Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cleaning


In lieu of all the spring-cleaning going on out there, I’d like to share what I am trying to sort through this season. The following is a snapshot of... 
my storage unit.


Before you proceed to pass too harsh a judgment, I have a few things to say in my defense.

ONE – I’m planning on having a garage sale
TWO – Yes, I know how bad it looks and
THREE – I really do know where everything is.

OK, now you can judge.
When you’re done, please continue reading.
(We’ll get to the judgments later—in the comments perhaps)

What I’d like to address in this post is the issue that I have with this picture which is that just because I know where something is, it doesn’t mean that I can get to it without having to filter through some unnecessary JUNK and by so doing, I run the risk of it all crashing down and SQUASHING me…and thus bringing me to my untimely death (if there really is such a thing as an untimely death).

With that said, I’d like to now show you something else I’m trying to sort through this spring, The following is a snapshot of... 
my life.


As you can see, the two are freakishly similar. There are some differences too, but for now I’d like to compare the similarities. 

In my life, despite the disarray, I know where just about everything is kept. I know where my joy is along with my anger, stress, happiness, guilt, pride, talent, sorrow etc. The problem is that in order to access, lets say… happiness, I have to sift through sorrow or find a new place to put anger. It’s a delicate balance where with one false movement or misstep the entire structure could tumble down.

There must be a better way to access 
the good stuff.

You know…put in on top or upfront rather than have it intermixed with all the crap. Ultimately, I’d really like to just get rid of all the JUNK but I’m reminded of a time when [I though] I had done that and wouldn’t you know it, just when I went for a box of peace, I found fear and doubt instead.

How did that get in there!?

If you have any tips (or judgments) to share, now would be the time.

(Oh! I almost forgot…IF you are INDY local AND the community in which you live is hosting a yard sale weekend AND you would be willing to lend me a small part of your yard, please let me know, I would love to participate.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Cake

Before I show you pictures of the cake. I feel that I must first express my apologies….I think I may have mislead you into thinking this cake was going to be something special…
like a REAL ACE OF CAKES Cake.
(like this maybe)

If you were under that impression….Please take a moment to drop your expectation
down,

down,

down….

lower than that….

lower….

think bottom rung of the limbo stick and maybe, just maybe, your expectations will be low enough.

OK, with expectations in their proper place, I’ll show you the cake.

It started with 2 chocolate cake mixes. Sorry Annie's Eats I just didn’t have time to test the “from scratch” recipes you hooked me up with. I swear I will practice before the next birthday.

Next came the strawberry filling
This time I followed Annie's recommendation....yummy!


Then the free-handing

Then the pastry bag….Boy even helped.

Almost done….
...I'm trying to psych myself into finishing “the gang” in the van window.  
(it was 12:45 in the morning)
I guess I’m a sucker for birthday smiles, 
because I knew how important "the gang" was to this cake dream 
so I did it with a toothpick!


One happy birthday boy, made it worth it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Divorce from Sin


I began reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis 
for the second time, last night. 


I’m not even past the first chapter and already my mind is swimming in thought. The one that has been the most resonate is this:

What [worldly possession or success] am I so afraid to lose that I would sacrifice my eternal happiness to keep it?

This thought then directs me to one of my favorite scriptures from a story in the Book of Mormon.
“…and I will give away all my sins to know thee…”

Depending on where I am in life, sometimes this scripture leaves me filled with joy and hope and others abashed by my worldliness. Today, it manages to do both.

Do my actions show how much I really want to know God?



Friday, March 26, 2010

Mystery Machine

I'm pretending again....

This time I am going to pretend that

I AM

ACE OF CAKES

I have until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow to turn this picture

into a cake.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why?


Just so you know….



I do not read for fun

--I read to learn



I love to learn.



What do you do?
Why do you do it?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Get 'er Done!


I spent the day at a career fair here in Indy, helping my mom with her booth to promote her  Scentsy   Business. (If you haven’t heard of Scentsy   and you use scented candles, you really must get in touch with her.)

Now that the career fair is over, it’s her turn to help me. Ha! Like me helping her this once, makes us even! She’s great, even though I owe her my life, she still agrees to help me. (In fact she’s upstairs putting my kids to bed as I type.)

So my plan for the rest of her stay….

…I borrowed a sewing machine. So now I have two. 
(We can get twice as much done with 2 sewing machines.)
It’s time to take another swing at the Unfinished Project list.
(I should probably add the Easter dresses to the list because I cut them out a week ago and still haven’t sewed a single stitch.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Paths of Glory-Review


Paths of Glory
By Jefferey Archer

Synopsis:
George Mallory was the man determined to be the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest This book tells the story of his life and the paths he took that would prepare him for the challenge that would eventually claim his life.

Review:
Action, Pride, Romance, Politics…this book contains many elements necessary for a story to entice readers from across many demographic boards. I have no relevant interest in mountaineering yet I was immediately drawn in and found myself smiling and laughing at some of the main characters antics. This guy really loved to climb and would do just about anything to do so. It was amusing.

So why didn’t I love this book?

After asking myself this question over and over I think I’ve finally put my finger on it. When an author writes a story about an actual event or person, I want to be able to separate the fact from fiction or be so drawn into the story that it doesn’t matter. With this book I was unable to do either. The fact sorting eventually became such a distraction that I consequently missed the overall theme and enjoyment of the story.

I am concerned that if I wanted to share what I’ve learned from books such as this, I would run the risk of being scrutinized for repeating something that I cannot adequately defend as truth. Lucky me, I guess. I didn’t learn anything, at least nothing that Google can’t verify, so I don’t have to bother with that concern…I give this book 1-star.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Shaping the Loaf


It all began when I was a teenager, lived a minutes walk from church and needed a good excuse to skip Sunday school. “Mom I’ve got to go home after sacrament meeting so that I can shape the rolls for dinner.”

I’ve been making bread ever since. 

I am of the persuasion that if you are ever feeling down about yourself, all you need to do is bake a fresh loaf of bread and give it to someone while it’s still HOT. I promise they’ll be singing your praises and telling you how wonderful you are for days to come. If one loaf isn’t enough to start you on your path out of the doldrums then bake another. A self-esteem boost anchored in service is practically foolproof…that is if you can bake the loaf…

Baking bread is a process that requires mastery at every stage. Today, since some of you have asked, it’s all about shaping the loaf.  Oh and before I get started I just have to tell y’all that everything I learned about whole wheat bread baking came from either NAOMI or the Bread Book she sold me on. 
Everyone should be so lucky to have BOTH! For those of you who don’t have a NAOMI, I’ll do my best to stand in. For those of you who don’t have the book…go get it now or be patient...good things happen to those who wait…

How to Shape a Bread Loaf

Items needed:
Water bottle (for food)
Flour
Rolling pin
Heavily greased (with shortening) bread pan

  1.    Take your dough ball and place it, smooth surface up/seam side down, on either a slightly wet or lightly floured surface. (I prefer wet, because the addition of more flour could dry out your loaf.)


2.    Starting it the center of the round, roll out to the edge and gently push out any air bubbles. Your flattened round should be about ½ inch thick before you proceed to the next step.

3.    Flip your flattened round over and smooth out the bottom side with a rolling pin.

    4.    Very gently pick up the top o the round and fold it over the bottom half, creating a half circle. With the rolling pin, gently press the layers together and press out the air bubbles. Mind the fold-it is an easy place for air bubbles to hide.

5.    Next fold the left side of the ½ circle into the center of the dough and press as in step 4 with the rolling pin.

6.    Repeat with the right side of the dough.

   7.    Press the dough into a rectangle that is 8 or 9 inches long (about the length of your bread pan) and about 7 inches wide.




8.   Starting on the long side of the rectangle, begin rolling the dough tightly like a jellyroll.


     9.  Pinch the loaf together to create a seam.

     10. Pinch the ends of the loaf closed and tuck them under. 


11. Place the loaf, seam side down into the heavily greased bread pan. With your hand, gently press down the dough into the pan so that it fills the bread pan and distributes the bulk evenly. You may be tempted to skip this step because the rounded loaf looks so nice nestled in the pan. DO NOT HEED TO TEMPTATION. If you don’t press the dough down to fill the pan, your dough may not rise evenly and therefore your finished loaf will not have a round, even crust.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

#1 Giveaway WINNER


And the first ever Sew Many Book’s Giveaway winner is…..

Who said….
I would love to cuddle up with BIG RED or BIG BLUE (is that legal?)

You can check my blog at www.elliotspot.blogspot.com

Excited to play!
Inspired to complete my own ongoing projects!

Thank you all for playing!
Chelsea thank you for referring your pals.
and  to Chelsea’s pals…
thanks for visiting, I hope to read ya around soon!

Oh and since Chelsea was not particular as to which blanket she preferred….I’m going to let Roo decide (when he wakes up in the morning.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cycling

Sun is out…check!
Roads are dry…check!
Tires are pumped…check!
Chains are oiled…check!

LET’S RIDE!

video video




Once the sun started shining I found my previously lost motivation. Apparently it was hiding under the winter grays. Now that I’ve found it, I have lots of plans…

…Boy and I, along with our little cycling gang, hope to frequent many local(ish) bike trails this spring and summer. Perhaps we’ll open the invitation for others to join us but first we have to work out the kinks. Ya see, I’m ok yelling at my kids to “KEEP PEDALING”, “LOOK UP” and “STOP!” in front of total strangers, but I think I might be ashamed or embarrassed if I have to do that in front of friends. J

Oh and as a reminder to all you gas powered vehicle users out there….
CYCLISTS ARE ENTITLED TO EVERY INCH OF THE ROAD THAT YOU ARE
SO DON’T SQUEEZE ME OFF THE ROAD INTO A DITCH OR 
I’LL SUE YOU FOR RECKLESS ENDAGERMENT! 
Have a nice day! 
J

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Taco Night


As many parents know, making a meal that the entire family will enjoy can be tricky. Now add the concessions that must be made when certain members of the family have food allergies, and well…what was once tricky is now down right difficult. The food allergy variable alone, often leaves me preparing 2-3 variations of the same meal per evening. BLAH! 

If I added the variable of whether or not my kids will actually enjoy the meal into the difficult mix, I am certain we would all starve. Due to this dilemma, dinner at my house is RARELY catered to my children’s taste buds. I make whatever they can safely ingest and if they don’t like it, too bad for them… there is always breakfast tomorrow.

Tacos are my respite. They are my family’s  PLEASE–ALL–MEAL. (Especially now that I found a recipe for taco seasoning WITHOUT WHEY, and of course, for the smallest of the fam, hold the cheese & sour cream please.)

As with most things that are great, success begins at the foundation, the base, or in the case of tacos, 
the shell. 



Sure it takes a bit of time to prepare the shell from this:




to this:


But as our pleasantly full bellies will attest… 
it’s totally worth it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easter Dresses


Time to get started on this years Easter dresses. I’m hoping that I have enough fabric from last year’s bridal party remnants to make at least one dress out of the pattern with the jacket. I stumbled over a tutorial on how to make fabric flowers and I’d really like to use them as an accessory on the jacket (and in each girl’s hair).

If the fabric is too sparse, I guess I could just tack the flowers to the dress. If that is the case…then really, I could use any pattern. I suspect the final decision however will be up to the fabric because although I would love to take a trip to the store to get exactly what I want...

I’m really trying to use up what I already have.
(And, to be honest, sometimes I like not having to make the decision.)



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Camera Envy


pet peeve of mine (there are many) is when someone has an amazing camera and no pictures to show for it! Why does this bother me? Because I’m jealous that’s why. I want to be taking horrible pictures with a super sweet camera. I would then at least have a chance of stumbling over the correct settings and thus creating an accidental masterpiece like this….
…Until then, I’m going to continue being annoyed by mediocre pictures taken with fancy cameras and hope for the day that you can be annoyed with me for the same, shallow, reason.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Here comes trouble?


Sometimes I go looking for it.
Sometimes it finds me.
Whichever the circumstance,
I try to keep an eye/mind/heart open for


inspiration.



You thought I was talking aboutTrouble, didn’tcha?
To be honest, the two walk a fine line and often fall into one another.

Anyway, while picking up some stray toys the other day, inspiration came…

…it hit me like a ton of Jenga Blocks
—literally.
That picture provided the inspiration for my next unfinished project. Despite the challenge ahead, I’m excited about it…A LOT! By projects end (which will be no time soon) it will be interesting to report which side of the line this project falls on; the trouble side, or the inspired.

Have you been inspired lately?