“OK,” the parents of the house said. “What’s a snowman cake?”
There followed a good five minutes determining, debating, and settling upon just what a snowman cake is. In the end we concluded that the Kids didn’t know what a snowman cake was, only that they wanted to make one.
What resulted was a young-person directed monument to overindulgence. Here’s how it went:
My wife baked a 13×9 sheet cake. Everyone helped spread on chocolate frosting. Good so far.
And here’s where, if you’re making this at home, I highly recommend you STOP. Slice the cake and serve with a glass of cold milk or a dish of ice cream. You’ll thank me.
We did not stop there however. Keeping with the ill-defined snowman theme the cake was assaulted with powdered sugar (don’t think dusted with; think dumped on). Next came colored sugar and leftover cupcake decorations. And why not pour on a quarter cup of sprinkles? For good measure.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
We had some chocolate chips lying around. On the cake they go! “Somethings missing. . .” The Kids muse. Yes of course, we’re missing smiley faces of M&Ms.
And just in case any sweetness tried to escape (or a vegetable tried to nose its way in), the perimeter of the cake was ringed with a wall of marshmallows.
You might be thinking, “Why did you let your children put so much on top of the cake?” Two reasons: 1. Dancing in my head was a vision of some Hallmark / Norman Rockwell family story that would be passed down for generations. “Remember the time we made the 2,000 calorie a slice snowman cake?” 2. I do like deserts, and on paper this cake was adding up quite nicely.
But, as you’ve no-doubt sleuthed, the cake was terrible. When we weren’t choking on powered sugar dust, the rest of the sweet lot was actively boring holes into our teeth. And naturally none of the Kids ate a marshmallow. Mostly they picked off the chocolate chips and M&Ms.
In the end I salvaged the day with a toy bulldozer – strip-mining the cake until the edible original layer of cake frosting was exposed. Messy, but fun; and a respectable dessert. [or desert – I get them confused – whichever one isn’t filled with sand and camels]
Well, I guess in the end we might have ended up with a cherished family story after all.
I’m off to the dentist now.
The family was playing in the front yard the other day and while we turn up our share of cicada shells, never have we found a live cicada emerging from it’s old shell. It was our lucky day. While playing, we watched this little guy for more than an hour.
We also put together a little stick house; for bugs, fairies, or whatnot.
People ask me if I live in a happy bungalow. 95% of the time. Here’s proof:
A mixing of the toy worlds! Not only are Happy Bungalow toys mixing with those rascally store bought toys, but if you look closely you’ll see cars taking a snooze on some dollhouse beds. So here are some castle prototype parts, dollhouse bookend furniture pieces, a wood fairy, along with some old Legos of mine, and loads of toy cars.
The castle is built from Castle Bookend prototypes that predate the official launch of Happy Bungalow. I wasn’t able to quite work out the mechanics of the castle. Maybe we’ll take another look at it some time.
Continuing on the story-book theme. We’ve revised the Three Little Pigs story. I was able to use some of my architecture knowledge (you know, those two college degrees, professional licensures, and a decade of experience that is little used day to day in the shop. eek – but they still make me pay back the loans.)
Once upon a time there was a Sow with three little Pigs. Anxious to make their way in the world, they struck out to seek their fortune. For leagues they walked together until their path split into three. Unable to agree on which branch to take, the three pigs shook hands and parted ways.
The first pig met a man with a bundle of straw. “A ha!,” said the pig. The pig was familiar natural construction techniques, but certainly no expert [ominous foreshadowing].
The pig said to the man, “Please sir, may I have some of that straw to build a house.” After some haggling, bartering, and animated debate the two settled on a fair price and with great piles of straw, the pig set about to build his house.
As house construction goes, the little pig’s hut went up quickly and he set about tidying the interior and planning his next act of independence.
Presently came along a Wolf, and knocked at the door, and said, “Little Pig, little Pig, let me come in.”
To which the Pig answered, “What seems to be the issue?”
“Your house won’t serve you well in a storm. Straw holds up terribly to high winds. A storm will huff and puff and blow your house down!”
“But straw is a natural material, economical to purchase, and fun to build with.”
“You should consider rebuilding your house – mix the straw with mud for a much sturdier home.”
“Phaw! Build another house wolf? For I’ve just built the house you see before you. Good day to you!”
Shrugging his shoulders, the wolf departed. The pig set about preparing carrot stew for dinner.
And sure enough the next evening, along came a tremendous storm. The winds huffed, and puffed, and then blew the straw clean away, leaving the little pig out in the open, cold, and soaking wet.
The following morning, miserable and without a possession, the little pig left to find his brother. Dejected, the young pig walked for miles until he found his older brother where the tale of the straw house was told.
“Don’t worry little brother. I helped a man clear his field of fallen trees. Trees felled by that very storm that brought down your house. As compensation the man let me cart away all the wood I would need to build a house. With your help we can build a home in double time that no storm can knock down.”
So the two pigs worked at their saws and hammers, stopping only to eat a bit and sleep at night, and built a solid cabin. So hungry were they that in the middle of the cabin they built a great fire from wood scraps on which they would cook a feast. (those two were quite hungry following their hard labors)
Then along came the Wolf and said, “Little Pigs, little Pigs, let me come in.”
“No, no, by the hair of our chinny chin chin for we are terribly hungry wolf.”
“That is precisely the problem. Your fire is too large and should be on a hearth next to a stone chimney.”
“Oh wolf, we are too tired and too hungry for that. We will build a chimney tomorrow.”
“This is foolish Pigs, your fire is large. It will huff and puff and burn your house down.”
“We are too hungry Wolf! Please bother another!”
Oh boy. [second verse, similar to the first]
Certain enough, the Wolf was right. The fire was too big. It did huff, then puff, and finally it burned the two Pigs house down. Luckily the two brothers were able to scamper free of the blaze and save themselves. With all their tools burned in the fire, the two Pigs went off to find their oldest brother.
For an hour and a day the two pigs walked until they found their brother. To their great relief the third pig was building a house of brick. The youngest brothers told their stories and immediately their oldest brother produced a pencil and paper. “We must carefully think about the construction of this house.” And working together the three brothers made a number of changes.
A week later when the house was complete the Wolf came by. “Little pigs, little pigs let me in.”
To their older brother, “Oh by the hair of our chinny chin chins. This is the chap we were telling you about.” Then to the wolf, “Certainly wolf, come in.” The door was opened and the Wolf came in.
“Pigs, this is a fine house. Bricks. Heavy shutters over the windows. A proper chimney and clean flue. I believe this will do. I’d say anything could huff and puff, but never would this house be taken down.”
“We’re glad you approve wolf, for we worked hard together to build a solid home. Would you care to stay for dinner? We’ve made turnip soup, sweet potato hash, and baked apples.”
The four ate up their supper and lived happy ever after.
I’ve been developing a story-book character set of people and animals. Red Riding Hood is needlessly violent and mean. I’ve reworked it with help from public domain images and text. Sort of like that Pride and Prejudice and Vampires. Except with no vampires and not a hint of Mr. Darcy.
In a little thatched cottage, by the side of a wood, Lived an young lass, Little Red Riding Hood.
You would scarce find her equal, the neighbors all tell; so kind and smart, so cheerful and well. The rippling brook, their water from far off mountains brought; and prattled of their summits in icy statues wrought.
For them, the squirrels hoarded their nuts in hollow trees; and pounds of sweetest honey were made them by the bees. To gather these together was work enough to do; Little Red Riding Hood thought so, and so, no doubt, would you.
Blushing beneath her fingers looked up the berries red; The flowers seemed to know her and listened for her tread. Smart, loving, and beautiful as good, with daily acts of kindness, Little Red Riding Hood.
One day this young lass, to her Grandma was sent, a nice pot of butter, for her to present. Along with a cheesecake, and a new loaf of bread, for Grandma was ill and confined to her bed.
Fatigued of rhyming, off our dear Red departed. The sky was clear and the weather fair as our maiden passed peaceful pastures where gentle cows grazed away the day. Red stopped to pick flowers to cheer her grandma. Bunnies hopped along, their noses twitching as they sniffed the flowers. With a choice clutch of primrose and marigolds Red skipped down the path.
Her path led through an ancient forest, its canopy thick. So thick that the bright sun light was dim in the forest. Our Red was nervous yes, but she was also a brave young girl and marched on. For she knew her grandmother was ill and depended upon our Red.
Ahead Little Red saw a figure, but in the dim light could not make be certain who it was. “Grandma? Grandma is that you?” The figure stepped closer and Red saw its big eyes. “Grandma?”
“No dear. I’m not your grandma, I’m a wolf.”
“Oh yes.” Red stopped walking. “I should have known by your big eyes.”
“Yes, I do have big eyes, to better see my children with.” The wolf looked nervously behind her.
“My grandma could use big eyes to see me better. She doesn’t see so well anymore.”
“That is ashame. I’m sorry, but I must be off now. Do look after yourself in these woods, it is not a safe place for young people.”
And in a flash the wolf was gone and Little Red was again alone in the forest. She was a little scared, but continued on. She walked for a time, all the while the forest grew darker, and then another figure appeared. Hesitantly Little Red called out, “Hello, who’s there?” Then wishfully added. “Grandma?”
“No,” called the figure, “it is I, the wolf again.”
“Oh yes of course.” Little Red stopped. “Your ears are much too big.”
“Yes to better hear my children with. I can hear them playing far away. They’re playing quite a distance from us, but my sharp ears can hear them.”
“Oh.” Quietly. “My grandma has much trouble hearing me.”
“Dear, are you all right? I could walk with you to your grandmothers. I mean you no harm. I will again.”
Brave Little Red straightened her back. “Thank you, but I am fine. I have made this journey before.”
“Well, do take care then.” And off the wolf went.
Without incident Red emerged on the other side of the forest to a considerably brighter sky. Less than a mile ahead was her grandmother’s cozy cottage. Feeling quite happy she skipped along the path.
And just around the bend Red saw her grandma’s home, but our brave helper felt someone watching her.
From the bushes perhaps? She stopped, looked, and saw great teeth. “Who, who’s there?”
From the bushes emerged a panting figure, mouth open, and teeth showing – the wolf. “Oh, little dear I’m sorry to startle you again. But I worry. It’s my nature. When I saw you walking alone.” She stopped to catch her breath. “I’ve been running back and forth between you and my children to keep a watch over you both. I only wanted to see you safely to your grandmother’s door. I didn’t want to surprise you again.”
“That is so kind of you. I can see my grandma’s door from here. Perhaps when I make this journey again, you could walk with me and I could meet your children.”
“Yes, what a marvelous idea! I shall look for you, if you will do the same.” Red smiled. “If you’ll excuse me, my ears hear my children calling for me.”
“Certainly.” And off the wolf went.
Little Red soon thereafter had tea with her grandma and relayed the tale of her most exciting journey through the woods.
Introducing the newest Happy Bungalow Robot. For sale at Happy Bungalow’s Etsy shop.
The revision 3 followed the overly ambitious revision 2 (nicknamed MADs). The revision 2s were humanoid in shape, but had 4 arms – so they could work faster by performing simultaneous tasks. In an attempt to break into the hospitality market speed was emphasized over safety, resulting in great damage to property. Numerous lawsuits followed a brief two month service run.
The revision 3 was given softer lines, only two arms, and was introduced through a massive public relations campaign: choice product placement, celebrity endorsement, and appearances on popular television shows. The 3s served the domestic market exclusively, were reliable, and a tremendous success.
This model is a scale reproduction of the original rendered in red oak.