Wednesday, July 31, 2013

improvisation

figuring out how to accomplish specific designs is probably the most fun AND frustrating parts of making cookies and cupcakes.  well, for me at least.  a friend asked me for cookie favors recently and sent me this:


so i made the rounds, hitting up all of my favorite local baking suppliers in search of that cutter.  too bad for me that all that driving was completely in vain - nobody had it or had even seen it.  i didn't have time to order online, and so i went through my (embarrassingly extensive) stash of cutters to see what i might have to work with.

in the end, i decided i could use these with a few alterations:


and sure enough, with a little cutout here and there, i ended up with this.


i was happy not to have to mix up too many different colors for these.


and so they don't really look exactly like the example...but i think i got close enough.


the teen attended a birthday party this weekend for a "despicable me" fan, and asked me to help her make a fun treat to take.  her timing was perfect, because i'd just seen something that looked super cute and really easy to make.  and how convenient that i already had everything i needed, just waiting to be assembled.


after a first attempt, the teen realized that the white chocolate chips weren't working.  "smarties!  we need smarties, mom," she said.  voila.


do you see where this is going?


pa-POY!


makes me want to see the movie(s) again.  i love the minions.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a cautionary tale

the one thing that sucks the most about the bean watching anything other than disney junior is that no other channel is (mostly) commercial-free.  so whenever she's getting her spongebob fix, or checking out my little pony on something other than netflix, i'm subjected to "mommy!  oooh, can i have one of those?" every five minutes or so.

i guess i shouldn't really talk though, because i've definitely been suckered into my fair share of infomercial purchases.  there was tae-bo back in the day, along with some shitty victoria jackson makeup, countless kitchen gadgets that were a total crapshoot.  and so when my little ice cream fiend saw something called "ice cream magic" on tv and pleaded with *those* eyes...well, let's just say she caught me in a vulnerable moment.  and yeah, those aren't exactly few and far between.  shut up.

a solo trip to the mall one day in search of something for her to wear to an upcoming wedding also included a stop in a store that stocks nothing but "as seen on tv" products.  you know what happened next.  and the sheer joy on that little face was totally worth the $12.99 plus tax.

B

she read the directions to me, pored over the various flavor recipes, and begged her sister to go out and grab the few ingredients we didn't already have.  since the teen is just as much of a sucker for the bean as - well, any of us are, she found herself in the car heading to the nearest grocery store.  when she came back, they worked together and measured the stuff out to make the first portion of homemade, hand-shaken ice cream:  chocolate, of course.


and then they both took turns shaking the shit out of that thing for the specified three minutes.


i don't know what went wrong, but even after all that shaking the ice cream didn't quite turn out as it should've.  but the bean didn't care - she dug right in and claimed to love every goopy bite.


moral of the story?  if it sounds too good to be true...turn that damn infomercial off already.

you're welcome.

Friday, July 26, 2013

playdate fit for a princess (or three)

after the dance recital this year, we had a break from ballet/tap class that lasted for a couple of weeks.  because the girls have such a great time together (as do their moms), we decided to get them together for a really fun playdate at sweet & sasse princess tea parties.  granted, i still hate that business name with the fire of a thousand suns, but i knew the bean would absolutely adore a return visit - especially with her friends.

it'd been over a year since the first time we came here, but it hasn't changed a bit.  it's still really cute and super duper girly.  the bean felt compelled to drop into a curtsy when she walked in.  hey, why not?


she and sassy jr. had a great time riffling through the extensive rack of princess dresses, and although i would have bet money that she'd pick a disney dress, she surprised me and went the barbie route.


"oh, this ring and this bracelet will look lovely with my dress!"  not even kidding.  those exact words came out of her mouth at this precise moment.


she didn't have to be asked twice to take a seat and have her hair styled and glittered up.


oh, and let's not forget the matching high heels they selected.


well, come on now.  you knew there'd be at least one selfie in here.


how cute are these two?  i mean, really.


in the meantime, rocky and her girls (plus their older brother, the most patient 7-year-old boy i've ever met) had arrived.  while the bean and sassy jr. sat down and worked on a few simple crafts, rocky jr. and her little sister mini-roc got their princess treatment.  it wasn't long before the bean found the few masculine props that were tucked away underneath the princess dress rack.  on instagram, the caption for this picture was something like "this girl needs no stinking prince to rescue her."


oh, also?  the way she never passes up a chance to pose for a camera absolutely slays me.


unlike the last time, the girls were treated to a plate of snacks - mini chocolate chip cookies, gummy bears, and lemonade.  it was funny to watch the bean pick up her cup oh-so-carefully - pinky up, of course.


as they munched, they listened to a story.


and when that one was done, the bean decided she wanted to read a story to her friends.


before they transformed back into the little girls they'd arrived as, we managed to get a group photo.  i love how sassy jr. has her leg popped in this one.


i know there's been all sorts of backlash over the years about the whole "princess" thing.  people complain about how they don't want their daughters to grow up thinking that their looks mean everything, they need a prince in their lives, pink is evil, princesses are shallow.  horrors, they're anti-feminist!  blah, blah, blah.

honestly?  i think that's stupid.  these girls aren't going to grow up thinking that all they have to do is look pretty and find a cute boy to marry and live happily ever after.  they're going to be smart.  strong.  savvy.  successful.  independent.  incredible.  they'll rule the damn world, and don't you ever doubt them for a second.

besides, they've got mothers who won't ever steer 'em wrong.  trust.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

ROC-in' and rollin'

a couple of months ago, there was a really fun-looking 5K obstacle course in san diego.  from the looks of the website, the ROC ("ridiculous obstacle course", duh) race was totally that show "wipeout" brought to life for regular folks like me.  i was a little bummed that it was too far for me, but shortly after they wrapped that race up they announced that it would be coming to the OC.  um, yes please.

the only sucky part about registering for races like this that aren't particularly local to me is the fact that bib pick-up is generally close to the hosting venue on the day before.  this was no different.  and so i found myself driving down to fountain valley on a friday afternoon to grab my stuff.



the next morning, the hub and the girls piled into the car with me to head down to irvine for the race.  turns out it was being held at the old el toro marine air base, and it was weird and cool to park our car on what used to be a runway.


it was a huge space though, and perfect for something like this.


as my family took off in search of somewhere shady to wait for me, i made my way towards the start line.


it was pretty stinking hot.  just standing there, waiting to get started, i was already wiping away the sweat dripping down my face.  ew, i know.

after a short run, the first obstacle came into view: the "con-cree-stadores."  i'd seen something like this before a few months ago at the diva dash.



as i was panting and wheezing, trying to catch my breath from jumping over about 95 of these things (okay, not really, but there were a lot), i heard someone calling my name.  i turned and came face-to-face with one of the ladies i'd previously only "met" via the facebook page for a local moms' running group.  while i'm not usually into running races with a buddy, it was kind of fun to have someone to go through this one with.  and she was really nice, so there's that.

next up, the "belly flop drop."  although i was a rebel and slid down on my bottom instead of going down head first.



i actually attempted to take a video of me on the tarzan swing, but it didn't work.  oh, well.  let's just say i made it across, but not without getting my feet completely soaked in what was now muddy water at the bottom.


mile marker!


i lack decent upper-body strength.  lucky for me, my new friend was perfectly willing to give me a boost so that i could make it up and over this wall.



reggae music was blaring from the next obstacle, "cool runnings."  i picked up a tube to slide down on, ran up the ramp, and attempted to slide as gracefully as i could down the other side.  except that i picked up a lot more speed than i'd planned on - and stupidly had my mouth open as i landed into the pool of water.  i ended up with a mouthful of gritty, sandy water that also found a home in my eyes.  blech.



but hey - it was nice to cool off a little.  the sun was kicking my ass and i could feel it burning my shoulders as we trotted through the course.  "tire mile" (it wasn't quite that long, but it felt like it) and the tight rope traverse came next.  we managed to get through both obstacles without landing in any more muddy water, and found that we'd also completed the second mile.




in case you're wondering, "aqua drag" has nothing to do with dudes looking like ladies.  instead, it's basically an adult-sized inflatable slip-and-slide.  not wanting a repeat of the cool runnings obstacle, i ended up totally misjudging the speed i needed to get through this thing and came to a grinding halt about halfway through it.  when i say "grinding," i mean it - my right leg and knee were scraped all to hell up and down one side from rocks that found their way onto the slide.  ouchie.



i am useless on monkey bars.  i think i touched about two bars before i slipped off and scampered to the other side through - yup, you guessed it - a foot of muddy water.


at least the rest of the obstacles were really fun.  i had a blast jumping up and down on the world's biggest moon bounce.




the wrecking ball loomed ahead of us, just past the moon bounce.  the hub had texted me to let me know that he'd overheard people talking about making sure to get a wristband from the staff here to pick up a medal at the finish line.  and then chatter around us told us that we had to actually get all the way across without falling into the water in order to earn the wristband.  as we watched just about everyone on this thing lose their balance and fall in, i figured there was no way i was gonna get through it.



but i surprised myself as i took that first tentative step...and then another, and another - and found myself standing on the other end with nary a drop of muddy water on my person.


my friend managed to get across it too, except that when we went looking for those wristbands - the ones that you absolutely had to have to claim the bling - nobody knew what we were talking about.  big WTF to the organizers here.  hmph.

that's okay.  we were having a blast at this thing, and were almost done with just one last thing left to conquer.



do you SEE how tall that damn thing is?  holy crap.  i'd seen it at the beginning of the race and just about shat myself imagining going up that ladder and then sliding down.  but the adrenaline kicked in and after scampering up all those steps, i jumped up, landed on my ass, and went flying down that slide.  i gained so much damn momentum that i slid allllll the way to the very end of it.  hell, i almost fell out the exit.


fini.
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