the hyphens that define my life

T-24 Day of Rest May 26, 2013

Filed under: Family,Life — multihyphenatedme @ 9:05 am
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The yard sale was a huge success. In six hours, almost everything sold, I managed to get a horrible v-neck t-shirt sunburn tan line, we met a lot of fascinating people who thought my junk was awesome and we managed to bring in a lot of cash.  I love yard sales.

My house is now bare.  Well, almost.  Living room and dining room and patio furniture are gone.  Bunk beds and bookcases are sold.  What’s left is a tiny vintage 4 person table and chairs, my desk (I have to work), our bed and dressers.  The boys are in sleeping bags on the floor and loving it.  TVs mounted, video games hooked up and internet is accessible so all is well in their world.

I’m exhausted.  My body is sore.  I think I’m nursing a bit of a hangover and food coma too.  After the yard sale we went to a Dortmund vs. Bayern soccer party with Trace’s soccer team.  Brats, beer and kraut were an excellent post-sale meal along with some relaxing time by the pool (in the shade thanks to my v-burn). This past week I miraculously managed three girls nights out, more than I typically manage in three months.  A wine tasting fundraiser, movie night to see Gatsby and last night a “Thank God 6th Grade is Over” party with great friends, delicious food and wine.

Today I’m laying low. I need a day of rest. Pedicures with my girl on the agenda and planning our weekly menus for our final meals in California.

Enjoy your Sunday, get some rest.


Snake Cake January 14, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — multihyphenatedme @ 9:44 am
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snake in the grass cake

My 9 year old son is obsessed with reptiles. Our family includes a gecko and now a ball python.  His reptile themed birthday party requied a reptile cake.

Pinterest to the rescue!  Search for reptile cakes and snake cakes and be amazed by the crazy-talented cake decorators and cake sculptors out there! Thank you for providing insight and ideas!

Here is how I made my cake:

Two Bundt Cakes – “The Martha Stewart Cookbook” recipes for Devil’s Food (chocolate) and Whipped Cream (white) cakes to accomodate all attending the party (translation:  for the fools that don’t like chocolate cake!).

One 9″ Devil’s Food Cake – same recipe as above.  One recipe made enough for the bundt and round cakes.

Four pounds of C & H powdered sugar – Buttercream frosting recipe on the back is quadrupled to frost this cake.

Red sour punch candy for tongue.

Wilton’s icing colors:  Juniper Green, Black and Golden Yellow

8 oz. unsweetened coconut

After wrapping my extra large cutting board in parchment, I cut the head shape from the 9″ round, using approximatly half of the cake.  Half moon shapes were cut for the raised eyes.  My kids were gracious enough to eat the other half of the cake unfrosted as an after breakfast snack.

Both bundt cakes were cut and half and arranged on the board.  One half of each bundt was quartered and rotated to create the curvature of the snake.

Divide and color frosting.Green and white frosting will be used the most with a small amount of yellow and black.

Crumb frost with a thin layer of white butter cream. Position and adhere half moons for eyes during the crumb frost.

Using a spatula, cover the entire snake with Juniper Green frosting.

Let the frosting dry slightly then use a paper towel to smooth out lines and ridges.  This is another awesome pinterest trick!

Put white frosting on eyes. Let dry.  Use papertowel to smooth.  Add yellow frosting to eyes. Let dry.  Use papertowel to smooth.  Using a toothpick with small amount of black frosting, add black line down the center.

Foolishly I believed I possessed the artistic ability to create a diamondback snake pattern all over the snake.  For the record, I don’t.  I tried.  I failed.  I scraped the entire frosting off the cake, and started over.  Internet images to the rescue!


Using a #5 decorating tip, pipe white lines onto the snake at random intervals.  Let dry.  Using papertowl, flatten. Using #4 tip, pipe black around white. Let dry.  Flatten with papertowl.

Using #4 tip, pipe black to create line of mouth and outline eyes.

Using #61 tip, pipe yellow at base of snack to create yellow underbelly.  Let dry.  Press into snake with papertowel.

With leftover frosting (I had more green leftover than any other color), frost the base of the board.  Color coconut with light green food coloring and cover base of board to create grass.


Who can resist that face?


80 days of Summer June 25, 2012

Filed under: Family — multihyphenatedme @ 9:25 pm
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The kids counted from the day they got out of school until the day they go back.  We have 80 days of summer, weekends and holidays included, to take advantage of the season.  We’ve boycotted day care summer camps and summer school and planned daily good summer fun.

Each week is themed, each day has a rough plan to keep everyone busy. Each day includes brain work (anything from puzzles, workbooks, reading, and such), chores (of course the kids think WHAT? It’s summer!  and I see it as free child slave labor), and an adventure or activity that gets us out of the house while still managing a full time work schedule.  Creative planning required to pull off my 9 hour+ work days.  All work and no play is dull.  Our weeks are sweetened with a different homemade ice cream on Sundays!

We began our adventure by tent camping 3 nights on the Kern River with a group of friends.  The river was cold and low and slow but provided plenty of entertainment with rafting and fishing and soaking. We also took a beautiful drive and fun hike at the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sequoias. Camping week ended with a lot of laundry and Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream!!

Weekly themes include Camping (check!); California Style; History; Science; Crafts; Culture; Fun & Fitness; Myths & Legends; Animal Planet; Oceanography; and All Ball.  Each week includes Movie/Museum; Beach; Soak City/Knotts; Picnic at the Park; and a Bike Ride/Hike.  We have  couple of trips planned to Palm Springs and San Diego too.  Mom is another name for Camp Director right?

What was Rory Vaden’s quote from my prior post?  The moment you tell yourself you’re too busy is the moment you stop thinking creatively about how to get other potentially important items into your schedule and your routine.”

He also states that “Balance shouldn’t mean equal time spent on equal activities. Balance should mean appropriate time spent on critical priorities.”

Whether I’m practicing the art of balancing by either definition or juggling my multi-hyphenated life,  my main goal for the summer is to learn how to hula hoop.  Somehow I missed out on this lesson as a kid.

Hurray for summer!