Friday, November 21, 2014

a week in the life of the bean

the bean has had a busy week.  this is nothing new, but it's always fun to share, so there you go.

she kicked it off by drawing a picture based on dr. seuss' "the grinch" to enter into a contest at school.  i already know she's a fantastic artist, but every time she busts out something like this, i'm in awe at her talent.

then she and one of her longtime friends were one of several cheerleaders selected to start training as a "flyer."  that's the girl on top of the pyramid, in cheer talk.  she's not a particularly petite child, so i never expected her to be anything but a base in pyramids, and she is absolutely ecstatic at her new position.

the first awards assembly of the year was this week, and the teachers will let parents know if their child is going to be presented with a certificate for something.  i'm always super excited to receive that e-mail.  i managed to find a decent seat (which is no easy task, i tell you), but of course she was at the very end of the line and ended up being blocked by one of the teachers.  oh, well.

she won two awards - one for bible verse memorization (the whole class earned this one), and was one of two kids in the class selected for the citizenship award.

a couple of hours later, it was time for the first graders' thanksgiving feast.  they'd all decorated pilgrim hats to wear, and it was super cute.

she finally returned to jazz class after a long absence - out sick one week, at a mandatory dress rehearsal for show choir the next.  the sassy poses are always present, though.

we celebrated her triumphant return by making a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  she did most of the work - pouring, mixing, forming the balls of dough.

they're super delicious, in case you were wondering.  did you expect anything less?      

her beloved hula class is tonight, followed up by her second-ever meeting with the girl scouts.  and she's off all next week for the thanksgiving holiday.  almost all of her extracurriculars are cancelled for the week.  how on earth am i going to keep her busy for an entire week??  oy.                                                    

Thursday, November 20, 2014

it's okay to do christmas early at disneyland

remember a few months ago, when delovely details invited the teen and me to join them as guests at their annual passholder anniversary party at disneyland?  we received an invitation for our own party, and so we registered them as our guests.  we were excited to check it out, since it's already all decked out for the holidays.

happily, we experienced no difficulties in getting in.  although that could have been because we got there a couple of hours before the official start of the party.  we checked in here and received our blue wristbands.

since the party was on the disneyland side, we decided to enter california adventure and head towards cars land to grab something to eat at the cozy cone.

because we had heard about this:

i was a very happy camper indeed.  that's a bread cone filled with gooey mac & cheese and topped with bacon.  gimme allllll the carbs.

stuffed and happy, we decided to blow that popsicle stand and head over to check out the party at disneyland.  and our timing was just right, because we noticed that hordes of folks were gathered in main street for...something.  being a tuesday night, the crowds weren't gigantic, and so we stopped to see what was happening.

a few minutes later, we got our answer.

and because it was the special holiday edition of their fireworks show, when the pyrotechnics were done, it snowed.

because the majority of folks weren't there for the AP party, we found ourselves swimming upstream as they all headed towards the exit while we scampered towards tomorrowland for our favorite ride:

cast members at several points checked for wristbands, turning away those who tried to squeak by.  we just cruised right on through, walking all the way into the ride and screaming our heads off less than ten minutes later.

i was a little sad that we were too late to meet baymax from "big hero 6," but that's okay.  we didn't want to do that without the bean anyway.

i settled for this instead (no, i didn't buy one, just borrowed it for a second).

matterhorn had zero line.  we literally walked right onto the ride - on both sides.  yay!

the vast majority of parkgoers were in the back of the park, at the beautifully lit-up "it's a small world."

the line at big thunder mountain looked a lot longer than it actually was.  it moved really quickly, and the teen and i both wondered why they couldn't make it move that fast during regular park hours.

castle photos!  i love sleeping beauty's castle anyway, but during the holidays it's extra magical.

funny enough, the line at the starbucks on main street was probably the longest one we waited in all night.

the array of holiday treats was tempting, but we resisted.

this was good enough for us.

the parade was about to start as we were guzzling our coffee, so we sat down and watched.  because why not?  i mean, who doesn't love elsa...

or aurora...

and we shouted "happy birthday" to mickey as he passed by.  he didn't seem to hear us, but he IS 86 now.  he's an old dude.

SANTA!  i know him!

the teen decided to try something new and rubbed the lamp to hear what her future has in store.

(it was a waste of $.50, by the way.  don't do that)

the last ride of the night was indiana jones.  by then, we were toast.  the caffeine didn't quite kick in, and the party was almost over anyway.  we did stop in front of the tree on main street, though.

we received a parting gift on the way out - christmas ornaments in red and green with the annual passholder logo on them.  nothing special, and i don't even have a picture of it.  sorry.

i somehow missed the registration for another special disneyland meet-up next week, but that's okay.  i'm sure there will be more, and with the 60th anniversary in 2015, there will be lots of disneyland excitement to come.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

gold star(s) for you!

wasn't i just whining a couple of days ago about how i didn't have any cookies to work on?  because that didn't last long at all.  heh.

one of my oldest and dearest friends hit me up to make some treats for her daughter's TWO softball teams.  that girl is an animal on the field.  anyway, they're headed off to a big tournament, and armed with photos of their uniforms i whipped up four dozen of these:

right on the heels of that request came another for some cookies to give to two classrooms' worth of kids who'd met their AR (the accelerated reader program - you read a book from the list and take a quiz to assess your reading and comprehension and all that jazz) goal.  the bean is working on this too, and i'm trying to think of a fun incentive to get her to read lots of books and earn a ton of points.  her classroom's goal is 30 points by may, and she's already halfway there.  anyway, for these i got to make a stencil using my trusty silhouette die-cutter:

i flooded a shitload of simple round cookies with white frosting:

fueled up the airbrush with some shiny gold food dye, and was pretty pleased with my results.

using the school's colors, i added a little "yay, you did it!"

by midnight, i had a table covered in cookies, a sore back and a cramped-up hand.

i get asked all the time about how long the process is for this whole business.  here's a quick breakdown for making - oh, say a dozen custom cookies:

mixing the dough - about 5 minutes
rolling it out, cutting shapes, placing on baking sheets:  usually about 5-10 minutes, depending on whether or not i have to piece together a specific shape using various cutters
baking the cookies - 12 minutes
cooling time - about 25 minutes
mixing frosting, tinting in required colors, bagging - up to an hour
flooding - 15 minutes
design and detail work - up to an hour
drying time - overnight (at least six hours)
cutting ribbons and bagging - about 30 minutes

and then either i stick them in a box to deliver them locally or pack them carefully with an assload of tissue and bubble wrap, weigh the box, print postage and drive them off to the post office.

that's kind of crazy when i look at it all written out like that.  it's a good thing i love it, huh?
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