28 July 2010

All About AJ

July 10, 2010 AJ turned 2.  It was hard to know what to get him, so we gave him the one thing that he hasn't yet had, something that doesn't fit in his toy box, but something he really wanted - complete control.  Our day consisted of all things AJ and all 5 of us did or best to make him the center of our universe.  He woke to balloons, decorations and presents.  We watched an old fashioned steam tractor and had "Donald's" for lunch.  He played in the "wawo" in the new "bath" in the back yard.  Dinner was a meal of favorites and the cake was from his favorite show In The Night Garden and everyone pitched in to make it special.  It was a low key AJ centric day and it was great.



Presents 2


AJ pool 1 AJ pool 3 AJ pool 2

All in


AJ smile 2

Birthday dinner

In the Night Garden Cake

AJ and his cake

Where there is smoke
Yummy Iggle Piggle

Sometimes my days are more AJ centric than I would like and as a result my mind is melting, meellttinng (we just saw Wicked - can you tell?).  We had a great time looking over the old blog and reading all of the crazy words, so bear with me as I try to record these same things for the 4th and final. 

He talks up a storm, but some of my favorite words are:

Agay - AJ
Boy - Spencer
Own - Owen
Neigh (or Neigh/Neigh) - Laney
Nuggle with Penny
Tunno - tunnel
Ambe - ambulance
P-kaie - police car
Agay's a copycat, but now says Agay's a cutie pie.
Mamum watch!
Agay happy
Hmm - blanket because when you smell its sweet smell you say "mmmm"
kapo - ketchup
buddoh - peanut butter
Wewll done
Flies - French fries
Fawow - foul
Fawwow - flower (it is a subtle distinction)
Mourning - good morning
Go - thank you

06 July 2010

Faulty Logic


This is one of my favorite cakes - the Texas Sheet Cake.  Every time I make it I regret it because I end up eating way too much of it.  This time I tried to avoid the overeating and, as a result, well, I notched it.  Sam didn't get it, so I had to explain.  I wanted a piece of cake, but I didn't want the guilt of eating a whole piece.  Makes perfect sense doesn't it?  Somehow it just seems like less this way.  Ahem, well, I never said I was good at math.

Texas Sheet Cake
adapted from a Cooking Lite recipe

For Pan:
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

For Cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (1/2 cup milk + 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare the cake, coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Set prepared pan aside.

Mix dry ingredients together, stir well with a whisk. Combine water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/2 cup cocoa in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; pour into flour mixture. Beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake at 375° for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.

To prepare the icing, combine 6 tablespoons butter, milk, and 1/2 cup cocoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in powdered sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Spread over hot cake. Cool completely on wire rack and notch away.

05 July 2010


They huffed and they puffed and they went off to school. 

the pack

Laney and Owen had a Fairy Tale workshop and were asked to come with a character hat.  Our choices were Goldilocks, Three Little Pigs, Three Billygoats Gruff and Little Red Riding Hood.  We went with wolves. Of course, just as I was finishing up Laney's she frantically said she no longer wanted to be a wolf because her friend told her that all of the wolves were going to be "chucked into the pool".  After a promise that she would not be forced to swim and a few girlie touches she agreed to stick with the wolf.  

The pack 2

I didn't say she was thrilled.  Truth be told, I am not a real sewer and having struggled through these things with no pattern, a colossal mess with tissue paper and muslin mock-ups and fake fur flying all over the house, I was going to blow her house down if she didn't wear it.  Ahh, the joys of motherhood. 

Oh, by the way, doesn't she look like she should be making fudge on Mackinac Island in that dress?  Owen is in his sport outfit here, but the boys are wearing gray shorts, knee socks, white short sleeved dress shirts, ties and blazers these days. Their outfits are fine, but the dress...I guess it's all part of the package. 

02 July 2010

Oh The Terrors

Parents around here know how to throw a mean birthday party.  As a rookie, I must admit I'm still trying to figure out how to get the slice of birthday cake home without it being squished into the napkin (the cake is not served at the party, but sent home in the party bag), but, really, the activities are truly over the top.  We have been to indoor playgrounds, pizza making, soccer lessons, go karts and, this one, the Rope Runners adventure, was amazing. 

Owen's Adventure

This looked like so much fun I really wanted to, as they say here, "have a go". 

Owen's Adventure 5.

After the introduction, Owen climbed to the top of the three story tower to take the zip line down, but he never made it down.  Instead, I found him hanging off the side of the tower. Apparently, Owen was told to by one of the employees to "go do the course" because the line was getting long and, Owen being Owen, did as he was told.  

Owen's Adventure 6

Once he got out on the line he panicked.  I knew he was in trouble when looked at me with tears in those big green eyes.

Owen's Adventure 2

Can you see it?  That "what have I done" look?  I recognize it. I have definitely been there a time or two myself.   I bet I even know what was going though his head - I will give up my allowance for one month, forgo eating beans for two weeks, I will even take out the garbage if you will just get me out of this.

Owen's Adventure 3

But he stuck with it, got the hang of it and made it around the entire course.  My terror lasted a bit longer however, because at the end of each station he was the one responsible for clipping and un-clipping himself into the lines.  I tried to remain calm and encouraging, but he was really way up there.  He did eventually make it down and felt quite proud of his accomplishment.

Owen's Adventure 4

I, however, am suffering from a new terror - those three parties in October.  If you could see my face it would look something like Owen's above.  I too have that frightened look and I bet you can guess what I am thinking...if you could get me out of this I would empty your dishwasher for a month. I would put away all of your laundry two weeks. Wash your car?  Heck, I would bake you a cake.  No?