The Big Boom and Sunday Cakes

I thought about doing a Cake Wreck post a la their “Sunday Sweets”.  Their Sundays, as opposed to all other day where “wreckie posts” rule the day, Sunday Sweets feature truly amazing cakes.  Yes, even I have appeared on Sunday Sweets!  Amazing huh?!!

I think this will be a Catch Up Sunday.  Lots has been going on here, and lately a few cakes.  Actually, the end of March begins my official cake season.  Birthdays every month until August, with several in some of the months.

Adding to the confusion/chaos/celebrating is a wedding, of which I swore I was done with BUT a dear friend requested a small cake for her wedding and heck, who was I to say no to such a joyous occasion?!!!

But I’m getting ahead of myself and instead should be looking backwards. To March specifically.  Granddaughter #1 asked for a “painted cake” for which requires a fondant finish instead of buttercream.  Of course, I thought we could adapt for buttercream cake.  And we did but not with the exact finish as the picture showed.

 

 

Nonetheless, Jess and I had fun doing it and spent last Saturday afternoon putting the finishing touches on her birthday cake!  I plan to hand over the cake decorating to her one day.  She’s got the touch!!

I spent this week, on and off, working on a football field cake.  Grandson #5 chose this gem and it’s taken me a while to figure out how to maneuver this one.

 

I did my first chocolate molding.  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought, but I have much to learn!!

Getting the cake top as level and smooth as possible was a challenge, so I topped the cake with green fondant and cut out the white lines using sheet sugar from Wilton, which is not especially easy to cut, but was the only way I could come up with to get straight, flare, even lines.

The numbers came from a “Tappit”-like mold that’s super easy to use.  Cake Stuff in Wichita mailed them lightening quick, along with the  plastic goalposts.  I repainted them in coordinating colors as this was to be a Hodgeman County football cake!

I found the footballs on the sides of the cake at WalMart!  The stars are made with scrapbooking paper punchers.  I roll fondant with a little Tylose powder real thin, let it dry out just a bit then insert into punches and carefully lay them out to dry.  Easy peasy! They’re glued onto florist wire with a dab of royal icing. They dry in about 15 mins.

Once was assembled, I poked a hole into the middle of the cake (argghh) and inserted the chocolate football.  I was worried about the football tipping, but since it’s hollow, it stayed put. So far.

 

And when Big Boss saw the finished product (he was appalled that I was sticking a football into the middle of the football field) he said, and I quote…”Big Boom”.

There you have it.

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On a reading jag



Since Christmas, I can’t seem to stop reading.

 

First was “Seven Women” by Eric Metaxas.  Which led me to…

“The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom.  Amazing!


And then I heard about “Defying Hitler: A Memoir” by Sebastain Haffner and “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson.  Fascinating first-hand memories of pre-World War II that give the reader a real sense of the atmosphere in Berlin during those years leading up to war.

For a change of pace, I started re-reading “Aunt Jane in Kentucky” by Eliza Calvert Hall.  This is a fairly obscure book that paints a picture of Kentucky in the mid-1800’s through “Aunt Jane” telling stories about her life, her friends, church, quilting and cooking.  Her ancient colloquialisms and the rhythm of her banter so reminds me of listening to aunts talking when I was a child!

I found it on eBay years ago as preparation for a presentation about fabric arts of bygone days.  Eventually I ordered Hall’s “Tales of Long Ago”, which is a continuation of her first book.

Somehwere, sometime in February, I sped through Chip and Joanna’s book, “The Magnolia Story”. Two of my favorite people!!!

And…since I’m up to my eyeballs in the “Victoria” series on TV, I read Jerrold M. Packard’s “Victoria’s  Daughters”.  I found it to be easier to read than I anticipated with wonderful insights into the royal family! I suspect that a bio focusing on only Victoria will be next on my list!?


Now I’m working on “The Return of George Washington” by Edward J. Larson.  This book covers the years between the end of the Revolutionary War and Washington’s presidency.  Really, really intriguing…I’m a huge Washington fan and couldn’t resist adding this book to by collection.  So glad I found it!!


I also added to my Washington collection, “His Excellency, George Washington”.  Halfway through it and putting “The Return Of…” on my nightstand to be continued after I finish “The Return of…”  I know. I can’t help myself BUT…here’s my logic. Or whatever. “The Return of” hits the years between the Revolutionary War and the Presidency.  “His Excellency” is a broad overview, biographically speaking, of his entire life. So I want to get the general idea and then focus on those in between years.  More on that later… I’ve also received “The Bulletproof George Washington” by David Barton and “Being George Washington” by Glen Beck.  So many books, so little time!!!!

However…I must get in gear to teach a cake decorating class.  I haven’t taught one in quite a while and am a bit rusty.  So tomorrow, I’ll spend the day gathering supplies, whipping up buttercream, baking a cake for demo purposes and getting a lesson plan finalized.  Right after I read this next chapter, “Reeling in the West” where we find Washington headed to The Frontier aka western Virginia!!!!

 

 

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Remember when I was going through the OLD STUFF?

It all started a couple of weeks ago.  I needed an outlet.  Something constructive but not time-consuming. Life was getting me down, down, down.  Well, actually it was the nastiness of political stuff.  But that ain’t going away, so….

I started going through boxes and boxes of ….STUFF.

I found THE most amazing STUFF!

My second grade portrait of my All Time Favorite Teacher?

Math papers from 7th grade that wasn’t failing!!!  (Yes, I am still bad at math)

Birthday party invitations from the 4th grade.  And the 3rd grade. And the 8th grade.

Party napkins from every wedding, baby shower I ever attended and also every birthday party and graduation party. Sigh.  I’m not kidding even a little bit.

On top of all that…was my husband’s box of grade school-college STUFF!

And our three sons’ STUFF.

Then came the tons of photos.

BUT…in the middle of all that STUFF, I found really, really old valentines. That were sent to Big Boss, his mom, a lady his mom took care of, me, our sons…

Getting the picture?  I love old STUFF and naturally assume that everybody loves OLD stuff.  So I’m sharing!  Aren’t you glad?

Here goes…I backed them with 8×8 scrapbooking papers to make them pop and am considering recycling them for grands’ valentines this year??

First, a World War II era card sent to my mother-in-law…

valentine-military Then a cute Indian Valentine sent to her… valentine-indian Next, another WWII era valentine to Granny aka MiL… valentine-airplane

And, a hinged card (and the oldest), to Pearl, the lady who Granny watched over.  She was teacher and I have a sack full of these!  I know. How lucky can one hoarder get?!!

valentine1

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Making the Old New Again

I have a theme going here lately.  Why?  Because I am purging closets, putting away Christmas stuff, de-cluttering, organizing stuff…

I’m actually getting things done.  Partially thanks to trimming down time spent on social media. A friend and I made a pact this weekend to stop trying to defend our worldview in the face of complete denial and misinformation while they claim to offer “open discussion”…until you dare to disagree. He reminded me that we are to shake off the dust.  So that’s what we did.  It was hard but after 3 rounds, it was time to move on.

And as a result, tree limbs are now trimmed, picked up, piled, hauled off.  It’s going to be a wait and see game to tally up the deceased.  A couple of trees are very questionable so we’ll see what spring brings us.

ice-storm

ice-storm-2

One closet is completely re-organized.  Not empty. But you can actually walk into it now!! I know it’s the small things…

Another is nearing renovation.  There are fewer storage bins.  The disturbing thing is that remaining bins are scrapbook material that has been put off for decades.  So I’m pondering that still. Update: bins are now reduced!  Grade school workbooks and art, GONE!  Biology notebook from college, GONE! Old sports programs, GONE!  Birthday party invites and graduation party napkins, GONE!!  PS…Big Boss is certain I’ve lost my mind!

A storage room is clear.  All Christmas bins are cleaned out, reorganized and tucked back into their assigned spots.  And…you can walk into THAT room!

But…in all that cleaning out of first grade papers (from both Big Boss and me), both of our Jr. High and High school stuff, college stuff, wedding stuff, newlywed stuff and followed by the Big Kahuna of them all….BABY STUFF, I’ve found lots  piles  mountains of old photos.  Most of which need some Photoshop ER.

Slowly but surely I’m getting them scanned in, adjusted, cropped and saved. Wow, does it eat up the time.

farm life, silage harvest

Big Boss and #2 son in 1979…silage harvest was on…they were probably waiting for grub! be working on genealogy right now. Just look what a 3rd cousin, ? removed sent me the other day!!  THE only photo of our Stone branch of the family!!!!  Right out of the clear blue sky!!  What a treasure!  We have a couple of really far away shots that are very poor quality of Ma and Pa Stone in their later years but THIS!!

And three weeks ago, a distant cousin sent the below photo!!!!  The only photo of my great-grandparents that is clear.  We have a couple of snapshots but the shot is so distant and grainy, it was almost impossible to identify the folks in the photo.  But THIS!!!

john-h-stone-family-circa-1894

The girl in white is my Great Grandmother, Delia Stone Hibler, with three of her brothers and her father, John Henry Stone and mother, Sarah Ann Jennings Stone. Notice she’s holding a white bonnet in her right hand and her tummy with her left? We’re pretty sure she was trying to tell the photographer that she was pregnant and dates match this theory.

And I planned on getting some knitting done but that hasn’t happened. Yet.

Two more boxes of photos and I’ll have this thing licked.  Then…I’ll have to sort them.  Then date them. Then get them into a scrapbook or album or…

It never ends does it?

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Out with the Old, In with the…Old

The decorations are down and boxed up.  Garlands and bows have been stuffed into the storage bins.  The tree has been placed into its special bag and tucked away.

Christmas is officially over.  Kinda proud though because it’s all down and put away EARLY!  And this year…I cleaned out every storage bin, reorganized and then packed items away according to type. Yep, I’m on a real cleaning binge.

Christmas tree skirt

Look closely and you will see a missing shoe, train engine and tree trunk.

The only thing left is the tree skirt that my mother made for our first Christmas as a married couple.  It’s THAT old.

Several years ago, I took everything off of it so I could replace the white felt.  The original was really dirty and not washable.  So I hunted till I found washable white felt and repositioned all of the characters/items.  That eventually got dirty so I took them off again and washed the skirt this year.

But some of the items were MIA.  I thought I’d surely find them in the bottom of those bins, and did locate two but some were still missing.

During these last few cold, icy and sometimes snowy January days and nights, I’ve been slowly sewing on Santa and Mrs. Santa.  The clock and tree are now back in place and three elves are doing their elfin things around the tree. All that’s left to finish is cutting out one tiny elf boot and one tree stand and one train engine which will yield one old but renewed Christmas tree skirt.

Kinda like me.  Old and in need of repair.  Some pieces of me are replacements.  Some pieces are missing. Some will just have to make do.

Stained, beat up, missing parts, needing new parts, slightly off center….imperfect.  But Someone is patching me up. Daily He works new patterns in me.  He remolds me, pats the out-of-place parts back into place.  He feeds me, teaches me, inspires me through His Word and gives me new directions.

The old tree skirt and me.  A lot alike.

Posted in Art, Fabrics and Fibers, holidays | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Case of the Dangling Participle

The term “dangling participle” has always made me laugh.  It just sounds so…unfinished…waiting to be completed…hang in there for resolution. Which would describe my garden this year.

Tomatoes are still green and numerous.  I think they’re taunting me for the peppers are bountiful and begging to be plopped into a big pot for salsa making.  Still waiting on tomatoes to ripen.

Squash were dead…or so I thought, but they’re hanging on and blooming and setting on baby squash.  Oy Vey!

The okra is still producing, tho not much but enough to make a mess of fried okra and squash!!

Then there are the pumpkins…still blooming, still setting on baby pumpkins, still ripening….and dangling.  Case in point…

 

fairytale pumpkin
I was picking some of the riper pumpkins the other day. As I bent down to check one, my eye caught a pumpkin in mid-air! Yep, there she hung, dangling like she belonged there on a vine that had grown through, over and under a dog kennel gate.

I went into instant rescue mode and propped her up on a 5 gallon bucket. Still lots of growing to do and what with expected 90-degree weather tomorrow, maybe we’ll get a full-grown Fairytale out of it yet?! And maybe a red tomato or two…

 

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On the other hand…

corn field

Yes. It’s flat here. PV Feedlot on the horizon with center pivot to the right.

Wheat harvest/corn silage harvest/grain corn harvest (just pick one) is in full swing.  And the good Lord must be testing us.  The combine just will not stay running for more than five minutes.  Although, help has arrived and we may have the problem solved.  But our guys were battling machinery in the hot sun and were tired and very A..GRA..VATED!

tractor

Big Boss running the tractor

I hit the floor running this morning.  After a cup…ok 2 cups…of coffee, I mopped nasty floors.  In the middle of the nastiness, son #2 called wanting me to print out a map he had emailed me.

Combine

Yard décor a la farmer style

Quick prayer that printer would work.  It did!  Me-1 Printer-3786

BB pulled up.  I waved the just printed map at him and he dragged me into the pickup, while talking on his phone. As we pull out of the driveway in a cloud of dust, I realized my phone was still in the house.  I told him. He said you won’t need it where you’re going.  Well where was I going?

Again, thankful that I had just pulled on work clothes right before he came.  Yay me!

He finally got off the phone as we took off…literally…and laid out the plan as we picked up one of our guys at the feedlot, in a cloud of dust.

grain cart

Wheat harvest 2014?…combine just filled the grain cart (the green thing) and is now unloading into the semi trailer (the white thing) which will take the wheat to the grain elevator.

“Take Guy #1 to field A, drop him off with aforementioned map, dump me here.”  So, Guy #1 and I head out, chatting about food, nutrition and all sorts of miscellaneous chit chat.  OK, the truth is, I was lecturing him about his eating habits, which, of course, he was focusing his complete attention on. Not.  I asked if he wanted us to bring a lunch out to him.  Nah, he said…got a half bag of Chili Fritoes and a candy bar.

I glared and asked if he ate supper when he got in at nights. OH yeah!  He said he’d be fine cause he’d eat good then and then hook up his oxygen and go to bed.  Flashing lights and sirens were going off in my head.  I opened my mouth to start my lecture and he waved me off, saying he was too old to change his ways now.  Really?

Wheat harvest 2015

Wheat harvest 2015…combine filling the grain cart.

Dumped Guy #1 out at tractor in field and headed home.

Arrived home in driveway when BB  calls (it’s 9:00).  Gotta put field shoes back on…sandals do NOT work in fields.  Trust me on this. And grabbed my phone off the charger. Me-1 Phone-5674

Claas silage cutter

Corn silage harvest 2011…for this harvest, the Claas cutter cuts and loads as it moves through the corn field.  A very talented driver drives alongside, adjusting to how the corn is filling up and the position of the cutter.

Ran to truck.  Nevermind, he says as he gets off phone.  His brother is taking him.

Where was I? Home to finish mopping.  I am walking in the door when BB calls again.  Uh, Guy#1 left map in my pickup.  He’ll stop by after it.  I begin cleaning out BB’s pickup while waiting on him, trying to decide if I should go get a shovel first.  HOW does a pickup get this nasty?    BB stops for map and is off!

Corn field

I told you it would grow!  Big Boss and #2 son…2013

I finished cleaning nasty pickup, go through the garage to check on the icemaker, start a load of farmer clothes in the washer, decide to water potted plants, pick strawberries and shake out rugs in the hunter’s dining room.  Wait. What was I  supposed to be doing?!!

Back to the mopping.  BB calls.  They’re broke down. Again.  He’s coming for lunch. WHAT?!!  I haven’t even finished my second cup of coffee and he’s ready for lunch?

grain corn harvest

Grain Corn 2016-after making several rounds through the cornfield, the combine (driven by #3 son) unloads into the grain cart which is pulled by a tractor (driven by #2 son).

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The tractor then hauls the corn to the awaiting tractor and bagger.

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The grain corn unloads into the hopper which pushes the corn into a HUGE plastic bag that will hold 10,000 bushels. This is a new toy method.

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A field meeting of BB, #2 son and employee

Thankfully, I made a huge batch of meatballs the night before and had a bowl of leftover broccoli. Me-1 Leftovers-600 million!

BB arrives, eats and leaves again and I call DiL about field meals for the day…which is rapidly disappearing! We have a plan and cookies are the order of the day.  Get cookies out of oven and take to DiL.  Headed back home to eat lunch….after all it’s 3:30.

Wait.  Weather maps are showing rain tonight!  I grabbed my hat, spray down with OFF and threw the mower into high gear…2 hours later, I’m half done.

Break time.  Or rather, lunch time.  Yes, it’s now  4:00. Guacamole and chips…and a Diet Sprite.  Uhhh.  Was I the one preaching nutrition to Guy #1?  Ooopss.  Well, avocadoes are very nutritious, right?  We’re going to go with that thought.

Back to the mowing for another 2 hours.  Then the garden needs water….oh for Pete’s Sake.  Water is still going.  Hang on.

In the corn field

#2 son

Whew.  Water is off.  But I can hear the combine going across the creek.  Yay US!!

Back to the garden, I pulled weeds while watering.  By that time it’s getting dark.  And I needed a shower.  Immediately.  One of the perks of country life is, you can shake the grass out of your bra and no one is around to notice. Or care.

I jumped into the shower, got out, started the washer and….I find my COLORED PENCILS and journaling Bible!!  I’ve been hunting for them all week.  Right where I put them.  On top of the dryer buried under a pile of folded clothes.  Huge YAY for me!!

Enough cheering for me.  Big Boss just walked in exhausted.  He gets the First Fruits of the apricot tree, the blackberries and strawberries….yes, I forgot that I picked those sometime during the day.

Hopefully, the combine will cooperate tomorrow…

But, on the other hand, if it doesn’t, we could take a vacation?!!!

Nah.

 

 

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