Practice with a Fondant Cake

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garrett's 1st birthday is coming soon, and I decided this year that I would make his first cake using fondant... I guess that makes two firsts. I've been told home-made marshmallow fondant tastes sooooo much better than store-bought, and it's much cheaper too... especially if you're making a lot of it! Today was my first go and it went OK. Dyeing fondant seems to be the biggest challenge though (thus the tie dye pink ;-).

I used a home-made marshmallow fondant and here's how it goes:
*Grease counter with oleo (Crisco).
  1. Pour out 1/2 a bag of powdered sugar onto surface.
  2. In large greased bowl, pour a full bag of marshmallows (reg or min) and 1/2 Tbsp of water.
  3. Microwave in 30 sec increments stirring between until marshmallows melt (usually around 2 min).
  4. Pour melted marshmallow onto powdered sugar surface.
  5. Grease hands and knead. (This is a very messy process but also a little fun. Who doesn't love pla-dough!?)Work until pliable. If it becomes sticky, add more powdered sugar).
  6. Roll into ball, grease the ball with oleo, and wrap in saran wrap.
  7. Refridgerate to firm 4+ hours.
  8. Buttercream crumb-coat your cake before laying on fondant. Refridgerate an hour or so. When you remove, rub the edges to remove any excessive roughness.
  9. Roll to 1/4" thickness to lay over cake.
  10. Lay over cake. Gently rub and pull down to smooth out the sides from overlap. Trim bulk to aid in this process. Set aside bulk for dyeing later.
  11. To dye, knead the heck out of it with your gel dye (or reg dye). This will seem neverending. Mine never really did become a smooth color!

Below are pictures from our process:

Some handy tools to have around.

Sorry, no pics of MY fondant process... too messy. But here's the finished product ready to go to the fridge. Here's the YouTube How to video link I used though:

My favorite icing... Wilton's Buttercream below - for my filling and crumb coating above.
Grace picks out the practice cake colors. Pink and green of COURSE!
My white base layer of fondant layed on and tucked in around the 9" double layer cake.
Grace helped out cutting shapes and rolling balls!

The finished product:

Ready to eat!!


"Why?" "How come?"

Friday, June 18, 2010

I should have taken a picture of it. There it was, a big sign on the wall of The Magic House:

The average 4 year old
asks 437 questions a day.

It's 11:45 AM, and I am almost certain my 3 1/2 year old has already asked 436 questions. I have been told this phase was coming and that it was normal. I have been told that it's a good sign that they begin to ask sooooo many questions - it's a sign that they are learning.
Well, I am here to tell you that my kid is learning... a whole lot! I have heard parents complain, um, I mean discuss, how much their 4 and 5 year old asked questions... about how tiring it could be. I thought to myself then, "Yeah, that's probably a little annoying to answer questions all the time." I had no idea what they really meant though.
Sometimes, I honest to goodness get tired of hearing myself talk. I wish I would just shut up... but I can't because HERE COMES ANOTHER QUESTION! Oh my goodness.

Well, I am so thankful to have a happy healthy 3 1/2 year old, and I am thankful that she's here to ask all 437 questions a day... I just noticed that I haven't had to answer a question for the last 15 minutes... well, she is napping...


I'd like to be a buffalo at Grant's Farm

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our last day in St. Louis was another fun one. We packed up, checked out, and headed for one last park day at Grant's Farm. What a neat place to spend a couple of hours. It started out with a tram ride around half the park and then dropped us off at a "walk-around" area. This is where Grace got up close and personal with kids - the goat kind that is. We also saw chickens with hair (Crested Polish or something like that) and chickens with pants (feathers down their legs). I made note of these exotic dancing chickens and have a list started for our chicken farm! She also saw buffalo (boy do they have an easy life!), foxes, lemurs, camels, parrots, iguanas, elephants, and, of COURSE, Clydesdales. And once again, here are the pics to show a few...

Buffalo and their babes

Clean-up tub in one of the stall areas - we should have filled it and given her a bath right there. Her teeth were blue from her sno-one!

Getting up close and personal with a baby Clydesdale!
You can see momma Clydesdale in the background of this picture.
Well, it's all over now, but what fun we had... and what good memories Grace will have. We'll have to go back and do it all again in a few years when Garrett can live it up with her!
Happy Vacationing Everyone!


The Very Magical Magic House - St. Louis

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It was another great day here in St. Louis. We experience much magic at The Magic House! That place is HUGE and is loaded with activities for everyone from babies to elders! We absolutely wore ourselves out and were ready to relax that evening!

Garrett in "the oval office"

Lunch at The Picnic Basket in The Magic House
The mirror maze was fun

Grace built her own working set of gears
Floating on air balls fascinated Garrett

The bubble organ was a hoot

And when the day was over and Courtney and I were ready to collapse, THIS is what Grace was doing. No more monkeys jumping on the bed, girl!


Downtown St. Louis

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today was the day to meander to downtown St. Louis and see the Arch and the new City Garden. We did NOT go up the Arch... I could just imagine myself trapped in one of those little pods with two screaming children, and that was enough for me to say no thank. Maybe later.

The City Garden is new from 2009 and was quite a bit of fun for both Grace and Garrett. Definitely worth a stop for a couple of hours... and it was FREE! It's also just about 2 city blocks from the Arch making our driving mucho easy.

OK, in like fashion from yesterday, here are our days' picture highlights:

A windy cloudy morning at the St. Louis Arch

Garrett actually enjoyed a face full of water. I've even got video to prove it! (crazy kid)

Garrett was very tired after all that splashing

After a quick clean-up at the hotel, it was time for an early dinner

The day caught up with Grace...

...but she was back up and kicking by the time we were back in the room... ready for more swimming.


St. Louis Zoo Adventure

Thursday, June 10, 2010

If there's anything I've learned about vacationing with two kids under the age of 4, it's "pace yourself"!
We explored the St. Louis Zoo today and had a great time. I have decided it is a two day adventure though for anyone with little kids!
We rode the train, explored the children's zoo area, saw a sea lion show, and rode the carousel. And did I mention we saw lots of animals?! And we didn't even see half of it. Personally, my favorite area was the penguins... air conditioned (it was uber hot & muggy today!). Needless to say, we came back to the hotel and hit the pool.
Anyway, here are pictures to document some of it!
In the Children's Zoo area:

Garrett had an encounter with some very curious little meerkats!!!

The Penguin House!

The girl obsessed over Zebras all morning... of COURSE she chose the zebra to ride on!

Sea Lion show

By the time we got to the sea lion show, Grace was very tired! Grace had been asking all morning to go see those ZEBRAS!
Black with white stripes? White with black stripes?
Turns out, it's white with brown stripes...

World's Fair Aviary
Garrett was diggin' the chimpanzees!
Back at the pool for a cooldown.

Entertainment in the room.
Garrett hidden away in his sleeping courters
(i.e. blanket covered pack-n-play).
Grace sacked OUT!
Now, my turn...

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