Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rainbow of cake

My adventures in cooking recently haven't been too, well, adventurous. The other day however, in my quest to become a baker extraordinaire, I delved into the magical world of rainbow cakes! They are not that tough to make (dyeing white cake...not that hard) however, I have also never made said white cake (who eats white cake anyways?) so i scoured the internet for a recipe that didn't require lots of effort as I had two sets of little hands helping me as well, Little J, and the neighbor girl. I found this recipe. Little J and NG helped me dump flour, mix and create general chaos as I separated eggs and whisked everything into perfection! 

Next came the hard part. Actually dyeing it. Swiss food coloring? SUCKS. Like MAJORLY SUCKS. But I had to make do. At this point I really wanted to get out the wilton gel food coloring that I have at home. It makes AWESOME colors. So if you are in the U.S. go get some. and dye everything. it's sooooo cool. sorry. Anyways, my little helpers were obsessed with the dyeing. I would put in the dye and they mixed (and ate) as fast as they could.  We talked about the rainbow (regenbogen) and what colors were in it and which colors came when (I know, a teaching moment, you should all be proud!)
mixing the dyes. Note the fingers....

Adding some colors
Final color placement.
I then put the cake batter colors in the pan in order while the girls shouted out the next color. I was not so sure how the cake was going to turn out but hoped it would be fine! I put it in and 45 minutes later out came a pretty decent cake! The girls loved it and friends deemed it pretty decent making my venture a success! To change, I would make more of the red batter and orange batter than the other colors as you couldn't really see those colors and more vibrant colors.
nervous about it? 

finished product!

check out them colors! and blue icing (although the icing sucked. I need to make not so sweet icing.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Children's Birthdays

My host dad recently said to me that in life the most stressful thing when you have children are the kids birthday parties. Will they be enough fun? Will there be lots of meltdowns? Will it be too long? Too short? I had my first experience planning a child's birthday this past week when I was given 3 days notice on planning a birthday for little J who had just turned 5. 3 DAYS. If I had more time I think I could have pulled off much more but maybe only 3 days was for the best? I reached back into my memories of my own birthdays and pulled out some fool proof ways that the kids could have fun. First off? TREASURE HUNT. Everyone loves a good treasure hunt.  H (my host mom) and I planned the treasure hunt to go for about 45 minutes through the neighborhood including a stop at a playground and some forest area for the kids to run around in (we apparently did not need the forest area for running around as kids were sprinting between clues!) They ended up finding their goody bags and some sequins to put on their craft. oh yes, the craft.

We decided to make masks for the birthday. H bought some feathers, sequinsy things, colored pencils, and glitter (because you can't have a girls birthday without it!) The kids ended up each making a mask which they wanted to spend more time than we were able making sure it had just the right amount of glitter (read: dripping off the mask) feathers surrounding it and little sequins everywhere. Julia and Mimi are still making masks even days after the party, clearly should have thought of this earlier in the year!

Overall? The party was a success! My cake was well received by the kinder (luckily!), and they all seemed to have had a good time.  Not too stressful, no meltdowns, and no accidents. And another thing to add to my resume. Birthday planning MASTER. (Just kidding!)

Spring Break European Style: Greece!

Greece was the last stop on my three week trip. And I have to admit as excited as I was to see Greece I was also glad it was the last stop, I was getting pretty traveled out!

I managed to spend the night before I left in Milan eating at my favorite place (Oskars in Milan. DELICIOUS food- some of the best pasta I have ever had!) After spending the night in Milan I met up with my friends Whitney and Zoe and Zoe's friend from home Brittany. We hopped on the plane and before we knew it we had arrived in Rhodes!

Rhodes was GREAT. not only were we able to enjoy a beach vacation but we explored a lot of the Island and even managed a day trip to Symi- a beautiful island about an hour ferry's ride from Rhodes.  We went swimming in the Aegean Sea, walked through some caves, and ate lots of delicious Greek food! Check it out!

Taking in the view!

check out that water!

Aegean Sea!

Beach vaca!

Inspecting the water for it's wateryness

playing a bit with my camera. ha.

I could dedicate a whole post to the amount of jumping pictures we took. Alas, I will leave you with just one. But check out the air I got on that jump!

Monestary at the top of a hill. So cool!

Kitties. We saw them everywhere.

whit and I

Overlooking the water.

hanging at the beach! Zoe, Brittany, and Whit

randome porch view.

wandering the streets.

the Ferry was a teensy bit windy!

part of the port area in Symi (Simi)

Do you see those colors?

walking around Symi. Very pretty! 

Clock tower at ta church. looked like it was out of Disney world with it's colors.

pondering Simi. hmmm..

beautiful houses!

Anchors away!

In Old Town. Bascially lots of tourists and shopping.

Overall, a really great trip!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Break European Style: Edinburgh!

Edinburgh was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip. At this point I was pretty tired from all the sight seeing we had been doing so it was good to be able to have the next few days be pretty relaxed. I went to stay with Shelley and her au pair family just outside of Edinburgh. 

I arrived Tuesday night and so wednesday morning Shelley had her youngest child most of the day. We managed to head to the beach and hang out for awhile and then grab some lunch at a little cafe. H, her kid, was so good the whole time! IT was nice to be able to relax and just hang out for awhile. We had dinner that night with her host parents while watching a top chef type show (I forget the name but it was the final!). Her host family was so nice and accommodating! 

beach view

Shelley and H walking along.

more beach!
 The next day we headed out for a walk and took a picnic lunch along the beach before we had to pick up H.  We also stopped by a beer garden and took in the scenery. A nice way to spend the day! 

WWI and II memorial

Beer garden!

So relaxing!

Friday, my last day we made it into Edinburgh to look around and to see the wedding on the big screen (Royal wedding while I was in the UK? totally awesome!). After that we walked around the city seeing the castle walking down the royal mile. We stopped at the cafe where JK Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book(!!!!) and also ate some good fish and chips! We then headed to a few bars and made it home in the early hours before my 9am flight to Italy! Overall a very quiet and nice catch up trip!
Just Married!

Proof we were there!

Michelle this is for you. The bacon roll. Not exactly what we expected but hey.

Edinburgh Castle

JK Rowling!

The Elephant cafe! where she wrote Harry Potter.

awesome street. look at the different colored buildings!

Spring Break European Style: Amsterdam

The next stop on my trip was Amsterdam. We stayed overnight at the airport and then headed early in the morning to Amsterdam to meet up with our friend Shelley.  Amsterdam was an amazing city. I couldn't get enough. We stayed with the au pair who worked with my family last year. It was so nice to catch up and swap stories with her and actually meet her!

The first day we walked around the city. It was nice to not really have a schedule and sort of be able to see the touristy and non touristy part. We stopped for lunch at this amazing sandwich place and walked through a couple of flea markets to see what was around.  That night we were able to cook dinner at Jo's house and relax (and accidentally fall asleep?).  the next day we took the New Europe tour (another fantastic tour!) and got to see so many of the sights. We wandered some more and then that night Michelle and I took a bike ride around the red light district. Interesting to see but I also felt many mixed emotions about these women and the whole situation.

Eathing lunch by the canals. They don't smell like the Venice ones Thank GOODNESS!

bar we went to. Very cool

hanging out on the bikes. Shelley and I managed to do the whole ride on the back thing for a while! pretty hard though!

one of the plazas in Amsterdam right near the palace

Red Light District.


Anne Frank House!
 The next morning we started early off to the Van Gogh Museum, very interesting to see the progression of his work! We followed this with a trip to the Tulip festival. The amount of Tulips scattered throughout the park with the color coordination was definitely impressive! There were so many different kinds of tulips and different arrangements of the flowers. See pictures! We then headed to the Anne Frank museum. A must see in Amsterdam. Very interesting exhibit and cool to walk through the house and look at the way it was set up. 
Amsterdam Sign. Can you find me?

One of the parks in Amsterdam

definitely a necessary picture. 


More. this might get repetitive

there was a hat fashion show. This womans? probs. one of the best! haha

I see you!

tulip fields

walking through some of the gardens

Van Gogh out of tulip petals. it was CRAZAY.

Shelley and Michelle with the Tulips!

check out them shoes!

it's a river of tulips! 

Club I hope to be a part of when I grow old.

The last day I was there by myself and so I went to the World Press Photo Tour exhibit in one of the churches in Amsterdam.  I then walked around the city more before catching my flight to Edinburgh to spend a few days with Shelley!
The world Press photo tour exhibit. So cool to see and a little frightening 
This is the rig that takes bikes out of the canal all year. 

ALMOST bought these.

Best sandwich place. 

classic A'dam.

Jo, the girl I stayed with. only one picture before I hoped on the train!