Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cub Cake

Here's the cake I made for our Cub Scout Pack's Blue and Gold Banquet. The theme is a celebration of 100 years of Boy Scouting in the USA. So I hid 22 "100's" all over the cake. I won't bore you with pics of all 22, but here are some pics of the cake.

It's chocolate and yellow cake with chocolate chip cookie dough filling, buttercream frosting and fondant.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crystal Blue Persuasion

This year's science study is in chemistry. Part of a recent chapter discussed crystals, so I found an easy and quick-result crystal experiment/activity to do.

Here's the very easy recipe:

Crystal Flower Garden

1/2 c. water (warm or cold, see explanation below)
4 Tbsp. liquid bluing
4 Tbsp. salt
4 tsp. ammonia
natural or oil-based clay
clear, small, shallow dish
food coloring

A day in advance take the Q-tips and cut off one of the tips on each one and discard the cut tips. Put drops of food coloring on the remaining Q-tip ends and allow to dry on wax paper.

The next day, take a lump of clay and stick it in the bottom of the dish. Stick the cut ends of the Q-tips in the clay, sticking up like flowers, giving them each enough space for crystals to grow on the tips.

Mix up the water, bluing, salt, and ammonia. Pour the mixture into the dish, allowing it to cover the bottom half inch of the Q-tips. Set in an open space where the dish will not get bumped and watch the flower crystals grow. You will see growth in just a few hours.

We did two dishes, and I'm so glad we did. The salt wasn't dissolving very much in the first one we did, so the second time we used warm water, and man, were the results fascinating.

Below: After one day.....Emma watching the crystals...this one was the cold water dish.Below: Emma is amazed at the's the warm water dish.
Below: After 2 days.....more growth in the cold water dish.

Below: After 2 days.....the warm water dish is really going to town.

Below: After 3 days.....cold dish is showing some real signs of improvement...

Below: After 3 days....but warm dish is kicking cold dish's butt.

Below: After 4 days, cold dish is still very reserved.

Below: After 4 days....warm dish is trying to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!

....and it's.....still.....GROWING!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day

I have wanted for several years to make fortune cookies for Valentine's Day, but never got around to it. Actually, I wanted to try making a giant fortune cookie for Rick, but considering how tedious it is just to make regular sized ones, I don't think that dream will ever come true. The recipe itself is not hard, it's the technique that is tricky. I made a triple batch of batter to allow for mistakes and it's a good thing I did. I think maybe one-third of the finished cookies were usable.

Below: Here is the graveyard of unfortunate cookies (some look nice but never got crispy enough)Below: Two of the best samples.

Below: Once they were made I put some vanilla candy melts on them and decorated them with sprinkles. Here's a baby one.

Below: The finished plate of cookies, most of them with fortunes inside.

Here is the recipe, with my alterations:

Fortune Cookies

2 large egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Make your fortune strips ahead of time.

Whip the egg whites on low speed until light and foamy. Blend in sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Pour in the melted butter, flour, salt and extracts; mix until well combined. Incorporate in enough water to make the batter of pouring consistency, about like pancake batter.

On a greased griddle (about 325 degrees) pour the batter by tablespoonfuls, no more than 3 at a time. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread out the batter thinly to about 3 inches in diameter. Continue to gently swirl the spoon over the batter circle until it isn't shiny anymore. Gently loosen the edges with a spatula and flip over the cook on the other side. Each side should be golden brown.

When both sides are done, quickly take the cookie off the griddle and onto a work surface. Fold the cookie over but don't flatten it. Take the ends of the cookie and move them toward each other, which will make a crease in the fold. Place the formed cookie in a muffin tin to cool; it will hold it's shape better in the tin. The cookies will get crunchier as they cool. If after about 10 minutes the cookie isn't hard, it's a dud!

To put fortunes in the cookies: After you take the cookie off the gridle, lay a fortune across the middle and then form the cookie.


We've gotten two snow "storms" this winter, and that's unusual for us. The pattern is one good snow every 2-3 years. A good snow for us is 4 or 5 inches and we've gotten that in both storms. This first storm was icy snow, but this last one was nice and powdery.

Below: Rick and the kids build a giant snowman while Audrey, Henry and I stay inside and keep warm!

Below: Thomas coming back from feeding the chickens. Them thar chickens gotta eat too.

Below: I love to see our old red barn in the snow.

Below: I love how the snow laid on top of our back garden fence.

Below: Henry liked being outside, but not standing in the snow...not at all!

Below: Austin

Below: Every time we get a good snow, Rick and the kids go and meet families at the overpass for sledding. That's the only place to go for it since it's mostly flat everywhere else.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Catching Up: Liberty Bowl

Rick, my dad, and my brothers-in-law Mike and Tony all went to the Liberty Bowl the 1st weekend in January this year. It was in Memphis, Tennessee.Below: The famous Rendezvous restaurant.....only a few purple shirts in a sea of red (Arkansas Razorbacks fans).

Below: At the was a WEE bit cold.

They had a great time, even though ECU lost in overtime.

Catching Up: Christmas

Christmas seemed to come and go so fast this time. Here are some photos from our Christmas celebrations.

Below: Cousins at Papa and Nana's house.Below: We got a Clearplay for Christmas!!

Below: Is this kid cute or what?

Below: Henry got a car for Christmas....he's checking it out.

Below: I got the kids boxes of sugared cereal as kind of a gag gift, but they loved it. (We don't buy these cereals so it's a real treat for them to get them.) I think this will have to be a new tradition for us.

Below: They are growing up so fast.

Below: They're playing Kung Fu on WiiFit Plus. Only one can play at a time, but Austin and Emma were doing the movements anyway.