Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On being cold and grouchy

I have been grouchy since Monday.  It's been cold and snowy.  Yes.  I live in New England.  Yes.  It's December.  No.  I wasn't ready for it!

All of a sudden, this week, the weather decided to be winter.  The temperatures dropped, and the precipitation turned white.  And I got cold and sore.  Does it happen as you get older the cold just eats through you worse and worse?  Then there was the roads.  I don't prefer to drive when the roads are icky.  Plus, I had planned on Tuesday to go shopping, which didn't really happen.  My plans got all messed up.

I quickly noticed a pattern.  My grouchiness was focused on me - my plans and my comfort.  So I told myself to stop grumbling and be thankful.  For the icky weather?  Well.  At least it was just a coating of snow.  I could see out the driveway, not like the year there was so much snow I couldn't see the traffic coming.  At least it's easy to stock up on food for the week, even the month, at the grocery store.  We're not stuck in the middle of the plains in a Long Winter like Laura Ingalls Wilder was.  They barely survived that winter.  Once I started with my thankfulness, it kept coming, and my attitude changed.

I'm still cold tonight, but I have a cup of hot tea, and a blanket waiting for me.  I'll survive the winter, and spring will come again. I suppose since time seems to go faster as you get older, the spring will be here before I know it!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

Five Minute Fridays are a challenge for me these days, but I really like linking up to Lisa-Jo's writing community.  For me, Friday is full of wrapping up the week, and getting ready for Shabbat.  Now that the time has changed, candle-lighting for Shabbat comes just a little after 4 pm.  So.  I'm doing this week's Five Minute Friday on Sunday.  Because the link-up is still open.  Because I can.

This week's writing prompt is Reflect.

And GO.

I reflect on this past week.  It was crazy, totally crazy.  Birthdays hit, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, and a nasty nasty virus.  I feel like I need to hole up in a corner like a bear and hibernate for a few days before I can move on.   There were some fantastic moments, though.  The reflections of the Hanukkiahs in the dark window was stunning.  It reminds me of how we reflect when we let our lights shine in the world.

The moon has no internal light of its own, yet it shines brightly in the night sky.  The window does not have a light, but it certainly looked like it was lit up.  The moon reflects the bright sun, and even though we can't see the sun at night, we see the effects of its light.  My house was twice as bright for the window reflecting the Hanukkah candles.

and STOP.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crazy Week and Birthday Earth Cake

I feel like since November 24th, I've just been running!  Between Thanksgiving and an early Hanukkah, we had two birthdays, including parties.  On top of it all, we all have been sharing a nasty virus in my family.  I wanted to share Rueben's birthday cake with you. I had so much fun making it, and everyone who shared it thought it was magnificent!

Hemisphere with fondant.
Sometime in May, Rueben and I saw this post, and Rueben was entranced.  He wanted a cake like that for his birthday in November.  His birthday was last week, and HE REMEMBERED!  So I had to figure out how to make a cake like that.

First things first, the cake.  I went for quick and easy and used good 'ole Betty Crocker cake mix and icing.  Making the continents required fondant, so I grabbed a container of ready-made fondant.  Food coloring for green and blue for the earth, and I figured my shopping was done.

Painted blue!
I followed the directions, and baked the first cake in the smallest pyrex bowl.  When it was done, I baked the first cake in the medium bowl with batter I colored.  After that cake was done baking, I baked the cake in the largest bowl, with new batter colored again.  I was so excited that it worked!!  With the cake done, I iced it with chocolate icing, and set the cake aside.

Hours later, after picking up the kids from school, dinner, bedtime and normal daily craziness, I returned to working on the cake.  I have been intimated by fondant for a long time, but the project called for it, so I had to do it.  Fondant is much easier than I expected, however, very similar to rolling out pie crust.

It looks like the earth!
Once the fondant was on, color.  I found many directions via google that said to mix the gel food coloring with vodka to paint the fondant.  Seeing as I forgot to buy vodka, I found another link that directed to use clear vanilla extract.  Aha!  I had vanilla extract.  I mixed the food coloring with extract, and set to painting the ocean.

Now.  How would I get the continents on the cake?  Luckily, I found this website, and I printed off the sheets.  I cut around the continents as best as I could.  Voila! The earth!!!
But please. DON'T ask me to point out where anything more than the continents are!
Of course, the first thing Rueben wanted to know was where each state was.  I wasn't able to be THAT accurate!
 Tonight is the last day of Hanukkah, and my life is slowing down enough for me to catch my breath again.  May this season find your homes full of joy and love, even if your house is like mine and full of germs as well!

Happy Hanukkah!