Goats are awesome.

Scenes from a fair.

The Richard Simmons of sheep.  You can thank The Husband for that witticism.

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The poodle of sheep?  I dunno, he kinda looks like a poodle to me.

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From the front anyway.

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I don’t often spew daily mundane personal crap on my blog, but I’m making an exception today.  With all the rumors of the NSA reading our e-mails and listening to our conversations, my week is practically public knowledge anyway right?  Nice to know I still have my usual sarcasm despite kinda a hectic week?  Insert giant sigh here.

Anyway, so while I usually chat about pretty pretty pictures or decorate ugly cupcakes or poke fun at random food, today I’m in the mood to vent.

First off, and I shudder even typing this, we have been dealing with mice at the house.  Or rather IN the house.  That’s right, in the house.  The house where I live and sleep and feed my kid.  After a few repeated attempts to move out and give the house to the mice I decided to just throw wads of cash at the exterminators and let the professionals handle it.  Yup, wads.  Like $500 wads.  We had sticker shock too let me tell ya.  This $500 includes advice on where the mice are getting in, a laundry list of home repair for The Husband like updating weatherstripping, 12 outdoor pet-proof and kid-proof mouse killing stations and the first quarter of a ridiculously expensive yearly mouse killing program.

I noticed a little over a week ago that a fig bar in the pantry had been chewed and it’s been downhill ever since.  I’ve had to throw out over $200 worth of food plus drop quite a bit on tupperware bins and spend an entire weekend scrubbing and reorganizing the entire kitchen and pantry.  There is not one item of food that isn’t in a glass jar or metal can or locked away behind a nice thick layer of plastic.

I do LOVE my new spice rack The Husband installed for me so that’s a win. (This pic is after the spice rack but just before the pantry rehaul in case you care)

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I also clearly have a spice hoarding problem.  Anyway.

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It’s a good thing Cinnamon over at Eat Pray Tri gave us two weeks to turn in our latest Snap To It assignment because it rained for over a week here.  Normally I could work around or even with this . . . but when the assignment is snapping a pic of a sunburst it becomes a whole lot trickier.

So yeah, the assignment was a sunburst.  It turns out it’s actually pretty easy.  Check out Cinnamon’s post for more details but the short of it is crank your aperture to like 22, underexpose and let the sun peek out .  Super easy.  As long as it’s not raining of course.

I took the first sunny toddler free opportunity I had to take a few test shots in the driveway.  My hope was actually for an architectural pic with the sun peeking out between some awesomely cool old buildings. Unfortunately (just for this assignment that is because the rest of the time it’s a good thing) my neighborhood is mostly trees.  I dusted off (no, not really, there was dust and I left it) my Nikon’s kit lens (or walk-around lens as I prefer to call it) and headed outside.  So here’s what I ended up with.

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Yikes.  This pic isn’t winning the competition.  Kinda cool though.

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*Please enjoy a HILARIOUS guest post from the Father-in-Law.  Seriously, I think it may be his best post yet.  For his other works of genius, please check out the Man Cave page.*

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I know, my spellcheck didn’t like the title either but this is about garage saleing, not boat sailing.  Besides, they now make motors for boats (and bikes too), so that wind and human powered stuff is old hat.  Speaking of old hats, I know just where you can get them.  Joanna has alluded to my penchant for a good garage (or tag, yard, porch) sale.  It’s true that I have been to my share, but only because people give me a list of items they want and it’s the retiree equivalent of a scavenger hunt.

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Let me share some knowledge I’ve gained over the years – and introduce you to some characters I’ve met along the way.  I’ve discovered that there are four types of garage sales.

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Thrift Gift Facelift reveal is feeling just as exciting as Foodie Pen Pals Chopped Challenge reveal isn’t it?

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This month Supermom was super proud of the thrifted item she picked out for me to facelift.  The only thing she didn’t like was that it was just a spray painting project.  I had to prove her wrong and do more than just bust out a can of spray paint.

Here’s what she gave me.  Two pineapple book ends.

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Super cute, no?  Yes.  Super cute.

Of course the first thing I did was to whip out the spray paint.

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It was an easy transformation.  A liberal coat of black satin sprayed on in the morning.  A nice rub down of silver in the afternoon.

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Chocolate malted Milk Cupcakes RW

Okay, so we’ve got our cupcakes that were dabbed with Chocolate Malt Ovaltine Soak.  Let’s put these puppies together once and for all.  Seriously, my lazy arse has been dragging this cupcake series on waaaaaay tooooooo looooong. Visit all the links below to see all the previous steps!

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So, the next thing ya gotta do is microwave the Chocolate Malt Fudge Sauce for just a few seconds.  You want it to flow, but juuuuust barely.  It still needs to be thick.  Top each cupcake with a spoonful and put them all back into the fridge to set up.  There may be some drippage.  No worries, that’s what spoons were made for.  At least I think that’s what happened to the tray after the party . . . mom, you wanna fess up to scraping all the tasty bits off???  (Next time I might try piping the fudge sauce INTO the cupcake to see how that goes.)

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This is it.  The final recipe.  The final component in making a five year old boy smile.

Chocolate Malt Frosting!

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Chocolate Malt Frosting adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook’s Birthday Cake Frosting page 107.  Buy the book.  Thank me with cupcakes.  

This recipe liberally frosts two dozen cupcakes.

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(This was originally published last year.  With all the news that has been reported, or under-reported, in the last 365 days… it might be even more important for every American to read our entire Declaration and ponder its associated list of Grievances against King George.)

Question of the Day: Do you think the brilliant and honorable men who approved the Declaration of Independence would be proud of their Republic today?  If not, who is at fault?  (Hint: It’s not a particular political party.)

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Today is Independence Day.  A national holiday.  A day of celebration.

More importantly, it is a day for reverence.  A day I spend extremely thankful for many reasons, one of which is a Tradition I hold dear.  A family Tradition you are now formally invited to join.

Before you and your loved ones dig in to your BBQ feast, beverages, and fireworks… after your prayer (if you’re so inclined)… I invite you to join us in reading the Declaration of Independence.  Yes, the whole thing.  If you’ll be blessed to be surrounded by friends and family, have everyone take a turn reading a small section aloud.  If you’ll be blessed to celebrate by yourself, I still recommend reading it out loud (I have!).

Read those words and give some thought to their meaning.  Don’t worry, I’ve included it below so it’s easy to print out.

It’s easy to forget their reasons and rationale for revolting against their own government and King.  Do any of today’s news articles relate to their list of grievances our Founders listed for us?

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Phase Three.  Mission: Birthday Party Cupcakes.

In case you’re catching up, Phase Two was Chocolate Malt Fudge Sauce.  Phase One was Chocolate Malted Milk Crumb.

Up today . . . Chocolate Cake!!!

My pal John says I can still use Woot so I’m using it now.  Woot.  Woot.  Woot.

Heck, let’s really sell it here.  Woot.  Woot.  Woot.  Woot.  A fourth woot.  I know, I know.  The excitement.

Chocolate Cupcakes once again BARELY adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook . . . if you like this recipe then BUY THE BOOK! 

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Ingedients:

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Snap To It this week over at Eat Pray Tri is all about Metering.  Click on over to see what Cinnamon has to say about how metering affects which parts of the photo are exposed.

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The assignment for the week was to snap a photo with competing lights and darks with only one of the two being properly exposed.  Yup, that means part of the photo will be either under or over exposed.

Here’s my submission.  It’s a fern hanging from my In-Laws front porch.  I love how the greens fade from light to dark here.

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 As you can see from the reject pile, the sky was bluer in real life.  Speaking of the reject pile, here it is.

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