Archive for December, 2008

Do they offer lessons in irony?


Red Velvet Balls

I recently made red velvet balls, and I have to say, I was completely underwhelmed. I did use a cake mix, so perhaps that was part of the problem.


The batter–which is just crumbled cake and a jar of cream cheese frosting–was incredibly sticky.



The recipe suggested using chocolate-flavored almond bark–which I find to be great for a lot of things–but in this recipe it was cloyingly sweet. I think a dark chocolate coating might be a better balance.


They looked pretty, but I actually only ended up dipping about a half dozen. They just didn’t live up to my expectations–especially given the work involved. Has anyone else attempted these? What did I do wrong?


Ava and Olivia

From Doug:

For the “hardcore Ava and Olivia fan,” a new photo gallery is up on his site.

Brew blogging

We tried my homebrewed beer over Thanksgiving. It was very carbonated–Bryan said it reminded him of champagne. (“The champagne of beers?” I said. “No,” he replied.)


I was pleased to have a real expert on the tasting committee.


And it’s good!


Well, not really, but it was drinkable, if you don’t count the pounding headache that came 30 minutes later–something about homebrews, I guess. I was the only one it bothered–how’s that for karma? Even Gramma, who is not a beer drinker, was kind enough to try it.


Dave wondered why there was a need to improve upon the perfection that is Old Mil Light.


He has a point–I can drink at least a few of those before I get a headache.

(Easy) Christmas candy

Last year, I baked 10 batches of Christmas coookies in advance of the holiday. I shared them with coworkers, friends, neighbors and family.

This year, the number on that list has grown to 24, and I seem to have found I have less time on my hands than while on maternity leave last year.

So, I decided to pare down a bit, switching over to candy instead of cookies. I made six recipes–all very easy and surprisingly fast. It probably took more time to construct the two dozen boxes then it did to finish the contents.


These are all recipes from the Martha Stewart Homemade Holiday Candy collection. Clockwise, from top left: Walnut fudge, peppermint bark, fleur de sel toffee, sour cream and bourbon praline, peanut butter cup and a Chambord truffle.

The toffee was my favorite–I love anything that’s both salty and sweet–though I did overcook it a bit. The peanut butter cups were very easy and very good, too. My pralines looked nothing like Martha’s, though I guess by now that shouldn’t surprise me!



As promised…

More Christmas photos.








And, just for fun, a few outtakes…







Olivia Fix

Last weekend, Doug took photos of the girls wearing the Christmas dresses my mom made–here’s a preview. More to come soon!


Thursday afternoon cat blogging

I often think of a blog post Bryan wrote shortly after Ava was born: “Dagny no longer rules the roost, but she’s still a pretty kitty.”

Pretty, yes. Also, naughty.




If you’ve spent any time around Ava recently, you know she’s using a lot of made-up words–just crazy little terms for which there’s never a consistent definition. Certain ones–like “schody”–keep cropping up again and again as various and seemingly unrelated nouns. They’re becoming a running joke around the house–a joke that Ava is clearly in on.

Ava: Dad, where are your feelings?

Bry: In your brain.

Ava: Oh, and your brain is in  your head.

Bry: Right. Where did you think your feelings were?

Ava: In your schody.

Who says good help is hard to find?