Saturday, September 27, 2008


So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was going to become a great cake baker. I ordered a comprehensive cake cook book and a couple of 6-inch round pans so that I could experiment without having to make enormous cakes. I started last week with a simple pound cake. It was all gone before I had a chance to take a photo, so I guess it was a success.

Yesterday, I decided to make a white velvet butter cake with maple buttercream frosting.

I assembled my mise en place (a fancy French term for "put all the stuff on the counter"), feeling very Food-Network-chef.

Apparently, though, it's not enough to just have your ingredients looking pretty on the counter. I was making the buttercream in a noisy stand mixer while the cake was baking, and did not hear the timer go off. By the time I realized what had happened, the cake was a tad overbaked. So when I tried to take the layers out, this is what happened:

The icing came out pretty, though.

And I used half of it to ice the layer that did not come apart. I guess it could have been worse.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My first adult sweater!

I finished this sweater earlier this summer, but didn't post photos, as it was originally intended to be a anniversary gift for Jeremy. While he was here, we decided to forego anniversary gifts this year, since we're taking a trip to Italy - not cheap - at the end of October. Now that Jeremy has seen his sweater, you can too!

Obviously, this is not Jeremy wearing the sweater. Truth be told, I could have made it a tad longer, and perhaps a tad looser, but I will try to stretch it out when I block it. [Note: For non-knitters, blocking is a process whereby you soak the finished item, pin it down, and let it dry. You can often stretch an item made from wool or alpaca while doing this.] But, it's only the first one. I'm sure there will be many more to come. And I'm still REALLY proud of myself!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Jeremy's vacation

Jeremy heads back to Afghanistan today after a whirlwind vacation back to the States, with stops in Waterloo, NE; Auburn, NE; Washington; and the Outer Banks. Here's the photo book version.

We caught a concert in Auburn with Jeremy's folks:

And then after a great weekend in NE, Jessica and Jeremy's mom dropped us off at the airport.

Back in D.C., we went to the Spy Museum, but first we ate some environmentally friendly tacos. (Jeremy was a little more thrilled than I by this prospect).

Then we drove to the Outer Banks to spend our first week in our new timeshare.

Breakfast with a view every morning:

Much to Jeremy's chagrin (and, let's be honest, much to my surprise), I schooled him in a game of miniature golf.

We spent much time on the beach; Jeremy in his Indiana Jones hat (at least it kept him from getting lobster-red like last year).

We also enjoyed a fancy dinner out (mmm, oysters!) with a great sunset view over the sound.

Tropical Storm Hanna kicked us out a day early, but we walked down to the beach in the morning to watch a renegade kite boarder brave the rough surf.

Back at the ranch in Virginia, we took one of my favorite pictures of us so far.

The end.