Recently in Colby Category

Each year Colby requests something nontraditional for her traditional birthday cake. We have had everything from cherry pie to doughnut cakes. This year was no different. She requested a sno ball cake. Indeed. A recreation of the famous Hostess sno ball snack cake.

For those not in the snack cake know a sno ball is a chocolate cake filled with creme and topped with pink marshmallow and coconut. Sounds - ummm - interesting, no? Yes!

This birthday cake is a Sno Ball for a grow up.

I am lacking in photos as I didn't have enough hands to complete each task and take the pictures so bear with me.

You can tell me to go suck it here and instead use a boxed cake mix and instant mousse if you want. It will still be fabulous! Everyone will still think you are genius and went out of your way for dessert. I won't tell. No hatin' here. It's all about the eatin'.

I baked a devil's food chocolate cake using a dome shaped pan I already had. The pan wasn't really half a sphere but if I could have found the cake pan I wanted it would have been! Instead of white chemical creme filling that needs to ripen 6 weeks before it is consumed I opted to change up and pipe icey cold creamy chocolate mousse as the interior filling.

Easy! Old Fashioned! You too can do it. You have to try this icing! You will have a moment of epiphany! It can even go a not completely cooled cake!

Next came the marshmallow icing.

The icing sounds complicated but it is really easy. Also super quick if you have a stand mixer that can do speeds high enough to break the sound barrier. Yay for Kitchenaid! BTW, I have it in red. :)

Marshmallow Frosting

1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Mix and bring to a boil. Allow to cook while stirring occassionally until the simple syrup reachs a soft ball stage.

While the syrup is reducing and reaching the 245° F-250° F stage separate 3 eggs. With a high speed mixer you want to beat the egg whites until they reach stiff peak stage. I don't go to a lot of trouble with egg white. A super clean bowl and beater, a pink of cream of tartar and whipping like there is no tomorrow.

Once the egg whites are whipped and the syrup is ready pour the boiling syrup slowing into the whipped egg whites while the mixer is on medium speed. Make sure you mixer bowl is deep as the icing will increase in volume right before your eyes.

Once the egg white and syrup are incorporated and before the mixture looses too much heat toss in a cup of miniature marshmallows. Crank up the speed and let the frosting whip until the marshmallows are melted and incorporated well.

You can leave it white or add food coloring. I added neon pink food coloring to mimic the sno ball color.

I used 3 duck eggs for my egg whites. They had never been refrigerated and where at room temp. This really is one of the tricks to having outstanding peaks when you beat the egg whites.

The icing is ready once the marshmallows are melted and well incorporated. It is an outstanding icing that holds it peaks and its volume. Even on a warm cake it won't melt and slide off. You really should try this one. I am sure it would be equally as awesome with flavoring added - lemon, almond, vanilla. Yumm!



Steven couldn't wait and blew out the candles before a photo and before Colby could take a deep inhale.


The cake was finished with shredded coconut and birthday candles. Please, if I ever teach you anything, for cake topping, garnishment, etc. please do not use cheap coconut. Pay the 50 cents extra and get the Baker's angel flake or another national brand like almond joy. You want a sweetened, moist flake not a dry shred.

 

Slicing into it you can see it is a lovely cake. It also tastes great. After a huge steak dinner with baked potatoes, asparagus, rolls and sauteed mushrooms and onions we barely had room for a taste of cake. We had to put off the cake for a while before we could manage to swallow a piece. Today it will be thoroughly enjoyed! I'll have mine with coffee.

 

I think the smiles and cake crumbles on the boys cheeks says it all.

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She was the prettiest baby I had ever seen.

10 days old

4 months old

12 months old

20 years old

I think she still is.

Happy Birthday, Colby!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

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Blow Out

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Yesterday was an attempt to finish the last little piece of baseboard that needed painting and the small window frame. A trip to Lowe's was needed for a couple little things. NOTHING went as planned yesterday. Nothing. Colby had a tire blow out yesterday. She was on a busy 8 lane highway. Thank heavens she was in the far right lane when it happened. The truck tire blew out and threw her into the curb. Hitting the curb peeled 1/4th of the rim away from the rim body.
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Cell phone photo.
She called me crying and not knowing what to do. She was not hurt. That is the good news. The bad news she was too far away to limp into a service center. I called a tow truck. I got her to the tire center. The back tire and rim, shot. The rim and the front tire is too damaged to use as well from slamming into the curb. 2 rims + 2 new tires = Entire first paycheck. What a rude welcome to the real world of adult life.

Working Girl

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Yesterday was Colby's second day as a working girl. She had departmental orientation for most of the morning. After she had to be custom fitted for a duck billed mask as protection when working with tuberculosis patients. So everything is fine. The mask is going well. The person fitting her for the mask sprays her with a saccarine mist to test the integrity of the mask. Within 5 minutes Colby's face has begun to swell. Her neck, and cheeks are covered in rising welts and her eyes are watering and swelling shut. She had an allergic reaction to the mist. She spent the rest of the afternoon being shuttled to and from associate wellness centers, pharmacies and her working department being treated for the acute allergic reaction. She was then sent home with Benedryl and prescription cremes. She slept three hours yesterday late afternoon and early evening. This morning the swelling is gone. The blotches are barely visible. My little girl has been at her first grown-up job since 6:30 am. She loves it.

A Night Out

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Saturday night we went to a corporate 'holiday' party. Yes, I know it is January. It seems MANY companies have their holiday parties in January in D.C. It must be easier to rent the ballrooms AFTER the holidays in question because nearly every nice hotel was crawling with party goers. Saturday morning I went out looking for a pair of black heels. I haven't worn heels since before I got pregnant with Steven. I ended up at Payless of all places and found a simple pair of black heels. Everything I own is opened toed and I really thought a closed toe was better with the outfit I was wearing.
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Palllazo pants with side split and new black heels.
I wore a red blouse/jacket type thing that I bought myself before Christmas as a gift to me. I popped in the shop after finally getting a pair of shoes yesterday and found the silver/grey similar styled blouse on clearance and then 40% off that price so I picked it up and brought it home too. I have no idea when I will ever get to wear it.
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I find this to be a very elegant red.
The only thing I have to show for the incredible night view of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial is this shot of the back of Steve's head. The flash would not turn off! so you can guess I nearly blinded him while he drove us along I-395.
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If only you could see the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.
I did get a photo of the second tunnel on I-395 before we got lost and ended up on New York Avenue down SW way. Holy Moly.
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Second tunnel on I-395.
We were not the only party goers with poor directions. Many people said the directions issued with the invites sucked. But evenutally we found ourselves where we were supposed to be somewhere along New Jersey Ave. in a hotel ballroom. The employees were given $125k in poker chips. Each $25k was worth one raffle ticket. We ended up with $625k in chips at the end of the night. We planned blackjacked and nothing else. Lots of drinks and lots of food. It all flowed freely. The DJ man looked like Jerry springers long lost brother. The games was a large screen TV. People danced. Several women looked to be one drink away from hugging the porcelain throne. It was a fun night. I enjoyed meeting everyone. However ... How do so many very skinny and pretty young 20-something women end up with cellulite clear down to their ankles? Who never taught them that strapless dresses do require undergarments because small saggy breasts make your dresses look cheap. Why do they not comb their hair? I mean seriously when did a hot mess become fashionable? Aside from critisizing their appearance I met several very sweet young women. I also learned that my 'sweet gentlman' husband has been charming these women into submission. They gush over him. They smile so sweetly and offer to get him drinks. They stand behind him and watch him play blackjack. One had a complete startled look when she found out I was his wife. It would be so easy to get upset over this behavior but I know why they fawn over him. He uses his manners while talking to them. I witnessed much less-than-polite behavior from others toward these young girls/women.
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Steve and his other wife, Angie. Jennifer is not pictured. :-/
One thing that will never die from this night out - our first nice night out in over two years - Steven introduced me as "Jennifer" - as in "This is my wife Jennifer" as I shook the hand of a nice young woman. This was about the 6th or 7th time he was introducing me to someone new. Each time he did suavely and with perfection. This time - ummm not so suave. I shook her hand and said, "Hi, I am Angie, Steve's other wife." Hahahaha! Enough about us. Look who is working.
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Colby before work.
Look who is climbing.
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Fuzzy photo as I quickly shot, put down the camera and rescued him from himself.
CLIMBING.

Good Eats

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If you have your wisdom teeth removed these are some things to have your mother make for you to eat for the next couple days. Make sure you tell her thank you. Roasted Potato Soup Tomato and Basil Bisque Broccoli and Cheddar Soup Tapioca pudding Chocolate pudding Jello Fruit and Yogurt Lots of icey cold drinks After eating these good things and realizing that you have to eat some things that need to be chewed so you can exercise your jaw you can then whine and be on the verge of tears about how mean and hateful your mother is.

License to Drive

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When I was a teenager at the ripe old age of 15 I went down to the local Armory where the Georgia State Patrol had a tiny office and took the written portion of the driver's test and got my learner's permit. During the school year I took a driver's ed class because I needed a class to fill a slot and I was really looking for a class I didn't have to do anything in that was remotely like real school work. Back in those days the gym coach(es) did the driver's ed and I can still spot one of those guys from a hundred paces. The following summer when I turned 16 I went down and took the driver's test and got my license. So all told I have been driving for the past 25 years. (That is -25 years after my birthday on Sunday.) When I drove a school bus the licensing was very similar to that of my 16 year old self. I had to drive a route, parallel park, back through cones, safely park on an incline, etc, etc. Long gone are those days. Imagine my surprise when we moved to Virginia to find that in order to get a driver's license you had to go to an accredited driver's school course AND be approved by the circuit court. It was such a pain in the ass of jumping through hoops for a person who was homeschooled we just sort of let it ride. Colby waited until she was 18 to get her learner's permit. It was far less of a hassel plus she was intimidated by the traffic up here. Driving in northern Virginia scared the beejesus out of her. This summer she called around and got herself into a driver's school. What a freakin headache that turned out to be. Several school's did not ever bother to call back. We called so many places it is unbelievable. Finally one guy called back. The guy was (and is) an arrogant, condescending asshole of gigantic proportions. He was (is) a loud mouth know it all. The minute I looked at him I told Colby I would bet just about anything he was or once was a high school gym coach who had to do driver's ed for the school as part of his contract. After three lessons, and I mean lessons from hell, lessons where he would not return a phone call for a week and a half even though he had our money. Lessons where he was supposed to pick her up and drop her off but always found a reason or a way to get someone to meet him at some place nearby. Lessons where he was rude and down right nasty. Lessons where other parents were VERY upset with his verbal bashing of their kids but what can you do when the only way to get your kid a driver's license in this state is to complete the driving school and have the certificate approved and filed in the county circuit court. Lessons that really where NOT lessons because he did not teach the kids how to drive he monitored their skills and they only got drive about 30 minutes for maybe 7 'lessons'. So anyway. Yesterday was Colby's lesson #3. He called me about 20 minutes into her driving and said "Colby is doing well. There is no need to continue on. Take her to the DMV and let her take the test. I think she will pass." He did not sign off of her license. He seemed to want to wash his hands of having to come out this far for another 4 lessons. I did not think she drove nearly well enough to get her license. But I took her to the DMV anyway. On the way there she told me he made a comment about before he opened his own driving school he was a high school gym coach who had to teach driver's ed as part of his contract. Ha! I knew it! She passed. (She didn't even have to parallel park!) I have NEVER in my life been more worried about my child than I am at this very moment. People get killed in car accidents every single day. I will have no control over what happens when she is driving alone. I do not want her to drive alone. I am scared shitless someone will hurt my child because people up here drive like insane maniacs. People cause accidents because they are overly aggressive. I am scared to death for my child to be on the highway driving alone in this mess called traffic. Anyone who lives up this way can vouch for the insanity that is Metro D.C./Northern Virginia traffic. I have never seen anything like this traffic in any other place I have ever visited -not even check-in day at OBX. I am going to need a prescription for valium to get me through this period in life where I have to let her go out on her own in car. Maybe 2 prescriptions. It is 2:17am. I am awake worrying about this right now. My head hurts. So does my chest.

Nineteen

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Make sure you visit us over at Mamarazzi. Updates daily.
******
Last night I woke up several times and looked at the clock. 10pm - Nineteen years ago my water broke. 11:30pm - At the hospital, trying my best to have some dignity during natural childbirth when I was little more than a child myself. At 20 what do we really know about life? 12:25am - A baby girl was wrapped in a blanket and placed in my arms. She blinked up at me with those dark newborn alien eyes. Searching my face. She took my heart in that moment. The best gift I had ever been given.
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Pink roses on a white cake, similar to her first birthday cake, only her first birthday cake was from Smoake's Bakery and it is now closed and you can't get the most magnificent cake in the world any longer. It has nineteen pale pink candles to blow out.
Last year was a very important birthday. The big 18. Legal Adult. Registered voter. Driving. Finished high school. Started college. So many milestones to look forward too. It was all new and exciting. On the brink of a brave new chapter in her life.
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Nineteen balloons.
This year. Not really a milestone. The last year as a teenager. But not a big birthday like 21 is. Yet one very much looked forward too by the birthday girl. She has finished her first year of college. She is planning and preparing and really moving into adulthood. It is not a day dream or fairytale. Her life is taking shape. She is guiding her own ship into her own future.
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Nineteen birthday cards.
I am very proud of her. This young woman. My baby. My first love. I fell in love with her all those many years ago with just one glance and I am still in love with her to this day. I am smitten. She takes me by surprise and leaves me speechless with her intellect, her wit, her humor and her perfect timing with the perfect comeback lines.
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Nineteen doughnuts in a 'cake' with nineteen candles to blow out for birthday breakfast.
Where does all of this time go when it passes us by? How can nienteen years have slipped up on me and I saw it coming but it didn't register?
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Nineteen presents to open.
Why have I been teary eyed the past few days? I look at her and a lump forms in my throat. I try to swallow it away or I turn my face until the tears can be blinkled out of my eyes. I am really having a hard time with this new age. Next it will be twenty. Then some boy will come along and sweep her off her feet and take her away from me. The next thing you know I'll be a grandmother for pete's sake. This has to stop right now! I don't like this circus ride. I want off. I need to catch my breath. Nobody told me nineteen years ago that today would be so very hard on my heart.
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And a birthday party baby to make it complete.
My oldest baby holding my youngest baby. Somebody please stop the world for a minute and let me get off. This is totally blowing me away this morning. My emotions are so strong I am completely overwhelmed. Last night we had birthday dessert because J. was here and it is important that she get to share in the celebration. This morning we had birthday breakfast. Saturday we will go out for sushi. Maybe there will be a few more surprises. You never know. The greatest surprise has been how hard it is for me to let her grow up. When did this young woman replace my tiny 7lb 1/2oz baby girl?
Happy Birthday, my sweet darling girl.
I love you, Colby.
Love,
Momma

The Slumber Boat **Updated

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Judy over at Just Ask Judy has been posting her sheetmusic collection. She posted one of my most favorites, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, a few days ago. Many of these old tunes I sing to my babies in place of as lullabyes. Some bring water to my eyes, some leave me smiling and some I can't remember all the words and humm the tune while I rock my babies. I do not have a nice singing voice. I wish I did. If there was ever a talent I wanted it was singing. My singing is so bad that Gracie would cry as an infant when I sang to her. As a toddler she would put her hand over my mouth and hush the words, "You no sing, Momma," she would say. When Colby was little we sang together and often loudly. As a baby she hated riding in her carseat and would cry and scream. As she grew older and could sit in a forward facing carseat nothing much changed except the screaming was quieted but the struggle to keep her in the car seat was monumental. I would sing and ask her to help me sing and remember the words to keep her occupied until I got to where we were going. BTW, Colby still finds it very funny when she remembers how Gracie would cry when I sang. The Hell?!? Kids aren't supposed to remember those things! I did not give permission! With this baby boy I don't know if he likes my singing. When I sing and humm he gets very still and wants to nurse. Either the singing is comforting or he is trying to escape in any way possible and sleep is easier than learning to get up and run away. For whatever reason the tunes come and go. Some long forgotten until a memory sets it off. That is exactly what happened the other day. Susie over at the Underpaid Kept Woman headquarters posted her interview with Bill Thomas, the writer of music for the Captain Kangeroo show. She noted a discussion with Mr. Thomas of runcible spoons (a pickle fork really) which made me think of The Owl and the Pussycat ... more specifically the first line:
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat ...
This line gave me just enough of a nudge that an old lullabye came to mind. I do not know where I first heard it. I have sung it for so many years now it was like an old friend suddenly decided to come to visit. If I had a beautiful singing voice I would do an audioblog so that you could hear the tune but I don't and I didn't and you can't. The Slumber Boat was written by Alice C. D. Riley and the music is by Jessie L. Gaynor. The copyright date is 1898.
The Slumber Boat

Baby's boat's the silver moon,
Sailing in the sky,
Sailing o'er the sea of sleep,
While the clouds float by.
Sail, baby, sail,
Out upon that sea,
Only don't forget to sail
Back again to me.

Baby's fishing for a dream,
Fishing near and far,
His line a silver moonbeam is,
His bait a silver star.
Sail, baby, sail,
Out upon that sea,
Only don't forget to sail
Back again to me.
I do love this tune. I sang it to my baby boy all day yesterday as he was having a bad day and finally he settled down and slept for a couple hours after we rocked and sang in the late afternoon. Did I ever tell you that lullabyes make me cry? They do. No reason that I know of. Just emotion spills out all over the place int he form of tears slipping down my cheeks. I am tearing up just thinking of it. I purchased the Jack Johnson cd, the Curious George Soundtrack, for Steven. I love his laid back voice. On a side note that has absolutely nothing to do with this post have any of you noticed that Jack Johnson looks like the little curious monkey named George? He does! If you go to his site, click films, bonus material and watch the Upside Down video. Love it! But these don't make me cry. Sing me a lullabye, leaving the words in the comments - won't you please? Perhaps one you sang to your babies or one you remember from your own childhood. I am in the mood for lullabyes. Updated to add: I found a website with the midi so you can get an idea of the tune to sing The Slumber Boat to your babies. The midi has a 1998 copyright. The song itself is public domain (as is most sheet music before 1923).

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