22 August 2010

Weekly Update

This picture, it looks much better on our new blog.

Follow us there! No more posting on this one, so if you want to keep up on our mundane lives you better update your bookmarks and RSS feeds, folks...



17 August 2010

Weekly Update 8.15.10

Be prepared, ladies and gents: I have started building a WordPress blog; the picture sizes are a vast improvement and the publishing software is DIVINE. We shall move later this month, probably. Once I tidy it up a bit and get it to my liking. So get ready to change your feeds...

Okay back to the good stuff.

This past week was busy, as usual. Lots of errands, lots of cleaning. Peter and I met up with friends for Happy Hour one evening.

Friday we served as test subjects for a new business venture some dear friends of ours are trying out :) We hope all turns out well, will be sure to display the goodness on the blog once we get word back on things.

The weekend was spent in Scott's hometown - they were having their annual town festival, and we arrived just in time to watch the parade. It was the first one that Peter was able to participate in, hanging out near the street. He had fun collecting candy.

He also loved watching all the vintage cars cruise down the street.

Assessing his loot pile.

...And then a Blue Bell ice cream truck showed up after the tractors, and was handing out ice cream sandwiches to the crowd. ICE CREAM SANDWICHES, PEOPLE. Peter was in heaven.

After the parade we chatted with Grandma Mueller and Great-Uncle Bus for awhile. Peter also found an abandoned balloon, and adopted it as his own (I mean, of course).

It was pretty hot and humid.

Great Uncle Bus gave Peter's hat a try.

We headed to the park and grabbed some burgers at the Boy Scout tent (manned by Grandpa Mueller and his crew), then headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house to have lunch - the heat was a bit much to eat at the park. After lunch Peter was able to watch a train going by out the window.

Saturday we played around, then Scott and I had a nice dinner and met back up with our friends Cody and Kirsten at the park. We watched fireworks and chatted for awhile before heading back to hit the sack.

Sunday was a lovely, lovely day weather-wise. At first it was mild and sunny, so Peter and I headed outside to check out the farm. He had a blast.

Dad joined us at one point, and the boys poked around together.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Hutchinson, met up with Eric for a little bit to chat, then had some lunch. It was pouring rain, which cooled things even more. It was soooo nice. We headed back to the house to hang out a little longer, then said our good-byes and headed home. It was a great visit and as usual, much too short.

That is it for this week! Will catch back up with you soon.

15 August 2010


No update tonight, my pets. Tiiiiiired. Tomorrow, I promise :)

12 August 2010

Lemon Cake

So. Lemon cake. Yay.

Sorry to be so ‘meh’ about it, I’ve meant to blog about this for days but it’s been an interesting week. Thunderstorms knocking out our power all day/half the night, cleaning furiously, working desperately to get Peter’s room in some sort of order, working on a seemingly never-ending list of errands that all seem to appear out of nowhere and need immediate assistance… And we had the Pancake Incident of 2010.

Let me backtrack a little bit. See, nowadays when I do any baking or cooking in the kitchen, I have a midget-sized dictator who demands that he be right in the middle of the action, who screams and carries on to such a degree that I have decided that I will not fight it any longer, let the darn kid participate. So every time I make anything in the kitchen, I prep the counter first with a small bowl, some measuring cups and spoons, and something innocent to dip/”measure”/pour – water, some flour maybe, some fruit or veggies. You get the idea, keep him close so he can watch and follow along on his own, like a cooking show. This all works perfectly about 99% of the time.

Tuesday was not one of those times.

Tuesday I was tired when we got home from work/daycare, I didn’t have any meat thawed out for dinner, and there was a container of chopped strawberries in the fridge that probably needed to be eaten within a day. Perfect evening for pancakes for dinner, yes? So I gathered all the necessary ingredients, keeping all the dry stuff on Peter’s side for playing – flour, salt, baking soda. I whipped up the wet ingredients, then pulled over Peter’s stool so he could help. He rushed right over and got to work. This should be fairly easy.

I carefully measure my flour, my salt. Before I can do anything else, Peter casually leans over and dumps, oh – probably a ¼-cup of baking soda in my bowl. Er. Great. I fished out as much as I could, but the batter was super-salty. Ew. In an attempt to salvage the batter, I get busy doubling all the other ingredients, grabbed some Greek yogurt out of the fridge to counteract the fizzy salty madness, and then I heard it. That distinctive noise you recognize all too well when you have a toddler: Peter is choking. He is choking on… baking soda. So I reach over to grab him so I can whap him on the back – my signature choking-toddler move – and in that split second, I see that he’s clutching my favorite mixing bowl, the one I set out for him for playing. Muzzy got it for me, it’s a sunny yellow hue with a delicate pattern stamped into the clay, and has a little handle and a spout. My batter bowl. So anyway: as I snatch him that bowl goes sailing through the air, smashing to the floor and shattering into a million smithereens. My mouth agape. Good bye, my beloved batter bowl.

But back to the choking baby! So I drag him to the garbage can, whack him on the back and (begrudgingly) get him to drink water and whew, then I check the baking soda box – yeah, he ate a decent amount. Maybe a third of the box? I couldn’t remember how full it was to begin with, and there’s quite a bit dusting the floor as well, but still. GROSS.

I shoo him out of the room, then sweep up the clay shards and powder. Twice. Then I mop. Then dump the pancake batter down the garbage disposal, because there’s no saving it. Hopefully we have enough leftovers for us to eat for dinner. And hey, but the kid sure is making a funny noise...

I got suspicious about the baking soda, so decided to google it. And hey whaddaya know – baking soda can be fatal to small children. It messes up their electrolyte levels, causing vomiting and seizures and ultimately organ failure... So then I had the pleasure of a nice long chat with a lovely woman at poison control. He farted and burped his way through the night, and I had to keep checking to make sure he didn’t bust out into seizures. IT WAS AS FUN AS IT SOUNDS. I told daycare all about it the next day, just to warn her in case his back-end starts erupting like a grade-school volcano diorama.

I will be shocked if this kid lives to see his 2nd birthday, I swear.

But anyway! All that talk, let me get to the point: my son, he helps out in the kitchen a lot. It’s messy but fun and I might overlook an instruction or two while I keep Doots from seriously maiming himself with a whisk. And so, even though I have made this cake a million times (and always to many thanks for bringing the FANTASTIC LEMON CAKE OMG), I missed the important notation to make sure you bake it in something you can line with parchment. I tried to make this cake in a bundt pan this time. It, uh – didn’t quite come out of the pan as I had hoped. Great fluffy mounds of cake kind of plopped out when I flipped it onto a cooling rack, but no matter. I still lovingly poured warm lemon syrup on them and then iced them when cooled. And ate them for breakfast, as a snack, and dessert. This cake, it is ahhh-mazing. Ina Garten has never let me down, this is true, but this is in all truth my most favorite recipe of hers.

Try it. I would recommend using a pan you can line with parchment, though. The results will be much prettier.

Ina Garten's Lemon Cake
(from Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

1/2 lb. unsalted butter
2 1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs (at room temperature)
1/3 c. grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 c. buttermilk at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 -inch loaf pans. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

08 August 2010

Weekly Update 08.08.10

So: Blogger had this thing, where you could update the Posting Editor? I updated and it SUCKS, it won't let me do any of the things that I used to be able to do, that were actually you know, HELPFUL, so yeah I dunno. I have heard people complain and, being the 5-year Blogger veteran that I am, I was all "heh, amateurs". But now I GET IT, oh man I get it, and I apologize to anyone I read who complained for secretly judging you. Maybe it's time to start shopping around, for somewhere new for the blog...

My point: please ignore all the weird formatting, I tried to fix it I swear. And while you're at it, try not to dwell on the fact that all the photos are (annoyingly) in backwards order.

So anyway! What's been going on this week, right? Well, it's been hot. Insanely, August-ly hot. Blah. I am ready for fall, but then again I was ready for that back in June. Not a fan of heat/humidity.
We have been hitting the pool... rarely. Yes. It is even too hot to break out the baby pool stuff! We got it out on Sunday but I gotta say, pool time is no fun when Mommy and Daddy can't fit in there as well.
Clearly however Peter feels differently.
Since we didn't have any big plan this weekend (bliss! Not like I don't love visitors or visiting people or other fun activities, but you know - time just to ourselves as a family is so so nice. And necessary), I did two things: (1) cleaned the house and (2) started to finally work on Peter's room. I packed up the baby birdie theme weeks ago when I had some free time, pulled the decals off the wall and packed up all the bedding/pillows and mobile. Now, it's time to focus on the Robot room. I framed up some new art for the room, band posters (robot-related of course).
Oooookay, here is a random photo of Peter playing in his room, Blogger wouldn't let me move it. Moving on...
Also I ordered these cool space decals, and got them up on Sunday. Pretty spiffy! Now we're just waiting on fabric so I can start the bedding.
Since we had some blessed free time, I decided to indulge in some baking, my totally famous lemon cake. Then I came to the realization - I never blogged the recipe before. Not on Cast Sugar, not anywhere. Never. My goodness! So, that will make an appearance here soon-ish.
Mmm, lemon cake batter.
This is a shot of Peter post-County Fair, which was more hysterical when it came at the end of all the pictures. Also considering that he almost choked to death trying to eat his socks earlier this week (yeah don't ask). It's a bit reminiscent of the Hasselhoff Hamburger video, yes?
So yeah: we went to the Fair. On Friday evening - we've never been to the Douglas County Fair so thought we'd give it a shot. Peter had a BLAST.
He could not stop staring at all the rides.
This will probably be the best (read: cheapest) trip to the county fair for us. Peter's too small for all the rides and even if he was tall enough, he really didn't need to ride any of them. He was just so excited to see all the flashing lights and hear the music and see them move. Ah, to be a toddler again.
We did pay a buck at the petting zoo portion, so we could feed all the animals. That was a dollar well spent, as he loved feeding all the animals. When he wasn't trying to sneak bites of the feed himself, that is.
Amongst all the hens, roosters, and ducks in the poultry "barn", there was also a random peacock.
Okay and now all the other random events of this weekend should be noted, before I forget (random photo order is messing with my braaaaaaaain!):
  • I also went to Hobby Lobby this weekend and picked up upholstery foam and black fake-leather fabric (from the remnants bin, on the cheap). Time to start Doots' Halloween costume...

  • I hit up some yard sales way-early-in-the-morn on Saturday, all by my lonesome. I should do that more often, I was able to hit up twice as many sales as usual (when I have Scott and Peter in tow), and found some great stuff. Where else would I find an awesome modern-style wooden toy house, brought to the US via a trip to Portugal, and in brand-new condition, for a freaking DOLLAR? And sold by my favorite local newscaster to boot (took me a sec to realize who I was chatting up when I was buying it)... Yeah. Not at the local toy store, that's for sure.

  • Had a lovely, leisurely lunch in KC with some girlfriends, it was nice to have a little something to myself in the afternoon. And the next time I see Julie, she will probably have a babe in her arms (not her tummy region). Come on Shyrleigh, I'm ready to meet ya.

  • Saturday night we rented movies, including Julie&Julia. Super cute! Loved it! Scott and I especially appreciated the Julie scenes (food bloggers, unite!), I think you have to live in the world of food-blogging to get some of her mania. At one point I looked at Scott and said "I was never that way..." and he cracked up. And reminded me of the time when I was freaking out about how if I don't post at least 3 times a week, my readership goes below 1K a day... Oh yeah. That.

  • I started running. I get up at 5am to do so and it's killlllllllling me, but I shall persevere. Signed up for a 5K next month, to keep myself on track with this whole running thing.

  • I am doing my best to finish the book club book for this month, but I only have a few weeks left to read and I have about 400 pages to finish up. I try to read every evening at bedtime, but lately I have been zonking out as soon as I start...

  • This is the face my kid makes when I deny him any of the earthly pleasures he demands at any given moment:
  • Luckily I get to see this face a little more often than the last one:

Peace out.

And oh yeah, just one more time: Blogger you suck. For reals.

01 August 2010

Weekly Update 08.01.10

We are going to come full circle today, begin and end with a picture of the kid eating vegetables. Random, I know. He's got a weird thing for insisting on eating them whole these days, so there are pictures galore on the hard drive.

Speaking of the little guy, he is starting to look so much bigger. When he was a baby and I dressed him like a little man, he looked funny and cute and still like a baby. Now when I dress him that way, with all the walking and getting leaner stuff, the baby has entirely disappeared.

We had a nice cheese tray to welcome Mad Men back from their hiatus. I also made these delish tomato-and-eggplant stacks. Ah, Sunday nights are so much nicer again.

Peter has discovered our bed as a whole new playground, he likes to burrow under the blankets and make tunnels, toss pillows around, flop around and jump with glee. Oh, hurray. Just waiting for the day we take him to UrgentCare for stitches.

Because that time is not too far, I predict. Already he is fearless, climbing and jumping on the couch and on the club chair and on his own little chair. He gets lots of shiners to prove it. Here's the latest one, AN HOUR after he bumped his head he still kind looked like sloth in the forehead region:

Friday work was dead, I was in between deadlines, so my boss told me just to head home. Woohoo! Scott has off work on Fridays so we had a "date afternoon", had a long lunch and saw a movie. Inception. It was (1) well written, (2) well acted, and most of all (3) whoa, but the men were well dressed. Good tailoring goes a long way, I was almost distracted by the sharp suits.
Not in a bad way.

Scott also hit a major milestone while we were at lunch, hold on to your hats - he finished his World Beer Tour, that's 110 beers for the uninformed. It took many years and many many trips (I mean, come on - we've been here since 1999) but he finally did it. He gets his name engraved on the Hall of Fame plaque on the wall. Fist pump! And I must say, we've had many fond memories at this particular restaurant as Scott worked to his new title, it's our go-to spot when we head to the movies on that side of town. I think we'll probably be back, even though the prize has been won.

Saturday was devoted to my friend Julie's baby shower. Jules and I co-hosted at her house, and it was a blast. Just a few pictures from the day - first off the cake, Jules ordered it and it was adorable. The baker matched it to Julie's nursery bedding. We did all the colors for the shower around her nursery.

We made onesies for part of the decoration - I had trouble making these the first time and had to buy all new supplies to give it a second shot. Luckily, second time was the charm for me...

Our Baby Shower Bingo was a little more tongue-in-cheek than the usual ;)

Our other tongue-in-cheek, the favors - everybody got our own version of those girl baby flower-headband thingies.

Yeah I don't know why Stacey is throwing gang-signs here, either.

The mother-to-be is a dip-lover, so we made several different dips, lots of dippers, and also made 10 homemade pizzas. We got pizzas as we figured everybody needed to carb-load, because...

We had a nice citrus-y cocktail (and sodas for the non-drinkers).

Got home a little late from that one, yep. Good times!

The next morning Peter was up nice and early, we made a special breakfast of real cinnamon toast and fruit salsa. Fruit salsa leftover from the baby shower. I have a lot of onion dip too. Just sayin'. Anyway, from our breakfast baking, Peter liked licking the cinnamon-sugar-vanilla butter the best.

We spent Sunday cleaning and catching up on chores and laundry, but found some time to head to campus for our regular Chi O fountain dip (which we missed on Friday). Unfortunately: they are doing a lot of work over there, on the drainage system on Jayhawk Boulevard, so the fountain is off. Drained. Kaput. That didn't stop Peter from running at it at full tilt, arms out ready for an embrace, his beloved fountain. Unfortunately he had to comfort himself with just a campus walk instead.

I don't think he really minded. He ran around all over the place, and made us walk all the way down (and then Scott had to carry him back up, hiking those bajillion stairs the entire way up) the Hill.

Okay, so he has gone up a shoe size officially. It is kind of a bummer but, also means that (1) he finally fits those cute Reefs well and walks confidently in them, and (2) I can go shoe shopping. So far there are three pairs on their way via UPS.

And so we are back to the veggies, so you know it is the end. Hope that everyone had as lovely a weekend as we did - see you again soon :)