Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Kett-Files: Keeping Up Appearances, Day 2

**For 1 Week (and only one week, thank goodness!) Emilee and Marquette attempted to live a life that matched up to Social Media Standards, mostly just to show what that could look like in real life and how ridiculous the idea is. To see Marquette's Day 1 of the Keeping Up Appearances Project, click here.**

Don't's post isn't as long as yesterday's. I revised my journal keeping ideas and went way less detailed. 

So...if I were posting on Instagram...this could be my feed from the day: 
"My morning cup of hot lemon water (with MiO!) in my new mug! It makes me so happy!" 

"Homemade Pomegranate Prickly Pear Molasses! Yummy!!"

"The first layer of the cake is done and perfect! This is going to be amazing!!"

"Glazed and roasted to perfection! I want these every night!"

But of course there's more than just meets the Instagram. Here's how my Day 2 went. 
  • It’s 8:52 and I’m just doing my first journaling. I think I’ll try a different approach with journaling today…yesterday was tedious and I’d like to end today happier, especially with it being our Autumnal Equinox dinner.
        Growing up, Cameron's Mother prepared a Winter Solsti
    ce Dinner. As they had the traditional New Mexican tamales and posole for Christmas, they would have a traditional Christmas meal (ham, potatoes, and the fixings) on the Winter Solstice. This was a time to teach etiquette, have good food, be together, and it really created a neat tradition. We wanted to start that tradition in our family but when we decided that we were childless and in the middle of college. Most of our Christmas breaks were spent at the homes of our family. So we decided that for now we'd make the Autumnal Equinox our time to do these special meals as we'd always be at home during then (it being the middle of the school semester). It's stuck around! So for this year we decided to hold our meal the Friday after the Equinox so we could invite our friends over to join us. 
  • Darrow woke up at 5:15 this morning and crawled in bed with us. One drawback to not having a side on the crib and us all sleeping in the same room. We put him back in bed a few times but by 5:45 we just let him snuggle in because he was being quiet and still. By 6:10ish he was back asleep. I hadn’t slept super great last night so instead of getting up at 6 like I’d planned I stayed in bed and snuggled Darrow and snoozed a little. I figure I needed energy for today and I want today to go more smoothly than yesterday. I finally got up around 7:15ish and got my lemon water in my new mug. 

  • I love my mug! It is so happy and cute and I love the feel of it in my hand. It’s a nice way to start the day. And I got MiO yesterday so the lemon water was palatable today. Then I sat down to get my day planned out. I made a rough plan, more of a list of things to do in order of importance. But my mind just wasn’t’ ready yet. It still was cowering from yesterday. Could I really do this today? 
  • So next I decided to make a tweak on my photography website to fix a problem Cameron pointed out. That got done quick, so I checked the blogs and email. Nothing new really. Yesterday I hung up the Mini-Mowers (with the new addition) and was going to post a picture as our pregnancy announcement, but I wanted to do it on a day where I felt like I could survive with two kids. So I got the picture taken of the wall arrangement and posted it online.
    I didn't say pregnancy or baby or anything…just the picture in a blog post and then posted the link on Facebook…so it will take some time to filter through as people see comments, but it’ll be fun to see if it catches on or not. 
  • At 8:11 Darrow woke up and came walking out of the room smiling and happy. Maybe today would be better! We got him a diaper change and dressed and then he and I both had a bowl of Frosted Mini Spooners (they make much less of a mess with him than cheerios!). 
  • I got our breakfast cleaned up, checked Facebook to see if anyone had caught on yet, and then decided to journal what had gone on so far today. I think I’m procrastinating, which isn’t good because I do have a lot to get done today. So now I’m off to rinse out my lemon water mug, make the grenadine ice cubes for the Cherry Bombs, do my squats and 3 minute workout, and start on the scary scary cake! Wish me luck! 
  • 10:06am: The sweetened condensed milk is in the pot turning to dulce de leche so I can make The Cake (I have a feeling this is going to be an all day recipe!). I should have made those yesterday…but yesterday was crazy, so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t. 
  • I went to make the pomegranate molasses for the glaze for the hens and realized I’d only gotten ½ the amount of pomegranate juice that I need, and Cameron has the car today. I need to make the molasses now to have everything done on schedule. So after picking my sister’s brain (since she’s made this recipe before) I decided to use ½ pomegranate juice and ½ prickly pear juice. They are similarish…ish. At least they’re the same color. I tasted the mixture before it went on the stove to turn into molasses and it tastes really yummy, so I think this will be good. Apparently I need a more detailed shopping list. Or I at least need to take the phone with me to call someone to look it up. We’ll see how this works! 
  •  Darrow has been playing nicely this morning. The living room is trashed, but as soon as I make the cheese balls I’ll have a few extra minutes and can work with him to straighten it up. Today I’m going to see if I can’t pay more attention to him and still get my “chores” done. Good thing his little toy broom came in today, because we’re going to be doing some sweeping! I read a bunch of articles yesterday from Catholic All Year about parenting and how to work with Darrow. We’ve used Kendra’s “Not for Babies” and “Crying Babies Go to Bed” and that’s worked marvelously…so I reread her postabout how they handle food/eating and it makes so much sense. I tried that “homemade lunchable” yesterday and he ate only the crackers. What a waste of time and food. So now he’ll just get offered whatever I eat during the day and we’ll learn how to make this work, rather than me battling with him all the time about food. I didn’t find much to help with the whole staying in bed thing…I think we’re just going to have to figure that one out.
  •  I’m anxious to get some of these early chores done so I can go out and finish painting my table base. I think it’s going to look great!!
  •  I don’t know why I feel so much more relaxed today than I did yesterday. But really…I guess at this point yesterday I was feeling pretty good too. It was just after Darrow’s nap that things kinda fell apart. Hopefully I can get much more done before he wakes up today and have more time for him and less I have to get done. 
  • 11:31am: Between Darrow and I, you can’t tell at all that I swept and mopped yesterday. I’ll need to do it again today before the dinner party.
  •  I just finished the pomegranate/prickly pear molasses.
    I think I got it just right…any more and it would have burned. Now I just have sticky mess to clean up.
    Hold on, Darrow’s out of bed. 
  • Okay, I’m back. Anyway. The molasses is cooling, as is the dulce de leche. I hope those worked! I can’t see in the cans of course so I hope I cooked them long enough. 
  • I’m sitting here eating one of the meal-prep lunches I made yesterday. It’s phenomenal! I love these recipes! It took all day because I forgot to soak the beans overnight and then had to make the food in the evening when I was worn out. If I soak the beans beforehand next time it’ll be much easier. And I have lunches in the freezer for next week! I love this! And, it’s healthy, but it doesn’t taste like “diet food”. I’m sold!! After I finish eating I’ll give the table another coat, take clothes off the line, and get the layers for the cake baking.
  • 1:04pm: One layer of the cake is baking. Not the most beautiful…the ends came apart, but still workable I think. I did another layer on the table. Once it’s dry I need to flip it and get the underside.
  •  Darrow still won’t go to sleep.
  •  8:13pm Man, I’ve got some catching up to do. It just got busy and I couldn’t take time to get notes written down. I got all the layers of the cake baked. They weren’t beautiful, but I thought they’d work anyway.

    Cameron came home after I pulled all three out (around 2:30ish) and Darrow STILL wasn’t asleep. By this time he’s exhausted, but I’m bound and determined not to give in. The next while I go back and forth between preparing cheeseballs and the cake and the chickens and getting the house slicked up. I got the last paint layer on the table and after it dried brought it in. Looking at it in these lights, it may need another coat. But that’ll have to be later.

    Now the results of each cooking/baking endeavor today:
  •  The Cake (made from this recipe): I got the Dulce de Leches open and they looked good, so I mixed up the frosting and started assembling the cake. The first layer looked so pretty on the plate, I was sure this was going to be gorgeous!

    And this is where things went south. The frosting wasn’t stiff at all, but I figured maybe it’d set up in the fridge. It sort of did, but not much and still oozed out the sides into puddles on the plate.

    But maybe that was normal? I scooped and smoothed and scooped and smoothed and realized I was fighting a losing battle.

    Maybe the ganache was the key here. So I got that made up, poured it in a circle on top and carefully let it run down the sides and tried to smooth it and more of the frosting oozed out and it all mixed together and just looked awful. Of course it was at this point that there was a knock on the door. I got to answer it looking like this:
    But it was a sweet neighbor bringing over fresh tomatoes and a bell pepper from their garden, so I didn't mind too much.

    But now back to the cake, because I know the picture is what you're waiting for. It looked like a melted ice cream cake.

    It didn’t turn out at all. I put it in the freezer to stop the oozing, but it wasn’t salvageable at that point as far as looks go. It tasted good. The cherries weren’t as flavorful as I would have liked, I’ll have to try a different kind next time…if there is a next time. This cake was super time consuming and hard, and it took a lot of kitchen space and made a mess

  • But now I want to figure the dang thing out!

  •  The Hens (made from this recipe):  I thought I had it all timed out well and then I realized that I had to cook the rice for 45 minutes and I only had 30 in my plan for it. Too late. I think I put the rice in the mixture a little undercooked, but I was running out of time. With the birds sitting in the fridge for 18ish hours uncovered (as the recipe instructed) I was sure that they’d cook up all dried out and nasty…but I was following directions. I got the rice made, the hens stuffed, and then tied them up and put the pan in the oven with not a single minute to spare in the schedule to have them done by 5:30. Then it was glazing them every 10 minutes. That gave me time though to clean up the house and get ready in those 10 minutes. Jackie and the kids came over right around 5:30, just as all the food finished. I was worried that I’d be late on my end and they’d be waiting on me, but it worked out great. Andrew came a little later (he had to make a late service call). I was nervous about the food, especially the game hens. Our only other experience with Cornish hens was really bland and dry. These were amazing! Tender, juicy, and good flavor! I loved them.

    I served the rest of the black beans from the day before, along with the rice from the hens. 
  • The Cherry Bombs (made from this recipe):  These were okay. They tasted good, but they weren’t worth the effort of making the ice cubes. They melted so fast I might as well have just poured the grenadine straight in. I even went to the trouble of making frog shaped ice cubes for the boys, and that was a bust with how quick they melted. It was slushy ice, not a good solid cube. Maybe it needed more time? They were in there for 8 hours. I totally forgot to even pull out the maraschino cherries for them. Oh well.
  • The only major flop was the cake. It still tasted good, but not amazingly so to be worth all that effort.
  •  My outfit. I had an outfit in mind, inspired by a pin, but once I put it on I felt stupid and fluffy. This is a rough stage in pregnancy. Nothing fits right. I just feel unattractive. The only pair of pants I had clean that were niceish were way tight and I felt like I was squeezing out. The shirt I wanted looked goofy. It just didn’t work. What I ended up in passed, but I felt like I looked funny all evening, which is dumb because we were just around family. I was just putting the finishing touches on when they came, so I didn't get a photo. 
  • Now we’re at the aftermath. The food all looks pretty on the plate, but man there’s a good mess to clean up, and I even did most of the dishes while the hens were cooking. It was fun to cook everything and have them over to eat though!
  • I did get in all my water today! 


  1. I had to giggle at your beautiful cake! I am glad it still tasted awesome! And I am so glad I don't have to clean up your kitchen! Phew!

  2. Haha, the cake may not have *looked* perfect, but it looked to me like it would taste pretty darn good!!!

  3. I absolutely love the new direction of the site! This is great. So real. Life isn't Pinterest Perfect.

    When did you take the side off your crib?

    1. Thanks LaNeshe, we love knowing this new direction is fun for more people than just us! I took the side off his crib on the first day of the K.U.A. week. I knew he could still get out of bed, but at least he wasn't diving over the side and risking a hospital visit.

  4. I think the cake flopped because the dulce de leche wasn't cooked enough. It should be quite stiff by itself and darker than peanut butter, and mixed with frosting it looks like the original picture. Yours looks pretty white. Also, if you never tried this type of cake before, you should try the regular shape first. They wrote this bit in the beginning of the recipe: "Usually this cake is made rectangle, in either a glass dish, or stacked into a pyramid, because that’s the easiest way to assemble it"! I never heard of a puff pastry version though. Usually we make it with something similar to pie crust pastry or even easier, rolled crepes! If you use crepes, you don't have to cook them with cherries inside so they don't lose any flavour. Top each layer of crepe rolls with heavy sour cream whipped with sugar and cocoa powder and grate some chocolate over everything... it's delicious!

    1. I wondered if the Dulce de Leche was the problem...but I've never made that this was all new to me. I'll have to give this another shot and cook the Dulce de Leche longer. Thanks!!

  5. I can't believe that you're attempting all this during pregnancy- just the thought makes me feel tired! You go, girl! And, congratulations :)

    1. Thank you! I can't believe we attempted this at all, lol. It was a crazy week and I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of it!

  6. I really love your new mug and I can't believe you made prickly pear jelly with a baby underfoot! Impressive! I think you aced the scary-scary cake because yours was way more scary! Good job for your 2nd day!

    1. I love my mug too! It's such a happy little mug!! And my cake is definitely way more scary, bahaha.


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