Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Santa, again...

I have only two comments. One, thank goodness for that last sentence.  Two, if anyone has come across such a remarkable stuffed dog as this, you might want to let Santa know, because Amazon has 3,141 results under "plush dog" and NOT ONE is black with brown spots over it's eye. NOT ONE. White with brown spots, brown with white spots, but no black with brown spots. I'm thinking a rottweiler is the closest thing I've seen.  

Sophie was particularly single minded too, there is no wiggle room for Santa in that list. That's the only thing she told him she wanted when she sat on his lap too.

So, I'm just saying, Santa might need your shopping tips. You know, in case the elves are busy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dear Santa

Hi Santa -

Merry Christmas Santa!  Say, I know you're busy, but I just wanted to thank you for clearing up that little quality control problem you experienced last year in the letter writing department. My girls are getting ready to send you their letters, and we wouldn't want to have the same experience as last year! Expect their letters soon! 

We'll leave out the milk & cookies!  Say Hi to Rudolph and the Mrs. for us!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gay Math

Dad - this is for you.

I love this blog post about how to figure out how long it will take until the gay-rights proponents outnumber the opponents.  Problem is there, there's no answer posted.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Prop 8 all over again. Sigh.

Maine voters repealed their gay marriage law yesterday. Reading about it is opening a fresh wound. A wound called Prop 8. I watched the news yesterday and the twitter-verse, everyone was so optimistic. The initial results were so close, when I went to bed the No votes were ahead by a slight lead. I'm so disappointed to find this morning that it passed 53% to 47%.

Laura and I were talking about this yesterday morning and Sophie wanted to know if we could get out our No on Prop 8 signs and go protest on the street again. "No, it's too late for that honey," I said. I feel defeated. Again.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” - Thomas Jefferson

"Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority." - Albert Camus

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Cake Recipe #3 - Pumpkin!

No where near as cool as the kitty litter cake, but this will serve for any standard Halloween event.  We're going to make this guy.

First, make 2 bundt cakes, box variety is fine of course! It's even OK if you need to borrow a bundt pan (thanks Debbie!), because, seriously who has two of those? And who wants to bake 2 cakes in a row in one pan? I know I don't have that kind of time.
After they cool, place one upside down on a cake plate, like so.

Dump your frosting in a bowl and tint it bright orange, then frost the top of the first bundt.
Put the second bundt on the first, right side up this time.

Keep sneaky 7-year-olds away from the frosting. That smile? That smile says, "come on...just one spoonful?"
Frost the whole thing, being sure to pull stripes down the side. You, know, pumpkin-like. Dump some more frosting in a small bowl and tint it green. Take a paper cup and put it over one hand, and frost the cup. I squished it a bit at the top to make it look less like a cup, and more like a stem. I highly recommend you use a stiff frosting for this. I choose "Fluffy White" (what the heck is that anyway??) and it was much too soft and runny to make this cake perfectly. Choose or make a stiffer frosting.

Where was I? Oh yeah, frost the "stem". I put 4 toothpicks inside the opening of the bundt cake at the top to support the cup, then place it inside the hole.

Last step, use some black icing to draw the face. I also added candy corns for teeth, which I liked, but the frosting wasn't stiff enough to support them, so I ended up having to remove them. Either way, it's a nice halloween cake. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Cake Recipe # 2 - Cake Balls!

Right off the bat I will admit that this recipe is no where close to last year's in terms of Halloween-grossness.  However, this one is definitely more of a crowd-pleaser, instead of a crowd-grosser-outer.  So if that's what you're going for - I got rave reviews for these tasty cake balls.  Granted, all of the tasters were either under the age of 10, or drunk, so take that for what it's worth.  But I guess that means that whether you're hosting a childrens' party or an adult-only party, either way, these are a winner.

I've made these cake balls three times. The first time to test them out and see if I could actually do it. They passed the family taste test, so the second time, I actually made them for guests. And I took photos of the process so I could share them here. But you know what? I forgot to take any pictures of the final, finished product! I had all the steps documented, but not the final picture. Daaammmmn. So then I had one more potluck to attend, so I had to make them one more time, just so I could get the final pictures! Only the the last time, 2 days before Halloween, the store was completely sold out of orange, green, and black melting chocolates.  So.... enjoy purple and white.  Here we go...

Start with a box cake, and tub of frosting. Ok, yes, you could make these from scratch, but.....who's got that kind of time???

Bake the cake according to the directions, the shape of the pan you use doesn't matter. Neither does the type of cake. Red Velvet is what was in the original recipe, but I couldn't find that. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a red velvet cake. The color would have been cool, but I don't know what the flavor is. So I used chocolate.

Cool the cakes, and then dump them into a large bowl. Go ahead, do it.

Use a couple of forks and crumble them up into a big pile of crumbs.
Keep crumbling.
When it's all crumbled into fine crumbs, then you want to mix in the entire tub of frosting. I used vanilla only because I thought it was going to be overwhelmingly chocolaty if I used chocolate cake, frosting and coating. But you use what you like. I dyed one batch of frosting red, that made the end-result a lovely blood-red. But white is fine too.

Mix it together till it's a gooey mess.

Then start rolling out little walnut-sized balls. Cake-balls. Get it? I used a cookie scoop to start it out. Lay them out on a cookie sheet, or tupperware, something that has enough room to lay them out.
I used wax paper to make sure they didn't stick.

Then, stick lollipop sticks into them all. Wait, did I forget to mention the lollipop sticks? Whoops. Good thing I don't do this for a living. I bought a pack of lollipop sticks at Michael's. That's where I got the melting chocolates too. Wait, what? I forgot to mention those? Damn it. Keep reading. But before you do, stick the cake balls in to the freezer for a couple of hours to help them firm up for the next step.

OK, you'll need some of these too. Melting chocolates. Any color.
Melt them according to the instructions, in a glass bowl over boiling water in a pot will do just fine. They say you can microwave them, but I didn't try that.

Here's an important step that's not on the bag - add 1.5 TBSP of cooking oil to the melted chocolate. It makes it shiny, glossy, and spreads more easily. Trust me on this. I saw Martha Stewart do it, so it's OK. Really.

Now, you're going to coat the balls in melted chocolate. You can dip them, but I found the sticks tended to come off. Dipping them and spooning chocolate over them seemed to work pretty well.

After you coat them, put them on a piece of tinfoil so they won't stick.
Here's an important point. Lay them on their sides, and don't let them touch. Otherwise, this will happen.
Let them cool at room temperature or pop them in the fridge for a while to harden the chocolate.

Now, decorate! Aliens:

Anyone, anyone? Bueller? It's a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater! Of course.


Plate full of cake balls!


There you have it. Cake balls. Happy Halloweenie!!!
Oh and in case you're wondering about my polka-dotted fingernails? I'm Twister for Halloween...but that's another story...

To give credit where credit is due, I  swiped this entire recipe off of Pioneer Woman. So there. But she's a good cook, and I am not, so proof that I can make these ought to give you the confidence to try them yourself. Here's her version.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween - a Retrospective

2002 - What a cute little bunny and elephant! I remember thinking how heavy they were - what a wimp!
Halloween pic

2003 - My little cuddly teddy bear and stinker the skunk!
halloween gap 2003

2004 - Princess Fiona and Donkey, what else?
halloween gap 2004

2005 - Pink Fairy and Pumba (from Lion King)
zoe sophie halloween 2005

2005, again - Whoops, these don't fit any more
halloween006 copy 3

2006 - Batman and Princess

2007 - Puppy and Skeleton


2008 - Home-made Werewolf and Blue Ninja Fairy Princess.
Halloween 2008 - Sophie
Halloween 2008 - Zoe

2009 - ????

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Pets Hate Halloween

OK, I could have just emailed these around...but this is much more fun. What more needs to be said?