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Friday, October 24, 2014


For the first post on cake decorating, I'm going to share some cakes that we have done in the past year or so(since we haven't done any cakes recently). My favorite part of cake decorating is the planning. It's the brain storming for awesome ideas that can be the most fun. So who likes chess? For our brothers birthday last winter we wanted to make a chess board cake.

We thought at first that it would be difficult, but it really wasn't that bad. Chocolate for the black squares, plain white for the white squares. We were going to make chocolate chess pieces with a candy mold, but the mold didn't arrive when it was supposed to, so we had to go buy plastic pieces. Well, we have a chess mold now, in case we ever need it again. :)
  For my younger brother's birthday last year, we had a small party. And Laryssa and I, never being ones to turn down an opportunity to decorate, decked out the house with the Steelers colors, black and yellow. The cake was also decorated in the Steelers colors and logo. It turned out okay, but boy did we have trouble with this cake. The logo on the top is completely icing. The way we made it is rather complicated to explain, but here we go. First we printed out a coloring page of the logo and then placed a picture frame glass piece on top of it, taping the coloring page onto the back of it. Then on top of the glass we taped a piece of wax paper. Then began tracing the logo with icing, filling it in until it was a quarter of an inch thick. It was then placed in the freezer for 15 minutes and removed, to be flipped over onto the cake. So here is where all the trouble began. After we placed it on the cake(which is a very delicate job by the way)we realized that it was backwards. Yeah, it said "sreleetS". If you ever try this, please remember that you need to make it backwards so that when you flip it on the cake, you get it the right way. :) So we removed the "sreleetS" logo. and made a new one, the right way. :)
Just one more cake. This last one was the biggest cake we have made so far, and it took the longest. It looks rather simple but believe me, a lot of work went into that cake. Our family(aunts, uncles, cousins) wanted to celebrate our grandma's birthday last fall. And it was suggested that Laryssa and I make a cake. So we went out and bought a sheet cake pan for the occasion and baked a big cake. The actual decorating took two days with all the work split up, and I think it was like 12 hours total. Our grandma likes butterflies so we wanted that to be the theme for the cake. And to make these butterflies we used royal icing, which I mentioned in the Cake Decorating page. I won't go into all the details of how we made them because that would take too long. But they're the reason it took two days, because we had to do them the day before the cake so they could dry as hard as candy.

The flowers also were made of royal icing, just not the liquid kind. The flowers you see there are actually not two flowers. They are each made of a bunch(I have no idea how many, but a lot)of tiny individual flowers piled together to make the two big flowers. We didn't finish this cake until 1:00 in the morning. It took forever, but it was worth it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall in the Kitchen

  Crisp, glistening, apples. Warm aroma of cinnamon. Fresh, hot, apple pie. Delicious, pleasing savor of homemade bread smothered in rich, apple butter. Ah, the delightful season of fall. There's just nothing quite like it.
   I must say, this has been one of the most enjoyable autumns I have ever had. I'm not sure if it's the beauty of this gorgeous fall weather, my exciting new baking ventures, the extra time on my hands now without school work, or a combination of them all. Whatever it is, I'm reminded that God is so gracious and that every good and perfect thing is from Him. Indeed, all of my thanks belongs to Him.  
  Now, about those baking ventures. Every year, we purchase yummy, fresh apples from a quaint, small shop by an orchard tucked away in the beautiful hills and mountains of Pennsylvania (love that trip!). Mom always makes apple pie then, so this year I thought I'd try my hand at it. I've helped make pies before, but recently I read an article about pie making at Kitchn.com (helpful website by the way, and lots of step-by-step articles which I'm strangely attracted to). So after reading the hint of keeping the crust cool while making it, I made two 10 inch pie crusts that turned out quite well (at least according to mom anyway). Believe it or not, I'm not crazy about fruit pies. Of course I always eat a little because they look so irresistibly tasty. So I'm not so sure what the crust should be like other than flaky. Anyway, if I start to make them more often, which I might actually start doing, maybe I'll know eventually what a good pie crust should be, and who knows...fruit pie might become one of my favorite desserts!
  My other kitchen enterprise this fall is making apple butter. When there's something I've never made before that's always a reason to try to make it and perfect it by making it again and again. So, here it  
is. We used almost half a bushel of empire apples and filled four and half quart jars. It turned out rather thin, but it still tastes good. I think one reason is because we might have cooked it too long. I might try making it in the crock pot next time. I really wish I could make more now, but we're running out of apples. We already got more apples and made applesauce with them earlier this week. And then today I made two more apple pies. So yeah, I've been busy. But happily busy.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Trusting Through The Hard Times

 Trust. It sounds so easy but it almost never is. It's like the trusting game where one person has to fall backwards into another persons arms, trusting that he will be caught by the one standing behind him. If your watching someone else do it, it seems simple. You may think you can do it, and maybe you can, but when it comes down to it, you doubt whether that person is really going to catch you. I know I do. But when it comes to trusting God I've got it all under control. Yeah right. That's how I think some times though. When I'm not in danger or suffering in any way, it's easy for me to say that I trust God and that even when hard times come I'll keep on trusting. I experienced this just recently. I had been looking for a job and found one that would have been right up my alley. I applied but no answer came for a couple of months so I thought I wouldn't ever hear from them. "It's alright," I thought. "I'll just keep looking." Well then they finally did call out of the blue, and they requested an interview. So excited little me went for an interview and fell in love with the job. I waited, and I received no answer for a couple more months and I thought with much disappointment that they didn't want me. I was upset but I reassured myself that if God had wanted me to have the job he would have given it to me. So I tried very hard to get it out of my mind and forget about it. Then one day they called me again, much to my surprise, and wanted me to go in for a trial week to see if I liked it. And by the time the week was over I loved the job and I was led to believe that I had it, but I couldn't start right away. So I was back to waiting for them to give me a call. Everything was going great I thought, and I still couldn't believe that I had gotten a job I loved! This long story does have to do with trusting, believe me, I'm getting there. My younger brother is into music and he and I usually play and sing together a lot. Sometimes we like to make up our own songs, so that's what we were doing one day. He had made up a pretty little tune on the piano and he wanted to come up with words for it. And after thinking about it for a little while I said the song should be about trusting God. What we came up with aren't the greatest lyrics in the world(we aren't professionals after all), but they at least get the meaning across. They basically say about having fear and grief, and not understanding why God is doing this to us, and not knowing what God is doing through it. But then the chorus comes in saying, "But I will trust you, though I can't see you..." and goes on to say that we know he is working in our trials and that we trust him because he is our only hope. It turned out to be rather pretty with my brother's little tune, and I really like it. Then the day after we wrote our song, I finally called the place where I had gotten the job, to see when I would start, and they said they had gotten someone else. I was shocked! After all those months of up and down, up and down, I was at last rejected. I was upset that I wouldn't have the job I had really wanted to do, and that I would have to keep on looking for something else, but most of all I was upset because I didn't know why God had me go through all that. After I had the interview and they hadn't called me back I was upset but I was willing to accept that it wasn't God's will. Then when it finally and officially fell to pieces I was all too willing to be upset with God for putting me through all that. Why did he have to let my hopes go up and then drop them, and then up and finally come crashing down? Why couldn't He have just let me get rejected from the get go? Needless to say, I was a bit depressed that day, but then my brother asked me to go play our new song with him. So I went and sang it as he played. It was an eye opener. Just the day before when I was feeling good I had written those words and meant them. Then the very next day when all my hopes had been trashed, I had forgotten about trusting God and decided to be bitter and question God instead. You know why He did it? Because it was His will. Other than that I don't really know. Maybe it was to test me and teach me. After all, He knew that when it was all over I would be angry and reluctant to trust Him. Of course I don't really know the intentions of God, but maybe someday when my life is over I will be able to look back on everything that happened in my life and see why it had been that way. For now, I'll just have to keep trusting that God's will is always for my good, whether I can understand it now or not.
 I guess my point to this post is about searching your own heart. I have always been one to say to myself that I trust God no matter what. Sort of like Peter who said he would never leave Jesus no matter what. And then sometimes I find out that really I was just putting myself up and trying really hard to be a good christian. I want to be one of those Christians that has complete trust in God and never fails. But you know what? We're still sinners. We fail sometimes. So instead of trying to be what we want to become all on our own, maybe we need to pray to God and ask Him to give us more and more trust in Him. That's the point of the last part of the song I wrote with my brother. We have to count on Him to give us the faith and the trust that we need to rely on Him.