Looooooooooooong Weekend.

Ok, so for those of you who read my blog, or watch me on facebook, I'm making my niece Maddy a Monkey Cake for 5th birthday. I've been practicing all week and all this weekend. Let me give you a run down of what I've been doing:

Monday night, I made a cake. It's baked in a stainless steel bowl, so it's rounded... well Round 1 was a failure - #1. I didn't use enough cake mix in the bowl... #2. The bowl I used was too big... #3. I didn't let the cake cool long enough before I pull it out of the bowl... #4. I tried to cut the cake to make two layers... and it crumbled - cuz I didn't let it cool...

LOL! Mega-Fail! lol! But I learned a LOT from the experience.

Wednesday, I bought more cake mixes. Round 2: #1. Smaller bowl, but still not enough cake mix to fill the bowl like I wanted... #2 I guess I didn't learn to take the cake out of the bowl... because it was still SUPER moist (like pull the top "crumb layer" up while I was icing) #3. I forgot to attach the ears before icing the cake. So, I had iced the rounded "head" of the cake, then attached the ears... and they slid WAY down haha! (even using toothpicks to hold them)...

Again, more learning... But, I also did Martha Stewart's "fluffy buttercream" recipe in vanilla, and in chocolate... turned out better than most store bought icing... i was really pleased!

Friday, I picked up more cake mixes... Round #3. #1. Right bowl. #2. ALMOST the right amount of batter to fill the bowl like I wanted. #2. Still didn't learn to take the friggen cake out of the bowl to cool... I PROMISE next time I will! #3. I learned that Martha makes a BUTT load of icing in a "batch". But, it was fabulous.

This one, I knew was THE practice cake... Let me post my pics (I didn't take pics of round 1 and 2... I was not pleased enough to take pics...)

This is my rounded cake and the jumbo cupcake. The cupcake gets leveled off, then cut in half vertically and then attached for ears.

Hehe, this is actually an "oopsie" pic! (Do you notice it's not cut horizontally to create two layers?) I had to remove the ears, cut it horizontal, fill it with chocolate icing, then reassemble it!

After, fixing my "oops," I iced the cake with the chocolate butter cream. (notice the wax paper? It keeps your plate or board clean while you ice! Thanks Martha!)

All iced in chocolate - I know the icing doesn't look FANTASTIC. The icing was just a bit stiff (cuz I made the icing Wednesday or Thursday night, and I didn't ice the cake until Saturday) I'm also looking into techniques to get the icing to be smoother. Practice makes perfect, right?

I added a star border... turned out fantastic!! I was very, very pleased! Oh! Real quick, the ears are NOT even. Tom's my "Level Man", and he was working on the OTHER weekend project (more on that in a bit). When I do the final cake in a couple weeks, I'll DEFINITELY have Tom's eyes the whole time. *Promise!*

I used the same star tip for the border to create the hair. I was really pleased with how it came out. The hair will be super sturdy to hold up a number 5 candle for Ms. Maddy's birthday.

I asked Tom to take a pic of me icing the cake, cuz I wanted proof that I was doing it. lol! However, this is the part that i had not practiced at ALL. So I think I went a little TOO quickly and impatiently. Tisk Tisk... I will definitely imprint a pattern for me to follow.

The ears turned out ok. I definitely want to do them the same way, just slower next time. First, I marked out where the inside of the ears were going, then filled it in with the yellow butter cream. Then, I smoothed out the icing so it didn't look all "gloppy". (Is that even a word? idk...)

This is the semi-finished picture. I was NOT happy with the yellow for the mouth part... It's too high, too thick, not symmetrical, too low. However, again, that's why this was practice, right?

I don't have a final picture. I've already wrapped it up so that I can take it to work and let the girls at work have some... I'm so friggen sick of cake right now... lol!!!

So, ok, I mentioned Tom had another project he was working on Saturday. We had some errands to run, and a trip to Sam's Club in Little Rock to do. Now, again for those who follow me or Tom on facebook, you remember when we were on our trip back from visiting Tom's dad, we had the air compressor on the truck start rockin' really bad, and we thought it was going out on us. Well, we made it back to little rock, and basically were just waiting for it to go out before we made the purchases to replace everything. So, we were in Sam's Club, got done buying supplies, after loading everything up in the back of the truck, we started the Durango up, and heard it SCREAM. The poor girl was in pain... then, it started smoking and we realized the air compressor had seized up on us, and fried the serpentine belt.

I had to call "Daddy Auto Recommendations" lol! Yes, I'm 27, Yes, my husband is HIGHLY capable to fix vehicles, and yes, I called my daddy to come rescue us. lol! After Dad said we CAN fix it ourselves, but it would be easier (read: more expensive) to put it in the shop, we decided to have the car towed to the house so we could take apart the a/c to figure out how bad the damage was. Dad went ahead and took me to the house so i could put away our groceries. Tom stuck around at Sam's to help the tow truck guy to get it to the house.

I think my sis said it best "dont you hate seeing your baby on the tow truck???" lol! Poor Tom was so sad his truck was being put on the back of the tow truck.

We got the truck back to the house, Tom started disassembling the a/c stuff while I was icing the monkey cake (thus the wonky ears lol!). Anyway, he came in at one point and looked like he was almost in tears - the compressor clutch, which we originally thought was the problem is not the problem. The bearings actually had crumbled inside the compressor, and we were going to have to replace it.

This was a pain, because no one had one in stock - except O'Reily's in North Little Rock. Well, we decided we needed to replace the accumulator dryer, and the orrifice tube. We ordered the parts from a local place (this was at like 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon), then went to dinner, because neither one of us wanted to cook after such a frustrating day.

Sunday, we picked up the parts, got everything back to the house, and then come to find out, it was the wrong friggen compressor. There are two for his model. Yay. We put the accumulator/dryer and the expansion valve on. When we were putting the new expansion valve on, we had to remove two bolts. While we were removing that bolt, Tom said "It feels like it's misthreaded." And almost immediately the darn thing snapped in half. There were a few choice words used from both of us. We thought we got it back together as well as we could without drilling out the bad bolt. Then it was back to the compressor. We called O'Reiley's to find out if they still had the one we needed, and they did, so we drove out to NLR, picked up the part, returned the wrong compressor and headed back to the house. We got the new compressor in, attached the hoses and hooked up the vacuum pump and got it "vacuumized" lol! (nice word right?) Well, it very quickly said it was a vacuum. Which kind of worried me, but Tom didn't seem worried. Then, we started the recharge kit, and we heard our biggest fear - a leak. Then, we started seeing the coolant spitting out of the darn expansion valve. Yeah... more choice words. Well, we didn't want to mess with taking it apart. again. lol We decided that redoing that stupid expansion valve and drilling out that friggen bolt was not a "this weekend" project. Tom has a drivable truck, and that was the biggest thing.

So yeah, that was my weekend... haha! I have to say, even with some ups and downs, I feel blessed that I got to spend the whole weekend with Tom. It was so much fun to get frustrated and dirty with Tom. lol! not dirty but like, grimey lol! He appreciated the moral support. I kept telling him that my daddy taught me well. He taught me how to hold a flashlight, and how to give support and be company while someone is working on a vehicle lol!

Alrighty, I'm off to get ready for bed!

Sorry for the long post!!

<3 Jess


how tired am I...?

So, how tired am I?

Well, I'm at my desktop computer versus my lappy - cuz I tend to give up on the lappy when I'm a little sleepy... lol plus hubby is playing his scary Alan Wake game...

I helped lay about 1/3 of the bricks for our patio... which is exhausting! Those chunks are HEAVY - 9 in long X 6 in wide X 2 1/2 in deep. Those suckers are CHUNKS! haha!

Plus, Hubs and I were up super late last night - like until almost 2, then we were up at 7 to get a-cracka-lackin' on the patio! lol.

Anyway, so please bear with me if I ramble... lol! (what? ME? ramble? no.... must be someone else's blog you're reading, right?) Also, please don't pay attention to the typos and missing words... it's the sleep deprivation haha!

I've got a contest I am entering some of my photos in... should know in a couple of weeks how that went... Also I have the invites to Jamie's shower going out on Monday. They are SUPER cute!! I was bragging to the girl at Walmart about how well I thought they turned out - she wants me to call walmart HQ to see if they would sell my template! hehe! I'm not so sure of that, haha... Wal-Mart is the "Evil Empire" lol! They shouldn't have my work! lol

Anyway, so I mentioned we are working on our patio... I can't wait to do the full blog about it... it's so freakin' awesome! I'm really proud. It's our first home improvement project - well, unless you count demolishing the original wooden porch that WAS where the patio is going... and that was DEFINITELY an improvement haha! I'm really excited! My dad has been helping us a LOT too...

We have a trip planned here soon... probably won't detail about it until we get back... some slime balls are out there scouring the internet for people who talk about being on vay-cay. So i'm trying to be better... anyways, so if you don't see updates or anything from me for a few days, I'm not dead I promise!!

What else....? Oooh! I was talking about walmart earlier... haha... We found these 160 calorie ice cream sandwiches that are TO DIE FOR. omg. so good. Please go buy them... I need to buy stock in them... I dont' remember the brand though... such a horrible fan, eh?

okie doke y'all... I'm at 70% of downloading the Office 2010 for my desktop... rar... I think I'm going to hit up some Frontierville on FB!

Peace out g-monies!

<3 Jess

PS. How tired am I? Pretty-freakin'-tired. lol!


week in review

week in review

Last week was end of month, which means it gets super hectic because we have to get everything in house in our department done! Crazy! But, it's been really good, because we have been at least hitting some of our numbers haha!

Last weekend, Tom and I measured out where our back patio is going to go. Yesterday (Saturday) we went and priced all of our materials - basically went to Home Depot and got prices, then went to Lowe's to see who had the better deal. We were wanting 500 bricks. Home Depot had then for 98 cents each. Not bad, about what we thought we were going to pay on the bricks (about 1/2 the budget). Then, after pricing at Home Depot, we went over to Lowe's and found the exact same brick, on clearance - for get this: 39 cents a brick! WOOHOO!! We more than halved our cost on the bricks! SAWEEET!

Also yesterday, my dad came over and helped us stake out where the patio is going to go, and helped us finalize our design plans for the patio. Then, we started digging... lol!

We are about 2/5 of the way done digging, I think we'll get it done today. Then, we'll need to level the ground, then decide how much sand we're going to need. Then, lay the bricks. We should (if everything goes well, mind you) be able to sit down on our back patio this time next weekend! woohoo!!

I have some pics, I will definitely be taking more... I'll post them all once we have the finished project!

Time to get digging! Please pray for my poor blistered hands, and my aching back! lol!

<3 Jessica