Garden Catch Up

This week with a lighter baking schedule I was able to spend some much needed time in the gardens.

Unlike the rest of the country we have not had endless days of heat and sun beating down on us. We had a couple weeks of high temperatures but most of the summer has been very tolerable indeed. The garden hasn't seemed to mind the lack of heat, though we aren't getting more than a few ripe tomatoes yet. The catch-up time this week has been pleasant work with mild 70s temperatures.

We took one evening to harvest the corn. We only got half of the crop we planted since one whole patch of SE corn did not germinate at all during the cold, clammy weather the first week of June. The other patch of tried and true Peaches and Cream rewarded us with a wheelbarrow load of first ears.

My husband and I prepared the corn for the freezer all by ourselves. No kid helpers around this year, for the first time in forever.

This week I also harvested some massive cabbages. According to my garden notes these are Stein's Early Dutch.
I was worried that they would split before I had time to harvest them but they didn't!

I was also very pleased to see that they had no bugs! No aphids and no cabbage worms, both of which I have always had trouble with. Last year the aphids were terrible on the cabbages. The difference is that this year I did a bit of bug control with a rather surprising method. My daughter, Katie, recommended that I pour diluted raw milk over the plants. I did that a few times and this is the result! I am also pouring diluted raw milk on my first ever planting of brussel sprouts. Right after I planted the starts I heard from my gardening friends that they had given up on trying to grow brussel sprouts because of the incessant aphid problem. We'll see if the raw milk has the same insect repellant effects but so far, so good!

Alyssa took the job of slicing and salting and pounding those cabbages to prepare sauerkraut. She got two crocks out of those three cabbage heads. There are still three more cabbage plants in the garden so I may need to get lots more kielbasa to go with all this kraut.

The trucks loaded with bins of fruit are starting to wind there way around the valley roads towards the packing houses so summer is definitely waning.

Now I can bore you with my vacation

Now that I've shipped my niece back to DC, I thought I should backtrack a bit and blather on about our vacation. As you may recall, it started off badly with my husband getting waaaay lost. So, things could only get better from there. We woke up on Saturday morning ready to get our vacation started.  The kid and I went "into town" for a few groceries. We stopped at a farmers' market which, as luck would have it, was hosting some special "kids' day" activities. She had her face painted, played some games, and petted some hipster's rabbit. (Seriously - I wasn't sure how else to describe that. This dread-locked dude had an angora rabbit and he was plucking out chunks of loose fur so that he could weave something out if it later, I guess.)

When we got back to the cabin, it started to rain. And then to hail. The hail was a little unnerving but we took it in stride. Because we had alcohol and didn't have anywhere we needed to be. I had also brought along lots of stuff for the kid to do. She played games on the Kindle, watched the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS (that's right), and spent an entire afternoon making crafts out of masking tape. She then set up a store to sell her masking tape products, and forced me to purchase a nail polish holder for a quarter. It's basically a slab of masking tape with the words "nail polish holder" written on it. I can't return it because she didn't give me a receipt. Because I know what's good for me, I dutifully took it home after our trip and piled a bunch of bottles of nail polish on it. Occasionally she asks me, "How's that nail polish holder workin' out for ya?"  I think this is code for "don't you dare throw that thing out until I leave for college."

The weather got better as the week wore on. Some days we left the cabin and actually went somewhere - such as the day we went hiking at a state park - and other days we went nowhere at all. The kid and her dad did a lot of fishing. We don't eat fish so they just caught the fish, made the fishes' lives flash before their eyes, and then tossed them back in. I walked the dogs once a day so that I could say I had "worked out."  I also did follow through with my plan to do some yoga on the deck. It was downright peaceful, downward-dogging it with the call of the loon drifting up off the lake.

We basically did the same stuff we do every year, which isn't a bad thing. I read a couple of books. Normally I don't get as much time for reading as I would like. The most excitement we had was that Gideon broke out of his crate while we were out and ate all of our cinnamon rolls and doughnuts. So, aside from being short on breakfast items thereafter, we had a great time.

Cousins (or cuzins, as the kids say)

There are seven grandchildren in our family; five of them have penises. The two girls belong to me and my middle sister. When I was first pregnant many years ago, my baby would have been born in early 2000.  I had hoped that he/she and my niece (born at the end of 1998) would be close in age and would be close in other ways, too. Well, that scenario was not to be. It took several more years before Short Stuff joined our family in 2005.

My niece has been visiting us since last week. Even though my daughter and my niece are 6 1/2 years apart, they get along great. My daughter thinks her older cousin is the coolest thing since the iPad. To give you an example, we went back-to-school shopping at the mall the other day. When my niece told my daughter that skinny jeans are "in," my daughter immediately required me to buy her two pairs. I have to admit that she does look exceptionally cute in them. She still wants to wear mostly dresses, but pants are starting to creep in from time to time. I think if her cousin told her that all the cool kids are wearing cabbage leaves as hats, I'd be buying those, too.

By the way, if you are over 30 and want to feel REALLY old, let a 13-year-old girl watch you send a text message. I had this experience the other day. My niece was so distraught over my slowness that her thumbs started twitching and a bead of sweat formed on her lip. My sister told me that Blondie even dials the home phone with both thumbs. When I dial a phone number, it's with my right thumb exclusively. My left thumb would not even know how to get involved in that. 

We've had a lot of fun during Blondie's visit. I'm still short on time so I'm going to do some shameless photo-sharing here:

Five Weddings one weekend is enough. I pulled it off and didn't collapse when it was over. I did get a little help from my friends.
This was for a small, home wedding for a chocolate loving couple. They ordered chocolate fudge cake with mocha cream filling and dark chocolate cream icing.

The bride wanted a "cascade of flowers" and the strawberry loving groom wanted a strawberry cake with strawberry filling (the small tier for him) with the rest chocolate cake for the guests. I will post my strawberry cake recipe here soon. My dear husband delivered this cake so I could stay in the kitchen working on two more. He's getting good at handling that responsibility.

If you notice, a lot of my cakes have been presented on wood cuts for that extra rustic look. Two of them this weekend in fact. Chocolate cake with hazelnut cream filling and coconut cake with lemon cream filling was accompanied by a blackberry pie and two cheesecakes, one plain and one chocolate chip.

Sometime I think I'll do a post on inspiration, the photos that brides give me- I want a cake like this. This cake was inspired by a Martha Stewart wedding cake photo. I actually like mine better. I had a lot of fun decorating it because it was something different, and despite the fact that I had to do it in the middle of the party with people watching me (I hate that!) because I couldn't carry this cake with the heavy fruit on it without it all falling off. The dessert choices also included peach pie and marionberry pie. I've heard some wonderful feedback from the guests at this wedding. They seemed to enjoy my offerings and that pleases me after I worked so hard on them.

On Sunday another wedding required one hundred bite sized  tartlettes.
With all the baking I've done during my 21-day cleansing diet, nothing has particularly tempted me until these little devils. Chocolate truffle tarts made with Belgian Callebaut chocolate were the siren call. I had to box them up and get them out of the house, tout de suite!

And the lemon mascarpone cream tartlettes too! Raus mit du!

The tartlettes accompanied this rustic (again) wedding cake, decorated with herbs from the garden (again) and something fun and imaginative to remember the carving that the groom did when his proposal was accepted by his sweetheart. I have to thank my son's girlfriend, Sarah, for helping me get this wedding delivered on time. AND she cleaned up the kitchen for me after I left.

So next weekend I have only one wedding cake and it makes me feel almost like I'm on vacation!

Apple turnover season starts too. I know this because there is a big box of apples sitting in my kitchen.

Updates from the hood.

  • Kerri and the kids were playing with sparklers a few nights ago.  Running in the dark, Kerri did not see a skateboard in the lawn and she fell, right on top of the sparkler.  It burned a hole in her shirt, and burned her tummy.  Her ex immediately jumped to her rescue to put the fire out, and she hurt her knee on the pavement.  She was a crying, bloody mess.  Within ten minutes, she was bandaged up and running around happily again.
  • We are packing again.  We are heading to the Canadian National Exposition in Toronto, where we will meet up with our friends Kerri, Jeff and their daughters.  Can't wait!
  • Tomorrow I see the hematologist again with the latest results of my blood tests.  I know they came back bad because they called me.  I guess I will find out what's next tomorrow.
  • It has been really, really hot here.  This summer we broke quite a few records with the heat.
  • Kerri starts school next week!  Third grade, here we come!
  • Catherine's birthday dinner was a success.  I made fajitas for the first time, and everyone liked them.  And the cake was pretty yummy too.  It was great to see Catherine again, and of course, her BFF Nana.
  • My Dad arrives in a week too!  It will be fun catching up, spending some quality time with him, and of course, making chimichurri for all his clients.  Plus we will be celebrating Kerri's, mine and my dad's birthdays. 
  • I finally paid off hubby's car.  It was awesome to make that last, tiny car payment.  And I don't plan on buying another car for as long as possible.  His 2007 Chevy barely has 18,000 miles on it.  And my 2004 MamaMobile has 62,000 miles.  And they don't even make Mercury cars anymore, so I guess that makes my van an extinct "species".  Kerri might even get to drive these cars!
  • We are keeping all our friends and family members in the path of Tropical Storm/future Hurricane Isaac in our thoughts and prayers.  Please stay safe!

Life with Kerri is taking one day at a time.

Summer Beauty

Vintage table cloth from my neighbor's yard sale- $4
Milk glass vase from an antique shop in Michigan- $6
Homegrown dahlias- Priceless!

A Little Scare

I haven't had much time to write, as my 13-year-old niece is visiting and I'm using all of my spare time to come up with new ways to embarrass her. I started off by yelling, "BLONDIE!" at the top of my lungs when I spotted her coming through security at the airport after her plane landed, causing her to duck into the crowd and pretend she didn't know me. I followed up by taking photos of myself when she briefly left her iPhone with me on Friday. My sister tipped me off that Blondie finds eyeball close-ups particularly horrifying, so I quickly took a snapshot of my eye and then blithely handed the phone back. Teenagers are fun!  They sleep a lot and eat a lot, though. When my niece wasn't waking up on Friday, I sent her mom a text asking if I should go in and hold a mirror under Blondie's nose.

We returned from our vacation on Thursday. We had a great time at the cabin. I'll write more about our trip later (I'm sure you can hardly wait), but it did not start out well.  The lake is four hours from our home. I knew I'd have to go straight to the airport on Thursday to pick up my niece (a six-hour drive), so it made sense to take separate cars. My husband drove with the dogs. He left about an hour after we did (on Friday the 17th).  The kid and dogs and I got to the cabin at about 8:30 that night. I had wanted to get there before it was completely dark because the road we are used to taking is closed. My friend (the one who owns the cabin) had given me a workaround and I had also printed maps. The GPS is a little iffy about some of the dirt roads up there. The lake is in a national forest and is not all that easy to find.

Once I figured out the correct way in, I immediately called my husband to make sure he would know where to turn. The map was a little deceiving - the turn came up far quicker than one would expect. I got a "this caller is not available" sort of message. We both have the same cellular provider so I couldn't figure out why I'd have a signal when he didn't. Not too concerned, I unloaded the van as the sky grew dark. As you can imagine, a remote lake on a private road in the middle of a national forest . . . well, let's just say that when it gets dark, it gets DARK. I tried to call P a few more times as I unpacked. No answer. I set up the dogs' crates and tried to keep myself busy. I flipped through a magazine. Soon it was 9:30, the approximate time I was expecting him. Then 10, then 10:30.  I tried to call over and over. If you looked at the "sent" folder on my phone right now, you'd think I was a crazed stalker.

The kid was asking where her dad was, so I said he was probably lost but tried to act nonchalant about it. Secretly, though, I was very worried. Eventually, she fell asleep on the couch, which was somewhat of a relief. Soon it was 11. I was not sure what to do. Do I call the hospital? (where is the nearest hospital??? I realized I had no idea, which was probably bad). Do I call the police? I also had the thought of calling my mother, because of course she'd be able to fix everything from 1400 miles away. I wondered if I should go out looking for him, but that seemed like a bad idea, too. I did the most sensible thing I could think of, which was to go into the bathroom and cry. I called my husband's number for the millionth time, picturing his phone ringing next to his lifeless body after he had plowed into a tree in the pitch-black darkness. Then I would think, "Well, the man was a Marine. Surely he is okay?"

Eventually, not knowing what else to do, I climbed into bed and fell into a light sleep. I heard the door open at around 12:30 a.m.  I have never been so relieved in my entire life. As it turned out, he had been hopelessly lost on the miles of dirt roads and had no signal on his phone. He said he had been bouncing around on those unpaved roads for so long that at times he thought he might have to pull over and puke.  He didn't drive again for the rest of our trip, as he wasn't sure he ever wanted to see a dirt road again.

The vacation got infinitely better from that point on. Of course, a couple days later he was chewing a tortilla chip at a freakish volume in my ear and I felt like I might drown him in the lake but for a little while there, I was reminded of how much I do like that guy. Let's just keep that between you and me, though. I don't want him to think he can get away with that tortilla-chewing thing indefinitely.

Gimme Space

A couple years ago when I was working on getting my kitchen licensed, I had to do a couple things in order to meet the requirements for a domestic kitchen license, which is different than a commercial kitchen license. Oregon will license a home kitchen for baking and other small business ventures like salsa and jam making. This license does not require things like a triple sink. One thing it does require is that the business supplies be separate from the family supplies. In my kitchen with all the cabinets fully occupied with family food and dishes, this was going to be a challenge. In the end what we did was re-organize the pantry shelving space in my hall pantry closet. I bought a free-standing shop cabinet from a lumber store for my business inventory and clean, white Ikea shelving for our home inventory. I loved it and along with one separate spare refrigerator (kept out in the cold produce storage room in the barn) it mostly fit my needs.

But then my business started growing and so did my inventory. More cakes pans in more sizes and shapes, more cookie sheets and bigger bins of flour and sugar began to take over the space. After a big shopping spree in the city I'd bring home things like fifty pound bags of sugar and flour and eleven pound tubs of cocoa powder. I had a little trouble fitting everything into the cabinet. The other pain in the neck was that the refrigerator I used for everything in my business was, like I said, out in the barn, which required much dashing through the rain eight months of the year.

Then last year we started our little addition on the house. One of the new rooms going on was a "storage room" which I called my "new pantry" and it was finally finished in time for the wedding season to begin. This was significant because it meant that my spare refrigerator would be just steps away from the kitchen. No more carrying frosted tiers of wedding cake down the driveway! Also, with a bit (or more than a bit) of that wedding cake money I bought a brand new refrigerator for our family kitchen. My plan was to take the used refrigerator out of the kitchen and move it into the new pantry so that I would have two spare refrigerators, one for the business and one for the garden produce and overflow of family food. When we moved the old refrigerator out, it gave up the ghost in protest. Just like that, my vision of lots of refrigerator space during the new baking season disappeared.

The last time I posted an update about the building project, we were finishing the interior of the new pantry. I put down the tile floor and my husband finished trimming out the room and putting up a strong large shelf. After finishing the mudroom, we had the building inspector come in for a final look and he gave us the "Okay" to occupy our own house. Thank you, Mr. Bureaucrat!

So here is how it looks now-
On one side of the mudroom is the door to the pantry. I agonized, as usual, over the paint colors but in the end I like them just fine. I love the tile floor and the white trim. There is still a bit of trim to go on the wainscoting and I need to pick a color for the doors. They will not stay white in a house of boys. That is a decision for another time when my brain can function in such a capacity.

The wall of the new pantry has space for three appliances but we haven't decided if we want to bring a freezer in or not.

I did end up with another refrigerator just a week ago when son, Neal, moved his old one out of his house. It has made such a world of difference in my life. I now lack for nothing. The heavy duty, custom made shelf wraps around the room and has been perfect for all the odds and ends that I haven't been able to easily store anywhere else, like glass cake pedestals. Martha Stewart doesn't have anything on me. I feel like I have upgraded my little country cottage to Bedford levels.

Best of all, I am no longer tripping over these bags of flour and sugar that used to clutter my closet and my corners. Eventually I hope to have a full set of shelving on this wall for all my canning supplies and jars of canned goods. I haven't devoted much time yet to organizing the space but in the meantime it has made my life blissfully uncluttered.

Having this space and these refrigerators just steps away from my working space in the kitchen has made is possible for me to produce three, four and five wedding cakes a weekend. I'm more organized, more efficient and more professional. The hard work and support of my family made it all happen. I am blessed!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood....

We have spent every single day outdoors.  Kerri plays with the neighbor kids, I bring out crafts and food, and in the afternoons and evenings, the grown-ups sit on my lawn chairs and we talk (over a Citronella candle to keep the bugs away).  If it rains, we just bring out the umbrellas!  When it gets dark, out come the flashlights, on come the porch lights, and it just goes on and on until the yawning starts.

We are enjoying the final weeks of summer before school starts.  Autumn is in the air.  And we are planning our last pot luck dinner (and movie!) night together for the block.  It has been a wonderful summer, and we have really bonded as a community on this block - and welcomed new neighbors into the noisy group.  I hope that someday, when our kids are older and too busy, they can look back at their carefree summers with fond memories of childhood antics and laughter.

We are planning our last road trip this summer to attend one of the biggest fairs in Canada, and meet up with our friends Kerri, Jeff and their girls.  They just celebrated their wedding anniversary, and we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary on the trip.  I can't think of a better way to end the summer - with the girls enjoying the rides and activities - and each other!  And with us spending quality time with lovely friends. 

Tomorrow we are throwing a little dinner party for sweet Catherine, who is turning 24!  Nana and I are in cahoots, and we will be surprising her with a cake. 

And that's about all that's going on around here. It has been a wonderful summer, and now I am looking forward to Autumn with Kerri.  We can't wait to rake leaves into a pile and jump into it!

Life with Kerri has fun every season.

Not More Wedding Cakes...

Are you getting tired of seeing wedding cakes and hearing about weddings yet? If you are you may want to step away from my blog until about October. Maybe something unrelated to weddings will start happening then.

There are other things going on- like my beloved oven suddenly and inexplicably malfunctioning and ruining a wedding cheesecake. At first I thought it was me malfunctioning from exhaustion while baking just one more thing before bedtime. But when the early morning cheesecake also got over-baked, I figured out it was my oven and did a little Stationary Panic (anyone ever read Patrick McManus?) wondering how I was going to bake thirty-four cakes, two more cheesecakes, a dozen cupcakes, five slab pies and one hundred tartlette crusts for the five weddings next weekend.

Long story short is that the oven is working today. Suddenly and inexplicably. Either because my husband cut the power and rebooted the oven's computer, or because of all the prayer, or more likely- both! I don't care how, just Thank You, God!

Then there is the garden, all green and lush from the August heat. Lush with weeds and green with tomatoes. I plan to show some photos of the tomato crop if I can get out there to take some. If the weather holds out I might actually have a harvest. The very first ripe tomato was found by our one free range chicken. That is her annual August mission- to peck holes in my first tomato. But the second and third ripe tomatoes we ate on our salad tonight-- and they were gooooood!

There is lots and lots of salad in my forecast as my husband and I have just begun a 21 day cleanse. It's not nice when on the first day of a cleanse I have to bake banana cupcakes. Banana cake is my most favoritist cake in the world. I may or may not have eaten a couple crumbs.

If you can stand to see a couple more wedding cakes, here are two from the last batch-

Berry cakes are my most requested design and this is another version. I'm getting better at them and I like this one a lot. So did the bride. It was very sweet when she told me that after she decided she wanted a berry cake, she changed her color theme to match the cake!

She had been planning on yellow and orange and instead changed the bouquets to berry colors.

Here was an unique idea at that wedding reception-

The leaves on the tree are the thumbprints of the guests, each signed with their name. What a nice remembrance.

I also made another version of the "rustic" cake with simple herbs for decoration.

I promise I'll blog about something else next time...

Blogger blahs.

I have been in a bit of a blogger funk lately.  It's not that we don't have a lot going on - we are busy and happy and enjoying summer!  But I just have not found my writer's "mojo" lately.  Not sure if this has ever happened to any of you, but the only way I can describe it is "the blogger blahs".

It has been quite the exciting week.  Kerri has been playing outside almost every day.  We have had trips to the park, neighborhood get togethers until it gets dark - and then the citronella candle and the flashlights come out for some good old fashioned zombie hunting (trust me, the kids really love it).  Us older folk sit on my plastic chairs and talk about anything and everything.  And I am back to handing out goodies like freezies, or battered and fried haddock with tartar sauce.  Just another day on our block, folks.

But what to blog about?  And where is my camera?  Why can't I think of anything interesting to write about?

I could tell you about my doctor's visit.  I went to see him on a referral because my white blood cells have been high and abnormally shaped for the past three years.  He walked in, took one look at me, and immediately began lecturing me about diet, healthy eating, quitting smoking, and stop taking the elevator.  My husband took one look at my face and, smart man that he is, kept quiet.  Long story short (I don't eat unhealthy, smoke or take elevators by the way), he has no idea what is wrong and sent me for more blood work and I am to go back and see him in two weeks.

Or I could tell you about how I blew up hubby's two computers this past week.  But that would sound like an excuse not to blog, and we have a tablet and a smart phone and a laptop.  Hubby had a lot of fun rebuilding them both, though.  He is like a kid in a candy store when it comes to computer shops.  And now our computers are faster than Superman

Maybe I should tell you about Kerri's ex-boyfriend, and how he persists in coming over to play with my daughter.  Or all the unbelievable things that come out of my daughter's mouth (which makes me question how old is she really?).  There is always Pookie, he is one of the most spoiled dogs on the planet.  But I just can't seem to get inspired.

So I have managed to write seven paragraphs about absolutely nothing in particular.  Are you bored yet?  Hopefully, the blogger blahs will soon be over, and I can get back to posting pictures of our Kerri and writing entertaining posts.

Until then, Life with Kerri goes on.


I get to visit so many beautiful wedding venues when I deliver my wedding cakes. Here in the Great Northwest have one spectacular location after another. Many of them are just a few miles from my house. Like this one...

On an old farm with the mountain as the photogenic backdrop for the ceremony, but also flower beds, a pond with a bridge (more photo-ops) and an historic log cabin where the bride can dress.

A working farm of orchards with the former apple packing house converted and all dressed up for company. This one also has expansive views, charming garden paths and quaint cottages.

This family owned property just two miles from here, is also a former farm, with multiple houses to offer for family to stay in comfort on site, on the edge of working orchards, canopied with tall fir trees and again, with Mt. Hood as the backdrop for a memorable day.

It even has a tree house...

...where you can lie in bed and stare at the majestic, snow-covered mountain.

For more expansive views, this is on the edge of a vineyard, high on a ridge overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. This one also has a spectacular view of Mt. Hood (obscured here by a hazy sky but see professional shots here.)

Last weekend I visited another unique spot. This location was on a piece of private property, high up on a mountain ridge at the end of a long dirt road. The bride and groom and their family and friends constructed this lodge pole framework as the setting for their reception.

There was a stage for the band...

...a well stocked bar...

 ....hand constructed buffet tables... well as tables for the guests.

I never ceased to be amazed at the creativity and attention to detail that goes into making the perfect setting for the singular day of celebration when two people join together to create a new family. I love making my contribution to these special events.

A loaf of bread, a box of wine, and thou

Keeping it classy with a box o'wine. Apparently, I am meant to take it hiking with me.
We are leaving for a little trip so I'll be offline for a while. Don't rob us while we are gone. We have someone watching our house. Also, we have a very capable third-grader from our 'hood coming by to water my tomato plants and SHE MEANS BUSINESS, MISTER. We are looking forward to a quiet week, our annual cabin-by-the-lake trip. Well, quiet is sort of a relative term when you have a child who cannot stop talking, even when she is on the toilet. We're packing lots of books, board games, coloring books, and alcohol. I am even bringing my yoga mat in case I decide to run through a few sun salutations out on the deck (don't worry- nobody can see me out there).

A couple of random updates . . . 

We finished watching Season 1 of "Game of Thrones." We can't seem to find a way to get our hands on Season 2, as it's not yet available on Netflix and we don't have HBO. We've had HBO in the past but whenever we have a premium channel, the daily line-up always looks something like this:

5:00 p.m. St. Elmo's Fire
7:00 p.m  Lethal Weapon 3
9:00 p.m. From Justin to Kelly

Anyway, if you do happen to have HBO and want to invite us over for, say, ten nights in a row so that we can watch Season 2, just let me know. My eye candy (Khal Drogo) died at the end of Season 1 so I've lost some of my enthusiasm for the series, but I shall persevere. 

In other news, you may be wondering how the allowance situation is working out (I know you weren't wondering - just humor me here). The first week went fine. The kid received her five bucks and all was well. I mean, her dusting skills are nothing to write home about, but I wasn't nitpicking. She started to get a little bit surly about doing her chores in the second week, though. I reminded her to pick up dog poop and she started explaining to me how she doesn't like picking up the light brown piles because they are squishier and besides, the job is just SO gross.  So, I sent her to her room, picked up the poop myself, and deducted a dollar from her allowance.

That's all the news for now.  See you on the flipside!