Thursday, August 23, 2012

Still Here

So, I'm alive.  I've been working on some new projects lately that I'd like to highlight here, so I'm resurrecting the ol' blog here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blogging the Cake Balls

Ever since m friend Erin's birthday last weekend, I've been totally obsessed with sweets. We had some amazing petit fours from Clayton bakery at the winery. Later on that weekend I bought two cupcakes at the grocery store, and as soon as I finished those I wanted more. I've been wanting to try Bakerella's Cake Balls recipe for some time now, and an upcoming 30th birthday party gave me just the excuse I needed.

My Friday evening got going with this Facebook status update:

I followed the recipe exactly and refrigerated the balls overnight. I got up this morning ready to dip 'em in chocolate.

Now, the recipe suggests microwaving the chocolate 1-2 squares at a time, dipping a few, melting down a couple more squares, and so on. I did a bunch this way, and I got really tired of having to pull the chocolate bowl in and out of the microwave. Plus, I was having a hard time maintaining a good consistency with the stuff, and I ended up with a couple of kinda hairy-looking balls.


I decided to get tough and pull out the double boiler. Now let me stop for a second and explain why I even own one of these things. I definitely have never needed one in the past, and I didn't exactly purchase it with baking in mind. It's this ancient enamelware thing I picked up at an estate sale for a quarter, and I only really bought it because I like the color.


So. I put the water in the bottom half, threw the chocolate squares in the top, and turned on the gas. I am fairly successful at steaming veggies and I figured this wouldn't be too different.



Then the stove caught on fire a little.

I *think* that the water boiled over the top of the pot. I'm not sure what else exactly happened, but when I took the thing off the stove the water inside was pink. Unsure why.

At any rate, I managed to melt the rest of the chocolate and dip the balls. I'm not a pro at maintaining a smoothly melted pot of chocolate, but that just means I have more practice opportunities ahead of me. And the cake balls? Amazing!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chairs





These three chairs range in price from $159 to $459. Two are authentic and one is not. Can you tell which is which?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Winner is You!

I'm pleased to announce the prize winners of the Zoe Fund. Thank you all so much for donating so generously...if you didn't catch the latest update, not only is Zoe back to her bratty normal self, but we've made our funding goal...Zoe's surgery is 100% paid for!

Without further ado, the prize winners:

Our out of town winner was Natalia G! A quilt will be coming her way soon.

Winner of the popcorn and movie basket is Lauren M!

Rick and Karen H won a bath and nail trim for their dachshund!

Anne S won a custom-sized dog sweater!

And

Melinda B won the grand prize...an hour of photography!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Zoe Updates

The original thread was getting a little unwieldy, so I broke the updates into their own post.

Guys, we made it! I received the last $20 this afternoon...Zoe's bills are 100% paid! Through everyone's generous contributions, we raised $1653.46 to cover Zoe's surgery costs!!!!

Prize winners will be posted tomorrow morning!

2/18/09 - I finally got to see Zoe in person over the weekend and she seems totally back to normal. She was chasing the other dogs around, begging for food, and humping, just like always.

I am going to do the drawings on Saturday.

2/13/2009 - Zoe is doing great! Better than great, if that's possible! She got her stitches out this week. The only lingering effects of her predicament seem to be her shaved belly, and the get-out-of-jail-free pass that she gets on baths until her incision is completely healed.

**2/6/09 - DAY SEVEN!!!***
Zoe is doing absolutely great. She is back to pooping, throwing tantrums, and stalking Boomer's birdfeeder. We've relaxed a little bit, and are now aiming for a complete recovery. Thanks to everyone who has donated funds, as well as those who have checks on the way. I will probably hold the prize drawings at the end of next week.

**2/3/09 - Evening**
Zoe saw the vet and had an x-ray, and everything is still where it should be. Poop's coming. :)

**2/3/09 - Afternoon update**
Boomer sent me a better chicken photo! Poor Zoe is not used to having a naked belly. She is going into the vet this evening - no pooping since Monday morning and a small mass on her belly. Hope everything is ok!



**2/3/2009**
Here is a picture of Zoe in her "nest." When I first looked at this photo, I didn't realize that the big white patch on her side is actually her poor naked belly! Zoe has a naked chicken! Boomer stayed home all day Monday taking care of Zoe and keeping her company. She's eating chicken like crazy, brown rice when she has to, and no green beans at all. Bodily functions are operating normally at this point.

**2/2/09 - Last night's update**
Zoe is at home, and Boomer has set up a nice, soft, fluffy space for her in the living room. She is contained in an ex-pen, to keep her from wandering. When Boomer called last night, she told me that Zoe was laid out on her back, in the dog bed, in front of the space heater. Boom cooked up a nice meal of boiled chicken, brown rice and green beans. Zoe gobbled down the chicken, so Boomer tried her luck with a green bean. Girl looked at the bean, looked at Boomer, and GLARED, as if to say "Mom, I've been through a lot. I don't have to eat my vegetables!"

**2/1/09 - PM Update**
Boomer is on her way to the hospital to pick up Zoe!! She will have to lay low, and there's still a great deal of concern for complications. The vet techs told Boomer that Zoe is PISSED, and ready to be back with her family. Other than that, she seems to be in pretty good spirits. Boomer posted a more in-depth overview of the illness over on her blog. I have also added a new prize opportunity down below...

**2/1/2009 - AM Update**
I spoke with Boomer this morning to see how Zoe was feeling. Zoe is still at the animal hospital for care and observation. She has eaten two small meals (meatballs, I hear!) and kept everything down, so far. As the food digests, it will be a test to see how her reconstructed intestines handle things. Dr. Britt indicated that the first 7 days post-surgery are the most critical. Girl is not out of the danger zone yet, but everything that goes according to plan is a step in the right direction.

Boomer also wanted me to let everyone know that she (and I!) really appreciate everyone's concern as well as your generous donations.

-Laura
***********

Saturday, January 31, 2009

**Updated** Caution: Sad story about a sick dog ahead.



**If you are looking for updates I have moved everything here. This post was getting way too long.**

Let me tell you an amazing story about a little dog I know named Zoe. She was rescued from a puppy mill situation in 2005 or early '06, and came into my friend Boomer and her husband Brett's home as a foster dog. Poor girl was in bad shape. She is a long-haired dachshund, but you could hardly tell at first glance. Zoe endured several botched c-sections at the mill, a mouthful of rotten teeth, and had clearly been severely neglected and/or abused by the people in charge. Zoe was afraid of everyone.

As she began to heal, Zoe was placed with an adoptive family. She came back to Boomer and Brett almost immediately, now labeled as "too mean." Weeks of trial and error, back-and-forth trips, and disappointment later, Zoe still didn't have a home.

Not long after the last rejection, Zoe finally found her forever family. Their names were Boomer and Brett.

Boomer and Brett worked tirelessly with Zoe, truly believing that there was a sparkling gem of a dog inside this terrified, mean, bedraggled creature. They didn't give up on her, and never stopped believing that Zoe could do anything with enough love, patience and treats. They were right. As Zoe's fur started growing in, we all began to notice how beautiful this dog really was. Her coat was long and shiny, and there was a sparkle in her eyes that hadn't always been there. Once she realized she wasn't going anywhere, her spunky personality started to emerge. Every milestone was celebrated. I remember Boomer calling me one day to report that Zoe played with a toy, for the first time in her life.

Almost by fluke, Boomer discovered that Zoe had a powerful prey drive and was quite interested in hunting. They started competing in Earthdog events. Little Miss Zoe, with her 5 teeth, quickly worked her way up the ladder and earned an Earthdog Champion title. If you've even been to Boomer and Brett's house, you have seen her strutting around, tongue lolling out the side of her mouth, picking up her sister's toys purely to incite playfullness.



Zoe had emergency bowel surgery last night. She started getting sick on Wednesday night, vomiting and refusing food. There's no blockage, but a sudden and freakish hernia that went very bad. Dr. Britt (kate's vet) did the surgery after having already worked a full shift at the Animal Hospital. When she called late Friday night, Dr. Britt shared that she had to remove a large section of Zoe's bowel and things were still very touch-and-go. The recovery is very risky, and we won't really know for sure how she is doing for a while yet. I did hear that Zoe is awake this morning, though I haven't gotten an update since about 8.

I told you. It's a sad but amazing story. Here's the part where I make my Jerry Lewis-like appeal:
Boomer unexpectedly lost her job just after Thanksgiving. She and Brett are paying their bills and feeding themselves and the dogs, but don't have a lot left over for extras. Like dachshund surgery. When Boomer and Kate called me yesterday afternoon to tell me about the surgery, my first reaction was to try and make the financial part of this experience cause the least amount of stress possible. We're putting the whole bill on my credit card and Boomer will pay me back when she can. Several people have offered their help, and, so, this is how to help.

Give us your money.

No, seriously. I've decided to set up a mini fund-raiser to help Boomer and her family afford Zoe's medical care. I can accept bank transfers and credit card donations through PayPal if you have an account set up there (my address there is laura.c.wolfe at gmail dot com), as well as the traditional methods of cash and check (hit me up in the comments section if you need my address). Any small donation you are able to spare will help Boom and Brett worry less about affording all this, so they can concentrate on Zoe's well-being.

But wait! There's more!


Anyone local who donates will be entered in a drawing to win an awesome prize: my mad photography skillz! Yes, I will travel to one lucky winner's house with my camera and stuff, take pictures of you/your dogs/your lint ball collection for an hour, and then send you a photo CD with full reprinting rights for all images. That's like, a $32 value at least, right?

Awesome Prize Opportunity #2:
Marigrace of Southpaw Dog Grooming has also agreed to donate 1 bath and nail trim (for a dachshund only, no rottweilers or humans allowed!). Anyone with a wiener who sends a donation will also be entered to win this item.

The Prizes Just Keep Getting Better #3:
Lo-Downs member Patty Clay has offered up her knitting skills to one lucky dachshund! She will hand-knit a custom-sized dog sweater for the winner of this prize. Anyone with a wiener who sends a donation will also be entered to win this item.

Can It Even Be True? Prize #4:
Lo-Downs Member Melinda has put together a gift basket for the drawing. It has a $15.00 gift card to Blockbuster, popcorn bowl, popcorn, cheese sprinkle for popcorn, m&ms, twizzlers, milk duds, and chocolate covered raisins. Anyone who has sent money is eligible to win this one.

Out-of-Towner Prize Available:
I did not anticipate getting donations from outside the STL metro area, but, uh, I have. Thanks, Natalia! I know that Boomer has some out-of-town friends inside the computer as well, so I've added a special prize drawing for people who are not local.



It's a quilt! I made it myself!
I know, my list of talents just keeps on growing! This quilt is approximately 40" square, and suitable for hanging, a lap quilt, or a baby, if you're into that sort of thing. Machine pieced in a pattern of my own making, and machine quilted. I call it "Summer Windows," because it makes me think of looking out the window on a perfect, sunny, clear summer day.



Please don't hesitate to email me (laura.c.wolfe at gmail dot com), contact me via facebook or in the comments here. I am doing this as a completely personal venture because Boomer is one of the most amazing, open, and selfless friends of all time and I'd like to support her the best way I know how.

-Laura