Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homemade Butter

Look what we made yesterday!

Creatively Blooming: Homemade Butter

We have been checking out Laura Ingalls Wilder’s My First Little House Books from the library, and last week we read Winter Days in the Big Woods.


After reading about how Ma, Mary, and Laura churned butter, I told the kids that we could make our own butter too.

And yesterday was the day.

Charlotte was wiped out on the couch after playing outside in the beautiful warm weather with friends, but Trenton and I were ready to go.

I got a mason jar and poured some heavy whipping cream in (I filled the pint jar about halfway) along with a pinch of salt.

Then Trenton and I got to shaking.

Creatively Blooming: Homemade Butter
 Creatively Blooming: Homemade Butter

Trenton lost interest after about five minutes.  He complained about the jar making his hands cold.  That meant that Momma got to shake the jar for the next 15-20 minutes.  Talk about an arm workout!

It was amazing how one minute I was shaking really thick cream, and the next there was a big blob of butter in the jar with some buttermilk!

We took the butter out, rinsed it off, and put it out on a plate to eat with toast.

Creatively Blooming: Homemade Butter

By this time, Charlotte was waking up and Jarrod was walking in the door from school.  We all had a good time sampling our creamy delicious butter!

I covered the leftover butter and put it in the fridge after we were finished sampling.  It should keep about two weeks – if it lasts that long!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Space Shuttle and Moon Birthday Cakes

I was so excited with how Trenton’s birthday cake turned out for his outer space party.

Outer Space Birthday Cakes

I was pretty nervous about pulling this off.

I’ve done cupcakes (with help from my mom) for birthdays.

DSC_3877-1DSC_0268

But I haven’t picked up a bag or decorating tip in a long time.

JennyEasterCookies
Easter 1987 – Age 3 1/2

Okay, it hasn’t been quite that long.  I did decorate a cake back in college for my roommate's 21st birthday.  It wasn’t a masterpiece, but let’s be honest – no one really cares much about a cake at a 21st birthday party!

I did grow up watching cakes being decorated though.  My Nanny decorated all of her grandchildren’s birthday cakes for many years.  And she also made wedding cakes before arthritis set in.  So maybe I got some cake decorating genes from Nanny that helped me out with Trenton’s cake.

Anyway, this is where I got the idea for the cakes.

 nasa-shuttle-orbiting-earth-cake-13-21348330

The above cakes were made by stacking and carving 9x13 and 8” round cakes, but I did mine a little different.

For the shuttle, I used a Sara Lee frozen pound cake (regular size, not the big family size one), and cut it into the space shuttle shape.

DSC_3636_1

I then cut out a piece of cardboard that was the same size as the bottom of the shuttle plus wings.  I wrapped the cardboard in foil and slipped it under the shuttle.  I also cut a piece of cardboard for the back tail fin, wrapped it in foil, and stuck it into the back of the shuttle.

   From the beginning, I had planned on making the earth cake.  Then my aunt mentioned that Trenton would be “over the moon” about his birthday cakes.  Ding, ding!  The moon!  What an awesome idea!  So I ran with it.

To make the moon cake, I used Pampered Chef’s classic batter bowl. 

DSC_3772_1

I used approximately half of the batter from a boxed mix.  (It took nearly 40 minutes to bake.)  Once the cake had cooled, I turned it out and carved it a little to make a more spherical shape.

Outer Space Birthday Cakes

As far as icing goes, I used Wilton’s Buttercream Icing recipe.  I used the Step 4 variation for the stiff consistency.  But once I put some icing in my bag, it was like I was working with mortar!  I could feel my finger joints crying!  Out of the bag came the icing, and I added a couple extra tablespoons of milk.  Perfect!  And my joints loved it!

The entire shuttle was done using the star tip – other than NASA which was written with a round tip. 

The moon was the easiest thing I have ever decorated – other than getting the color right.  I wanted the color to be a lighter gray than I wound up with, but black coloring plus white icing makes purple for a LONG time.  So I wound up with a pretty dark gray.  I slapped the icing onto the cake.  It didn’t really matter if the icing job wasn’t perfect because once I had the moon cake covered in icing, I took a kiddie spoon and pushed it into the icing to make craters on the moon. 

I stuck a couple of astronauts and an American flag on the moon, and it was done!

Outer Space Birthday Cakes

(Four birthday candles went on the back of the shuttle.  If you do this, be sure to put something under the candles when you light them to catch dripping wax.)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Outer Space Birthday Party

If you remember back to our family Halloween costumes or just to Trenton’s answer in my last post about what he wants to be when he grows up, it should come of no surprise to you that he wanted to have an outer space theme birthday party.

He was definitely excited when he woke up yesterday morning and got to see the birthday cake creation I had made (more to come on this in another post).

Outer Space Birthday Party

I felt like Trenton was old enough to really help out with the big decisions for his party: theme, guest list, and the meal.  He only wanted to invite two families (his best friends if you read my last post).  And he wanted me to order pizza for dinner.  I hope he always makes it this easy for me!

We started out the party by making Mess Free Pour Paint Rockets.

 Mess Free Paint Pour Rockets

I found the idea here.

Then we headed outside to launch them. 

Outer Space Birthday PartyOuter Space Birthday Party

The slide was apparently a good launch pad.

The kids also played with the music fence and a stomp rocket that Trenton got for his birthday.

Is it a surprise that the dads had to recover rockets from the roof and a tree?

Outer Space Birthday Party 

Our pizza was delivered just as we made our way inside.  After everyone finished dinner, it was time for the cake and presents.  Thankfully our trick candles didn’t set off the smoke alarm or set the cake on fire!

Outer Space Birthday PartyOuter Space Birthday PartyOuter Space Birthday PartyOuter Space Birthday Party

The kids all played for a while before it was time to call it a night.  The kids weren’t the only ones having fun though.  It seems that The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game is a hit with all ages!

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

Trenton had a really fun fourth birthday party.  Thanks to our friends who helped make it a memorable one!

Now on to planning for Charlotte’s birthday two months from now.  She’s already got a couple ideas about what she wants!

Trenton is FOUR!

We have a four year old in our house!

Trenton woke up yesterday morning and came in our bedroom exclaiming, “I’m four now!  I’m four now!”.  He was a little let down when we went in the bathroom though.  He looked in the mirror and said, “I look like I did yesterday.  Why don’t I look four?”

I should show him these pictures.

4th Birthday

Creatively Blooming: Birthday Questionnaire - ask the same questions each year starting at age 3 and see how the answers change!

3rd Birthday

Creatively Blooming: Birthday Questionnaire

2nd Birthday

Creatively Blooming: Birthday Questionnaire

1st Birthday

DSC_0086

Newborn

IMG_4318

Gosh, our little boy is growing up too fast! 

Trenton loves building things, running around, playing outside, putting puzzles together, reading books, and making people laugh.  He gets very focused on what he is doing which is great, but it also gets him in trouble because he gets so focused that he doesn’t always listen.  He also doesn’t like slowing down.  Maybe we should find a track program to get him into! 

Trenton is always asking questions and wondering how things work.  “Mommy, what if it gets so cold that our engine freezes?  How will we be able to drive?”  I’m constantly getting peppered with questions like these.  Google and Daddy have to help me out quite often!

On to Trenton’s favorites.  I asked Trenton these same questions last year on his third birthday.  It was fun to see which answers changed and which stayed the same. 

What is your favorite color? Red
What is your favorite toy? Rocketship
What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries
What is your favorite TV Show?
WordWorld
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sushi
What is your favorite outfit?
Red Shirt & Blue Jeans
What is your favorite game?
Chutes & Ladders
What is your favorite snack?
Strawberries
What is your favorite animal?
Deer
What is your favorite book? The BIG Red Book of Beginner Books 
Who is your best friend?
Cullen & Bennett and Marian, John, & Daniel
What is your favorite cereal? O’s, Hearts, and Oatmeal Squares mixed together (FiberPlus Cinnamon Oat Crunch, Quaker Whole Hearts, and Quaker Oatmeal Squares)
What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Play on the slide
What is your favorite drink? Orange Juice, Blueberry Juice, and Water mixed together
What is your favorite holiday?
Easter
What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
My baby and my flashlight
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Cereal
What do you want to eat for dinner on your birthday?
Cheese Pizza
What do you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut

We’re looking forward to a great year with our little man!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Job With a View

What kind of job would give you a view like this from your kitchen window

Point Sur Light Station

and a walk down these stairs to get to work?

Point Sur Light Station

Well unfortunately, there is no current job that fits that bill.  But from 1889 until 1974, lighthouse keepers and assistants manned the Point Sur Lightstation.  (The lighthouse is now automated.)

Point Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light Station

They lived on-post on a large rock off of a remote section of California coastline.

Supplies were delivered by boat and carried up the rock by tram.

A schoolhouse, exclusively for the children living at the light station, was a steep walk down the rock followed by almost a mile of walking through a field. 

My friend Kate invited us to join her and her family on a tour of the light station.  (She will probably also be blogging about this, so be sure to check out her blog too.  Click HERE to read Daffodil’s.)

When we pulled up to the station, and I saw on the gate that this was a 3 hour tour, I’m not going to lie – I got a little worried.  I knew that it was a lot of walking (up a BIG rock), and since the tour was starting at 10:00, it would run right into lunchtime.

But guess what – all of the kids did really good!

Trenton loved being able to look through the binoculars that were handed out with the tour.

Point Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light Station

Just what was Trenton looking for with the binoculars?

Point Sur Light Station

Multiple pods of Gray Whales swimming south to calve!  We loved seeing all of the whale spouts!

Point Sur Light Station

And seals sunning on the rocks.  We saw some otters in the water too.

Once we got to the lighthouse building, all of the kids had to take turns yelling into a horn that was on display.

Point Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light Station

 We were able to walk up to the top of the lighthouse, check out the lens, and then go out on the catwalk.

Point Sur Light Station

We toured the lighthouse keepers house, looked through the gift shop/museum, and took in the beautiful views.

Point Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light Station

We were very fortunate that the weather was nice for our tour.  The guides went on and on about how rare today’s nice weather was.  They talked of how they used to carry around a wind gauge on tours – until it broke measuring 70mph+ winds on a tour one day.  Apparently it can get really windy on the rock!  And there was no fog today!  If you’ve ever driven Hwy 1 along the Big Sur coast, you know that fog is almost always what the forecast dishes up.  But today was crystal clear!  Lovely!

Thanks, Kate, for inviting us out today.  We had a wonderful time!

Point Sur Light Station