4/29/2008

A Beautiful Wedding

On Saturday April 26th our Oldest daughter and last child was married to her best friend!!! We are still in Hawaii.
Here are four of the five flower girls---all of our sweet grand daughters.
I was so happy to be able to make their dresses and think they turned out very well! Ryan and Sarah!!
Sarah with her bridesmaids and flower girls. The last two on the right are our daughters Bethany and Brianna.
Mom and Dad with the Bride!!
The day was cloudy and there is a lot of "VOG" which is smog from the active volcano's eruption of gases. The locals say this hasn't happened since the early 20's. But all the sunshine was on the beach anyway!

The ceremony was beautiful and very special. Ryan's family all made it from Alaska and all of our children and spouses and girls were here as well as my Mom and my sister in law.

We keep saying "all our children are married" Each and every one of them have all married such amazing partners. They all complement each other so well. . We are so very blessed. Then you add in the grand daughters and we can't say enough about how much we love them.

We spent the entire first week all together in a big house across from the beach.
I will post more on our family week together and preparation for the wedding.
In the meantime we are enjoying the last few days of our vacation and are relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

4/09/2008

No ONE GOT SICK OR BURNED!!

Monday was our weekly gathering of the "Li'l Artists". They get to choose a project once a month. They wanted to bake their own cakes and cupcakes and decorate them.
Okay, in my mind's eye, I saw pretty decorated cakes with lots of pretty trim and flowers etc made from icing. I have had to keep reminding myself this is the kids' work. They need to explore and do what they need to do.
keeping up with the rule "this is YOUR ART you need to make it the way it feels right to you. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing." So off we went.
There were nine members this week--we have picked up another girl who changed the dynamics drastically with her presence. She needs a lot of TLC so I think she is in the right place.

I had plied the table the day before with my little helper's aid. We had icing, icing tint, decorating tubes and tips, a gazillion sprinkles, dum dum suckers, candy melts, walnuts, coconut, almonds, choc chips etc.

When the girls and Cameron arrived they all rushed to the bathroom to wash their hands. We had two mixers going constantly and lots of chatter. I had everyone remember to read the directions before they did anything!!
I let everyone do their own measuring and mixing and helped a few with pouring. There were some interesting color tints to the batter and lots of color tints to the cans of frosting they brought!!!
Winter did not want any frosting at all on her cupcakes. She said most of her family did not like it or if they did she would let them frosting them themselves.........she did one for herself.
Macey was making her cake for her mom and did not want to ice the sides.
She is an only child and everything is for her mom. In the end her friends encouraged her to add frosting to the sides.
these two cakes were very trying actually. Tiffany wanted a double layer cake. Sure we can do that. She mixed and measured and put her cakes in the oven. Ten minutes later she was telling me about how one is cherry chip and one is strawberry. I caught the fact she had made TWO separate cake mixes and poured each batter into just ONE 9' inch round pan. About that time half the girls were in the kitchen yelling "There is a fire in the oven!! Quick it is pouring smoke!"
John was home by now and he rushed in and I met him at the oven. I hit the fan and someone opened the slider and kitchen window. The batter was spilling over onto the oven elements and catching fire sending smoke out.

So we carefully turned the pans away from the elements so they would drip onto the foil lining the bottom of the oven. We tried to keep it cool and calm and also remember Tif's feelings. I think she felt really bad.
Her Mom had told her to make them that way. After we got that taken care of she remembered she had forgot to spray her pans!!!!!!!!!! I felt so bad. I had no extra cake mixes to let her start over.

Then while I was helping someone else she decided her cakes had cooled enough. She was in tears when half her cake lay on her carboard base in pieces and the rest was stuck to the pan. So we worked it out as best we could. We managed to make two separate layers......not the two layer she had really wanted. We sort of used the frosting to glue the crumbs together and then she decorated them with chocolate icing and other stuff. Someone had decided to not use their strawberries they brought so she used those.

It was a good lesson to pay attention to the directions and to try to repair what went wrong. She is such a hard worker and supporter of everyone else. I loved how they all rallied around her buoying her up with ideas and stories of their own 'not so perfect baking incidents.'

John is the greatest. He cut out cardboard and covered it with foil so the kids had something to put their cupcakes and cakes on to get them home.
He is sooo supportive of the kids and especially me.

It is cute when he pulls up from work. There will be a call that echoes around the house "John's home John's home" They all think he is great too.
He talks to all of them and always complements whatever they are doing.

These are Tiffany's cakes.

When they had all left John said he hoped the parents would appreciate all the work the kids did and eat their stuff no matter what it looked like!!

Serena made one batch of cupcakes and one small cake. Everyone loved using the dum dum suckers!
Mikyla made an M for herself. She is very withdrawn and when her parents show up she stops any talking at all.
Everyone busy at work.
yellow cake mix is disquised with icing tint to become turquoise.
they are topped with blue coolwhip and pineapple frosting and a dum dum of course.


Cameron is the only boy right now. He is a 'let's get to and get it done kind of guy".
His cake got frostened on the top and then he added a liberal 'dump' of chocolate sprinkles and said I'm done can I go home now?" His grandma lives across the street. So I carried it over for him.
Big sister Gabi wanted a sheet cake and she tinted her frosting coral.
serena couldn't quite get the hang of filling her cupcake holders 2/3 full but she was very proud of them!!
IN two and a half hours we baked 6 cakes and 3 double sets of cupcakes.
They were decorated and iced and out the door. I wanted to change my name half way through and I remembered the good old days when it was 'mommy mommy mommy' and it made me smile so big. Serena always likes to pat my arm while she is trying to get my attention.
I was proud of the fact girls could put their cakes in the oven and remove them without anyone getting burned. It is three days later and I HAVEN'T heard that anyone got sick from their baking. I know they all had a good time. I was exhausted but I keep smiling when I think about the fun and the stuff that went out the door.

4/06/2008

Adding New Dimensions To My Life!!

HI Everyone!! I certainly hope that Spring is showing up in some parts of the world!! We have had snow almost every day this past week. It is wet and melts by the end of the day and then starts all over again.

I wanted to share some photos with all of you.

I have missed working with children so much since I haven't been able to work. It has taken me several years to come to terms with the fact I won't be returning to gainful employment.

I LOVE kids and our grand daughters are all so far away. I miss them terribly. There are some neighbor kids who seem to keep flocking to my door to visit. They always want to 'make something'. But they were coming several times a week and staying several hours. I was gettting tired but I Loved every minute of it.

Bethany, one of our daughters, suggested I have an art class one specific day a week. Every Monday for the past 6 weeks I have been holding 'ART DAY here at the house. I have 8 children from 6-11. One boy comes with his sister. They are very familiar with our house and myself. They spent all last summer playing with our two grand daughters when they were living with us.
The kids picked their own name... Li'l Artists.......and we wrote up a list of rules. They decided on most of them....... like....... don't criticize your own art; don't criticize someone else's; be respectful to each other, don't waste supplies, respect ME and my cats--and always be nice to John when he comes home.......isn't that cute? We have about 15.

The parents got a list of the rules as well as rotations for who brings a snack when.
I love each and every one of the girls. I have some who are very artistic/creative and some who want to make a bunch of something and hurry through their projects not caring what they really look like.

I truly think two of them are in 'at risk' families so I am happy to be a "new ear' for them.
Every week I have a new project and no one has complained about anything we have done yet. My big goal for the summer, when they will come longer hours, is that they have a garden in our back yard. Our yard is huge and I am going to make a big area for them. Tomorrow we are planting flower and veggie seeds indoors. Then when we come back from Hawaii, we will plant outdoors. Each child will have their own area in the garden. They will weed for 15 minutes each week when they arrive. When their flowers bloom they can come and pick them any time. We will dry some of them for future projects.
When the veggies are ripe they can also come and pick them to share with their families.
This past week the kids were on Spring Break from school. They brought pictures of their Moms or themselves to give their Moms a gift for Mother's Day. I copied the pictures then we glued them to card stock. I had several dress patterns for them to trace. Then they picked out fabric and doo dads and what nots. In between we took a break and made brownies.
Macey did her family. Isn't that sweet?
Everyone got a turn in the kitchen.
We spent one class working with fimo and sculpting animals.

Pretty paper flowers were this project. Many of them p icked the colors of their rooms so they could put them in there.


Two weeks ago it was actually nice out and no snow!! They love taking a break and running laps in our back yard!!! Go figure!!
We decoupaged cigar boxes and the girls really liked that. My motto is "IF you aren't making a mess, you aren't having enough fun!"
Oscar came with his two cousins and made this doll of his mom. He drew the heart on her chest and said "my mom's heart is full of love for me."
I wanted to cry he was so emphatic. He will visit occasionally in the summer.
I supply all the stuff that is needed for projects and sent a list parents could donate if they want. Or they can send cash donations for 'stuff'. I have received $5 so far and two moms sent small bins of useful 'what nots'. I know several cannot afford to pay and I do not need the money. I am doing this to give something back to my community and to work with the kids. I am getting as much out of this as they are.
The girls work hard when they are here and hate to go home. Every Sunday since we started there is always someone who comes over to help me set up for Monday. They all help with clean up.


Tomorrow everyone is bringing a cake mix or ingredients to make a cake or cupcakes and frosting. I have decorating tips and all kinds of sprinkles and choc chips and lollipops walnuts, etc. I also have icing tints so they can color some of their frosting to put all sorts of fancy stuff on their baked goods.

I am also taking pictures as I am able every week. We are going to make our own scrapbooks and I will make copies for each of the girls to put in her own book.
John tells me I am much more animated on Mondays and that is a good thing. I have this to look forward to every week. I also have to make a sample of whatever we are doing to show the girls so that keeps me experimenting.

I have several mother tell me in person or over the phone that their kids LOVE being here and taking part in so many fun projects. They think it is wonderful to have a place to come and be creative. Their schools have cut way back on art.

Last week we went for a long walk--me with my walker and slow gait--but they just take it for granted and it isn't a big deal. We picked up 'found objects' came home and washed them all and will make a special project with those items and plaster of paris next week.

I will keep you updated on how it is going. I am especially excited about the garden. I will be sure and post pics when it is all planted.

Robins are chirping in the trees and I had John put up three birdhouses.
SO far they are unoccupied. We have had a wren family in one of them every year the past three years so I do hope they will return once again.
Sending Big HUGS to all of you!!!