Artisan Bread Win!

Hey! It’s two posts in one day!

Yesterday I came across the topic of artisan bread from the delightful Patch, and it reminded me that I’ve had the same recipe that she used in my “to try” queue for ages. Determined and inspired after reading her experience with it, I set about making my own.

IMG_9909

It really was just as easy as she said it was, and it’s super yummy! Especially with tea.Β And lots of butter. πŸ˜€

IMG_9910

The only change I made was to use half white flour and half wheat flour.The original recipe is from here.

The cd of Holst’s Planets arrived yesterday, and we’ve been enjoying listening to it immensely. Jupiter seems to be a favorite with the girls, but I’m finding myself partial to Mars and I think Little K is too given he’s been charging about the house declaring himself the Planet of War. I finally had to inform him he wasn’t allowed to “planet battle” with his sisters, and then Pokado declared Arc a baby planet and…well, I’m not sure where this is going to go with them. Child’s play is fascinating to me sometimes.

 

Advertisements

Purple flowers and freezing fog.

To skip the cake details and get on to the freezing fog, scroll down until you see the cake pic. If fog doesn’t interest you either, then why are you even here? πŸ˜›

So Pokado had a birthday! The little lady turned 4 and some months ago requested a purple flower cake. We took to Pinterest, I got some ideas, and I also decided to add another tool to my cakery. Well, tools, I suppose. I bought a fondant smoother and a set of 8 fondant/ gum paste modeling tools, and they look like they’re going to be a lot of fun! I only used one of the modeling tools in the flower making but am looking forward to finding excuses to use the rest.

IMG_9813_resize

YouTube is my new best friend for video tutorials. The modeling tools didn’t come with any instructions!

IMG_9815_resize

I think the next thing to add to the arsenal will be some molds/ cookie cutters. I have no flower shaped ones, but I did have a little star (used to make the little flower…a narcissus, mayhap?), and a heart (used to make the petals for the larger flower and most of the other flowers I experimented with).

The cake itself was a honey vanilla cake. It’s a very dense, yet moist cake. It has heavy cream in it. πŸ˜€ Kate wanted a raspberry filling so I opened up one of the last jars of raspberry preserves for it. The inside of the cake has a sort of bubble effect to the inside, and since I cut the rounded tops off it was perfect because the raspberry soaked into the air pockets a bit. Little bursts of raspberry everywhere! I forgot to take a picture of the cut cake and now it’s all gone. Oops.

Frosted in buttercream, then covered in purple fondant. I GOT THE FONDANT ON RIGHT THIS TIME!!! I referenced a few tutorial videos, corrected some things I’d been doing incorrectly, and for the first time ever I got a completely smooth cake! Then I tried something called Cornelli lace which…well, I will need more practice at that. Add the special purple flower, and Pokado was thrilled!

IMG_9840_resizeIMG_9846_resize

The lighting never got very good for pictures, I’m afraid. We were fogged in most the day.

This brings me to the next topic of my post, namely visual commentary on our 2+ week entombment in freezing fog (this is for you, Jessica! :-D). The result on the landscape is somewhere between frost and snow, for those of you not familiar with it. Something like the following:

IMG_9830_resize IMG_9861_resize IMG_9856_resize IMG_9837_resize

It melts with the barest hint of sunlight, blows off with the slightest wind. This morning, in the space of half an hour, the fog went from a thick blanket to non-existent and over half the white sheet on everything disappeared with it. The last forest-y picture is after the fog dissipated but before the sun reached it.

Amazing stuff.

Little K has refined tastes.

First he announced that Holst was one of his favorite composers.

Then he sniffed my tea one afternoon and we had the following exchange:
“This smells different. I don’t know this tea Mommy. Can I have a sip?”
*takes a sip*
“Oh, I like this! I haven’t had it before! What is it?”
“This is Earl Grey.”
“Mmmmmm….”

On a slightly related and random note, I can use a spoon that previously made tea to make coffee, but I can NOT use a spoon previously used for coffee to make tea. It must be rinsed first. Why?? It’s gotta be psychological, because there’s barely a drip left on the spoon and a drop of coffee can’t possibly contaminate a cup of tea, right?

My brain apparently believes otherwise.

Today Pokado turned 4! We’ve all been working on preparations for her cake the last few days. This afternoon I will assemble it all together. In theory. She’s very excited. πŸ˜€

Tomorrow is the party, if people can get here. There’s a section of the driveway that’s rather encased with ice (but that’s another story for another post, if I remember to touch on it). The Dearliest has plans to lay down a bunch of sand to make it passable without chains (we hope). The last week has been non-stop freezing fog, and lemme tell you that is NASTY STUFF. My word. Makes for a very pretty landscape though, I’ll say that!

Time to go try to finish Kate’s birthday present before she wakes up from her nap!

Oh, never mind. All three of the nappers just awoke simultaneously. How do they do that?Β Β  O_o

Newly Felted

Also, I finally finished the project I promised to Little K. Last year he requested a tractor pulling a round hay baler, but due to Things it kept getting pushed back in the queue (Wow, is that really how you spell that? Gotta love the English language!). Several weeks ago I managed to get it about 80% done but then couldn’t decide on some of the aspects and so it sat. And sat. And Little K waited. And looked at it fondly at every passing. And watched me hopefully.

Yesterday I was able to show him the finished piece:

IMG_9765_nameblur

Name blurred out because public blog and stuff. πŸ™‚ Just need to pick out a frame and it should be good to go!

Give me a lever long enough…

…and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

IMG_9754_resize

TR will now be known in the blog as Archimedes, or Arc for short. He’s earned a new nickname. I sadly ran out of memory on my camera before I could capture the truly impressive shot of him lifting his feet up under the ball. He does it on command now, so I may yet get the picture!

It’s hard to believe that in a mere week and a half he’s gone from learning to do this:

IMG_9625_resize

To this:

IMG_9739_resize

I think the crazy kid is going to skip crawling altogether, like Little K. He has no trouble getting up on all fours, but he seems to prefer scooting places when it comes down to it. Hey, I guess if you get to where you’re going, that’s what matters! πŸ˜€

Hey la, hey la

Little K went to town with the Dearliest to see about selling a drywall lift. The girls and baby are down for naps, and here I am contemplating what to do with the hour or so of solitude before me. Do I get ahead in the kitchen deep cleaning that has consumed my life for the last few days (cleaning always takes 3 times longer with little helpers)? Do I work on Pokado’s birthday gift (a crocheted outfit for her doll…doll clothes are HARD, although maybe that’s due to my lack of pattern)? Do I write the overdue blog post? Do I finally fold ALL the laundries?

Yeah, I think we can all guess which of those won out today.

So yes. Two weeks ago I came up with a brilliant plan for deep-cleaning the house. I divided it by room, assigned a set number of days per room (based on the level of Disaster in said room), and started out in the kitchen with a triumphant gung-ho attitude. I was SO going to have a spotless house by February. So yes. That was two weeks ago. You may remember from my first paragraph that I’m still in the kitchen. I’d slotted 3 days for that.

I must admit that deep-cleaning goes not-so-well, but at least life is happening and the kids are having boat loads of fun with their water spray bottles and rags. When put before a window, wall, or cabinet, it’s amazing how long those two little objects will keep a child entertained!

Anybody else meal plan a week or so out? I used to do it faithfully until TR came along, and it’s been nearly 10 months now since I’ve done it. Starting to get back into it as much as I can…it takes some stress off my day knowing in advance what’s going on the table.

We had some incredible wind last weekend. Gusts up to at least 60 mph! I guess when a tropical front meets a cold front, Drama Happens. We didn’t lose power completely (strangely enough), but there were times it flickered on and off for minutes on end.

I made a pretty thing!

IMG_9704 IMG_9696

Next up: a green one. I think. Once I figure out what style to go for. Does anyone have experience incorporating beads into crochet? I really like some of the beaded crocheted jewelry I’ve seen, but I’m not sure where to start with that. Or if I really want to get into beads at all. It’s one more thing to store. And stuff.

Thusly ends a random update. Tea is gone, chocolate is consumed. Maybe I will tackle the kitchen some more now…