Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unabashed Family Plug

After a few years hiatus (sort of) my sister-in-law Paula is back selling Pampered Chef.  I say 'sort of' because even though she hasn't been a consultant for years she has still been 'in the business' by assisting her director.
For those who don't know, Pampered Chef is a home sales company that sells amazing cooking supplies!!  Paula's whole kitchen (ok, not the appliances) is Pampered Chef, so no one knows the product better than she!  And (I still feel guilty using 'and' at the begining of a sentence! Hope Mrs. Peletier doesn't read this.) she is a great cook!!
So if you are in need of some kitchen supplies (baking stones, utensils, knives, hostess sets, etc...) please visit her site.  PC ships direct to you, so no worries if you don't live in Maine.
Some of my personal favorites:
Pizza Stone
Cutting Boards
Mix n' Scraper (the best!)
Classic Batter Bowl
Stainless Whisk  (another best!)
Small, Medium and Large Scoops
And although I don't own any (there I go with 'and' again... hanging head low) I've used their knives and they're great!!!
These are just a few favs.

Happy cooking!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Journey Of The Wedding Cake

3 batches of Royal Icing were made.
Approximately 350 cornflower blue flowers were made.
About 350 wild rose flowers were made.
8 batches of buttercream frosting were made.
2 batches of lemon buttercream frosting were made.
2 batches of chocolate hazelnut buttercream frosting were made.
1 Large oval dark chocolate fudge cake was made.
1 Medium oval French Vanilla cake was made.
1 Small buttery yellow cake was made.
Small layer was sliced, filled with chocolate hazelnut filling and crumb coated with buttercream frosting.
Medium layer was sliced, filled with blueberry lemon buttercream frosting and crumb coated with buttercream frosting.
Bottom layer was sliced, filled with raspberry buttercream filling and crumb coated with buttercream frosting.
Cake, frosting, flowers, decorating tips, bags, coloring, etc... was packed up and taken to Maine.
Large cake went on board and was frosted and smoothed.  Dowels were put in.
Medium cake went on top and was frosted and smoothed.  Dowels were put in.
Top layer went on and was frosted and smoothed.
Cup cakes were frosted, put on top and flowers were applied.
Mini cup cakes were frosted, put cascading down the side and flowers were applied.
Royal Icing vines were pipped on.
Royal Icing leaves were put on.
I collapsed!

Eggs used ~ 18
Shortening used ~ 12 Cups
Confectioner's Sugar used ~ 15 Pounds

*For those who do not know, I made my first multi-stacked wedding cake for my niece's wedding.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The New Mr & Mrs

This past weekend we had the joy of celebrating the wedding of my niece with family and friends.  It was a perfect, allbeit HOT day and the bride was exquisit!!  The whole wedding party looked beautiful and not only did the groom look handsome, but also cool-calm and collected.

Many happy tears were shed as we listened to them exchange vows, have their first dance, mother/son & father/daughter dances and so on.  It was an absolutely delightful day and I couldn't be happier for my niece nor more pleased to welcome a new nephew into the family!  We will even have the pleasure of having them over for a special dinner on their return from their honeymoon.  Can't wait!

Still, my mind can't help but wander back to the days of the little girl who loved to come with me to plays, sleep overs and on shopping excursions.  Every weekend she and my younger niece would head out on the same  route - Dunkin Donuts, Christmas Tree Shop, Herritage House Christian Book Store and Dempsey's Village Barn.  It really doesn't seem like that could be so many years ago.. but alas, it was.

Now as I hear my own boys having a light saber duel in the backgrounds as I type, I am reminded that this time with my guys is short.  Before I know it they'll be heading out with friends and have no time for mum.  Then it will be off to games and later to college.  Then... there will be a girl.  I pray even now that the Lord would be preparing just the right young ladies for each of them.  Ones that would love the Lord, be kind hearted, faithful and true.  Be good natured and funny.  And I pray that I would have a wonderful relationship with them as my mum had with her sons and daughter-in-laws and as my sister-in-law, who is more like a sister, does with her new son-in-law and his family.

This post has taken on a different tone than I had originally intended.  I guess I can't keep from getting a little sentimental.  Another post will be required to address my original intent.

For now, I'll just say - Love and Best Wishes to the new couple.  I pray the Lord will bring them as few trials as He sees fit, the grace and strength to stand together under them and remind them to whom they need to give thanks for the many many blessings they will enjoy!

I love you both!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You've Got Mail

I love the movie 'You've Got Mail'. It is hands down one of my very favorite movies!! (I must stress 'one' as I have about 10 movies that I could watcher over and over again.)

It's on tv as I type this. I began watching this movie that's like an old friend to me and at this 189th viewing it has occurred to me that one of the reasons I adore it so is that I can relate to Kathleen Kelly (the Meg Ryan character) on many levels.

To begin with, there's the obvious. Years ago I used to work for a school supply company first as a proof reader on their catalog, then as an assistant to the Project Manager of Teaching Materials and finally as the administrative assistant to two of the directors. In my second role I fell in love with children’s books - absolutely IN LOVE with them!!! I thoroughly enjoy a well written kids book and I'm complete transported by the beautiful illustrations. I remember the day I opened a box from Scholastic with their latest books to preview and reading 'Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse' for the first time! I'll never forget when I first saw the beautifully illustrated 'Rainbow Fish'. I have dreamed for years of becoming a children’s book author! I have many story lines written out... but that's as far as I've gotten.

So loving children's books as I do it is no surprise that I would love this movie about a small children’s book store that's trying to stay solvent. When Meg Ryan first opens the store at the beginning of the movie (after getting her pumpkin and tall, skim caramel Macchiato) and turns on the lights I fall in love every time!! How I would love to own a store like that! I would even adore being the 'story time lady' complete with pointy princess hat!!  I watch it on tv and find that I just want to go into "The Shop Around The Corner" and sit in a chair with children all around and read a favorite story complete with "voices". (my boys love for me to give the characters in the books unique voices)

I can also relate in that when faced with a difficult situation/person she cannot call on the right words for the occasion. I am exactly the same! But then on the rare occasion that the words do flow freely, I am completely consumed with guilt and get no enjoyment from my sudden gift.

Kathleen has great trouble in feeling secure in her decisions and thoughts. Throughout the movie you find her pondering numerous things such as should she meet "NY152", does she love Frank?, why didn't he show?, should she fight to keep her store open, etc... I too have a hard time making a decision and then feeling secure about it. I also just find myself questioning my thoughts and feelings to the point of nausea... Is this just me or a woman thing?

There are so many terrific quotes from this movie that really hit home for me. While writing to her secret email/pen pal she says, "... I feel like a part of me has died, and my mother has died all over again." Having lost my mum to cancer two years ago I understand this statement. Recently I found myself forgetting one of her recipes (yes, I can look it up - but the idea of forgetting something about her is so hard).

Once Kathleen learns that a super store is coming 'around the corner' she begins contemplating what she does. She types this, 'Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? ....' Wow - this was totally lifted right from my own mind! I do feel that I'm held back by fear/lack of bravery. Oddly enough I was just discussing this with a girlfriend at church this morning. I want so badly to be all that God has planned for me but I allow fear to tie me down.

So as a result of all of these thoughts ricocheting through my mind like 5 year olds in a bouncy house, I come to you with some prayer requests.
1. Lord, please help my hearts desires to be what you will for me.

2. Please help me to not allow fear to have a hold on me but to embrace my freedom in you.

3. Give me the boldness to move forward with what you'd have me do. And if it should involve writing books (children’s or otherwise) please help the creative juices to flow and make it happen.

In all things - your will be done Lord. Amen.

By the way, may I also just throw in that I too love daisies.  I must agree Kathleen, daisies are the friendliest flower!

As Kathleen Kelly would say ~ Goodnight great void...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Adventures of a Would-Be Gardener cont...

First, here's a recent picture from my garden so you can see the progress.  And, may I point out that all of my plants are living!  Huge improvement from last year right there!!

Next, I have come to find gardening as a refuge.  I love to be out in my garden!!  Bending over weeding my little rectangle of the yard I feel quite peaceful.  I often find myself praying, singing, etc... relaxed.

I started to wonder what exactly about this tiny patch is so relaxing to me.  Rather than try to explain it, look at some of the pictures I took yesterday of the views that I see while working in my garden.