Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cost of Education

According to this document, the Canadian government allots Can $6809.99 (or US $6482) per student per year for public education. In my province, British Columbia, public school is compulsory to age 16. If a child attended the normal course of public education in B.C. (from Kindergarten through Secondary), they would be in school for thirteen years. Thirteen years, at the rate quoted in the OECD "Education at a Glance 2006", would cost the government approximately Can $88,529.87 (US $84,266.01)! Wow.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New cake again

The first cake was made for a two year old's birthday. I think it looks so sweet and pretty. It's the ever-popular lemon cake with raspberry preserve and vanilla buttercream. Fondant free! Although honestly, I would have preferred to do this cake in fondant and royal icing instead of buttercream. The piping would have been cleaner and sharper and the background would have been more even. Oh well! Maybe someone will hire me to do this in fondant for a wedding - those little birds would be perfect!



This next cake was a gift for a neighbour who just had a baby boy. Four layers of chocolate cake with two layers of macerated raspberries and chocolate ganache, one layer of butercream, and dusted with chocolate shavings. Topped with raspberries and hand-rolled truffles! And I got to peek at the baby for a few minutes when I delivered it! So welcome baby Emile, I know your mom will enjoy your birthday cake!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Cake...

It has been awhile since I posted any cake photos. Here's a couple new ones.







WE GOT A DOG!


Her name is Nesta. She's 1/4 German Shepherd, 1/4 Great Pyrenees, 1/4 Akita, and 1/4 St. Bernard. Three months old and 35 lbs. Her parents were 120 and 130 lbs. She's going to be a BIG dog.


We weren't planning on getting a dog for a while, but this one seems so perfect for us. She has the most docile and calm temperament for a puppy. She's not nippy or excitable, hasn't barked or growled or made any vocalizations other than a whine on the car trip home. She's a little cautious, but not fearful or aggressive or pushy. I realize that temperaments can change, of course :) She's pretty fun so far.


My cats are not so impressed. Poor Ty and Svenna. Little weasels.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

No Impact Challenge

We're trying this on.

http://noimpactproject.org/experiment/

This project is really well designed and user friendly. They ask you to register and participate in surveys and record your progress, but that's it. There's no guilt or 'should's', just suggestions and information to engage, empower, and encourage you to consider your lifestyle and habits and your impact on the planet.

I like the positive spin on change. I think that many people are turned away from more environmentally friendly options because of the pervasive belief that they must do without. The project's How-To Manual contains copious links, advice, and accessible information sources for finding local food, eco-products, low-impact means of travel, etc..

It started today, and so far I'm feeling good about it. Today's tasks were to keep a (cloth) bag with me all day and fill it with all my trash, recyclables, and food waste, and to write a list of items I need to purchase this week. These tasks are meant to make you aware of your consumption habits and get you thinking about waste, packaging, and necessity. I was surprised today to realize how automatic throwing packaging away is for me. I consider myself to be a fairy conscious consumer but I often don't think about an item's packaging at point of purchase. I think I did well, compared to most. Towards the end of the day I was critically examining what I wanted to use to minimize the waste. I'm not worried about our food waste - it goes straight into the compost bin for garden use. As for the list, I only had two items on it: groceries and car parts/repairs (our car's water pump pulley propeller sheared in half. Luckily it happened about 100m from the house so when Ian lost power he was able to push it back into our parking spot). I would like to buy a child's bike seat and helmet soon but that is not a necessity this week.

Anyways, I will TRY to update every day this week. I'm really excited. I think this is just the push I need.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Questions!

Abhy has entered the much-anticipated "Asking Questions" phase. No Why's yet, but about a billion What Is This? What Is That? type questions. Very entertaining!

Yesterday we took the bus downtown, and then another to Oak Bay. To pass time, we looked out the window and talked about what we saw. On the way back, we were the only passengers who got on at the Depot. Every passenger who entered the bus after us was subject to a very loud, "That a MAN, Mama? That guy a MAN?" By the time we reached our destination, only one man had boarded the bus.

And about 20 elderly ladies.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This poor blog...

...is so neglected.

Life has been rather wild for us lately.  

I've been involved in the North Saanich Farmer's Market.  Every Saturday until Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving, that is) I get out of bed at three a.m. (!!!) and bake wholesome grain breads and pastries.  I start prepping items and doughs as early as Tuesday and then bake all day Friday and go to bed around midnight.  

Fearghus has gone from rocking on his hands and knees to crawling to cruising in two weeks!  It's madness.  I can't keep up with this guy.  He has two teeth, now, also.

Our garden has been hugely productive, but with many let downs.  It was a learning year for us.  I am intending to post about it at some point, I swear.  Today I picked ten pounds of tomatoes!!

Anyways, children calling.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Castle Cake!

This is the first castle cake I've made, and I think it turned out rather well.  I wish I had taken in-progress photos.  There were several points when I felt like throwing in the towel, that there was no way I could make the castle presentable.  I had a temporary loss of faith.  At one time, I was positively despondent - I considered calling the customer to cancel.  The end result is pretty cool, though, if I get a chance to do another castle cake, there are A LOT of things I would do differently.  But that's the learning process, right? 

The green 'land' part is cake: vanilla with mango curd and strawberry buttercream.  The pink castle is Rice Krispie treats covered in fondant.  

This first photo is when most of the work was done, but before the final touches.

The back.
The little girl's name above the entranceway.
View from above right.
View from behind.
Right tower (this is before everything was touched up).
Left tower.
After touch-ups and additions.  Please ignore the bowls of oatmeal in the background.  Very professional, I know.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eli and Jude's Cupcakes

A very good friend of mine had twin baby boys on the 27th of July!  I brought these cupcakes to the hospital when we visited.

Gumpaste decorations drying after I cut and painted them.

Probably my second favourite shirt combo.

My original plan for these was a onesie and a diaper on each of nine cupcakes.  However, when I sat down to decorate them, two had mysteriously gone missing! *cough* Ian *cough*.  So I decided to do six instead; two onesies on four, three diapers and a onesie on one, and six diapers on one.  I had a bunch of prepared miniature blue and white flowers that I used as filler....I'm wishing I'd come up with something more creative.  I don't like how they look.

This pair of baby shirts was my fave.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Silly Babies



Formula....

I just meandered over to Mama is.  Take a look at this new product. She made a comic about it.  

My mind is blown, a little.  Especially by the "humanitarian" angle the company is using to sell this abomination.  The article states that gastrointestinal distress would be minimized (compared with formula made with potentially contaminated water).  I am skeptical - what about formula recalls, melamine, mechanical contamination during manufacture?  Certainly we can't believe that "sterile" conditions in a factory are guaranteed?  Employees are human; machines malfunction.  I don't have that much faith in centralized production.  And regarding AIDS in Africa?  Serving formula to the two thirds of African babies that would not contract HIV through breastfeeding puts them at a serious risk of many other diseases (and the mothers too!), hinders the development of their immune system, and reduces mother-babe bonding.  Not to mention the expense.  How can ill parents in an impoverished country possibly afford to buy single-serving formula for every single feed?  I think the money is better spent on HIV/AIDS reduction/education methods.  
  They also say it's "green", because it is made with "paper products", and is free of Bisphenol-A.  Unfortunately, the processes to recycle and manufacture tetra-pack style packaging is not.  Nor for the plastic nipple.  Or to ship this product worldwide from the USA.  Or to collect, assemble, and then ship the ingredients the formula will contain.  So?  Maybe they meant, "greener than plastic bottles".  Yeah.

  I suppose these people have their hearts in the right place.  Or maybe they don't, and it's just all about the money.  EIther way, this sort of thing leaves me shaking my head.
 
 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hey Lindsay...

...look what we did to your dog while you were away ;P


Please not that Sorcha is also wearing a clog on her back left foot. 
 


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hailey's Cake

This cake was for my little sister's 22nd birthday.  She seems eternally 19 to me - perhaps admitting that she is growing older means accepting that I am too.

Anyways, this cake was Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting and totally delicious if you ask me.  The flowers and decorations are all handmade out of gumpaste and fondant.





Sunday, July 19, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

Our snapshot Sunday...all pictures from the garden, and mostly squashes.

Cucumber
Container acorn squash
Delicata squash nestled amongst the corn
The top of that lovely corn
Beautiful zucchini blossoms

Go here to join in!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two things...

Thing one:  Look at the potatoes I dug up today!  These are from two prematurely withered plants and one I dug up for fun; none of the rest of my potatoes are ready to pull.  I got about 25 potatoes from my two Russet plants, and only five from my Russian Blue plant.  I still have two Russets, seven Yukon Gold, and seven Russian Blue plants left.  I'm thrilled that they are doing so well.  I will post more about my garden tomorrow.


Thing two:  How cute is this face?!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hee hee

This was fun! 

Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com

Make your Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mini Blossom Wedding-Gift Cake.

Another request for the painted swirls.  I think that might become my signature.  

  This cake is little....just four inches in diameter, but six inches tall (I thought that might be fun - in retrospect I would use less frosting and more cake for better stability) Neapolitan cake.  Vanilla butter cake, chocolate ganache, and strawberry cream cheese buttercream.  Yum!  This cake combo has passed every taste test with five stars.  



Thank you Hailey!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sling giveaway

Check out this site.  They are giving away a beautiful linen sling and muslin swaddling blankets.  

I make normal cakes too


Lemon with raspberry preserve and buttercream.  Sides are dusted with white chocolate shavings.  The raspberries and leaves are from my garden ;)


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

This week I thought I'd put up pictures of all the flowers in my yard.  

Snap peas

Russian blue potatoes

Feverfew and mint

Such a beautiful time of year. 

See Sarah for the original.