Sunday, April 17, 2011

~Gilbert Buege~ Dec. 29, 1921- April 16, 2011

Finally getting a chance to sit down and write this. It's been a long day of getting ready for my departure. Tomorrow I get on a plane, by myself, to go close one of the biggest chapters of my life.

But how do you close a chapter that has been such an enormous part of your existence? How do you say good-bye to the last living person that represented four of the most amazing people you knew?

Not making sense? It does to me.

For several months now we've been saying, "Get ready, Grandpa won't be with us much longer". I have put everyone I know on alert and on emergency prayer duty. Last night the call came. I will be frankly honest here, I did feel relieved. Relief alongside sadness is not unusual when dealing with the death of an 89-year-old grandparent who's been sitting in an assisted living unit for 4+ years. He has lived a full, long life. I pray, with my entire heart and soul, that my grandfather finally has peace. It's been a very long time coming. I pray God found goodness in his soul, and that my grandfather was welcomed with open arms in to His kingdom. But mostly, I pray my mom can finally find peace.

Now I'm off to say good-bye to the last of the four souls that not only grandparented me, but were *essential* in raising me. If not for them, I would not be the person I am today.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me 4 angels. Only You know how much I need them watching over me.

Good-bye my grumpy Grandpa Gil.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pretty spring cake

Today in baking class, we had a very welcome visitor. The local Wilton class instructor led us on different flower techniques using both butter cream and royal icing. I made much more than what shows in the picture, but this is how I decided to start my cake. I am just experimenting, as I'm still learning.

We finally hit almost 75 degrees here in Northern New York! It's a beautiful day, and I am stuck in school and work all day. Hopefully tomorrow, my day off, I can enjoy some nice weather.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sticky pursy mess

So my life all seems to come down to a syrup coating inside my purse. Oh yes, covering. everything. And the fortune only gets better as it was completely my fault. I hate that. It's ok when the kids do it because then I can just go "oh my goodness, what did you guys do to my purse?!!" But no, I did it. A purse full of syrup is how I feel sometimes. Sticky, icky, and no conceivable way to clean it up!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Roses and a ceremony

To all the people who have been decorating cakes for years, and who assume I should already know how to do this stuff.... turn away. To everyone else... read on :)
In baking class we are learning how to bake and decorate cakes. Yes, easy peasy. Everyone should know how to bake a cake, right? Open a box, mix in some oil and water and eggs, and wallah! You have a cake! Not the baking class way, though. We have specific cakes we have to learn to make, from a book made by real bakers in the industry. It's not just a package cake, or a quick and simple yellow cake. It's a classic genoise, and a complicated (but very rich!) devil's food, and the proper way to make an angel food, sponge, and chiffon cake. There are mixing techniques to learn, and weighing the batter to get the exact amount in your pan. Get the idea? I do enjoy baking cakes from scratch. It's more economical, and they taste better. The part I'm *not* good at, is decorating. My baking teacher, although she bakes and sells pastries for a living, isn't the best at the decorating part either. She doesn't add flowers to her cakes, or dress them up with complicated piping. And even though she doesn't do that, her cakes sell like... well... hotcakes.
Yesterday we learned a few basic flower techniques, along with leaves, and basket weave. I tried my hand at a couple of the flowers while decorating the thousand cupcakes we made. Some of them didn't turn out quite like flowers, but they were colorful! The only flower I seemed to "get" was the rose. It wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be. I obviously need more practice because making four roses didn't make me an expert, but they were fairly basic in structure. (Next week the local Wilton class lady is coming in and we'll get more practice.)
We sell our goods in the cafeteria of the school, so as soon as I made my four rose cupcakes, I ran over and bought them. Yes. Really. We're not allowed to just "take" food out of the instructional kitchen, but we *can* buy our baked goods from the cafeteria like any other student.
Louisa was being inducted in to the National Junior Honor Society last night, so I thought this would be a nice after ceremony treat. Until, on the way home, one container tipped upside down in the car, and then at home Hunter knocked the other container out of the fridge! The cupcakes were a little worse for wear by the time we finally ate them. But still delicious! Especially with my chocolate butter cream (another thing I've found I'm good at making!)

The induction ceremony last night was a proud moment for me. Not having excelled in school, I love watching the kids take the opposite path of me and really enjoy school. They enjoy learning, they enjoy doing well, and they (the older two mostly... for now) are reaping the rewards of hard work done well. This is another one of those moments.
As Louisa was called to receive her award and sign her name in the official NJHS register, I asked Drew to go up to the stage and take pictures for me. Hunter felt he needed to go up there as well. I've found, through many similar episodes, that if I just let Hunter walk up there, he'll come back without incident. He might wave or say "hi", but there won't be too much distraction. If I chase him down and bring him back to sit, then there will be a ruckus. So usually I just let him do his thing, knowing he'll come back. Sure enough, he stood by the stage waving and saying "Hi, Louisha" the whole time she was doing her thing. Her teacher (and NJHS adviser) whispers "Say hi to your brother". So Louisa waved hello, and the audience giggled. Oh, leave it to the Chaos Kids to give people entertainment during any event!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A snowy crocus, and my new love

So it's only a tiny bit of snow. Right? I mean, it's definitely snowed much worse here. But when I get this teeny bit of Spring in my yard, it hurts my heart to see it get snowed on!

Don't worry pretty little crocus. I promise it's Spring. Just hang on a little longer!

On a much warmer, and yummier, and gooier note... I introduce you to my new obsession.

**The Brookie**

That's right, kids, brownie on bottom, chocolate chip cookie on top. I saw a picture of a brookie on a blog one day and thought, "I can do that!" So I did!
I used the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (don't knock it! It's a good one!), and the Fudgy Brownies I recipe from (and please, please, I beg of you, no matter what a brownie recipe says *do NOT* mix with a mixer. mix by *hand* only! you'll be glad you did!)
The brownie recipe was made as is, according to directions, with just a pinch more cocoa. I spread it in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan and baked it at 375 (F) for about 20 minutes. While that was baking I mixed together the chocolate chip cookie dough, as is, no alterations to the recipe. When the brownies are done baking, I let them cool enough to spread the cookie dough on top. I baked the whole thing in a 375 oven for 20-24 more minutes (I don't remember!) However, after the 20 minute mark, keep an eye on them. They over brown quickly.

I think this is a fun treat that can be totally customizable. Use boxed brownies and refrigerated cookie dough for a quicker version, use different kinds of cookie dough (as long as it's a similar consistency like peanut butter cookies), sandwich something between the layers such as nuts, coconut (ooh... toasted coconut!), little candy bars (M&Ms)... be creative. I'll have to play around a little bit to find other fun ways to make this.

I have to add how scrumptious this was. If you're a huge cookie AND brownie fan like we are here in the Chaos house, this will be a dream treat to bake.