Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bunny Cake

One of the jobs in my life that has brought me immeasurable joy is being somebody's Aunt. I cannot tell you how much pleasure my nieces and nephews have brought into my life. I couldn't begin to name the Aunt Rita events that we've enjoyed over the years...

But didn't matter to me if we were going to a concert, a juggling class or a paintball fight -- I enjoyed planning those playdates...and it doesn't seem possible that those adorable children are all grown up now -- having children of their own. THANK GOD, eh?

Because of them -- at this point in my life, I am enjoying the title of "Great Aunt".

Years ago, my sister Ronda's grandchildren came to my house when their Mom's went to work (Amy and Nicole). I used to say, "I like to have one kid at a time, one day a week." And it was awesome...Parker was the first and he's in high school now!

My sister Deena has been blessed with EIGHT grandchildren in eight years (one more on the way!) . Whoever is available comes to her house for family dinner on Wednesday night. And again on Sunday afternoon. (I know -- crazy -- right??)

But the beauty part for me is that on Wednesday nights, I take Warren there for a play date...AND then, on Sundays, I take Lillian so she can spend some time with her cousins. The little kids are the PERFECT audience for just about anything...they are SOOO easy to impress!!

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Lillian and I decided to experiment with a molded bunny pan. (in preparation for Easter).

The cake turned out great.  AND can you imagine a more excited group of players?
Clayton and Oliver have to take an early turn...they had another date that day...

I was concerned that any kind of frosting would be too stiff for the bunny ears. And, how do six little kids take turns frosting a cake?? TWO THINGS:

#1: The "frosting" was a box of instant vanilla pudding, one cup of milk and half a container of Cool Whip. It was light and airy, and even a small child can get it on that cake without much effort.

#2: The SYSTEM. I kept the frosting in a big bowl, and put half a cup into a small bowl, for each child, to take a "turn"...they were allowed to lick their own knife AND bowl after their turn (of course)...
 After the boys left, Myla took her turn very seriously...
Lillian and Madeline finished the cake off -- then added some green coconut for grass...
You can go to the grocery store and buy egg shaped, pastel colored marshmallows!! WHO KNEW??

Yep. I'm highly recommending it. The job, I mean....Being somebody's Great Aunt is a GREAT job....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Oelwein, Iowa is next to WHAT???

Of course, just seeing this extensive doll collection was well worth the trip for Bert. She has collected antique dolls for years, and she was DElighted to find this woman who could repair a bunch of  her damaged100 year old dolls. Awesome.
I took some pictures -- but they do NOT do the collection justice. There were thousands -- literally thousands of dolls in that house.
But, okay, it was a long road trip and I'm not really into antique dolls. So where's my entertainment for the day???
Oelwein, Iowa has a fairly lively Downtown...
There's even a Goodwill Store!!
But I didn't have to drive for two hours to go shopping in a Goodwill Store. So what was I thinking would be MY reward???

 Well -- remember Chris Soules, the Iowa Bachelor? (Prince Farming -- now on DWTS)???

Guess what?? -- his tiny little hometown -- Arlington,Iowa....IS ONLY 14 MILES AWAY FROM OELWEIN.

Although, apparently, judging from the horrified look on the women's faces during their visit there -- Arlington is sad little town, even the bar is closed...But, c'mon -- I'M THIS CLOSE -- RIGHT??  We should at least do a drive-by of the Soules farm.  
Who knows -- maybe Chris is taking a DWTS break to plow some fields this weekend...
But, alas -- Bert said no way.  Maybe I shouldn't let her drive all the time...

When she asked me why I wanted to go to po-dunk Arlington, I said I wanted to blog about it. She told me it would be just as interesting if I blogged about NOT going there...hummm...
Then, I remembered something Ross said during the big Finale. Chris and his brand new fiance, Whitney, were driving along one of these Iowa roads...and she kept gushing about how beautiful it was. "Iwa is so beautiful...it's just so beautiful..." 

Ross said, "Yes, Whitney...just like the surface of the moon...."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bert's Road Trip

After about two hours of some really, really boring driving -- we arrived at our destination. Oelwein, Iowa. Which is actually a good size town. There's a downtown, and a McDonald's...some restaurants...

And THIS is the house we're looking for...
So -- who lives here? And why are we visiting?
We weren't 100% sure we had the right house. Bert knocked on the door...
And -- YES! This is the exact right place. Mrs. Doll Doctor has been re-stringing, repairing and repainting a bunch of Bert's antique dolls.
Although it was a very large box of dolls...they represent only a small fraction of Bert's collection.
Many of these dolls were in pieces, and their faces were cracked, their skin was crazed...
Picking up the repaired family of dolls was the mission, of course. But, as far as I'm concerned, the dolls are NOt the most interesting part of this day trip....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Road Trip!

So -- if it's Saturday -- I must be junkin' with Bert. OF COURSE. It was early in March, but the weather was surprisingly warm and mild. Not quite spring yet -- but a GREAT day for a road trip.

Bert had a particular place she needed to go....and I'm always up for a little day trippin'...
Bert usually drives.  Because she is a TERRIBLE back seat driver.  So this is the price she pays...
On this day, we decided to hook up at the local Cracker Barrel...
I love their gift shop.  Can you read this piece of wood?  "We don't skinny dip, we chunky dunk..."
Their gift shop is way better than their food.   Right now, it's fully stocked with a huge assortment of garden gifts (that's a hummingbird table), and they do more EASTER stuff than any other store I know...
Ten minutes after hitting Interstate-80 -- this is the view...
One hour into the trip -- this is the view...
Approaching our destination....??.
OMG...HOW FAR IS THIS PLACE???? I am falling asleep...Good thing I'm not driving....Bert is talking to herself....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lilly's Special Birthday Dinner

Lillian turned six a few weeks ago. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.

Time flies when you're having fun, eh?

The difference between being a PARENT and being a GRANDPARENT is huge. This is so much more fun, I can't even put it into words.

Of course I love my boys, and I look back on raising them as some of the best years of my life. But that's the thing -- I was RAISING THEM. It's a big job. I had to worry about so many different things. How they behave, what they learn, getting them to school, taking care of them when they're sick, meeting with the Principal because one of them took a lighter to his fart...

But -- being a grandparent doesn't have that you-are-responsible-for-how-this-human-turns-out aspect. You get to do JUST THE LOVE part. And -- who are we kidding? By the time you get grandchildren, you are OLD. And, therefore, you KNOW MORE...

What I know for sure is that these years are F.L.E.E.T.I.N.G....

And I'm all about making the memories....because you just never know what's gonna stick.

As it happened this year, Lillian had a big birthday party on Sunday afternoon. Her birthday was on Monday, and I invited her family down for a special meal.

A child should always eat their favorite food on their birthday. When Elliott was a kid, he loved the perch and macaroni and cheese at the Family Square Restaurant. Going to a restaurant was a very special occasion for us back in those days

Nowadays -- we frequently eat at restaurants. Lilly's favorite place is Steak and Shake. So, to make it special -- we'll eat at home. And her favorite food actually is STEAK.....

So, I made her her first Porterhouse steak...
SHE LOVED IT...
We didn't even pretend she was going to eat anything else...like green beans or a salad. Nope. It was just the steak...and nothing but the steak.

Oh, of course, there was also the Farro Family Birthday cake. Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing...
My special plastic pedestal cake pan lights up and SINGS Happy Birthday!!

Hey -- come to think of it -- we had a STEAK AND CAKE party!!

Happy Birthday, Lillian.  You are going to love being six.  This is the year you learn to read....

Monday, March 23, 2015

No Post??

I am only posting to apologize for not posting....

 Especially on LAUNDRY DAY...yikes!!

My favorite day of the week. What's up with that??

No worries...except for the fact that sometimes, I get too busy DOING the laundry to blog about it...

AND -- last week -- due to a certain set of circumstances -- I had kids for four days.  Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday...really.  All day and some overnights.  Really, I am not complaining.  I could not be happier to be doing THIS.  But, who are we kidding?? 

I'm no spring chicken (translation: after they go home, I require a lot of naps.)

TONIGHT, I hope to download my camera and write about 20 interesting blog posts.  In between Spaghettio-lunches and footie pajamas -- there has been some sewing going on...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Best New Commercial

This is a commercial that recently started running. Because it is our health insurance company, I think it could be regional. So, just in case you missed it...be sure to push play....REALLY...