Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cakes Cakes Cakes

Here are some cakes we did to finish out the month. We worked hard on them and are pleased with most of them. We are just super impatient to get the bakery open and now that we have been approved for our permits, we can finish the construction and get inspected. We hope that doesn't take another 2 months to accomplish!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dinner with the Tabakas

We have recently befriended a family that we wrote about around Christmas - The Tabaka Family (Adam & Chrissy and kids AJ, Nita & Owen). They are such a neat family and have been great with us. Jasmine is also madly in love with AJ and constantly talks about marrying him. We were finally able to have them over for dinner to begin to get to know them better and we had a great time.
I made a roast with mashed potatoes, corn souffle, green beans and Lorne made homemade bread rolls. It was all delicious and the kids even liked the food. Jasmine and Nita had 3 servings of the green beans and I was impressed!After dinner, we sent the kids to the basement to play and we chatted and cut into the dessert that Chrissy brough - a Pomegranate Chocolate bundt cake with vanilla icing. It was delicious! It was dense and very moist and I asked to keep half of it which I promptly ate in about 2 days time (I only shared one piece with Jasmine).
We took a few pictures to end the evening and said our goodbyes. We really had a great time and are looking forward to continuing to spend time with them as we strengthen our circle of friends!

Cinnamon Bun Sunday - Take 2

So, we scoured the internet and found a promising recipe - supposedly a Cinnabon knockoff so Lorne decided to give it another go. I was highly supportive as I LOVE Cinnabon - it is one of the guilty pleasures I have that I try to avoid and only partake of minimally.
Lorne made the dough in the bread machine and when it was ready, he rolled it out and baked his magic. They were divine - down to the cream cheese icing! I must say that these buns are pretty close to the wonders of Cinnabon so I am including the recipe for those of you who might want to try! We did give a few away to our amazing friends The Traugers and I believe they enjoyed them too!





  1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well.
  3. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
  4. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide.
  6. It should be approx 1/4 thick.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  8. To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  9. Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
  10. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
  11. Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  13. While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.
  14. Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  15. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jasmine's Second Haircut

I love little girls with long hair. Jasmine has been sporting long hair for a while and lately we had noticed that the ends were looking raggedy. I decided it was time for a trim. I don't trust myself to cut straight and make it look nice so I decided to take Jasmine to a shop to have it done.
It took a lot of convincing to get her to accept the fact that she was getting a haircut. She had grown quite attached to her hair and was scared that I was going to have too much cut off. I reassured her that we were only cutting a little and that she would still have long hair and that it would grow back. I think in a small part of my mind I was convincing myself too!
I took her to a place called Krazy Kuts and they gave her the royal treatment. She got her hair shampooed and cut and dried. She had a bit of a hard time during the cut as she had to look down at her lap for a bit and she got tired of that pretty quick and decided she wanted to be done with the cut and go home. I kept telling her that it would be OK and that it would be over soon and to be patient and so we got through it.She decided she loved it when it was done and was even happier when the nice lady gave her a tootsie roll lollypop on her way out. And all of this for $10 - what a deal!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President's Day Adventures!

It had been so long since Kelleen and I had had a chance to hang out together that I thought spending President's Day together would be the perfect solution for catching up. It also happened that many historic homes and sites in the area were open and free that day and there were many I had never been to or seen before. So, we packed up the girls and headed off to Old Town Alexandria to cram in as many adventures as possible. And did we ever have adventures!
Our first obstacle was parking as we saw that they were having a parade in Old Town and had blocked off many of the streets and places to park. We got lucky and found a place on the street and Kelleen expertly parallel parked her minivan.Our first stop was the Lee-Fendall House on Oronoco Street. In November 1784, Maj. Gen. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee (1756-1818) purchased 3 one-half acre lots in Alexandria from Baldwin Dade (1716-1783), a merchant. On December 4, 1784, he sold one of these tracts to Philip Richard Fendall I, Esq. (1734-1805), for three hundred pounds, and Philip began building the Lee-Fendall House, for his second wife, Elizabeth (Steptoe) Lee (1743-1789), spring or early summer of 1785. The lot was located on the southeast corner of Washington and Oronoko Street, then the edge of the city. At the time, very few structures were near, and the Fendall’s enjoyed a spectacular view of Oronoko Bay and the ships which docked there. To the north and west lay verdant fields of grass and clover. Alexandria was an up and coming thriving social and political center in Northern Virginia. The house was completed by November 1785, when George Washington wrote in his diary dated November 10th 1785: "Went to Alexandria to meet the Directors of the Potomack Company and dined at Mr. Fendall's (who was from home) and returned in the evening with Mrs. Washington." The Fendalls are mentioned in Washington's 1785-1786 diaries more than anyone outside his own family, and Washington dined here at least seven times in those years. Elizabeth was a favorite of George and Martha Washington, a frequent visitor to Mount Vernon, and frequent hostess to the Washingtons. Philip was one of the few men who were close friends with Washington and participated in his social coterie.
The girls did well while we all went on the tour and it was neat to see the house decorated in a Victorian style with some period furniture and clothing. They also had an amazing dollhouse in one of the rooms upstairs which seemed to catch the girls attention for a few minutes.
On our way to try and find Carlyle House, we happened upon a man dressed in colonial dress who was fixing a snare drum so he could play in the parade that was to happen in the next few hours and he allowed us to go inside the building he was sitting in front of and see the collection of drums they had. It was really neat but a challenge to get the girls not to touch anything! That was an unexpected perk of the day and I for one found it fascinating!After seeing the drums, we kept walking and bumped into the Carlyle House. The historic Carlyle House was completed in 1753 by Scottish merchant John Carlyle for his bride, Sarah Fairfax of Belvoir, member of one of the most prestigious families in colonial Virginia. Their home quickly became a center of social and political life in Alexandria and gained a foothold in history when British General Braddock made the mansion his headquarters in 1755. Braddock summoned five colonial governors to meet there to plan the early campaigns of the French and Indian War.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Carlyle House is architecturally unique in Alexandria as the only stone, 18th-century Palladian-style house.The tour in this house started in the basement and we weren't allowed to take pictures. Go to their website to see pics of the inside. The girls did fairly well during this tour but were getting hungry so after the tour we went in search for food.
We decided to eat at my favorite pizza place called Bugsy's and since it was lunchtime they had a pizza buffet and salad bar for $5.99 - what a deal. The kids were cheaper and we were happy that Lorne could join us for lunch. It was nice to relax and chat and get the girls tummies full as they had been complaining about being hungry for a while!After lunch, Kelleen had to move the car as we only had 2 hour parking and so I stayed with Jasmine and Kirsten watching the President's Day Parade (which by this tie had started) while she took Marin to find a new spot to park. It didn't take long and when she got back, we watched the parade a bit longer and then decided to duck into the Apothecary Museum which was having an open house too!Founded in 1792 by Edward Stabler, a Quaker minister and an abolitionist, The Apothecary Shop occupied these two town houses until 1933. Martha Washington ordered Castor oil shortly before her death in 1802, and Robert E. Lee was shopping here in 1859 when he received orders to quash John Brown's rebellion at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It was more than a drugstore, however, for in addition to tinctures, elixirs, and potions such as Dragon's Blood, it also sold other products such as paint (Lee bought a few gallons for Arlington House, his mansion at what is now Arlington National Cemetery). Although the building was renovated recently, the shop still looks like it did when the Stabler-Leadbeater family closed its doors for the last time, leaving behind a collection of more than 8,000 original objects.It was cool to see the bottles that had original medicines in them that had been left behind when the business closed the doors. We saw the original letter Martha wrote requesting the caster oil and some other neat things. We didn't get to see the second floor on this visit but I totally want to come back and see the whole thing with the guided tour.After the Apothecary Museum, we walked down toward the waterfront to a new little activity center museum place where the girls made birthday cards to George Washington and dressed in Colonial outfits and made tricorn hats. They had a great time and it is always fun to see children happy and truly enjoying themselves.After this point, the girls (especially the 3 year olds) started getting a bit fussy and so we decided we had packed the day full and we should head home. I decided to treat the girls to ice cream and so on our way home we stopped at Coldstone and enjoyed some ice cream. I love that place and it is fun to see what the kids come up with when they create flavors for themselves to eat. Jasmine had chocolate ice cream with marshmallows mixed in and I had marshmallow ice cream with raspberries and brownie pieces...YUM!
Thus ended our day of adventures and we were happy and tired! I loved that we got to see so many places I had never been to that were a stone's throw away from my home and having lived here all my life I had never been. I also loved that everything we did (minus the food) was free and went well with the President's Day theme. I loved having a full day to hang out with Kelleen, which I had been missing for a while. The last thing I loved was that despite the fact that there was a parade, it was not crowded at all and we were able to do so much without having to navigate through seas of people. From what I understand the same cannot be said of Mount Vernon - they too offered free admission that day and the crowds were unbelievable!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jasmine's New Room

Since our new girly bundle of joy will need the crib when she is born, we made a decision to move Jasmine out of the nursery and create a big girl room for her. I spent a lot of time on the Internet searching for bedding that I thought Jasmine would like that would be good quality and last at least 10 years. I refuse to re-decorate her room before she is 12 years old. I also needed the things I bought to be relatively affordable as bedding and all the accessories to match can be very pricey. And since I have expensive taste, everything I liked was too expensive.
I finally found a line of bedding called Kidsline that made a pattern called Ladybug that had the color scheme I was going for and wasn't too young or old for Jasmine. I showed it to her and she loved it! I ordered the bedding and when it came, we took the pillow to the store and matched some paint.
Lorne is a saint when it comes to lovingly doing what I ask in the pain department. I have been on a stripes kick and for those who follow this blog, you have seen the stripes at the bakery and so I came up with a stripe pattern I wanted for Jasmine's room. Darker pink stripes on a light pink wall. We were re-painting the red room (for those of our out of town family and friends, many of you have had the privilege of sleeping in that room) - for those unfamiliar, here is what the red room used to look like:This required 2 coats of primer and 2 base coats before even adding the stripes. Lorne has had so much experience painting in our home that he has gotten very quick at painting and very good at it. We don't have many mistakes at all anymore and he knows how to combat drips and things. I took some pictures of him painting Jasmine's room so she would see in later years how much daddy loves her. I have similar ones when he was painting the nursery.Once all the painting was done, we were ready to find Jasmine a big girl bed. I wanted something feminine with a trundle and storage and we found just what we needed at Ikea. The price was also right when I went trying to compare these types of beds at other places. Lorne and I put it together and we were happily surprised that it was easy to do and didn't take that long at all.
We put the room together and the transformation was breathtaking to me. It was a little girl paradise. The furniture in the room used to belong to me when I was a little girl and it is so fun for me to pass it on to my daughter to use. It is very good furniture and has good storage so it will be great for years to come.Most importantly was Jasmine reaction. She squealed with delight when she saw her room and was so excited to move in. I brought in all her clothes and little trinkets that she loves and it was a good time for me to purge of some of the stuff she didn't need anymore. She brought her dolls and put them in the bed with her and her first night sleeping in the bed was very exciting. She was happy to go to bed and climbed in after prayers and looked so cute in the bed I couldn't resist a few snapshots of her.Now that she is comfortably moved, it is time to redo the nursery for Baby Zsa-Zsa. When that is done, I will let you all have a peek at the finished project. I guess we better get on it since we are about 8 weeks out from potential birth!