Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Methinks mine offspring hath too much spare time

Good Greetings, gentlereaders.  Prithee, mark thee this, by decree of the honorable Governor of the State of Nebraska, this day, April the 23rd, is Talk Like Shakespeare Day across the land.  By my troth, 'tis the truth. I do beseech thee, joineth me and bid thine honor to the great bard, himself, upon this, the 449th anniversary of his birth.  Perchance thou shalt discovereth thy new form of speech.  Or mayhap 'twould be folly.

Whew, I am apparently not as up on my "Shakespeare-ese" as I used to be.  If thou wouldst like to join in the fun, here's a few hints to add a Shakesperean flair to your speech today.  (borrowed from the Nebraska Shakespeare website)
  • Instead of you, say thou or thee (and instead of y’all, say ye). 
  • Men are Master, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin
  • Don’t waste time saying "it," just use the letter "t" (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t). 
  • When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth). 
  • To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore
  • When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!
  • When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.
  • Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.
 Many thanks to The Author for sharing this fun day with me.

But that's not all -- (do I sound like an infomercial?)  Today is also a big day in the Doctor Who fandom.  For weeks we have seen this on our calendar, courtesy of The Artist:
That's right folks, today is Tally Mark Day, honoring the 2nd anniversary of the debut of The Silence in "The Impossible Astronaut" episode.  What are The Silence, you ask? They're freaky creatures that cause you to forget them as soon as you look away:
from the Silence Tally Mark Facebook page
What was I saying?  Oh yes, I was going to explain The Silence.  They're freaky creatures that cause you to forget them.

What was that?  Oh yes, I was explaining The Silence.  They're freaky creatures . . .

Anyway, in the episodes the characters devise a system of making tally marks on their arms and faces to remind themselves that they have seen a Silence.  The Artist dutifully marked her arms this morning before school and The Author planned to mark her arms once she got to school.  I think I'll pass and let them have the fun today.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April blog angel - the halfway point


If you've been around for a while, you probably know that I love participating in the Blog Angel program.  Since Rosie adapted the program so you get to choose who you are an angel to each time, I have tried to reach out to blogs that I might not have discovered otherwise.  Sometimes I've used a blog that I've been paired with for an exchange of some sort, sometimes I just pick from the list of blogs that want to have an angel.  I really don't have a set plan for choosing, I just go with one that feels right at the time.  I do like to choose smaller bloggers so my comments don't just get lost in a sea of other commenters.  Plus I think it means more to support someone trying to get their blogging feet underneath them, so to speak.

This month I've been an angel to . . . wait, this is my halfway post.  I can't spill the beans yet!  Just know that I am trying to secretly brighten the blogging life of ______________.  You'll have to stop by at the end of the month to fill in the blank.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cake Boss cakes: a review

A few months ago we discovered TLC's Cake Boss on Netflix.  It quickly became a family favorite, especially for Little Miss Sunshine.  She celebrated her birthday this week and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try a Cake Boss Cake.

I should mention that I am not a big cake purchaser.  I'm usually a "throw a box mix together and make some homemade buttercream to cover it" kind of mom.  Sometimes I've splurged on Costco cakes for birthdays, but we typically go the homemade route. 

We have several stores where they are supposed to be available, so the morning of her birthday I walked into the bakery section and asked where they had their Cake Boss cakes.  I was told that they didn't sell well at that location so they quit carrying them (although this location still pulls up on the Cake Boss Cake site).   A phone call to a different location and I was set to go buy a cake.

I opted for the Bada Bloom version:
This is a 7-inch two-layer cake comprised of yellow and chocolate cake layers with chocolate fudge filling.  I'll be honest, I almost didn't walk out of the store with cake in hand once I saw the size and the price - $24.99.  I chalked it up as part of the cost of the birthday and gritted my teeth at the checkout.  This had better be some good cake for that kind of money. 

Let's keep score here: 1 strike for small size, 1 strike for outrageous price = 2 strikes.

Upon examining the box at home, this cake didn't come from Hoboken, NJ (shh, don't tell Little Miss Sunshine!), but is manufactured at Dawn Food Products in Jackson, MI.

Another strike = 3 strikes.

When we cut into the cake I was surprised to see a chocolate layer with the yellow.  Apparently I missed that in the description and was expecting two yellow layers.  With chocolate fudge filling, how can you go wrong?

1 plus for chocolate cake and 1 plus for chocolate fudge = 2 plusses and 3 strikes.

The cake itself was firm and stayed sturdy through cutting and serving.

Another plus = 3 plusses and 3 strikes, we're tied back at square one more or less.

It came down to taste:  the frosting wasn't that sickly sweet buttercream, and although sweet (it is frosting, afterall) it wasn't overly sweet.  Plus 1 there.  The cake was disappointingly bland and a touch on the dry side (from being frozen?). 

Score: 1 plus and 1 strike for flavor, 1 strike for dry cake = 4 plusses and 5 strikes.

So, what's the final verdict?  Will I be buying any more Cake Boss cakes? 
I would have to say no. 
I can't justify the price for the size of the cake.  While I liked the frosting over many store-bought buttercreams, the bland, dry cake just doesn't work.  I can make my own dry cake from scratch for less.  Better yet, I'll stick to a mix.  If you want to buy a cake, your money would be better spent on something fresh from the store's bakery.  If you happen to have a good (non-dry) cake recipe, please send it my way. 

On a side note, do you know what happens when you leave the used birthday candles in reach of a three-year-old?  Peanut butter sandwich "birthday cake".

** Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way, shape or form.  I purchased a Cake Boss Cake from a local grocery store at my own expense and have received no reimbursement or compensation.  All opinions are entirely my own. **

Sunday, April 7, 2013

That's how much food?

This weekend is the semi-annual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is also the time when we rotate the food in our 72-hour kits.  (See this post for what we have in them.)  Have you ever considered the amount of food consumed in a 72-hour time period?  This is the aftermath from our rotation:
In case you've ever wondered what supplies for 3 days for a family of 8 might consist of, this is from 24 toaster pastries, 24 protein bars, 48 granola bars, 24 packages of dehydrated fruit, 24 candy bars 1 case of pudding cups, 48 fruit snack packages, 1 bag of hard candy, and 24 boxes of raisins.  This time we didn't rotate our cans - 24 canned pasta and 24 canned fruit, or our water - 48 half-liter bottles.  No matter how you look at it, that's a lot of food! 
The positive is that we have plenty of snacks to munch on while we watch Conference and listen to messages from Church leadership.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our wacky, April Fool's dinner

For April Fool's Day, I decided to do a wacky dinner.  I thought about disguising the menu with creative names and letting everyone order in courses, but I wasn't feeling very inspired with creativity.  So, I went a different route and collected a variety of utensils, plate-substitutes and cup-substitutes.  I assaigned numbers for each type of item and let everyone choose a number out of a hat to determine what they got to use.  We had some pretty funny combinations.
For plates, we had a sundae dish, large mixing bowl lid, medium mixing bowl, cake pan, aluminum foil, small glass prep bowl, pie plate, pizza pan.

For the utensils, each person got one of the following: tongs, potato masher, measuring spoon, small cookie scoop, measuring cup, spatula, large mixing spoon, small rubber scraper/spatula.

As for the drinks, we used the waffle batter measure, measuring spoon, small glass jar, dressing carafe, measuring cup, small graduated measuring cup, Pyrex measuring cup, shot glass.

I tried a new recipe and made Ratatouille since we had a lot of Italian veggies and herbs from our last Bountiful Basket.  It was good, but not a family favorite.  Part of the issue may have been the difficulty in eating.  At least the deviled eggs went over well.

All in all, this was a fun dinner activity and one that the kids have asked to repeat.  That's always a good sign.  Have you ever done a wacky dinner?  How did it turn out?

Monday, April 1, 2013

That's a good one, Mother Nature

Over the year's I've seen some pretty good April Fool's jokes.  This was Mother Nature's joke on us this morning:
This is quickly turning into the year when winter just won't quit.  At least our new ground cover should be gone this afternoon when we warm up to a whopping 40 degrees!

What do you have planned for April Fool's Day?  I'm thinking of doing a mixed up mystery dinner for my family.  We'll see how that goes.