Friday, June 26, 2009

When Homemade Goes Wrong


I'm going to tell you a story that will embarrass my dear husband. I just want him to know that I am long past the point of being hurt by this, and far into the territory of being amused, so he should be proud to have created a story that I love to tell.
DH and I went to my brother in law's installation as associate pastor last summer. At the reception afterwards there were yummy desserts served, and my DH ate two pieces of one particular dessert, a lemon cake. He raved about that lemon cake.
Two months later, DH's birthday was coming up. I should mention right now that this was DH's second birthday since we were married, but the first we were celebrating together, as he had been in Afghanistan the year before. He was still talking about that lemon cake, so it was settled. I was going to make him a lemon cake for his birthday. I scrounged the internet for recipes, finally coming on one that looked perfect from CooksIllustrated.com The recipe had a catch, though. It required a bundt pan and a citrus zester and I had neither. (What kind of self-respecting cook was I? A newly married poor one, that kind). So I went on a shopping trip and assembled all the supplies, then I went to the grocery store to get the right ingredients, fresh lemons, eggs, powdered sugar.
On the day of DH's birthday, he was at work so it was my chance to make this cake for him while he was gone. I measured the ingredients, zested and juiced the lemons, triple sifted the dry ingredients, and mixed everything together. The cake baked up beautifully, and when I took it out of the oven, I set it aside to cool slightly while I made the glaze. I glazed the cake while it was still warm so the glaze could soak in and make a gorgeous crust, and again after it had cooled completely for additional flavor. I don't think I've taken that much time to bake a cake since I was a young 4-Her. The cake looked amazing, and I could have taken a bath in that glaze and died a happy woman. I was so excited to see my husband's reaction to this masterpiece.
That night, DH came home to dinner cooked and this beautiful cake on the kitchen counter. I served him dinner, lit some candles on his cake, and sang Happy Birthday.
I sliced and served the cake and eagerly watched DH take that ever important first bite. He took that bite and said ... nothing.
I had to ask. "Do you like it?"
For as long as I live, I will never forget his response. "I don't like the crunchy top."
I think I might have cried.
Now, I make lemon cake from a box mix and top it with canned icing and my husband loves it. Some times, homemade isn't what they're looking for. That's life.
Seriously though, that cake was great, and I'd love to make it again. I just need someone who will help me eat it. Any volunteers?
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Headband

I'm constantly shifting my photography ideas, trying to hit on that one great formula. But for today, here's a picture of a stretchy headband I embellished with a little flower I made. I think it's sort of sweet.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Calm After The Storm

I spent the first 29 years of my life living in central and southeastern Wisconsin, and in those 29 years I thought that I had seen a lot of thunderstorms and bad spring weather. Then I lived for a year and a half in Las Vegas, Nevada. I grew used to very dry weather in those 18 months. Two months ago, my husband and I moved back to the Midwest, this time to southern Illinois. A few hundred miles makes a world of difference in the weather.
There has been a lot of rain since we moved. It's spring, and this area gets a lot of spring rain. Yesterday didn't seem like it was going to be a rainy day. The day was mostly sunny, very warm and humid. A friend of mine from college was driving through the area on her way to Wisconsin for the summer and we decided to meet up for an early dinner. We had a lovely dinner and a long conversation, and when we finally got up to pay the bill and go, the weather had changed from sunny to dark. There was lightening and thunder, but it looked to me just like a small thunderstorm was moving through, nothing to worry about.
My husband and I sprinted out to the car and reached it just in time to avoid a huge downpour of rain. Then things got interesting. We were driving towards the highway when we saw a bunch of stuff swirling through the air. At first, we couldn't even figure out what it was we were seeing, but then I saw a small branch blow by, with all the leaves still attached. I still wasn't concerned, and for some reason, I thought a tree had just been struck by lightening and had exploded. Why that didn't concern me, I have no idea.
We saw other debris in the air, but they were small pieces and hard to identify. We drove home and it looked to me like we were driving out of the storm. When we were almost home, my husband mentioned that it might be a tornado in the sky, and turned on the radio. I was like, "There's no tornado, the weather doesn't seem that extreme." Uh, yeah, right. As soon as we found the emergency weather station, it announced a tornado WARNING for Shiloh, Illinois. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted. And the restaurant we had just left? It is right next to Shiloh.
We arrived at home safely to see the neighbors on the lawn, staring at the sky. I wanted to stop and look at the storm clouds, but right then, a lightening bolt struck very nearby and I didn't feel the need to be outside any longer. We went inside and the power was out. We watched the storm blowing out in our backyard. Trees were blowing in the wind, and not just in one direction. I went and sat in our stairwell, while my husband kept looking out the window, until I made him come and sit with me. After the wind came the hail, and you could hear it hitting the windows. I kept praying that the windows wouldn't break.
Then all of a sudden, the storm died down. The hail and rain stopped, the wind calmed down, and the sun came out. I went outside and looked around. The house was fine, the car was undented, and the only indication of the storm was a bush in our front yard that was a little beat up, some wet ground, and the dark clouds that were moving away from us.
Right then and there, I gave up any ideas about the romance of being a storm chaser.
Instead, I went inside and read until the power came back on.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Furniture Shopping

Last weekend, my husband and I went to a couple of furniture stores. We were looking at sofas and dressers. We weren't really intending to purchase furniture, just look at what we like and price shop. We did find pieces we loved, but we couldn't afford all of them. We did buy two things, though. What did we buy? Well, this is our sofa.
And this is our dresser. What do you think we went for?
It was a scratch and dent clearance piece and we were afraid that it would go away if we didn't buy it right away. We love it! (The couch, not so much).