Friday, July 31, 2009

Took The Plunge....

Well, for those that know me well, it is no secret that I have always wanted a tattoo. I don't know why. Just something inside of me. But I didn't just want to get any old tattoo. I wanted it to have meaning. I knew someday that it would come to me. And it did.

26.2. Those are numbers that mean something to me. It is the number of miles in a marathon, which I have now 'run' two of. (The word 'run' being used lightly here....). But on Monday, when I went for my tattoo, it was 26 years 2 months from the day we got married - a marriage marathon. All done with my wonderful husband and best friend and I thank him for running beside me all of those miles and all of these years. I don't plan on 'running' any more marathons with my feet, but am hoping for at least one more 'marriage marathon'!!!

K is in the process of starting a baking business. "As You Wish" custom cakes, pastries etc... She's doing a lot of baking and is starting to get orders, which is exciting. She got her first cake order for a friend's adult son who is a huge Harry Potter fan. This is what she came up with... The Sorting Hat. It turned out amazing.

I thought I would share just a few of the other 'samples' that she has been creating as she learns the ins and outs of fondant; frosting; flowers etc..

Marbled with white roses.

Sunflower with large chocolate chips for seeds.... Mmmmmm...

Little baby cakes for fun.

Whimsical cupcakes. The turtle was my favorite. But the Prince Charming frog had his appeal! (Oh, and the cow and pig had awful cute backsides!!!)

I even got to create my own plate of fun cupcakes!!! It's like being a kid again playing with playdough!!!! (Only you get to EAT it!!) Yum!

Well, K and I are off to St. Louis to visit friends. While there, K is also going to be taking a class at the Viking Cooking School. Stay tuned......

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's Offcial!

It's official. I'm another year older. And I'm ok with that! Old. Young. They are just words. I know I don't 'feel' as old as I am; and those around me would certainly verify that I don't 'act' as old as I am. (I choose not to ask them what age I do act like.....). Bottom line is, I feel good.

K made me this wonderful M&M birthday cake! The fondant M&M's and M&M bag are so adorable! She made a confetti cake and frosted it with my favorite 7-minute frosting (which she did not even know was my favorite) and covered it with M&M's. Yum. I wish I could share a piece with all of you!!

We had what we are now referring to as 'A Bayfield Day'. The weather was gorgeous (sunny and 78 degrees) and we had no agenda. We relaxed; played games; read; layed in the hammock; ate etc.... It was perfect. (Although no one saw fit to actually let me WIN a game, which I think is quite rude on someone's birthday!!) Still a fun day. Steve and Sophie enjoyed some time on the lounge chairs. Steve was borrowing my birthday present. (A Kindle from Amazon.. which I LOVE!!) I think he is going to put one on his birthday list now!!

Had sweet corn for the first time this season. It was so yummy. There is just nothing like good ole Iowa sweet corn!!! A and K got it all husked and ready for dinner. Under Sophies supervision, of course!!

Sophie ended the day with a romp through the creek in our back field. She loves to bury her face in the muck at the bottom. This picture was taken with a flash, so doesn't show the extent of the mud on her face. It was pretty much covered. And she still looks cute!!

But muddy puppies are not allowed in the house, no matter how cute they are and so we had to get the hose out for a late night bath. Not one of Sophie's favorite activities!! I don't think her brain is capable of making the connection of ' if you get muddy, you get a bath'. It's just the way it is!

In the baking world, K has been cooking up a storm. She made several of these almond pastries the other day and is working on perfecting her recipe, as well as trying different fillings etc.. Let's just say that our house has been smelling VERY good lately!! Good thing we have good friends and family who LOVE to receive her 'samples'. I would hate to think what would happen if it all stayed here...... (Well, I KNOW what would happen! I would eat it all!!)

Looks like it is going to be another beautiful day. Gee, maybe another 'Bayfield Day'. That would be ok by me!

Until Next Time.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bayfield - A Place Of Perfect Peace (And Yummy Sweet Potato Fries)....

For the past 5 days, Steve and I (along with some dear friends) have been tucked away in Bayfield Wisconsin (a tiny town of 611), having the most relaxing vacation of our life!! Everything about it EXCEEDED our expectations, which is hard to do anymore. Steve and I had been to Bayfield over 27 years ago and had fallen in love with the town then. When my brother and his wife went there last year for vacation, I just knew I had to go back. Little has changed in the town. And I fell in love all over again. And when I said 'tucked away', I meant it. Here is a picture of our cottage which was barely visible from our car. It was perfect. Not a clock in the place and no sounds or lights from anywhere around. Perfect Peace.

And the funny thing is, look at the road that it was on. Yep. Sophie Lane. This sign would always make me think of her and wonder what kind of trouble she was getting into back home. (And she certainly had her naughty moments while we were gone!!!). I think she was quite upset with me for leaving home and not taking her with!

EVERY meal that we had was amazing. One of the highlights for me were the sweet potato fries that we found at Maggies. Oh my, were they yummy!!! (Everything else there was yummy as well - especially the burgers!!!) We usually only ate out one meal a day, which was plenty. But we did make several visits to the local bakery/ice cream store. Just saying.

For the most part, our trip was meant to be a time away to renew and reenergize. And we did plenty of that. We also had some fun!! One of the highlights was going out sailing on Lake Superior.
Here are the four of us ready to set sail!!!!

It was one of those rides that you can choose to just relax and enjoy the ride; or you can help in every aspect of the sailing. We all chose to help. Our captain was great and quickly taught us the ropes and had us sailing away!!

I loved being able to steer the boat and had a great wind for going about as fast as the boat could go! (I LOVE speed!!!) I got it up to 6.4 knots. Steve didn't quite get that high and blames it on the wind. And I have to admit, there is an element of truth to what he says. I did have great wind. The bottom line, however, is that I was faster.

Steve and I also got tickets and went to the Big Top Chautauqua for a show. It was a blast!! We had heard about it for years from our dear neighbors who use to travel to Bayfield every year. I can't tell you how many times we thought of them while we were there!!!

And remember the part about ice cream cones and bakery (and I didn't mention the best part - SALT WATER TAFFY!!), this is the home of all of that. We spent maybe too much time not only in this shop; but thinking about this shop and all of the yumminess inside. Let's just say we ordered several baked goods to pick up on our way out of town so we could have it to 'share'. (Ok, so we could continue to enjoy it ourselves!!!) And I refuse to confess to how much salt water taffy I brought home.

We also did a little shopping in the shops downtown. There are several wonderful shops. Not too many; not too few. Just enough. Full of unique and fun things and each shop has it's own flavor. It's not like you start to see the same thing shop after shop. One of my 'surprise' finds was this wonderful yarn store above one of the shops. I didn't even know that it was there. It had great yarn and lots of yummy seating that, if I would have had the time, I would loved to have curled up and knit away.

Berries being in season was another delightful surprise! We had fresh raspberries everyday. On our way out of town, we stopped and picked up some to bring home with us. (Again to 'share'.) We bought them right from the gal that was out in the bushes picking them to sell on the street corner in town that day (where we had usually picked them up).

And home we came. It was time. We were rested and refreshed and ready to return. (LOVE being back home with the kids and the dogs... even if Sophie is naughty!!). I do know, however, that I will have times that I look on this picture (which is now my screensaver) and take a quick mental trip back to the place of perfect peace.

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cake 101

K has always LOVED being in the kitchen and has always wanted to pursue cake decorating; baking; etc... She did some research and has taught herself how to make fondant and use it to decorate cakes; cake balls etc...

She found a picture of a whimsical cake online that she wanted to make and so she got started. She made 3 circular almond cakes and then proceeded to teach herself how to make fondant. She got to play with lots of bright colors. The fondant actually reminds me of an edible playdough!!

So, after lots of coloring; kneading; rolling; and circle cutting of the fondant, she had created this happy cake!!! Just in time to celebrate her birthday tomorrow!! Happy Birthday K!!! (Thanks for making your own cake!!!!!)

I spent part of the day cleaning out the refrigerator. It had gotten fairly neglected over these past couple of weeks. (Found several 'science experiments' as we like to call them....) I also found these 3 containers of sour cream. (All pretty much full). Now the funny thing is, none of us really LIKE sour cream!! Their existence is still a bit of a mystery to me!

Also spent a bit of time on the hammock today with Sophie. (Was trying to catch up on a little sleep after going to the midnight showing of Harry Potter last night!). Sophie has learned that she needs a person on the hammock to make it possible to be on there. Quite the entertainment watching her attempt to get on the hammock by herself. Probably could win some kind of award on some funny video show.

We have had some beautiful sunny days here recently and hope they continue. I love to feel the warmth on my face.

Until Next Time....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life Is Not Always Easy....

That is just one of the truths that I have learned over the years. Sometimes life is hard. But I have also learned the incredible truth that God is good. It doesn't always FEEL good, however!!!

We have been walking through a difficult few weeks. (Hence the blogging absence - Well, that and the fact that our internet provider informed us they can no longer provide service for us unless a couple of large trees come down on the property down the road. This probably would have happened in the storm that hit our town Friday had we been located a mile North of where we are).

But we are coming through on the other side. Through it all, Sophie has been a source of laughter and licks. (Laughter ALWAYS appreciated; licks not so much!!) She has decided she is a hammock dog. It took a bit for her to get the hang of it, but once she did, she was hooked!!

She let K know how much she appreciated helping her transition from 'non-hammock' dog to 'hammock dog'. Oh yeah, can't you just feel the love?

Sophie is also busy keeping watch over Sumo, who is almost aging before our eyes. We've spent more time just loving on him; brushing him and taking him on an occasional walk up the road. (Still one of the highlights of his life).

It's corn season in more ways than one. I am looking forward to my first sweet corn of the season, as I was unable to eat any last year due to the absence of my front tooth. I can't wait for my first bite!!! It is also nearing the beginning of 'detasseling' season. If you are not from Iowa (or another state that grows corn), detasseling is the thrilling work of walking up rows of corn and pulling the tassels off the top of the stalks. Yep. It's not real exciting, but it pays well, and for A that is important as he has not been able to land a summer job. Will keep him busy for the next 3-4 weeks.
Well, gotta run. Busy day.

Until Next Time...