Posts Tagged sugar cookies

Halloween is Almost Here!

26 October 2009
The Papen household is bustling with activity this week!  We’re having our first Deer Park Farms Halloween Bash on Friday night, and everyone is in high gear preparing for the big night!  The doorway is decorated, the mantle adorned, and little touches can be found everywhere…but, most importantly, the smells of the holidays are wafting from the kitchen!
The weekend flew by in a flash.  Saturday it was just me and Ellie Graye until late afternoon when Jeffrey arrived from his long drive from California with the Mercedes.  We spent lots of time checking on Frankie, playing and even headed to buy some boots for EG (she picked out an adorable pair)!
My brothers came over in the evening and tasted my Tomato Sage Soup and grilled cheese after taking a nice walk around the property in the crisp fall air.  I LOVE that they come visit so frequently – it really always makes my day brighter.
Uncle Jake and Ellie – same style of eating! 🙂

Uncle Colin helping out

Boots is REALLY keeping his eye on that food!
Sunday was a slow day…Jeffrey helped out so much both with Ellie and in the kitchen!!!  Being a family really is an incredible experience…at times I’m a total pain in the ass when Jeffrey comes home, and he still is patient and loving.  I’m used to things being done my way, in my time, and to my liking, and adjusting to having him back can be a bit tricky.  In all honesty, he tries so damn hard not to disturb our routine, but I’m not always so great at communicating what our routine IS!  I’m working on that part!  He is incredibly helpful – I just have to tell him what I need, and not assume that he can read my mind – he can’t!!!! Sigh.  The joys of relationships!  I’m learning – slowly, but surely!

my babies hanging with Daddy!

Daddy helping EG with her toy Wok

Jeffrey making spider toothpicks…

Yep, I told you he’d do almost anything I asked!
I spent Sunday afternoon in the kitchen baking and baking and baking and baking…I, of course, made my famous Sugar Cookies (no event would be complete without them), but I cheated this time…instead of making my own royal icing, I decided to use Wilton’s.  It’s much easier and faster – though I have to admit, I feel like I cheated!  I’m so glad that Mari over at Once Upon A Plate introduced me to the joy of cookie painting through her blog!

Jeffrey and I put our heads together to figure out a creative way to serve my Pulled Chicken…he brilliantly thought of Han

nibal Lecter heads…these are going to be such a hit!

We used edible marker pens to draw the faces!

The absolute highlight of the weekend, however, was Sunday evening.  Grandma Lene has been excitedly waiting for an opportunity to have Ellie Graye overnight…and Jeffrey and I have been chomping at the bit to have a night sans little one to celebrate our 3 years of marriage. So, late afternoon found us packing bags, and heading to Grandma and Grandpa Ed’s.  Mom needed to do a fitting for Jeffrey’s costume, so after a quick try-on, Jeffrey and I said our good-byes to our beautiful little girl (who couldn’t care less that her parents were leaving her – she’s obsessed with her Grandpa Ed and Cassie, their dog!).
After I had had a quick shower and even managed to put on some make-up, husband and wife headed over to Newberg for an amazing dinner at the Painted Lady.  It wasn’t exactly what we had expected, but it did not disappoint in the least bit.  Even with a fixed menu, both Jeffrey and I were able to order different items and had a true taste of all the restaurant had to offer.  If ever you find yourself in wine country, a visit to this restaurant is an absolute must!  Unfortunately, Jeffrey had to leave this morning at 5:30, so we kept it an early night.
Mondays are always a bit challenging – especially when I have to say good bye to Jeffrey.  It was nice, however, to wake up at my own speed, lounging a bit before slowly putting on my comfy-cozy sweatshirt, making some coffee, then feeding the dogs.  No screaming baby.  No need to pull out the pans and start cooking.  No chasing anyone around.  Aaaah, the good ol’ days…nice to revisit, but I DID miss that little blond, blue-eyed cutie-patootie.
Heading out to feed the horses, it was cold and rainy.  I don’t really mind the rain, but man, oh man, the horses love it.  They obviously had been standing outside in their runs for quite some time, because both of them were completely soaked.  Frank’s swelling hasn’t gone down at all, and in fact, now his two front legs have pretty good size edema.  His belly had gone down a bit yesterday, but the spot where all the fluids had collected had grown, and his sheath was massive.  He did eat over night, which is good, but I still am worried sick about him.  He just isn’t right.  The shape of his manure has changed in the last few days, and is smelling terribly (I know, I know, not something you necessarily want to know).  Dr. Fisher isn’t sure what to do at this point…the good news is that he started urinating normally.  Maybe this whole thing will just fix itself.  Not sure what else to do for the damn horse.
Picked up EG at Grandma Lene’s house, and then we all headed out to swim class.  Mom was amazed to see that Ellie can dive to the bottom of the pool, pick up rings, and bring them back to the surface.  As much as I am an advocate of infant swim, I think I sometimes lose perspective on what “normal” is.  I’d venture to bet that 99% of my readers have never seen a 15 month old child dive to the bottom of the pool, swim back up, and ask to do it again!  It’s funny how the awe goes away…it takes more and more to impress me, I guess! 🙂  I can’t imagine what it must take to impress Kelley at SwimBabes!
 For those of you who haven’t seen this yet, it’s Ellie Graye at 13+ months:

The rest of the day I spent…….well….take a wild guess……yep, BAKING!  I made cupcakes, coffin brownies, roasted pumpkins and then made pumpkin pie bread (from our pumpkins), as well as painted more of those cookies that I have pictured above.  Tomorrow will be more of the same…swimming, decorating and baking! 🙂

starting to cut the coffin brownies

using a frosting dispenser to put batter in the mini cupcake pan…sooooo much easier!

Mini loaf of pumpkin pie bread (recipe to come)
So here’s to a new week — and to hoping I have a moment to rest!!!!

Jonah Day

23 October 2009
Anne Shirley (yes, of Green Gables) called days like today “Jonah Days.”  It’s been more of a Jonah WEEK, but the term still works!  We all have them – they’re times when things go from just ok to not-so-great to bad to worse.  I’ve got to admit, that it really does feel like it’s just been one thing after another!  Of course, I also have to admit that despite feeling frustrated by the lack of forward momentum, I always have the words spoken to me by my friend Andrea Barber (yes, the one and only Kimmy Gibler of Full House): “Melissa, you’re the most karmically balanced person I’ve ever known.”  So for all the crap that happens – I’ve also got a whole lotta good stuff going on!  Still. Some days are just hard, no matter what!
As many of you know, over the last few weeks my Thoroughbred, Frank, has been struggling with his health.  Things started out pretty mild – a swollen sheath, lack of appetite, crankiness, weight loss. He has, however, steadily declined.  This week, he’s emaciated (he dropped 50 – 60 lbs. in 10 – 14 days). He’s not eating, not drinking, has swollen hind legs and sheath, and edema on his belly.  I must still be a bit “raw” to write about it because I’m unable to express the upheaval of emotions that I’m feeling.  It may be because it’s still relatively unresolved.  I sat with him off and on all day today. I gave him a good massage, changed his shavings twice (mostly because I wanted him to pee so I could get another urine sample!), held his water bucket to encourage him to drink, and just generally loved on him.  He finally ate a few flakes of hay at about 3 pm — which was really encouraging.
The good thing is that according to his blood work, the chance of his having cancer is slim…the frustrating thing is we’re no closer to knowing what the heck is going on.  We’re trying an ulcer treatment, but honestly, I doubt that that’s what it is.  With the feed program, supplement program, exercise program, general care, and laid back situation I have here, I just can’t imagine he’d be stressed at all…plus, I’ve been aware that he has a history of bad ulcers, so I’m extra cautious (my friend Gabby says “obsessive”)!  I just don’t see it.  If it is ulcers, I’ll have to make some extremely tough decisions, since a 30 day cycle of GastroGuard is $1,650 – yep. $55 per day.  And since it’s his second round of the GastroGuard, he’d more than likely have to stay on it on a regular basis…and, frankly (excuse the pun), I’m not sure that I can justify that – BUT I’m going to cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I need to get through the weekend until his other tests come back from the lab.  His legs are far less swollen today, but I think he dropped another few pounds…we’ll see how he is in the morning.
Thankfully, I had a distraction this morning.  My darling friend Pilar brought her son Jaden over to play with Ellie Graye.  Pilar and Tim were in our birthing class with us, and we became fast friends after Tim and Jeffrey bonded over some crass comment that Jeffrey made under his breath.  Jaden was born 5 days before Ellie, and we literally checked into the birthing center when Pilar was checking out.  They’ve been amazing friends, and it was so nice to catch up with Pilar.  The kids had fun together too, I think!
I’m glad I had that time with Ellie Graye, as well, because the rest of the day was just non-stop!  She went down for a nap shortly after Jaden and Pilar left, and I headed to go pick up some Senior Blend feed for Frank.  Somehow in the middle of all that, I decided that I needed to make sugar cookies.  So, I pulled some previously frozen dough out, sliced it up, and popped them in the oven………and then walked out the door. Wait, walked out the door?!??! Yeah.  It hit me after having been outside for 45 minutes that my cookies were still baking!  I called Lorena and asked her to take them out.  Thank GOD she answered!  Needless to say, they burnt.
Using a cookie press without a disk is the best way to get even, round sugar cookies…
Two clicks, slice with a serrated knife and voila! 

When am I going to learn that sometimes I can’t do EVERYTHING?
After a second trip to the vet (with Frank’s urine in a jar, wrapped in Press ‘N Seal, then in a ziploc, then in a plastic shopping bag), I went back out to the stalls to check on Frank, put his blankets on, give him his grain and medication, clean his stall for the 3rd time, and generally inspect every last inch of his body.  I was happy to see him eat an entire serving of grain: it makes me hopeful that he’ll keep that up!
It’s Friday night, but Jeffrey is still in San Jose since he’s driving the Mercedes up from California tomorrow. He had a rough week as well, so having him home will be comforting for BOTH of us. We’ll hopefully have a chance to celebrate our anniversary, but just being together as a family is super special since it doesn’t happen during the week.
Even though Ellie was a tiny bit tired and cranky this evening, and my patience was a bit thin, she still made me smile and laugh.  She played with the dogs, played in the curtains, and danced her heart out. She might be going to Granma Lene’s for her first overnight trip on Sunday, but that depends on how Granma Lene is feeling……she slipped on her patio stairs, and is now nursing a purple foot…
After putting EG to bed, I started dinner for tomorrow night: my famous PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICHES.  I haven’t made it since Ellie Graye’s birthday party in July, and I’ve been craving it the last few weeks.  Plus, I promised the recipe to about 10 people!  It’s definitely a lot of work to do it “right” – but every bite is worth it.  It is hands down my most requested recipe ever.  I’ll photograph the finished product tomorrow…for now, I only have this one shot! 🙂
Four bone-in chicken breasts

I’m definitely glad today is over – and this week is behind us…here’s to hoping for a better weekend!

(I think I might make this a regular feature)
Label your appliance cords for quick identification!


“Is that right?”

Ellie loves wearing mommy’s boots

Ellie joining the dogs…

Jax still thinks EG is her baby…

But EG thinks Jax is HER baby!