Sunday, April 19, 2009

Welcome Great Aunt Betty

So a few months ago I asked Mum what I might be able to do to help her out after her toe surgery (other than be creeped out by the very real possibility that I, too, may someday have hammertoes in need of painful repair). She called me back a few days later.

"I've been thinking," she said, "and I've come up with something you could do for me."

[I'm imagining an assignment such as doing laundry or buying groceries.]

"How about you drive to Connecticut with your father to pack up Aunt Betty and move her up to Maine?"

Ask and ye shall receive.

My father's sister has a dry humor and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get attitude. She's a sketch and we're so glad she's moved up here to Dirigo Pines. Now Grrrrrreat Aunt Betty, as my kids call her (a la Tony the Tiger) can be subjected to all our chaotic family gatherings without suffering through a 6-hour drive. I wonder how long until she asks for a ride back to CT...?

This is Betty in her old apartment after the movers had come and gone. We borrowed a chair from down the hall so she'd have a place to sit.

More Random Food Pictures

A friend from work gave Madeline a Madeleine pan for her birthday and since we're trying to incorporate meal planning and preparation into James and Madeline's weekly chores, we decided we needed to make a special dessert. Here is our creation, Madeleines (aren't they pretty?) with vanilla pudding, bananas and fresh strawberries (hand-delivered from California by Aunt Stehle):

And here is Jamie's gourmet breakfast-for-dinner, puff pastry eggs benedict:

For Easter we had chocolate mousse in white chocolate cups (made by blowing up water balloons and dunking them in melted chocolate which involves much red-faced puffing and intermittent yelps when the balloons pop by accident. Alan was highly amused.)...

...and, of course, the traditional carrot cake which tasted remarkably good considering the fact that a third of the batch was either raw or burned (hence it's two-layered-ness as opposed to the three I was aiming for):

You weren't expecting healthy food, were you??

Take Me To Your Leader

James turned 11 yesterday and once again we picked a party theme and ran with it. He came up with the idea back in January and planned most of the activities and decor. Of course, the cake was all me and for once, the execution was even better than I imagined. Usually the idea is there but I don't always pull it off, but this time, well, I was sad to cut this cake. Multiple cakes, actually, baked in bowls (you'll understand when you see them).

So here's the awesome documentation of the Aliens Are Coming birthday party.

Games included "human hunt" (a kind of progressive hide-and-seek/tag also known as infection involving many cans of silly string [thank heavens for the dollar store and good weather]), and pin-the-body-parts-on-the-alien (of course). Favors included home-made martians and home-made slime, space-ship tops, alien balloons and random candy.

But here is the grand finale.

A couple of crashed flying saucer cakes (we ate these first, being less heart-breaking to cut into)...

...and the Mother Ship in the act of abducting innocent humans (HO scale people from Gumpy's model trains suspended inside an overturned cylindrical vase with a tap light inside).

Here's the alien pilot...

...and the whole thing is hovering over a crop circle.

Bonus points for anyone who guesses what the circle's made of (here's a closer look before I tell)...

Did you guess yet?

It's Shredded Wheat. And I am completely, utterly, and ridiculously proud.
Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday, buddy.

I haven't worn a turtleneck in 3 days

We all have our own little signs of spring. Some of mine include Jamie's birthday (which seems to always be beautiful weather, although it's very close on the heels of Easter which seems to always be lousy), sprouting crocuses [croci?!?], snow piles dissolving into mud, drunken college students loudly wandering by our house late on a Thursday night.... But the real miracle of the season is that I haven't worn a turtleneck in 3 days and I haven't been cold.

So what in heck am I going to wear to work tomorrow?!?!

...but it IS normal, Emilie

On Emilie's blog (you're going to read that phrase a lot, so get used to it now), she joked that her kids are starting to think it's normal to take pictures of your food. I'm sure it is. In fact, I have a tendency to photograph the food I've prepared and forget to document the people eating it. I get a little carried away, but also I weild a camera better when it's aimed at food and flora than when it's aimed at fauna, particularly humans. And appetizers don't get upset when you catch their bad side by mistake. Here are some goodies from this past Christmas.

Martha's Icebox Cookies (the kids and I rolled several logs in a variety of color and flavor combinations yeilding a couple hundred of these):

Earl Grey tea cookies (perfect for the diabetic, tea-loving Assistant VP at work):

Cherry-Orange-Cornmeal cookies:

Cashew Brittle (I am my father's daughter):