, cookies and jams.  Folks mill about inspecting the details of quilts, hand made dresses and baskets.  The farmer's have their own wing to show off their prize animals and the gardener's get to display the fruits of their labors.  What other time is this kind of thing celebrated?  There is also the added draw of all the weird and unexplained items that tend to creep out at the fair and the fun of finding those craft items that cross the bridge from folky to creepy.  So despite the 100 degree temperatures, the four dollar soft drinks, hordes of people and Bug laying on the dirty floor crying because he didn't get something, I love the fair.  So here are a few more reasons why.
       See this lady's huge rabbit, see the even bigger pile of rabbit fur that she is brushing out of it?  Yep, you 
        can buy piles of rabbit fur at the fair.

        Sooo pretty!  Vintage button collections have their own category at the fair.

Giant talking Freddy.  In case you haven't seen him before, there is  a booth that interacts with the crowd via Freddy.

Funnel cake, nuff' said.

Bug didn't feel as if the normal fair food had enough calories, so he invented the nacho cheese covered hot dog.

Neil Diamond Christmas tree. :)

This amazing vintage kitchen set up.  I wish I had all of this!

Sweets showing off my dad's blue ribbon.  He made the belt.

Yeah, here is an example of one of those items that crossed the bridge into creepy town.

Ummm....  

I think I should give knitting another go, it may be my key to a blue ribbon in the fair.

I think this is suppose to be Homer Simpson, I think.

No words, for this.

Giant inflatable colon.

Free prostrate exams.  

This guy.

Ugly lamp contest.

So these are just a few of the awesome things to be found at the KY state fair this year.  Do you check out your state fair every year?  If so what is your favorite thing about it?

Kim

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back To School


Image via Weheartit

Today was the first day back to school for us.  I wish I could say that it was an easy day filled with lots of wonderful new experiences and it probably was for my kids, just not me.  Here is a little breakdown of the day from my view.

6:30 am- The strange Bali wood sounding alarm on my phone wakes me up.  It feels like I've only been asleep for five minutes.

6:40 am- Wake up Sweets and get her dressed, smoothly.

7:00 am- Some how we are already running a little behind, I make lunches and warm up some muffins I had froze.  I get the muffins way too hot in the microwave and have to wait even longer for them to be cool enough to eat.  I drink a diet coke.  No time for breakfast for myself.  I can feel the anxiety start to settle in my chest like a weight.

7:15 am- Out the door and headed into rush hour traffic for our half an hour drive downtown to Sweets school.

7: 50 am- No place to park close to Sweets school.  Have to park a few blocks down and walk with both kids and all Sweets stuff.

7:55 am- My husband is waiting for us outside of school and we hurry in to put Sweets stuff away and snap a quick picture of her before she rushes into her classroom.

8:00 am- We walk out and I ask my husband if he thinks she is okay.  Then I say " I feel like I am forgetting something".  He says "You just feel that way because you are leaving your kid".  The anxiety has turned into a ripping feeling deep in my chest.

8:10 am- We decide to go to McDonalds for a coffee since Bug doesn't have to be at preschool until 9.

8:30 am- We head down the road to Bug's preschool.  I feel like I am taking shallow breaths and there is not enough air in the world for me.

8:45 am- We arrive and head into the school, taking a few pictures on the way.

9:00 am- The class heads outside and Bug runs for me.  He starts crying onto my shoulder and hugging me.  I try to walk him outside and one of the teachers takes him from me.  He is wailing.  The ripping feeling feels so strong I have to fight the urge to grab him and run.  Moms aren't suppose to leave their kids while they are crying.  Every fiber of my being is saying this is wrong.  I know what everyone says and what I have read and what my husband is saying to me.  I know that it's teaching him independence and that he will learn a lot and that he is good hands.  But my heart hurts.  Bad.  Like it's being ripped out.

9:15 am- The director reassures me that he will be fine, she says I should call in an hour and check on him.  I have tears running down my face and they are only the beginning.  I feel a huge grief filled wail lurking in my throat.  We leave and go sit in the car to watch him on the playground.  He is still crying, I watch him fall down to the ground and put his hands over face.  My whole body aches.  My husband is reassuring me.  I ask if we can't just take him home.  He doesn't need preschool.  I am convinced.  My husband says no, just give it time.  I am trembling. I can't take it.

9:45 am- Bug gets up from the teachers lap where he has been crying and moves to play with another kid.  He is done crying.  He plays for a few minutes and then the class goes inside.  I still feel a terrible torn feeling.

10:20 am-  I get home and I am lost.  I don't really know what to do without someone to care for.  I do some dishes and straighten up.

10:45 am- I call the school.  The secretary goes to check on him and says he is doing great.  He has been working and playing with other kids and no more crying.  I feel relieved but not really better.

11:00 am- Talk to my sister for a while on the phone. Do some other stuff around the house, check my email and read a few blogs.

11:30 am- I leave to go pick Bug up he is only half day and gets out at 12.

12:00 pm- I arrive at school and the kids are back on the playground.  Bug sees me and doesn't even react.  I go in and say hi and ask him if he is ready to go home.  He says no.  The director tells me he has had a great day, no crying, played with friends and did lots of work .  I am really proud of him.  I never doubted that he could do it, I doubted I could.  We go home and he tells me all about school and his new friends over lunch.

2:00 pm- I think this day has been a big adjustment for all of us.  When I tell Bug that we have to go get his sister from school he throws a huge screaming fit.  Eventually we make it out the door and are back on the road to downtown.

2:38 pm- Sitting in car line waiting for Sweets.  We pick up the kids in an alley behind the school since it's in an urban downtown environment.  They have no parking lot and the car line is not organized.  It is marked in the alley as a school zone.  As I wait a "lady" gets out and approaches my car. I ave to use that term lightly.  The terms that really apply and are somewhat appropriate for this post are prick, douchebag, crazy asshole and/or jerk.  Pick whichever you like.  She starts yelling at me about blocking the alley.  I mean really yelling. I try and explain that it is a school pick up zone, that this happens every day.  You might think the giant line of cars in the alley would be a tip off.  I can't take it, I want to scream or punch her.  I have a sleeping toddler in the car and this nut job is yelling at me!  I pull off and drive around the block back to the alley.  I'm now at the end of car line and have to sit in the street waiting to turn into the alley.

2:45 pm- I actually get Sweets and she tells me that school was awesome and she is sad to leave.  I'm not surprised really since she has always loved school.

3:30 pm- bedtime
Got home, made the kids snacks, listened to their tales of the day and started to sort through the mountain of paper work that Sweets brought home.  Bug throws a huge fit because he wants nachos.  I say no, because he already had two snacks and we have no nachos.  Massive screaming fit that I can't even hear myself talk over.  I can tell that the tension and stress I have felt all day is equally shared.  I muster up the energy to vacuum.  That is about all I have in me.  I did vacuum the stairs and get all the cobwebs.

Sweets pulls out a bunch of my fabric.  I ask her to pick it up.  She ignores me and keeps watching her cartoon. I ask two more times and then turn off the t.v.  Cue giant screaming fit from Sweets.  I send her to her room since she is being really rude.  She goes upstairs and throws a bunch of shit at me from the top of them.  I calmly tell her that she has to stay there until her dad gets home.  I'm turning things over to him.  I'm done.  She continues the kicking and screaming for the next 15 minutes until dad gets there and talks to her.  Meanwhile Bug cleans up all of her stuff without being asked.  I guess school at least taught him one thing today.

Dad tells Sweets to write an apology letter to me as punishment.  She does and I shit you not the letter said "I am sorry, blah, blah for making my brother pick up my mess"  Okay, don't even try and be nice, I see how it's going to be.

We eat supper.  Hamburgers and fries.  I managed to make dinner too.

I am so exhausted, not tired just wiped out.  This day has been super emotional for all of us, except maybe the husband.  He seems to be fine.

I hope tomorrow is better.  Right now I need a cupcake and a glass, no make that a bottle of wine.  They should have support groups for parents whose kids are going to school.  Or maybe pass out cupcakes and bottles of wine to them.  That would help and I have two kids so I would get two cupcakes and two bottles of wine.  That would be tax money well spent.  Or better yet we could get sponsors.  I can just see big vinyl banners in front of the schools, 'Jack Daniels Welcomes You To The First Day Of School'.  I'm pretty sure I'm on to something here.

Sorry if this is crazy rambling nonsense.  I just really needed to get this day out of my system.
Kim



Monday, August 16, 2010

4 Simple Goals


I read Elsie's blog 'A Beautiful Mess' on a daily basis.  At first when I saw her 4 simple goals post I didn't think much about it.  As the week has wore on I have found myself thinking more and more about things I want to do and equally important, things I might actually find time to do.  I really tried to pick 4 realistic goals, simple enough that I will accomplish them.

1. Master an at home manicure/pedicure.
I love having my nails done, it makes me feel happy and put together and it's a little me time.  I don't love paying crazy amounts for a manicure every week or fake nails.  So I have been watching YouTube videos on manicures.

2. Take a creative writing class.
I have absolutely no reason to take this class other than I want to.  I always enjoyed writing in school and I would love to do more of it.

3. Make dinner with my kids at least once a week.
Sweets went to a Montessori school for two years and Bug starts tomorrow.  It's always amazing to see what the kids are capable of when they are given the opportunity.   In a Montessori classroom the kids prepare their own snacks and practice a lot of simple 'practical living' works that teach coordination and responsibility.  I don't think I've done the best job of encouraging my kids to do house things, simply because it's easier if I do it myself.  

4. Yoga, once a week.
I really enjoyed doing yoga at the YMCA.  Unfortunately I have no time to get there.  I added a few yoga dvd's to my Netflix.

So there you have it.  I think my goals should be easily accomplished if I can maintain some sort of focus (hard to come by these days).  I did give myself a manicure today, and it's getting there


  (ignore how weird this picture looks, it is crazy hard to take a picture of your own hand)

Kim

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yikes



My car read 104 degrees as the outside temperature.  I am pretty sure I have never been this hot before.  No matter what I do I just feel gross.  It's pretty hard to make an effort to do anything and I hate feeling this lazy.  I'm looking forward to the fall and making some changes and finding some new opportunities.  I need a new wardrobe, a new path, a new hair cut, a new workout routine, a new plan.  Summer, I'm completely over you, hit the road pal.

More Photography


Apparently when I say I am through with photography, I lie.  A couple of weeks ago I did a wedding shoot for my husbands cousin.  It was fun, but insane.  It happened to be the hottest day of the year at 97 degrees and felt like 107 with the heat index.  I think I was close to heat exhaustion after shooting for almost two hours in the sun and then another few hours in the chapel which while it was suppose to have air conditioning, it was reading near 90 in there.  Also I didn't bring water.  I guess I assumed there would be some there.  There was a water fountain but it's pretty hard to keep running inside for a drink while you are suppose to be working.  When I got to the reception I drank 3 diet cokes in about 5 minutes. Lesson learned, always bring your own water.

That said, it was a beautiful wedding and I was happy to be a part of it.  I also made all of the bouquets and boutonni√®res and even though I was a little out of practice I loved the way they came out.  I even made two garters for the wedding, but I didn't get a great shot of those.  I'm always happy to be a part of weddings, especially when they are for two lovely people who are obviously perfect for one another.  Emily and Shane, thank you for letting me be part of your day and brush up on some of my rusty skills.  I know you are going to be crazy happy together!

Kim

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken Three Easy Ways Part Two and Three

I'm telling you what, making all that chicken on one day saved me hours of cooking for the rest of the week.  On day two of the chicken we had chicken nachos, super easy, you don't even have to turn on the stove if you don't want, I'm sure you could microwave the chicken if you like.  The kids thought this was awesome.  Nachos for dinner?  I thought it was pretty awesome too.  The third night I had planned to make a shepherds pie, but unexpectedly we had a kid free evening so went for Mexican again.  Most of the time my kids won't touch stuff like this so it was nice for us to have something we like.  I made chicken Mexican rice.  I served it with a side of lettuce and some leftover tortilla chips.  It was super yummy and took about twenty minutes.  So while I only expected this to be food for three days we had a ton of rice left over so we had chicken and rice burritos last night.  So four nights of food!  I can't wait to do this again.  I'm loving just being able to throw something together in a hurry.  Here are the recipes.

Chicken Nachos

1/3 of cooked chicken
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt
pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipolte
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese
salsa
sour cream
tortilla chips

In a hot pan combine chicken and all seasonings, cook for ten minutes or until heated through.  Lay nachos on plate and put 1/2 c shredded cheese on top.  Place in microwave for 30 seconds to melt cheese.  Layer black beans, salsa, lettuce and sour cream on top.  Enjoy!


Chicken and Mexican Rice

2 1/2 c rice cooked to instructions (I don't use instant, but you could)
1/3 of leftover chicken
2 tsp cumin
1 jar salsa
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt
pepper
1/2 chopped onion

To cooked rice add all ingredients and cook until warmed through.
Serve with a side of lettuce and tortilla chips and top with cheese and sour cream if desired.  You can also use this as a burrito filling.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Best Homemade Waffles


I have been looking for a waffle maker at the yard sales I frequent.  That is where I like to pick up kitchen stuff that I'm not sure if I'll really use.  I bought my bread machine at one about two years ago for five dollars and it had never been opened.  I figured a waffle maker is one of those things people buy, never use and then sell for two dollars a few years later.  Well all summer I have looked and not found.  So I mentioned this to my mom.  The next day I went to her house and she handed me a waffle maker.  "Here, I bought this a few years ago, made waffles once and never used it again."  Yeah!  The funny thing is, we went to a yard sale later that day and saw a waffle maker.  So I came home and looked at waffle recipes online and then got up this morning and threw some stuff in a bowl sans recipe and came up with some really yummy waffles.  Most of the waffle research I did suggested that adding seperate egg whites that had been beaten to soft peaks was the key for crispy waffles.  I can't say for sure, but it seemed to work because these were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.  I'd still like to try yeast waffles and see the difference between the two.  I plan on making some of these this week in bulk and freezing.  Sweets loves waffles for breakfast and these are far more nutrional than store bought frozen waffles, cheaper too.

Best Waffle Recipe

2 eggs seperated
1 c. white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour (I like Hodgsdon Mills Old Fashioned WW Flour)
1 3/4 c. buttermilk
4 tbs. butter
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
2 packages stevia ( you could use sugar, a couple of table spoons)
optional- 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

In a bowl combine egg yolks, vanilla, stevia, milk, butter and baking powder. Stir until combined (I use a whisk).  Add both flours and stir until combined.  In a seperate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold into batter.  Optional, add 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips.  Sweets loves hers with chocolate chips and no syrup.  Spoon batter into greased waffle maker.  I cooked mine for about a minute and then checked them for brownness.  I got eleven waffes out of this recipe but yours may vary depending on the size of your waffle maker.  You can keep these warmed in an oven until ready to eat to help keep them crisp. 

 Have any tips on adding nutrional value to these?  I was thinking of adding some flax seeds and maybe bumping up the WW flour.  Leave me a comment with your tips.

Kim

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chicken Three Easy Ways Part One


I have a confession, I like to take the easy way out when it comes to cooking sometimes.  I love the idea of being all Martha and such but I'd also love five minutes to sit and read a good book occasionally.  Plus after making breakfast, lunch and all the snacks in between I'm just pretty worn out on the concept of cooking an elaborate dinner for the family.  I still want them to have a nice meal though.  I'd also like to keep our spending in check.  So I set about to make a few easy meals that seem spectacular (or at least to my family).

 At the store this week I bought a whole chicken, about five pounds and a package of chicken thighs that were on sale, there were five of them in the pack.  The whole chicken was about five dollars and the pack of chicken thighs was right about at three.  I threw them all on the crockpot with some rosemary, thyme, garlic and onion, set it to high and let it cook all day.  When it was done I got out two plates and separated the skin and bones from the meat.   I do this fairly carefully because I don't want any skin in mine.  Then I strain all of the broth left in the crockpot and put it in a bowl in the fridge.  After a few hours the fat rises and you can skim that off and discard.  Now you have enough chicken for at least three meals and broth for one.  For my first meal I made Chicken and Dumplings.  It was easy and fast I swear.  Here is the recipe.
                                                The stuff floating in the stock is chicken

Chicken and Dumplings

1/3 of previously cooked chicken in chunks
stock from cooking chicken
3 c. water
1 bay leaf
onion powder
garlic powder
sage (dry)
parsley (dry)
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper

Dumplings

4tbs melted butter
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chives (dry)
1 tsp parsley (dry)

In a large stock pot pour stock and add chicken, bay leaf, parsley, sage, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper.  I don't measure these but a tsp of each is probably about right.  Let come to a boil and add mixed vegetables.  Reduce heat.  Meanwhile make your dumplings.  In a medium sized bowl add flour, baking power and salt, stir to combine.  Mix herbs with melted butter and add to flour mixture, stir with a fork.  Slowly add the buttermilk a little at a time, stirring with fork.  When mixture starts to come together I switch to my hands and work the dough till all everything is combined.  It should look like biscuit dough.

You can drop your dumplings by a spoon into the stock, but I like to form mine first.  I take about a table spoon and a half of dough and form it into a log shape.

 When all are formed drop them one by one into the chicken and vegetable stock.  Put a lid on and let simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring gently once or twice during cooking.

To test for done, remove one dumpling and cut in half, it should look like a cooked biscuit on the inside, not doughy. The stock will thicken up from the flour in the dumplings and you now have chicken and dumplings.

This was really easy.  Making the dumplings takes less than five minutes so don't be intimidated.  While the dumplings were simmering I read my good book :)  Oh and by the way, Happy 100th Post to me today!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Organix Coconut Milk



I have long hair.  It is about to the middle of my back.  It's also colored, although I try to only do that every three months or so to ease the strain on my hair. This summer has been hell on my hair.  It is so dry and brittle right now, I hate it.  I have tried deep conditioners, hair masks, moisturizing shampoos, staying out of the pool, air drying instead of blow drying and everything else.  My hair is also really thick, but not coarse.  With it being on the dry side I have also been dealing with frizzy, fly away hair and no shine.  I keep buying stuff but nothing really helps.  I have bought products that claim to help fight frizz, control thick hair and add shine.  I have bought everything from cheap drugstore hair products to expensive salon brands.  Still not happy.

This week I once again found myself staring at the vast product selection in the aisle at Target determined to try something else.  I settled on a new hair masque, that I haven't tried yet but will review when I do and Organix Coconut Milk- Leave In Nourishing Milk.  The Nourishing Milk comes in a spray bottle and you just spray it on your hair and leave it in.  It contains organic coconut milk and egg whites, which are suppose to help strengthen and moisturize your hair to prevent breakage and is sulfate free.  I used it as soon as I got home and could not believe how good this stuff was.  My hair felt so soft and was shiny and strong feeling.  No more brittle scratchy feeling hair.  I made my husband feel it I was so excited.  It also has a great smell.  Not like suntan lotion which is how a lot of coconut things smell to me, but like some yummy coconut baked goods or something.  I kept smelling my hair all night, which is sort of a weird thing to do when you are out in public on a date!  I've since been using it every day and am so happy with it.  I spray it on my hair either wet or dry and brush it through, I try and spray a little extra on the ends.  I can't wait to try the rest of this line of products.  No they didn't pay me to try this or give it to me free, I just figured there are a lot of ladies like me out there who keep throwing away money trying products that don't work.  I hope this little review helps you out, I plan on doing some more in the coming weeks.  UPDATE, I went and bought the Organix Shea Butter Shampoo and conditioner and the Coconut Milk Mousse today and can't wait to use them!

Kim