Saturday, October 30, 2010

I will never forget.....

where I was, or what we were doing when we received the phone call. 

You see, the first grade classes at our elementary school do what they call "The Ugly Bug Ball" parade for Halloween.  And if you know my son, Jack, then me telling you that he came home and told us he wanted to be a FLEA comes as no surprise to you. 

Ahem.  Yes.  I said a flea. 

Yea...we laughed too, but he was very serious.  When asked why...he informed us, that no one else would be a flea.  He likes to stand out and be different...can you tell???

And if you know me....then you know that I have always enjoyed attempting to make Halloween costumes over the years, and much like the cakes they ask for...I take it as a challenge.  But a flea? 

That was going to be a wee bit difficult.

I remember my mother-in-law, Mable, getting the biggest kick out of Jack.  The rougher and tougher a little boy was....the more she liked it.  I mean, after all, she had raised FIVE boys.  Yes..I said five.  So it would stand to reason, that when I told her Jack wanted to be a flea, that she laughed that mischievous laugh and couldn't wait to see what in the world we were going to come up with. 

And in typical, "Leah fashion", I had waited until the Wednesday before The Ugly Bug Ball on Friday to get my material and supplies for the costume.  Don't ask me why...I seem to work better under pressure.  Okay...not really, but it's how I roll...and I wish it wasn't. 

My husband and I had pretty much decided that it was going to require a stiff type of foam material to make it to where it would stand up in the a real flea.  And he would know....he manages his brother's veterinary practice...I think he probably has seen his share of fleas. 

So off to the local "salvage" store where they sell all types of fabric in a very crowded, small little area.  We were on a mission.  Jack and I walked in, and didn't have time to we explained the flea "dilemma" to the man working there, and within minutes, there it was.  Black 1/2 inch foam....perfect for the flea costume.  ( the picture was brown, but black was easier to find, and frankly....who cares!!!)  Inexpensive....God had blessed me yet again.  Umm....yea....of course I prayed about that one!  He always leads me right to where I need to be and helps me find what I'm looking for!!

Mable had left me a message earlier in the day when I had been working, and not wanting to call her and have to quickly hang up while I was in and out of my "flea errands", I made a mental note that I would call her later when I got home.  I couldn't wait to tell her that I had actually found the material we were looking for.  She was a fabulous seamstress, and I knew she would appreciate my find!  But we still had a black hat, black (ahem...long johns...not tights ;-) & a turtle neck to buy to complete the look.

So I came home and Darwin and I got down on the floor to draw out the pattern....cut it, and begin the daunting task of sewing it.  By hand.  Mmmmhmmm.....that's what I said too, but that foam proved to be much harder to work with than I thought it would be, and no machine I owned would be able to sew it. 

This would be where upholstry needles come in handy.  And I'm sure everyone has a few extra of those laying around the house.  Lucky for me...I did.  So there we were....literally pushing the needle through with all of my strength, and him pulling it through the other side.  Back and forth....until it was almost finished. 

And then the phone rang.  I knew by the sound of his voice that something was bad wrong....and I scrambled around trying to figure out what to do next, as Darwin rushed out the door. 

His mama had a stroke that night, which was the result of a hemorrhaged brain tumor that we never knew existed..and within 36 hours, Mable went to live with Jesus.  That was a year ago today. 

I never got a chance to call her back that night.  I took for granted that I would have another opportunity to talk to her.  That's a lesson I wish I wouldn't have had to learn the hard way. 

Mable taught me so many things....and I miss her dearly.  There are so many things I wanted her to be a part many things I knew she would be proud of.  But God chose to call her home before those things happened.  And this side of heaven, I will not know why.  

Take this opportunity to tell someone you love them.  Don't put off a phone call you've been meaning to make.  We never know what the future holds.....

Jack was still a flea for the The Ugly Bug Ball parade.  Mable would have wanted it that way.  And I could almost hear her saying that his costume turned out "great!!" and laughing her mischievous laugh and saying, "I love it!  That youngin' wanted to be a you let him be a flea!"

I think he turned out to be a pretty darn cute little flea.  I think Mable would have thought so too. 

I'm just sayin'. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October means birthdays......

well, at least for me it does.  Both of my boys and my husband have birthdays in the month of October.  And my sister...(bless her heart....she gets the short end of the stick...I NEVER get her something in the mail on time!!!)  LOVE YOU BEKAH!!!

Anyway, as I was saying, birthdays.  We have lots of them.  And as you know from my previous post...I make the cakes around here.  And the classroom birthday treats.  

My most recent discovery has been cake pops.  I just love them.  I love the book, I love her website.....I love it all.  

And one would think there would be nothing too difficult about making 23 football cake pops for Jack to take to school.  But they aren't as easy to shape as one would think.

Please don't even tell me what you think they look like in their beginning stages......

Because I already know.  The boys in the house let me know very quickly. 
 Need I say more???

And most 8 year old boys would probably not be quite so specific in what they want for a birthday cake.  But this year.....Jack informed me (in regards to the military) that since we had already covered "air" with the helicopter last year

and "land" with the tank for Destin two years ago,

that he felt we should do "sea".  He wanted an aircraft carrier...and how could I not deliver with his rationale?  The boy had a point! 

Lucky for me....this one wasn't quite as hard. 

Happy Birthday, Jack!!  Mama loves you very much!

I'm just sayin'.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hope he likes it.....

because considering the day I have had thus far....I'm surprised I didn't cave in and buy a cake from the store.  But a promise is a promise....and not only did I promise Destin that I would attempt to make a Foxhound cake, I promised you (my loyal readers that I love so much) some pictures if it turned out okay.  (At this point...if you did not read my earlier post this morning then stop right now, and read this first.  It will make more sense, and you will appreciate the rest of this post. 

So only moments after closing my computer after the previous post
I looked on the kitchen table, and realized that Destin had inadvertently left two of the treats, that I had painstakingly made for his class, right here at home.  This was not good, considering we had counted them out for his class, it was 9:05a.m.....snack was at 9:30a.m., and I was in my pajamas still with some bad bed head goin' on.  I will spare you the picture of myself and the details, but let's just say it wasn't pretty, but I got them there on time. 

Moving on.  So I got home all set and ready to begin the process of making his cake, only to realize that I was one container shy of having the right amount of icing.  And I wish that I could tell you that my quick trip to Walgreens was uneventful, but I would be lying, and I don't make a habit of I regretfully inform you that I ran over a squirrel that could not decide which side of the road he wanted to scamper to with the oversized nut he was hauling. 

All for this darn cake.  And the pressure was on...because I had already blogged about it....and I knew you'd be expecting pictures. 

And a promise is a promise. 

This is what I had to work from.  And he graciously said I could just do the head and not the whole body.
  Gee, thanks, Destin.

And not that you're going to want to make a Foxhound cake anytime soon, but just in case you do, here's a rundown of how it all went down in my kitchen today.

It's imperative to have all of your supplies ready and handy before taking your cake out of the freezer to begin creating.  You bought icing (already colored to the desired colors), laptop computer (in case you need to check your facebook, or get a better picture of a Foxhound), and some sort of choice today?  Diet Sunkist.

And please, whatever you do, do not ask me how I got that shade of brown.  I'm pretty sure I mixed some orange and yellow into chocolate icing, but honestly, I could probably never reproduce it exactly again. 

This is how they all begin.  A 9x13 cake that made the night before and FROZEN until the last possible second to ensure that cutting would be precise, and crumbs
would be at a minimum. 

Let the transforming begin.......a sharp knife is a must.

I usually score the cake into the shape I want....keeping in mind that the fewer raw edges I have...the less crumbs to contend with . 

No, he did not change his mind.  This is not a dinosaur head.  Be's a work in progress.  :-)

My least favorite part of doing "shaped cakes" are the crumbs from the cut edges of the cake.  SO annoying.  Time is of the need to get them covered with icing quickly so as not to get crumbs all in your icing. 

 Are you starting to see it???  I know it's hard. 
 You have to really envision the end result. 

I decided today, that his ear would be instead
of just drawing one with icing, I cut and iced
a seperate piece of cake...just for the ear. 

 And the finished result????


Happy Birthday Destin!!!!!  Mama loves you and tried very hard!!

According to The Pioneer Woman......

I am suppose to blog often. I'm just tellin' you what she said.

And here lately....I've been taking her advice. Her website is awesome, her recipes are off the chain and her pictures are incredible.

So I'm doing what she said, and blogging often, and perhaps one day I will be famous like her. (Let me dream here, would ya'?)

So. If I'm keepin' it real....I have a TON of things to do today, one of which is make a birthday cake. And if you know me, then you know that ordinarily this is something I enjoy doing. It's sort of become a tradition in our family.

I started doing cakes to save money YEARS ago, and it sort of morphed into a tradition. Problem is....the cakes have gotten a wee bit more complicated as my children have grown and gotten older.

And, well....since I have had boys.

Well, I mean, think about it. Marine Corps tanks and helicopters are not quite as easy to accomplish as ladybugs. See what I mean?

Destin's 9th birthday - 2008

Jack's 7th birthday - 2009

Karissa's 9th birthday - 2003
You have to forgive the quality of that ladybug's a picture OF a picture in my CM Scrapbook....and WOW that's been a long time ago.  Karissa was 9 on her birthday in that picture!!!  Gulp.  I think I had better move on here.

And PLEASE don't even get me started about Destin's choice for a cake last year.  I was so nervous about a whitetail buck at first........

And then I was pretty proud of myself and how it turned out.  That is...until we got home from the restaurant for the birthday celebration.........

Only to find that his head had fallen off!!!!!!  Apparently his "rack" was a little much to hold up!!!! 

So I think you can understand why I'm a little apprehensive about today's birthday cake request.....a Fox Hound. 

I know. I'm feeling the same way. That ole' where-do-I-start feeling. I spent the whole day yesterday trying to make cake pops for his classroom treats today....and while they turned out cute, the day nor the project went quite as planned....and I STILL have dishes in the kitchen after several loads in the dishwasher.

So if things turn out okay, I may post a picture later.....and if not....well then....I won't.

I'm just sayin'. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

In case you've ever considered....

buying the huge can of pork n' beans from Sam's Club to save money....don't.  Well, I mean, if you plan on using that many beans at one time, then more power to ya'.   But if you're like me, and you were just wanting to save money....use half the can and refrigerate the rest.....I warn you.....don't. 

I've already done it, and trust's not a mistake I will be making again. 

It seemed like a good plan at the time....use 1/2 the large can for a big batch of baked beans for my the rest for the next time.  Well, the "next time" should have been within a day or two it seems.  They don't have quite the same shelf life in the fridge after they have been opened as they do in the pantry.  (And yes, I put them in another container...give me some credit here.)

I've been accused before, of having a nose like a hound dog....and I guess I pretty much do.  I am very sensitive to smell.  And over the last week or so...every time the fridge got opened, I would sense a faint smell.  Nothing overpowering, just not a good smell.  And I would proceed to start questioning the family in a loud voice that-I-knew-they-could-all-hear-while-they-sat-in-the-living-room, "What stinks in this refrigerator???" I'm not sure what good I thought that was going to's not like they would know, but for some reason it always made me feel better to pose the rhetorical question.  (I was secretly hoping the refrigerator cleaning fairy would come by...sigh.)

And after I would pose the question, I would begin sniffing various areas in the fridge, open the milk making sure it wasn't know the drill.  Case not solved, I would shut the door and hope that somehow the next time I opened it, the smell would miraculously have disappeared. 

Not happening.

So Friday I came home from working, and was tired of being on my feet, but even more tired of opening the fridge and having to hold my nose.  The situation was not improving. 

That was it.  Tired feet or not, this smell was not going to ruin my weekend.  Off with the work clothes, into some comfy jeans, flip flops and an was time to gut the fridge and get to the bottom of this. 

And have you ever had those projects that start off small, innocently enough, but that morph into giant sized projects?  Yea.  Me too.  All the time....just ask my kids.  They usually make themselves unseen at a time like this.  But those unsuspecting little rascals just thought I was opening the fridge for an afternoon snack.  Little did they know I was in one of my I-have-worked-all-day-and-I'm-tired-but-we're-getting-to-the-bottom-of-this moods.  And they really were not expecting me to inform them that "you live here and eat out of this fridge get over here and help me start cleaning it out."  And I'm pretty sure I remember saying that in a very sweet, kind, loving voice. 

Now when I say "clean out the fridge", I mean CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE.  You, take out the glass shelves and completely wash them in the sink...not just wipe them down.  Every pesky little thing in that refrigerator was comin' out.  Condiments, salad dressings that I feel sure we had tried and not liked and had for a year, jellies that sweet children had let dribble on the sides of the jar, and were now permanent fixtures in my fridge, onions that I had diced with good intentions of using later that had somehow gotten shoved to the back. was all coming out. 

I was working from the bottom up.  Both drawers had come out, and been completely washed.  I was just about to tackle the first shelf when it happened.....

I saw the bowl of tightly sealed beans (or so I thought), on the shelf, way in the back.  And the closer I got to them, the more I realized that I had found the culprit.  And I'm not really sure why I felt the need to just barely open the lid and put my nose RIGHT THERE....but I think it's safe to say that the kids had to get some smelling salts to revive me. 

Oh. My. Word.  That was awful. 

But the mystery was solved and the fridge was lookin' better.  The boys and I finished it up and I felt so victorious that for some reason I thought it was a good time to tackle the "tops of my cabinets" that have not been dusted or cleaned in...ahem...quite some time.  (I'll leave that to your imagination.) 

Jack, you have to make yourself look like you have buck teeth???

Please...just a picture of the dirt here.

Not much better....but I think they get the point.

It wasn't pretty.  But now it is.

I'm just sayin'.