Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cake Wrecks

Today B and I went to a book signing for Cake Wrecks. As part of the signing, they had a contest for the best Wreckplica, in cupcake format.

Here is my entry (see the original):

And here is B's entry (see original)

Unfortunately for me, another Cake Wrecks fan had the same idea as I did, and her belly cupcake won the prize. B, however, was one of the top three:

As a prize, she received a carrot jockey necklace:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Baking and More Baking

I've been doing a lot of baking the last few days. First, B came home on Wednesday, asking me to make sugar cookies for her class potlatch, to be held Friday morning. Normally, to produce cookies for a Friday/Saturday event, I start them on Tuesday night, so I have time to bake and ice them. Wednesdays I don't get home from rehearsal until after 10:00 pm, so it was a bit of a rush trying to get them done on Thursday:

The acorn cookies were a great hit at the Tlingit-style potlatch, along with the tacos produced by some other parents (don't ask me why an Alaskan tribal potlatch involves tacos and sugar cookies for breakfast--the kids planned it entirely themselves).

Next on the list are cupcakes for a friend's birthday potluck (happening tonight). Devil's Food cupcakes (from a box), filled with homemade pastry cream and glazed with a chocolate glaze:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feathered Friends

Another Orinda Idol has come and gone. This year, B and her friends did a fabulous job, and we really thought they had a chance at winning the K-5 Group category. After hearing the dress rehearsal and performance, we knew it was going to be between them and the Wicked Girls. Alas, the Wicked Girls won the prize this year, but B isn't too upset about it, as she agreed the Wicked Girls were very good. L, however, is quite put out at "losing to second graders."

Here are the girls in their feathered glory:

S, L, K, & B

Monday, September 7, 2009

Weekend of Labor

It's been a loooong weekend. Our back deck has been badly in need of a paint job for the last year or so, so I decided a long weekend would be the time to tackle it. Because the dogs usually hang out in the back yard when we're away from home, I needed the kids to be home for a couple of days to entertain the dogs and take them out on a leash.

I started prepping the deck several weekends ago, sanding and scraping the loose paint. On Friday, I spent several hours finishing the sanding and scraping, but had to stop when it got dark.

Saturday morning, I scrubbed the deck and rinsed it off, then had lunch while it dried. M helped me put on the first coat, then we let it dry overnight. Yesterday I put on the second coat: three hours and forty minutes from start to finish.



Today was supposed to be my day of rest: an Orinda Idol rehearsal for B in the morning, a quick run to Target, then SimCity and yesterday's Sunday paper. The animals had other plans, though. B took both dogs out this morning, then we left them in M's care. Shortly after we arrived at the rehearsal, my phone rang. It was M, letting me know that one of the dogs had somehow made her way up the stairs and done a #2 on the carpet (despite having been taken outside less than an hour before). I told him to pick up what he could, and I added carpet cleaner to my Target list. By the time I got home, one of the dogs had added a #1 to the family room floor. This is their third day confined indoors, so I don't know why they're suddenly having trouble today. Last but not least, we had put Otto temporarily into his winter quarters (because he can climb the stairs onto the deck). It's pear season outside--the neighbor's pear tree is dropping pears all over the back yard, which Otto loves. I'll just let you imagine what happens when you let a tortoise eat tons of pears and then put him in a confined space: let's just say that the garage door has been open for the last half hour, airing out the garage.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back To School

Back To School Night at the middle school tonight. They make the parents follow the kids' schedule, with ten minutes allotted to each class. M's schedule this year seems to involve a lot of crossing the campus: the only two consecutive classes he has near each other are PE and English/History. 30's wing to 80's wing to gym to 10's wing to 90's wing to 50's wing.

My project this year is to learn French along with M, since we're planning a trip to Europe next summer. I like the pace of middle-school French: they take two years to cover a single year of high school French :-) So far, so good--assignments are posted on the web site, and the book has come home, so I've memorized the alphabet and the basic greetings that I didn't already know. I've been to France before, but since I was surrounded by English speakers on my business trips, the only French I learned mostly revolved around ordering lunch and dinner (un boule vanille, anyone?). M is having some trouble wrapping his tongue around the language. I avoided singing in French for a long time, but after the first concert I did with S&P in 2007 (almost entirely in French), I think I'm finally comfortable with the pronunciation.