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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Houston, We Have A Problem

And it's kind of a big one.  Two people are sleeping in our bed.

And it's the wrong two.

Our headboard, also a problem.  Isn't it the ugliest thing you've ever seen?  It's even worse live.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Peter Pan-ic Attack

10:58, Wednesday evening.  Our house phone rings.  Which means one of two things.  It's another bill collector, trying to track down a financial failure who lived in our house before we did (Hello, Mr. Ayer.  If you're out there... PAY YOUR BILLS, PLEASE.) or someone is dead.  I don't believe bill collectors work at 10:58 in the evening so I feared the worst.  But then I remembered that Kayla was up at my parents for a sleepover.  And it was my mom on the line explaining that my dad was driving her home.

Apparently, they woke to the sound of her sobbing and found her in the corner of the guest room clutching a wedding picture of Dave and I, muttering some craziness about Tinkerbell and how she missed me and my waffles.  Now this behavior is odd, unlike her.  Especially while visiting my parents, who live in the land of endless Popsicles, all-you-can-watch cartoons and 9:30 bedtimes.  And they let her play kitchen with REAL ingredients.  She has had many overnights in the magical kingdom on Kings Lane and none have ended like this.

In order to properly make sense of this uncharacteristic melt-down, it is necessary to recap the events of the day.  We had gone up to the city to see Peter Pan at Ferry Park on the Embarcadero.  We attended a special "behind the scenes" pre-show.  Complete with an awesome gift and candy store.

We ate lunch at The Waterfront Restaurant, across the street.  Kayla's favorite.  She had sourdough bread and maraschino cherries.

Then back to Ferry Park for the actual performance that started later in the afternoon.

It was all AMAZING.  Really.  The tent and technology inside, brilliant.  12 projectors displayed digital graphics on the inside of the tent (think IMAX meets live theatre).  The support poles were on the outside of the tent so the actors were able to swing freely inside without getting clocked in the head.  And the London aerial scenes projected on the tent walls made the flying sequences incredible.  The costumes and props were the coolest.  Especially the crocodile on rollers made entirely of wooden hangers.

But it was also a bit dark.  Tinkerbell had dreads, some serious ink and wore combat boots.  And she hissed.  Captain Hook, who's freaky anyway, had blood on his sleeve and was eaten by the coat hanger croc at the end.  Definitely enough to send a 7 year old over the edge.

Or home from Nan and Pops during a sleepover.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Boardwalk

Dave had the day off on Monday so we planned a last minute trip to Santa Cruz.  This city has always intrigued me.  The Boardwalk is gross.  The food court smells like urine.  But the beach is beautiful, the carousel has the coolest ring toss and the people watching, seriously unmatched.

About 2 minutes into our adventure, priorities were clearly established.

Neither daughter was very interested in the attractions.  Kayla wanted to swim and Ashlyn was frustrated that none of the food vendors recognized her sign for vanilla.  They agreed to go on the carousel with me, after I told them about the exciting ring toss.  And bribed them with a gumball.  And Ashlyn had to ride a white horse.

After the carousel, we headed towards the beach.  Ashlyn was in no hurry.

The clouds cleared just as we made our way to the shoreline.  KK enjoyed playing with  the seaweed and sand while Ashy watched from afar.  Both, perfectly content.

After tolerating the water for well over an hour, Ashlyn finally got her precious vanilla.  KK and daddy did, too.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Peach and Raspberry Buckle

While Ashlyn was napping and Kayla was outside making use of her new science experiment kit yesterday afternoon, I made the above referenced dessert for our prayer meeting last night.  I really LOVE this recipe.  Everything about it.  I love peaches.  I love raspberries.  I love cinnamon and sugar anything, especially a cake top crumble.  I love how easy it is.

I also love the name.  A buckle.  It's just cute.  Almost as cute as my mom's friend Lucy who gave me the recipe.  Her husband, Chuck is cute, too.  They have a daughter named Jessica and he emails me, thinking he's emailing her, ALL the time.  And his emails, also cute.  But enough about that.  Back to the buckle...

For the cake, you will need:

1 cup butter, 1.5 cups sugar, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 4 cups flour, 4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 cups fresh peaches, 2 cups fresh raspberries

Cream butter.  Add sugar and beat well.  Add eggs and continue to beat well.  Add dry ingredients and milk.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in half of your fruit.  Pour remaining peaches and raspberries over top and press lightly into batter.  Then prepare topping.

For the topping, you will need:

1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp butter

Mix together well with fork and sprinkle over cake above.

Bake @ 375 for 45-60 minutes and let sit several hours before serving.

*I always underbake, fyi (about 43-45 mins...);  a burnt buckle, NOT cute.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Birthday on the Bay

We left for Palm Springs the day after Kayla's actual birthday so her party was a bit delayed this year.  But definitely worth the wait.  The weather was perfect yesterday to celebrate her 7th birthday @ Pier 39's Aquarium of the Bay.

We chose the "Animal Encounters" theme and got to meet sea stars and a sea cucumber.

And daddy's favorite, a California King Snake.

Before heading out into the aquarium, we sang to Kayla and ate cupcakes.  Strawberry with vanilla icing and chocolate with strawberry icing, specially requested by the birthday girl.  She also wanted hearts drawn on each one but I pretended I didn't hear that part.

The aquarium was small but very cool.  Certain parts actually take you under the San Francisco bay.  It was also very dark which made it kind of hard to keep track of the kiddos.  But they all survived.  I think.

And back to the party room for presents...  A ladybug farm, science experiment kit, card games,  a water sprinkler globe, lots of her favorite "Littlest Pet Shop" toys and a make-your-own glass bowl.  Perfect end to a fun-packed day.

Thanks to all for braving the crowds and traffic and making her day so special!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Head Start Reunion BBQ and Mountain Dew Cupcakes

Let me start  by saying that making Mountain Dew cupcakes for a kid's dinner BBQ may have been the worst idea in the history of all mankind.  But they were cute and easy.  And colorful and fun.  And perfect for kids just before bedtime, right?

Kayla's 7th birthday party is tomorrow so I have lots on the brain.  And protecting little children from glucose-packed, caffeinated crumpets is clearly not one of them.  Lots of mommies were swearing at me later, I'm sure.

The BBQ was fun.  It was great to connect with Ashlyn's former classmates and hear about their plans for the future.  We were excited to learn that some will be moving up soon and joining Ashlyn with Teacher Jackie.

Here is Ashy with darling Teacher Angela.  Her first love.  She was shy.

And very caffeinated.

Sorry, again reunion mommies.  Here's the recipe so you can get me back next year.  Change the icing color.  I'll never know.

Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix, 12 oz. Mountain Dew and an additional 1/4-1/2 cup Mountain Dew for brushing on tops.

For the frosting: 2 sticks butter (softened), 2/3 cup Mountain Dew, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp lemon extract and 7 cups powdered sugar

Preheat over to 350.  Combine cake mix and Mountain Dew.  Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape sides of bowl and beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Fill cups 2/3 full and bake about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.  Remove pans from oven and poke holes in warm cupcakes with toothpicks.  Brush tops lightly with Mountain Dew.  Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on rack.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine softened butter, Mountain Dew and extracts.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Add powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency.  Using gel food coloring, color half the frosting yellow and half green.  Place in a piping bag side by side and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

P.S. I don't even know what a side by side piping bag is, never mind where to find one so my frosting was ghetto improv.  Go here for the real deal.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, America

I worked 0600-1800.  Two reasons.  1. Holiday Pay.  2. Holiday Potluck.  Dispatchers put together a mean spread.  I finished my shift about the same time Hope was wrapping up church service.  We ate pizza, met @ Starbucks and then embarked on our annual pilgrimage through Foster City to see the fireworks.  Along with every other person on the greater Peninsula.

I will take a moment to address Ashlyn's hair and clothes.   It's all very rough.  Yes, those are bright purple shoes with a brown and pink jogging suit.  Dad was on 'do and outfit duty and had to finish prepping a sermon.  Cut us some slack.

The 4th of July has been officially declared Kayla's favorite holiday.  "The fruit bombs (fireworks) are more awesomer than my dog, Kobi when he jumps in the air..."  Kobi, for the record, has not jumped in the air since 2006.  She also enjoyed the "Smart Finale" (Grand Finale).

Ashlyn was mostly upset because we took her hearing aids out right before the show.  But when it started she complained that her ears hurt from the noise.  And that her "tomack uurt" like the Hungry Little Caterpillar when he ate too much food.  Which has nothing to do with Independence Day but I can't choose what she says.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


"Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer."

"Resolved, to cast away such things as I find do abate my assurance."

"Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same."

"Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better."

These are just a few of the 70 resolutions written by theologian Jonathan Edwards in 1772-73 at the ripe old age of 19.  Yes, I know he has been dead for a LONG time.  But his words, once you get past the snoozey old English, still ring true.   And are powerful and beautiful.

Last Friday, a group of 25 of us traveled down to Palm Springs to attend Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church's 6th annual "Resolved" conference which honors Edwards and his deep realizations penned centuries ago.  We were blessed to sit under the teaching of MacArthur, Rick Holland, Steve Lawson, C.J. Mahaney and Al Mohler.  All super smart dudes.  Not as smart as Jonathan Edwards, but still smart.

The theme this year was Jesus.  Simple yet SO complex.  Mohler (although he hurt my head) and Mahaney were my faves.  Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Seminary and likely more intelligent than all the students and professors there, combined.  I was able to hear one of his sessions on Revelation 19 and Jesus as the "Lamb who would be King."  He taught on the manner in which Christ left this earth and the way He will return.  Heavy stuff regardless, but especially when coming from such a brainiac.  Mahaney, president of Sovereign Grace Ministries, spoke on the book of Jude and how, as believers, we are to continually contend for the faith by preaching the gospel to ourselves daily, praying and waiting on the Lord.  And the worship, led by Enfield was spectacular.

In case you were wondering, Palm Springs was HOT.  We rented a large house about 5 miles away from the conference center.  An interesting pad.  Definitely built in the '80's with a picture of a very dark semi-naked man above the fireplace which I found odd for a rental.  Kayla and Ashlyn spent much of the time in the pool and semi-nakey was put in the pantry to avoid causing anyone to stumble.  Conference sessions were in the morning and evening so the girls had lots of friends to swim with during the day.  This made them quite happy.  And one of them quite tan.

We also celebrated a few milestones.  Birthdays for Elizabeth Carter Still VII and Timmy.  For the record, cake decorating is not one of my spiritual gifts.  Safe to scratch creativity off that list, too.  And photo editing.

Also, Miss Cindy Steiger received word that she passed her boards and was offically an RN.  And Dave was officially really mean.  Ellen has yet to officially forgive him.

Around 1 pm each day, the outside temperature neared unbearable (109 degrees on average) and we headed inside to the air conditioned '80s palace.  We also engaged in a few scandalous activities of which Mohler and MacArthur would definitely not approve.

Like margaritas for the children.  Thank you, Betsy.


And no age limit high stakes poker.

Whew.  Now that I got that off my chest, let's discuss bugs.  They were INSANE.  Really.  Yes, that is a black widow on the left.  On the right we have the largest grasshopper in all creation.  Absent for picture day, a family of cockroaches living in our coffee pot, a hummingbird moth near the hot tub (you can guess how it got it's name) and horrific, nasty crickets that scurried around like roaches near the tennis courts.  It was all very traumatic.

Speaking of traumatic, let's also discuss the car ride home.

Here we are, pulled over on Hwy 5 in 90 degree heat because my husband "thought he could make it" even though the gas indicator said we had 0 miles left.  Oh, we were close.  See 152, there.  But not close enough.  Luckily, Patrick saved the day.  Not only did he go get gas for us, he acted as safety patrol with a bright yellow folder courtesy of Cindy, RN while Dave and Philip (mostly Philip) filled the tank.

And the rest of the caravan was clearly concerned.

Overall, a really fabulous and fun trip.  Already looking forward to next year.  And "resolved" to find a bug free house with no nakeys.  And to make my husband fill up when Timmy does.