Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Contented Kitties

The kitties got new catnip toys for Christmas.  The toys were a hit.

Fun Activity

This year we had a "fun activity" on Christmas Day.  I made a packet of the following Christmas-themed puzzles:  crossword, word search, jumble, and trivia.  People got points for attempting and completing those.  There was also playing a board game, leading a Christmas Carol, singing Christmas Carols, leading holiday-themed Charades, guessing Charades and creating a holiday scene using only the items in an envelope.  It was a fun way to spend the afternoon.  

Not everyone made a holiday scene, but here are the people who did.
Aunt Carol (hers won "Best of")
Aunt Pat

Christmas Morning


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vintage Cake!

Made for the Christmas Eve Eve celebration, this was the Old Vermont Burnt Sugar Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.  I found it to be so-so and the frosting lumpy.  It's a very moist cake, though.  That's a good thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

You know you've been working hard in the kitchen when...

....nearly all the hooks are empty.

Stocking stuffer prep

St. Cupcake Caramels.  It was easier to make the caramels, then cut all the squares of waxed paper.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Midsummer Night's Dream

Thanks to a generous gift from a friend, we were able to see "opulent" Shakespeare rather than our usual "bare-bones" Shakespeare.  Fancy ticket prices buy you a shiny program, beautiful sets and incredible costumes.
Inside the program was this absolutely fabulous Character Muddle, so people could keep things straight.  I'm willing to bet English teachers have squirreled this away for future lessons.

This was a very enjoyable production with Jenni Putney bringing to life a very fun Helena and Daisuke Tsuji as a very musical Puck.  I loved the whimsical touches in the production: the toy piano, the Changling Child's amazing hair, one of the players using hand gestures (some of them rather rude) to help him remember his lines.  It was also great to check in with Andy Lee-Hillstrom, whom we loved in NWCTC's production of Dracula some years back.

Thanks for the tickets, Michael.  It was a great evening of theater.

Xmas Present prep

Starting the sourdough starter.

My photos, published.

What's that on the cover of Proud Ground's Newsletter?  Why, it's a photo I took.
And on the back?  Another photo first seen on this blog.

My favorite part of this photo is that the cookies were sitting on that exact same table, so I have a picture of cookies on a table sitting on that very same table.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Lights

Rather than buying a tree and putting it on the porch, I (and my trusty assistant, Matt) "built" four trees out of lights.  I'm quite happy with the effect.
A somewhat blurrier view, but with Sentinel peeking out the door.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First night of the Festival of Lights

Last year, enchanted with the burning of candles during Deborah's Hanukkah celebration, I resolved to celebrate the holiday this year by lighting candles.  I even bought a menorah on sale.  Alas, the first night of Hanukkah arrived and I couldn't find the menorah.  So I improvised.  One candle, one candlestick.
Sadly, my glass candlestick was not up to the rigors of hot flame and it broke, necessitating the blowing out of the Hanukkah candle.

It was not the most auspicious beginning.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Two of the Avengers get in the holiday spirit

I'm pretty sure Iron Man would be happy to wear a Santa Hat now and then.
But I'm not so sure about Thor.

Morphing layout of house

Every other month we host a game night at our house.  At our last one, I realized that we were scrunched around the table, while the whole living room went unused.  So for this game night we flip flopped the living room and the dining/game area, moving all the living room furniture to where the dining room table was and vice versa.
The living room furniture barely fit.  But we didn't need to sit on it, anyway.

It was good we did this because we had enough people attend that we had to break out the card table for a second gaming area.  Overall, I think this was  a big win and we will do it again for future game nights.

Friday, November 30, 2012

NWCTC's Pericles

This was a joint production of our favorite players, the Northwest Classical Theatre Company and Willamette Shakespeare, the company we saw for the first time this summer.  The six cast members took on over 40 roles, with each taking a turn as Gower, the play's commentator.  It was a whirlwind of costume changes and scene changes.  Tom Walton played Pericles and the actors began the play by chatting with the audience members.  It was then that I learned from Matthew D. Pavik that the company refers to Tom Walton as, "the handsome, handsome man."  Indeed he is.

This was a very good production.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I'm just glad this wasn't a real mouse.  Antares is a fierce and fearsome hunter, that's for sure. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Parker House Rolls

It came time to put my Parker House Rolls in a 9x13 inch pan and I couldn't find mine for the life of me.  I looked everywhere, only to eventually realize that it was already holding the Mashed Potatoes.  So I improvised a pan.
I had a few "tester" rolls.  Just to make sure they were up to snuff.

They were indeed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving prep

Parker House Rolls, coming right up.
Potatoes!  Peels off and ready to be boiled and mashed.
Here's a trick I use to proof bread.  The house is pretty cold, but when the oven is on, warm air comes up through one of my burners.  I set a cooling rack over said burner and put my dough on top and the yeast becomes quite happy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Antares plays with new toys.

Kenton has a new pet store called Fang and Feather (you can find them on Facebook.)  To celebrate, I brought home two new toys for the cats.  Antares took to the goldfish right away.  I think he liked that it was stuffed with crinkly things.

In his play, Antares knocked the furry mouse off the bed.  A few hours later, Sentinel retrieved it from the bedroom, ran out to the front room with it in his teeth (something I've never seen him do) and proceeded to attack it for a good 20 minutes.  Good times.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ariel's birthday cake.

When eating the Pink Cake at the Good Wishes to Kristen party Ariel remarked that she wanted me to be her birthday fairy and make me that cake.  Instead, I lent her the Vintage Cakes book and told her to pick any cake.  The Pink Cake came in second to the Italian Wedding Cake.

Studded with pecans, coconut, whipped cream and chocolate ganache--with more pecans--this cake tasted much better than it looked.  Next time I will frost the sides.

Yay Vintage Cakes!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Art Party

Art happened, Whiskey Sours were drunk, cakes were eaten. It was a good party.
Here's my finished collage.
Posted by Picasa

Art Party Cake

After the birthday came the Art Party and another reason to make a cake.  Here's the Goober Cake from Vintage Cakes.  Peanut butter cake, chocolate ganache and peanut butter frosting.

I enjoyed frosting this cake because I usually have a level of mild anxiety while frosting. Will I have enough frosting to easily coat the outside of the cake and separate the layers?  But this cake needed no side frosting which meant I just divided everything in three and plopped it on the layers.  Also, this cake was delicious.  The Double Dip Caramel Cake was divine, but this was satisfying in an everyday miracle sort of way.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Birthday Cake!

Would you like to come along as I assemble my birthday cake?  Great!

Here is the first layer of the cake, the caramel frosting and the caramel.
The layers are stacked, the caramel has been spread on each layer, as has frosting, and I'm about to put the top coat on.
Sentinel is a good helper.  He's always right by my side in the kitchen, eager to assist.
And here it is in all its finery.  Double Dip Caramel Cake made from my new favorite cookbook:  Vintage Cakes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Scrap is awesome.

After stopping to purchase finger paints for our Art Party and also some whiskey, we swung by Scrap, which is a fabulous place to inspire creativity.  We aimed to get good stuff for collage and we were not disappointed.

Scrap recycles things and makes them available for people to make art with at very cheap prices.  They also make very funny signs.  You may see these as birth control pill containers, but no!  Scrap has other ideas.
Also very funny.
Here's a great way to use up all those old bike helmets you have laying around.
And who needs a brand new 2013 calendar when you could just use a matching year?
We got a box full of good stuff for our party.  Thanks Scrap!