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Sunday, December 21, 2014

"The Adventures of Daniel Shingler"

Well, it's December again, which begins the busiest time of the year for making cakes, since most of the birthdays in the family are in the winter. Starting with Daniel's in December, we make his, then Jeremy's and Mom's in January. After that comes Dad's in March, and then there's a long break until December again. The only summer birthdays are ours, and we don't normally work on those together.
 But now it's December, and our oldest brother, scholar, and future history professor turned 21 on December 14th. To celebrate, Katlynn and I made him a "book" cake. After much thought, we finally found a classic book title that we could squeeze his name into for a personal touch: "The Adventures of Daniel Shingler."

 This was a really enjoyable and different kind of cake to make, since it was the first time we actually had to carve one. It was fairly simple too. All we did was freeze the cake after it was out of the oven and cooled off. Then Katlynn (I left the scary work to her, which she bravely stepped up to=) gently carved out thin slices of cake in order to leave an indentation where the white pages would be. Then she used the knife to cut a narrow line on the top of the cake to make the book cover crease.
 For the icing colors, we usually use these sites to get ideas: http://sugarcraft.com/catalog/coloring/colormixingchart.htm & http://www.wilton.com/decorating/icing/icing-color-chart.cfm.
 The book cover is rust, and the lettering is semi-gold. I must say, the colors surprise me every single time we make a cake. Because as soon as we start mixing colors, it almost always seems like it isn't at all what we wanted. But it works out every time, whether it's the colors we planned on doing, or something else that still works.

Usually our cakes never turn out quite what we planned; we're always making changes and having to switch to Plan B. Nonetheless, we're usually satisfied with the results.
 Unfortunately with this one, we forgot to wipe up the splotches of brown icing on the pan before snapping the pictures. Not only that, but we probably need to find something else to put the cakes on now...it's painfully obvious that we used an upside-down pizza pan covered with foil. Huh...oh well.
 So there you go...Daniel's 21st Birthday cake...a success!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Horse Lover's Dream

  I know you are all probably thinking about Christmas and expecting Christmas themed blog posts right now(and I promise you they are coming), but I just have to talk about horses. This weekend, Laryssa and I have had the privilege of taking care of two horses, owned by a man in our church. And oh, what a weekend! Coming home every day, with apple treats in my pockets, hay on my clothes, and the wonderful smell of horses on my hands! Now that may sound kind of crazy to some, but to horse lovers, it's the sign of a good day in the barn. And I am not normally an early riser, but dragging myself out of bed at 6:30, is totally worth it if I get to go be with the horses. We slip on our cowboy boots(or cowgirl boots I should say) and get out of the house while the morning is still dim and brisk, taking a pleasant early morning drive(despite the cold), with our hot coffee and tea in hand, and walk up to the barn to find two beautiful horses watching us approach, anxiously awaiting their breakfast. And then we get to do this again in the afternoon and again in the evening, spending almost the whole day with horses. It is a passion for us. Some people do sports, and some people do music, while maybe others do art, but we do horses. Working with them, playing with them, caring for them, and loving on them, it's the horse lovers dream.

                             * Photo credit goes to our wonderfully talented friend, Anna Grace. * 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Homemade Rustic Ornaments

 After refraining from writing about my recent bout with clutter and its unavoidable frustration, I decided to turn to a more positive subject.
 It's Christmas time again and the tree was just put up last week. Last year's tree picking was definitely wait too late for my liking, so I was quite happy when we got it the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year. Much better.
 So here is our wonderful "country" Christmas tree, complete with homemade tree skirt made out of a burlap bag and other fabrics, homemade garland, and almost all homemade ornaments!

All three of us girls (that is, including mom) made the garland. It's really quite simple, but not at all a short project (it took several days to complete.) It's made of strips of fabric tied onto a long string of yarn. That's all. But believe it or not, its actually kind of fun to make...especially when your doing it with someone else!
 And then of course, there's the cute little, or should I say, cute and plump sheep. They were really easy to make too. All I used was a round piece of  quilt batting glued to cardboard along with black fabric for the face, ears, and legs. And of course red ribbon for the bow. Gotta love bows!

I was so excited to finally hang up the very first ornaments I made this fall...the Christmas trees. Lovely addition!
  So now that we have the Christmas tree up and trimmed, making the living room extra cozy at night (and even during my favorite time of day...early morning, when it's still dark), Christmas music playing all day long, and Christmas shopping officially starting...I'd say it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


A new category for our blog is Book Suggestions. We have wanted to do it from the start but never got around to it. So at last I'm going to suggest a book. The book is called "Joy: A Godly Woman's Adornment", written by Lydia Brownback. It's a small devotional that is a part of a four book collection called "A Godly Woman's Adornment". I haven't read the other books in the collection, but this one is great! It talks wholly about joy; Joy in Forgiveness, Joy in Abiding, Joy in the Present, etc. It was a great book for me since sometimes I get tired of living the regular day with it's repetitive routine, or just get wrapped up in the miseries of life. This devotional helped me(and still helps me)focus on the joy of day to day life, and the many joys that we have in Christ, despite hardships. So if you happen to be looking for a new devotional I would suggest this book, or any of the other three: Trust, Purity, and Contentment. It was really an encouragement for me, and I hope it will be for you too.