Archive for October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Many thanks to my mom for making the beautiful Cinderella and Rapunzel costumes! More photos coming soon.

Catching up

This is always a hectic time of year at work, and yet, it’s probably my favorite—events come together, blueline print proofs magically turn into boxes upon boxes of publications with that new-ink smell, and the entire campus rallies around fall sports and an unbelievably gorgeous landscape.

This also happens to be my favorite time of year at home. Fall makes me want to decorate, cook and host dinner parties—something that would be just fine if there weren’t quite so many of those events and print proofs at work.

But, this weekend, I packed it in at 4 pm, leaving the office for a date with Cinderella and Rapunzel. And, we have a lovely weekend planned. It’s filled not only with decorating and cooking, but a serendipitous gathering of family.

So, work will wait, while the cooking and hosting, happily, will not.


I made these ghost cupcakes for the party in Nebraska last weekend, and I think I’ll make them again for Halloween weekend.

This marked the first time I’ve made fondant from scratch—it was so easy, I don’t think I’ll every buy it again! I used my favorite one-bowl cupcake recipe for the base, then swapped out the suggested stack of candy for a Tootsie Pop, thanks to a suggestion from my friend Dawn. Over all, a bit time consuming to assemble (thanks for the help, Laura!), but worth the effort.

Livie and Ava

By Olivia…


We traveled to Nebraska for a fabulous Halloween party last week. Karyl saw to what must of been a hundred special touches, and the kids (and grown ups!) had a blast. You can see photos on Jessie’s site, and on Doug’s photo gallery. Check them out, then come back to discuss my incredibly adorable nieces and nephews.

Green-curry chicken pot pie

I was trying photograph this green-curry chicken potpie last week, because the recipe was great (kudos to Martha), and I thought the phyllo crust was so creative (Martha, again). I struggled to get the right angle, and the right lighting…

I wasn’t quite happy, so I continued to shoot.



Member of the week!

Ava was last week’s member of the week at her after school program. She won a free dinner at Applebee’s, and we celebrated there last Thursday.

This was a big relief to us, because at home, she’s been a little, well . . . unhinged. We’ve attributed the cranky behavior to the new environment and change of pace, and we’ve tried not worry much. But, when she brought home the teacher’s worksheet from one of her classes (a benefit of her member-of-the-week status), we had to laugh at the word she had selected to describe “apple”–it seemed right on point:

At least she’s sweet at school, I suppose!


Livie Lou Who

Pumpkin cupcakes

I made these pumpkin cupcakes for a few girlfriends last week (they accompanied these candy corn martinis). The recipe is from Pioneer Woman, and you can find it here.  Whoops! My mistake. Correct link here.

“We’ve got spirit, how ’bout you?”

Nope. No spirit here.

Each year, the KU spirit squad hosts a fundraiser. For about fifty bucks, you can send your little cheerleader down to the sidelines to cheer on the Jayhawks during a football game. One of Ava’s sitters cheers competitively at the high school level, and she invited Ava to participate. I thought she’d have a fabulous time—what’s not to love? Between the band and the mascots, not to mention about 40 other little girls, I was sure she’d have a blast.

Our photos from the event, however, tell a slightly different story…

Ava just wasn’t into it.

Not. At. All.

And, she became increasingly miserable.

I found myself vacillating between a desire to scoop her up and save her, and a complete and total frustration at her unwillingness to participate.

I always wanted to be a cheerleader. I said this to Bryan in one of those moments of frustration, irritated that Ava wasn’t grateful for this experience I wanted but could never have. (Bryan said, “You could have been a cheerleader!” Yeah, no. “Says who?” Says the panel of judges that turned me down after I tried out. Two years in a row. “Oh.”)

I realize, of course, my attempts to live vicariously failed. Hard. And I feel terrible. Not only because Ava was so unhappy, but also because I should know her so much better than I do. I am always shocked to see she’s shy, shocked to learn she’s not excited by the things that excite me.

So again, I am reminded she is her own person. (I should note: She might be a bit like her dad, who said, “Who can blame her? I’d hate it out there.”)

My concern now comes from how I can adjust to better suit her. I can’t just sign her up for everything I’d find fun. I am really going to have to work to understand what makes her tick. I feel like I should know this already—that it should just be ingrained. I’ve been with her for six and a half years.

One thing I do know—she’s friendly. And being with her friends makes her happy.

So, apparently there’s some spirit after all.