Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gravitational Pull

Samuel got to do something special for his birthday. Something he's been begging to do for a long time.

His big brother hooked him up with a real skateboard that didn't come out of the trash. He got to warm up the wheels at a real skateboard park with ramps, rails and quarter pipes.

Peter worked the coarse on bigger wheels.

There is a good reason that I, as a mother, hand these types of excursions over to the big brothers.

But I did do my part. I bought a set of safety gear and twisted the boy's arm to make him wear it.

He said it was embarrassing to wear knee pads.

No one else at the park (of the thirty or so thrill seekers that were there) was wearing knee pads.

I wonder if their mothers know?

Do you think I care if it's embarrassing to wear safety gear?

It's not as embarrassing as taking your kid to Emergency on his birthday with a broken wrist or knee cap.

I've birthed five boys. This isn't my first rodeo.

I understand that they have some kind of deep-seated need to test the laws of science- the effects of gravity, inertia, and velocity...

I just prefer not to be around when they are doing it.


Our daughter is having a baby.


She has some beautiful words about the anticipation and preparation.

Read them here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Times

Our third born child, Neal, has reached a major milestone in his life.

Five years ago he joined the apprenticeship program for training as an electrician. His studious determination, industrious work ethic and perseverance has paid off.

He got his journeyman's card.

We decided to celebrate the achievement with a party.
Neal invited his co-workers, bosses, family, friends, church and baseball buddies.
We had great,--- perfect weather....

...Spectacular food....

...friendly fellowship...






....young people...

.....awesome music....

....Good Times.

I've been trying ALL day to upload some music from our party including a song that was written just for Neal. Blogger is just...just....a bad word. If we achieve any kind of success I will share some of the great music with you. Otherwise, in the future, Kris is putting together a cool video from the evening that you can see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


It's 83 degrees outside!!

It's sunny, breezy, and 83 degrees!! Ahhhh....summer...

Took you long enough!

I made my first iced coffee of the summer!

And I am....inside....the kitchen.....baking. But of course!
I'm not complaining because I'm making money, right?

I looked out the window and saw that these peonies had popped open in the sunshine!
Yesterday their buds were still closed. I've been impatiently watching them. This is the best bloom they have ever had. I was inspired to plant them after visiting Butchart Gardens nine years ago (already?) and seeing the same variety there. I fell in love immediately and found some to plant at home. They've only produced one or two flowers in the past. I'm so happy to finally see them!

This weekend I have two weddings. One is cheesecake and cobbler.
I have two cheesecakes down, three to go. I forgot that I'll have to let these completely chill before I can remove them and start again with the next batch. Oops.

The other wedding is a small cake. The bride just asked me, four days before the event, to make more cake for more guests. Only today has the flavor been finalized. I'm also getting calls about more weddings. Someone was hoping to me meet tomorrow. Um. No. Sorry.

We are also having a huge party on Sunday. We are celebrating Neal's turning out. Yes, he turned out well but he's also turning out. As a journeyman electrician. He's inviting everyone he knows. His friends, their parents, his co-workers and boss, our relatives, church family and baseball buddies. There's going to be beer, bocci, and birthday cake too. (His birthday is Saturday.) We're counting on live music from friends with talent. We're also counting on Good Weather.

We're going to have another work party blitz because with possibly a hundred people in our yard we need to spruce things up a bit. Find some tables, clean the grill... and the bathroom.

When Neal issued his invitations he often got the response "Is your mom going to cook?" When he said, yes, they replied "We'll be there!"

Um. No pressure.

So though it's a potluck party I'm also cooking food for a crowd.
I've got a hundred chicken legs that I'll marinate to make Lemony Garlic Chicken. I'll also make the easiest scalloped potatoes in the world. The large birthday cake is baked- Neal's favorite- orange cake with pineapple cream icing. Potato salad, black bean salad, and

So what am I doing here? I need to get busy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the farm today

I found these pictures on my camera.

It's what happens when little kids get a hold of it.
I actually think they are pretty good shots.

You know goats only have one thing on their minds. Always.
Mine! Mine!

Hey! Is that all?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Wild Wedding

The preparations that I do before a wedding do not all require the use of flour, sugar, butter and chocolate.

Sometimes I have to build things with cardboard and paper and glue.

Last week in addition to baking one hundred red velvet cupcakes, one cappuccino cheesecake, chocolate cake for 115 and 141 strawberry shortcakes I had to build a customized cupcake display.

The wedding had a very specific theme and color palette. Red and black. Leopard print.

At the initial consultation meeting with the bride and her mother I was shown a very high, spike heeled shoe in faux leopard fur with a red bow on the toe. The shoes were for the nine bridesmaids. They also brought me leopard print cupcake papers to use for the red velvet cupcakes. Later they sent me five yards of leopard print ribbon to use on the cupcake display.

Here's the wild finished display at the wedding venue yesterday.

As I was setting up, the photographer was doing a shoot with the bridal party. The nine girls walked by (some stumbled in their tall shoes on the brick pathway through the gardens) in their wedding finery. I have to say that I thought they looked kinda like cocktail waitresses. The dresses were very short (mid-thigh) black numbers with a flounced skirt that had a red underskirt. The bodice was fitted, sleeveless, and V-neck. They all clutched red roses. Remember the shoes were faux leopard fur with red bows on the toe. Quite a parade through the garden I must say.

Continuing with the leopard print, even the cappuccino cheesecake had the pattern in chocolate.

The cupcakes in their papers were simply adorned with red and black sugar.

To each his (her) own. I don't expect to do another wedding quite like this one.

This weekend's wedding cakes

A cake for the bridal party only. The guests were eating pie (not mine).

The reception room where this cake went looked fabulous . The bridal party table had a white table cloth with yellow polka dots. I ended up adding a few black bows to this cake because black was an accent color for the wedding. It went so perfectly with the decor and setting of the reception. I love when that happens!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Four Weddings and a Few Irises

It's wedding season. The biggest wedding season I have ever had.

This weekend I have four weddings booked. I'm still not sure how that happened. I have to learn how to turn people down. Only one wedding is a full sized wedding cake. One is strawberry shortcake for 141 people. It's been a challenge finding fresh ripe strawberries in a state that hasn't seen good hot sunshine since last September. My strawberries certainly aren't ready. There aren't even any in the valley here. I had to order a thirty pound bucket of berries from the other side of the state. That kind of cuts into the profit.

So I'm trying to stay organized and on task without any assistant. Alyssa is at camp. Kristin and Florian showed up early from their two month Mexican adventure. I will be putting them to work for sure. Next weekend there are two more weddings. We are also throwing a big celebration bash for son Neal who just became a journeyman electrician after five years of hard work and study. That means we need to mow the lawn. And weed the garden. And a few other things. Stain the deck, paint the porch and cook for a hundred people. Did I mention that I am doing six weddings?

And while I am rambling, let me just issue one more complaint about the weather. Last weekend we reached eighty degrees. It was a miracle. A one time miracle because that hint of summer promptly disappeared and it's been in the FIFTIES all week. And windy. And the rain came back. I'm sure this weekend will be nice though because of all the brides and grooms that are on their knees praying their little hearts out for sunshine.

And just to show you how late we are in our seasonal status, here are some photos of my irises, currently in bloom---a good two weeks behind their usual bloom time.

The flower gardens are cycling through their bloom times and I have been unable to enjoy them without bundling up in hat and coat. No breakfast in the gardens this year.

I used to have over twenty colors of irises and that number has significantly decreased. Every year there are more varieties missing. Apparently some are being crowded out and that means I have to renovate beds. Which I don't have time to do.

My favorite, named "Repartee" is still going strong.

So what do you have planned for your summer weekend? Tell me about it and if you say "lounging on the sunny beach reading a book" I'll try to not to cry.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Look What the Wind Blew In Today

Sunday night they were crossing the Mexican/U.S. border into Texas...

Less than 48 hours later they are home in Oregon.

To Belize and back with
two months worth of stories to tell..

And at least a million pictures to share.