Friday Five

-ONE-

Today, we’re feeling the brunt of Tropical Storm Andrea here in the lowcountry.  In reality brunt is a strong word. Random buckets of steady (oxymoronic, but true), vertically challenged rain, and lots and lots of wind.  We moved the grill and some of the porch furniture into the garage, so the only clean-up it looks like we’ll need to do is some leaf and branch pick-up.

-TWO-

I’ve decided as part of our summer schedule that boy and I will take more bike rides (“It’s called cycling, Mom”).  Having ridden my bike only half a dozen times in the last two years, we took a couple of short 3-mile rides this past week.  The other day while we were off exploring the trails, B worked on teaching V  to ride– I mean cycle.

-THREE-

I decided to make red velvet cupcakes the other day.  I don’t typically make these, so I had no real recipe.  I halved Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake, which made exactly a dozen cupcakes.  The amount was perfect, and the rest of the family really liked them.

I, on the other hand, found them far too sticky and oily.

Might be one of those cases of the ratios not working properly when halved.  Or maybe it’s just because I don’t like super-sweet cakes.

-FOUR-

Since I like baking so much, I’ve decided that it’s time I learn how to actually decorate the stuff I bake.  To that end, I’ve signed up for decorating classes.  When I made the red velvet cupcakes, I played around with the frosting to see if I might have some minor natural talent (ah-ha-ha-ha-ahhhh) at decorating.  At best I might be a decorating genius.  At worst, I’d have pictures to document my progress.

Turns out I don’t possess amazing decorating prowess.

I had my first class the other night.  I learned a few things I didn’t know before.  For instance, I now know how to use the cake leveler that has been taking up space in my baking cabinet for the last two years.  And I  learned about the greatest icing tip on the planet– Wilton’s tip # 789, the Cake Icer tip.

The instructor had the wrong time written for the class start, so she was a little late and we didn’t get to do much practicing.  While some of my classmates left on time, a few of us stayed a little late to get some practice in– here’s my board:

It turns out that my icing was too stiff.  Clearly, I have a long way to go.

My first and only cookie decorated in class:

Here are the rest of the cookies that I decorated as soon as I got home from class– the first of the at-home bunch was the B, the last was the spiral.  I got better as I went; though, I need to work on centering my designs.

The spiral is my favorite.  Please don’t ask me what I was doing with the border on the B.

I’m looking forward to the next class.  Until then, I think I have a lot of  practicing to do.

-FIVE-

Summer is very much here.  We’ve managed to make it one week, but the pool hasn’t happened yet thanks to all of the rain– we’ve had more than just this tropical storm to contend with.  Hoping for a sunny day tomorrow– really would like some pool time soon.

With summer and rainy days come fire ants.  In an attempt to get some yard work done between the daily rains, the kids and I worked on pruning the Sycamore tree in our backyard.  In the process, I inadvertently stepped in a massive fire ant mound.  Unfortunately, I was unaware of my misstep until they all bit and stung at pretty much the same moment.  Did you know that fire ants do that?  Some sort of chemical signal they release that tells them all to “Charge!”

I immediately kicked the flip-flops I was wearing (so glad I didn’t have sneaker on) halfway across the yard, ran to the spigot, washed the offending ants off of my feet and legs, and promptly popped a Benadryl.

I have twenty-seven very painful bites covering both feet and legs– one set of five bites is in an interesting little semi-circular shape.  I’ll spare you any photos of those, though.  They aren’t pretty.

-EPILOGUE-

As usual, I have a list of things that I’m ready and waiting to show you.  I’m really looking forward to showing you all this month’s Daring Kitchen challenges– too much fun.  I’m also hoping to carve out a little time for some writing and photography– as hard as it was during the school year, it’s twice as hard now that the kids are here.  I don’t know how all of those mommy bloggers find the time.  In any event, if I don’t post before next week’s Daring Cooks’ challenge, have a lovely, lovely week!

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