22 February 2010

Pink Lemonade Cake

I made another layer cake last week. I was watching The New Adventures of Old Christine, a re-run, where new Christine had dumped Richard at the altar, and when Matthew and Barb go to check on her, she feeds them huge pieces of wedding cake and a bottle of champagne each. The cake looked really good. A four layer white cake. Suddenly that was all I could think about. Mmm, a nice white cake. Gotta have it now, don't have time to bake one, let it cool then frost it. Jump in the car and go buy a sheet cake at Giant. Wow. They have really gone up in price! $10.99 for 1/8 sheet cake! They are crazy. After much hemming and hawing, I bought a box mix and decided to make my own icing.

After baking the cakes, I mixed up some plain butter cream frosting, but decided I didn't want just plain icing with white cake. Maybe lemon? I love lemon icing. Then I decided to tint it, but I didn't have any yellow food coloring. So I used pink. One drop. It turned a lovely pale shade. I really hate strong color icing, it gets all over your tongue, gross. But lemon-flavored pink icing?
And that is how pink lemonade cake was born.
Unfortunately, my goal of instant gratification failed. They layers were too warm to frost before bedtime. I asked Lewis to do it when he got home. Didn't he do a great job? Far better than my last attempt. I think he may be the official cake froster from now on.And it was darned tasty, too. Oliver was disappointed because he didn't get to try any of the cake.

17 February 2010

Joy and Optimism

I took Oliver to mom's house this weekend to play in their backyard. They are out in the country a bit more and since he is being so timid about the big snow, we decided to let him run off leash. John had several paths plowed and shoveled, so there were good places for him to run. He did briefly venture into the deeper stuff, but it was pretty tough going, so he turned around and headed back to us. We kept the loop leash on him just in case he decided to run off, but we didn't need it. He was a very good boy. I think he really enjoyed having three people outside just to play with him. We let him explore a bit, then we threw squeaky toys for him to fetch. He had a blast.


When he finally plunked down in the snow, we called it a day. I took Oliver to the basement where the woodstove was pumping out the heat. Mmm, I really miss that. We cleaned the ice balls from between Oli's pads and I tried to pull off as many ice clumps from his hair as I could. He was slightly less than cooperative, trying to chew at them himself. Luckily he melted fairly quickly in the 80-something temperature.
One day last week it dawned on me that while I had taken all the other Christmas ornaments down and packed them away, I had missed the red, green and sliver jingle bell wreath. It pretty much screams Christmas, there is no way I could get away with it much longer.

So I dug around in the basement for something a bit more seasonally appropriate. I came up with wreath parts. None of the flowers I had could be successfully attached to the wreath I had, so I popped into the craft store one night, plunked down $6 and came home with a chain of flower garland. So much for seasonally appropriate. I think it is still a bit early for the dogwood blossoms, but that was the earliest spring flower they had. I was really drawn to the daisies, but that would be a bit much for February.

I still think it needs something, though. Maybe a bow? I know they sell that green velvet ribbon I used to make the loop in wider sizes. I'll have to check next time I am out. I also saw some cute little birds and while I'm not normally into that sort of thing, they were pretty sweet, all feathery. Yup. I think I want a little feather bird, like these sweet little chickadees.

10 February 2010

The Great Dig Out of 2010

Our view from the porch this afternoon. Not much but snow as far as the eye can see.Snow level with or higher than the porch. Fire hydrant almost obscured.Once there was a narrow path here. Gone in three minutes by the work of a bobcat clearing snow for Lewis' parking spot.Well, best to just dig in.Even Oliver is a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully our neighbor with the snow blower took pity on me again. He came over and did my sidewalk before he started on his! Now if I can just muster the energy to make a batch of cookies to thank them...I'm a bit worried about my young tree. The snow is now as high as the bottom branches. Maybe in the next day or so I will try to dig a moat around the trunk. It is going to be a job moving that much snow.Finally, a view from the street. Not sure I'm getting that car out anytime soon. I've tried to keep it clear, but today's snow was just too much. I'll try again tomorrow.
Oliver says he's cold and can we go back inside yet?

08 February 2010

Snow Doggie

Mother Nature must be mad at us. She neglected us the last two winters, they were fairly mild and we got off easy. Now she is making up for it. It started late Friday afternoon and continued until early Saturday afternoon. I'm guessing we got about 30".

I cleared everything as soon as I got home from work Friday evening, around 7:00 p. There were only about 2" at that point, so it went quickly. I cleared the full width and length of the sidewalk and our parking spaces.

I went out again before bed, around 10:00p and cleared it all again. It took me nearly an hour that time, with about 8" having fallen in the past three hours. I cleaned off my car and cleared a moat around it. I figured that was that much less I would have to deal with Saturday. Good thinking... in theory, anyway.

This is what I saw when I put Oli out at 7:00a:
Oh my. Well. My game plan for Saturday was to shovel and watch dvds. I borrowed Stargate Atlantis (season 4) and Mad Men (season 2) from the library. I figured I could be snowed in all weekend.

So I got the shovel and got started. I cleared only a shovel-width this time, that is all that is required, and about all I had strength to do. I'd say we had about 2', give or take, by that time. I cleared a ring around the fire hydrant and a path out to the street. Lewis had worked a double shift and I knew he wouldn't feel like shoveling before he could even park, so I cleared a space for his car. I couldn't budge any of the snow where he usually parks, right behind my car, because the plow had shoved a bunch of snow there. I'm telling you, I was exhausted by the time I was done. It took me almost two hours.

As for Oliver, the snow was so high when he went for his first "out" before breakfast, that he did something I never, ever saw him do before. He lifted his leg on a dead porch plant! I told him he was a naughty dog, but really, what could he do?He was a bit perplexed until I started clearing the snow, then he was back to his usual barky dog self. Biting at the snow, snuffling around, "digging" the snow off the shovel for me. He had a good time. He's never seen snow this high and he was being very timid about it. By late afternoon, I realized I would have to clear some paths in the yard for him to do his business. Luckily the snow was still light and fluffy.

The snow walls were so high that I was even able to let him off his rope, something I would never normally do, and we ran around in the circles I made. He had a blast chasing me and trying to catch the snowballs I threw for him.

05 February 2010

Oli Gras!

Oliver went to the groomer last week. He had a grand time. He got trimmed a little shorter than usual, but that's not too surprising, since he was described as having been "very wiggly" when Lewis picked him up. They usually put a cute bandanna on him when he leaves, but this time he came home wearing blue Mardi Gras beads! And while that is very creative, I'm not quite sure a chain of plastic beads on a golden retriever is such a great idea. So, Lewis took these pictures to send to me at work, then wisely removed the beads.

As I understand it, Oliver slept most of the afternoon and well into the evening that day. You know, baths really tire doggies out.