Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blue and Gold means cakes

I remember when I was a little girl my brother making cake for The Blue and Gold dinner. He got to decorate it himself.  It must be something every little boy (and girl for tha matter) wants to try.

 My boys were really excited when they were told they would need to bring a cake to the dinner. We were told we only needed one cake per family but each boy wanted to decorate their own. I had thought to just make one cake but divide the batter between two pans but Henry wanted a vanilla cake and Ian wanted chocolate. I ended up helping them each make their own cake.

I was a little surprised Henry wanted to put borders on his cake. But he actually did a pretty good job making little stars or flowers all along the bottom edge.

 And then along the top edges he put another bunch of little stars.
 He wanted to write on the top so  I had him first trace the letters into the icing with a toothpick and then follow his marks with the yellow icing.

 It turned out great!

Then on to Ian's chocolate cake.
 His chocolate icing ending up slightly grey because I threw in a bunch of blue frosting from Henry's cake because my powdered sugar supply was depleted.  He didn't seem to care and just thought it looked a bit like mud.

 He too put a few little stars or pressed blobs of blue along the bottom edge of his cake.

 He wasn't nearly as careful and neat about his work but he sure had fun.

 He also gave writing a try. He didn't wait to use the toothpick to prewrite the letters so his ended up a little more free.

He was quite proud of his work.

 So while the boys were having a grand time decorating the girls were busy watching and waiting until they could take a few tastes of the left over frosting. The chocolate frosting tasted great on animal crackers.

 But after all that sugar they wanted some salty snack too. So pretzels were brought out.

Here are their finished cakes on the table at the Blue and Gold dinner. There was plenty of cakes at the event and even though everyone had a sample of several different cakes. We still ended up bringing a lot of cake home.  We may be eatting it for a few days.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Simulation - Earthquake

Sophie's Mid-term for one of her online classes was for our family to put on a simulation. We were to pretend to have an earthquake and then spend the rest of the day with no power, water or gas.

I am not much of an actress but when I "started the simulation" by saying "Earthquake". The kids ran under the table. Ian who had been laying on the futon just rolled onto the floor. As a result her ended up having a broken arm because something "fell" onto him. 

 We had to doctor him up as well as we could using what we had available. Henry had a "head injury" and we had to help him stop some bleeding and bandage him up a bit. We reviewed a few other first aid things they may need to remember and then the kids wanted to do the house inspection. We went to find the gas turn off and such and only discussed what to do but didn't actually turn anything off.

 We dug out and looked through our suitcase of camping and emergency supplies. I hate to call it a 72 hour kit. It isn't really all that well planned and it gets raided on occation so it was good to pull it out and look through it.
 Even the cat was interested in what we were doing.
 Since it was afternoon when our earthquake occured. Sophie sent a text to her father to let him know we were all doing fine (except for the head injury and the now miraculously healed broken arm). This was the first time Sophie had sent a text so it was good practice. I hadn't ever texted either until we moved here a few months ago. But in an emergency it would be the most likely way to talk to someone else.
 So after all the initial excitement the bordom set in. With no screens to look at the kids felt rather bereft. The played a few of the board games we have.
 Read some books.
 I had to take Molly for a walk because she couldn't say cooped up in the house. I guess you could say we were inspecting the neighborhood for damage.
 When we came back Sophie had her sewing box out and was working on another project she is supposed to be working on for school. She is making felt flowers to go along with a Civil War unit they are currently finishing up.
 The kids wanted something fun to do so I decided we could take our little sterno stove outside and boil some water. We took it to the far side of the backyard away from the house just in case there was "a gas leak". In our emergency supplies we have a few backpacker's dehydrated meals and I thought we should give one a try.

 Sterno takes a long time!

 Sophie, Molly and Ian had to go take a break from watching the pot and played some on the trampoline.
 Henry just waited and waited. He is a fire guy and didn't want to miss anything. They fun really got going when I made a quick trip inside and found some marshmellows and forks. We only had mini marshmellows so we had to put a few on a fork at a time and then held them to the heat.
Look at these grins and giggles. Aren't we supposed to be having a  disaster?! I guess you can have fun even while suffering from lack of screens.  Funny how marshmellows will bring out the smiles.
 Once the pot was out of the way. It had finally boiled and we added it to the camping food packets. Now it needed to sit for 10 min. So that gave the kids ample time to toast more marshmellows.
 These tasted really yummy. I didn't have any gram crackers or else I would have brought out the chocolate chips for smores. We stuck to just the marshmellows.
 The camping food ended up being too gross to eat. I guess I should have checked the expiration date. It was 4 years past it's date. We settled for mandarin oranges and granola bars for dinner. We did try the dehydrated ice cream too. It wasn't too bad. It was only 1 year past it's expiration.
After our oh so boring dinner we needed to clean up so the boys talked their dad into getting out the camping stove and boil a pot of water that way. It was much faster and they washed the few pots silverware that we had used.

When the sun went down and we had to get out the flashlights and lanterns.
 We had a few good rounds of Uno around the cozy light of the lantern.
 When there is only a few light areas in the house the family tends to all stay together.

And then went and got ready for bed. We were happy it was only a simulation and that we could wake up the next morning and have our power and water back.

We are certainly going to be revisiting our emergency supplies. We need to keep rotating the food in the kit. It is a good thing we still had access to the pantry and cabinets or we would have gone to bed hungry. We also need to have a good first aid lesson. When the injuries aren't real it was hard to see how they would acutally react but I know we could all use a good review of what we need to do for different types of injuries. With the drought in CA we have been adding lots of water to our storage so water was not something we worried about thankfully. We would have enough to last us for a number of days.

The simulation is something the kids want to do again. We decided we should do something like this evey year or so to help us review our food storage and 72 hour kits.

Our simulation only lasted about 9 hours. We could have gone longer but we have so many things in our schedule it was hard to even squeeze in the 9 hours.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day

I almost never pie. These yummy desserts are usually made by others for holidays and such. I just come and enjoy. So in honor of Pi day I figured it was time to make one. I was going to make berry pie since I have some frozen berries that I could use. I love berry pie! But when I asked the kids if they thought that would be alright Ian imediately chimed in that he would prefer lemon.  I didn't have any lemons but we were headed to the store so we picked up a few lemons for our treat. 

Ian helped me make the lemon filling and the merange. 

 It came out of the oven looking pretty good.  Ian thought my fluted edges weren't and well done as when my Mom does it. I know I am no pie master so  I was pleased with what I was able to do.
When I cut into it a few hours later and served it for guests that we had for dinner I didn't hear any complaints! Every plate was scraped clean.

We celebrated Pi day a bit early since Friday is going to be rather busy and since we were having guests for dinner  I knew pie would be a great thing to serve after. I didn't hear any complaints about it not actually being Pie Day. I guess I should attempt pie more than once a year. I also should probably pick up another pie plate. I only have one. I had thought of making the berry pie as well but then realized I only have one pie dish. It hasn't see action enough for me to notice.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Celebrating our Heritage at the Celtic Faire

On Friday we took a field trip. There was a Celtic Faire going on and we thought it sounded like a great thing to do with our cousins. So we went to learn and experience all things British, Irish, Scottish and even some Viking. That is where our ancestry come from. We have many Scotts, British, Irish and even Welch in our family tree. 

 There were certainly a lot of people dressed up in Medieval dress. There were even a few dragons breathing fire.
 What would a Celtic faire without some background bagpipes.  This many had a whole workshop about the pipes and explained a whole lot about how they work. I had no idea there were so many reeds involved!

We also heard an Irish band play some folk songs and watch some dancers do some scottish jigs. Somehow I missed taking pictures of them. I guess I was too interested in the dancing.

 I think the highlight for the kids was the Joust.

 These knights had a hard time fighting through all the mud. Evidently the bit of rain we recieved this week wrecked havic for these poor horses.
 Here is the queen and her court. I thought she was supposed to be Mary Queen of Scots but now looking at the pictures and seeing the lady with the red hair I guess it is supposed to be Queen Elizabeth I.
 The kids each took turns putting eachother in the stocks.
 I was surprised by how many hands on type booths there were. There were chances to try on chainmail and armor.

 That is almost 60 pounds of chain mail Sophie has on.
 There was a guy walking around with a black bear skin and the girls all called him Furgus and the bear was Mordu.
 Here is Ian in some Viking armor. It was made of leather.
 Henry found some horns.

 This lady was weaving on this tiny loom. She was making trim for her dress.
 The kids loved getting to handle all the different types of weapons at each of the different booths.
 And we finished off the day having some traditional Fish and Chips for lunch.
It was a fun trip to the faire.  The kids all think they need kilts or cloaks so they can dress up for next years trip to the Celtic Faire.