This morning I took off for a bit to go shopping for shelves. Unfortunately, the second hand shoppe I went to first was still closed so I went to the other side of town to Goodwill. There weren't any shelves there, except for an entertainment center with plent of shelf room and a cupboard that might work. I'm thinking about going back and getting it since it's much cheaper than much of the stuff at the second hand shoppe. At Goodwill, I found a nice heavy sweater for Charles although, James likes it a lot too and borrowed it today so it's time to pull out my needles and make one for him. Speaking of which, Knitty's new winter issue is up! And there's a pattern called Laughing Carrots that seems like it would be perfect for the little bugger. I was hoping to get a pair of nice dress slacks for Carey, but the only pair long enough were two sizes too small. :( I was also excited to find five empty brown glass bottles with clamp tops. I was thinking of perhaps using them for root beer or something.

I went back across town to the second hand shoppe again and while there was a huge selection of shelving, they were expensive, especially since most of them were pressed wood vs. real wood and a few were pretty banged up. There were two that I really liked. One was an old hutch painted purple and pink (blech) that was at least real wood and the other shelf I finally decided against because it was press board. :( Both were $125 anyway. Way too much. So in the end I found a shelf of pine (yes, it really is pine, not covered to look like pine, for only $35 so I snagged it and a small wood index card filing box. There were some other things that I really liked, but didn't get because they were out of my budget. I did really like that hutch though because it had deep bottom cupboards so perhaps I'll ask Carey if I can take advantage of the shoppes layaway plan.

Carey took off all afternoon with his laptop to work on his finals. He has three papers to write, all due on Monday. He's not too happy about it, since one of the papers he didn't even know about until yesterday. Somehow he didn't receive an email telling him about it. He did come home a bit early last night to watch Amistad with me, which he's writing one of his papers on it. We wound up watching it on the lap top because for some reason the dvd player wouldn't pick it up. He got really upset about 3/4 of the way through it because the laptop suddenly turned itself off. The look on his face was priceless, especially since this was such an expensive brand new toy. So he went crazy trying to turn it on, was looking stuff up on the internet, etc. and I finally asked him why the battery hadn't just kept it going since he'd had it plugged in and the battery itself shouldn't have been using any juice. So he got to looking at the cord, inadvertanly unplugged it and then realized that he'd had it in an outlet that needs to be turned "on" with a switch and he'd neglected to do so. The darn thing had been running on the batteries the whole time, which had finally died. I was relieved to discover that it was so simple. Regardless, he's going to be super busy this weekend, especially with his studying.

The kids had colored gold fish for their snack this morning. I was amused to note that they'd all seperated them in some type of order. James had made a little pile for each color, Deedee had set aside all green ones and hadn't eaten them yet, and Charles was methodically crushing them all and making elaborate designs with the crumbs before finally shoveling them in his little face. And Kitty, well Kitty thought it was high fun to just throw her all over the darn floor.

Tonight was a feed of dreams at the Church to benefit the humane society. I made the butter cake (which everyone loved and none survived to come home) but I think I'm going to make a few changes. It had a slight baking soda taste to it. I noticed this when I tasted the batter, so I added a bit of sugar (not called for in the recipe) with the hopes that it would disguise any taste left over after the baking process. There was still a slight flavor, but other than that it was a wonderful, dense rich cake that I look forward to making again. Perhaps next time I'll half the amount of baking soda called for and see how it works. I borrowed a silicone tree bundt pan from a neighbor. This is the first time I've ever used silicone, so I wasn't sure how it would go. I looked up tips online and found a lot of posts not liking the very pan I had. Apparently the tips of the trees liked to stick a lot and would often come out mangled. So I slathered the inside with vegetable shortening (James helped a lot with that) and hoped for the best. To top it off, I had to leave while the cake was in the oven to get downtown in time to drop off the kids at their grandmothers and take James to his counselor. Traffic was horrendous last night and I wound up sitting in a parking lot for 10 minutes until someone was nice enough to leave me enough room to get out! Grrrr....

So, I got James settled with Shawn and ran home to check on the cake. Here's where it gets tricky. Because I had to leave while the cake was in the oven, I took the timer with me. However, it had an interesting adventure because I managed to leave it, two disposable diapers, and my book on the top of the van when I took off. I was in such a hurry that I forgot it was all up there. To top that, I didn't even notice it all fall. If the kids hadn't said something, I'd have gotten all the way downtown before I'd notice that it was gone (if I did at all). So, I had to circle the block to pick it back up. The little timer was still counting! The only adverse results I noticed is a small ding and chip in the metal dial to set the time. It's also gotten rather stiff to turn, as if something is pinched. It was still counting when I got James dropped off, but by the time I got home, it had stopped (a wrong button pushed and not noticed, very easy to do) so I have no idea how long the cake was in exactly. It was supposed to cook for an hour, and since I doubled the recipe I was thinking that it might not actually be done. It was, and a bit dark on the outside but a beautiful rich yellow on the inside of the ring. Since it was so well liked, I'll be making it again for the Solstice (it seems fitting somehow, the rich butter yellow and apricot sauce I made for it symbolize the return of the sun well) so I'll watch it very close because I think it was actually done before the hour was up. I quickly turned it over onto the platter, let it sit for a couple of minutes then twisted it to lift off the pan, and the cake came out beautifully. Not one tree tip stuck. I used one of my big dutch ovens to protect it until it arrived at the potluck, where I slathered it in the spiced apricot sauce that I had also made. That was particularly remarked upon and everyone liked it.

After stashing the cake in the van, and quickly grabbing some paperwork I was supposed to turn in to Shawn (which I still managed to leave in the van and didn't get turned in) I hurried downtown again (still couldn't find a parking spot) and would up circling for several minutes before parking in the co op lot which I wasn't supposed to do since technically I wasn't an immediate customer, but I figured that we had spend enough money there to make up for it. I hurried the three blocks back to the counselors office so I'd be waiting for James when he came out. When I got there and made myself comfortable (after glaring at a parking spot that was immediately in front of the office), I was relieved to hear James laughing and squealing in play. I'm glad he's settled down and apparently accepted Shawn. Before I left him, he got to choose a toy out of a closet (he latched onto a Mr. Potato head) and I gave him lots of hugs with the hopes that he'd feel secure. After what happened last year with his oral surgery, I didn't want him to come out of a scary situation and not find me or his father. For a small child to wake up after such an ordeal, and in a lot of pain with no familiar faces over him really pissed me off and I was not happy with the way we were treated there. It has affected him a lot and it hurts. He came out of the office with Shawn happy, and told me of his adventures with pirates, and the potato head. So, we hurried to do some shopping at the co op, partly planned and partly to make up for the parking job. I came home with a large box of lovely satsumas that have a wonderful flavor.

Then we hurried to grab the other kidlets and went up to the Church a few blocks away. As we were loading up, I discovered why the downtown was so busy. They were preparing for the Christmas parade! I even had to ask one of the radio vans to move so I could get out of my parking spot. I was disappointed to miss the parade, and for a few seconds I was tempted to stay and watch. However, I would have been completely by myself with all four kids and I didn't want to chance it. I only now realized that I could have handled it just fine. I was parked on Main, and the the parade would have gone right past us, 3 feet away from the van. I could have easily let the kids watch out the back, or stood right beside the van. Sigh... I was looking forward to it too. :(

At the dinner, there was also a mix up with child care, and she didn't stay for the whole time. So I wound up spending most of my time in the nursery with the kids instead of helping as I'd planned. I was right, we raised over $300, part of which is being donated back to the Church to help pay for the electricity, heating etc. I still enjoyed myself, as well as my talk with the intern minister, who may be visiting me on Tuesday. I brought home a huge plate for Carey too. We didn't get home until after 8 and I was glad to put my exhausted little rugrats to bed. They didn't even give me any fuss.

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