This weekend, we spent Easter at my mom’s. My youngest sister came out for the weekend and brought her two girls. My sister-in-law, after a wonderful vacation in Hawaii and despite three feet of snow still on the ground, showed up in flip flops and a tan. It was warm out, so she was celebrating spring.
I was in charge of the baking. I make peanut butter-butterscotch-marshmallow squares, which happens to be a family favourite. For the first time in years, the butterscotch chips melted on the very first try. I didn’t have to boil the heck out the recipe just to get them half melted. (Thank you, Hershey, for finally improving your Chipits mix!)
After my success with the squares, I was feeling pretty confident and so I moved on to the Angel Food cake. It came out of a box, not from scratch, so it was a no-brainer. As long as nobody thumped across the floor while it was in the oven, I was guaranteed success.
I only wish I’d taken pictures to show the mess I created …
I pulled out the bowl, the mixer, and my two cup measuring cup, dumped the contents from the cake mix into the bowl and proceeded to measure the water. The recipe called for one and a quarter cups of water, so I carefully measured the water, poured it into the bowl, and mixed it. Very quickly, the mixture threatened to flow over the edges of the bowl. I barely managed to keep it contained, then poured it into the Angel Food cake pan, and slid it into the oven.
While it cooked, I could smell something odd, almost like burned sugar. My oven had been cooking things quicker than normal, so I’d adjusted the time as I didn’t want to overcook the cake. Forty-minutes later, the buzzer went off and I opened the oven door.
My heart sank in my chest. The cake was half the size of the pan. I pulled it out of the oven, turned the pan upside down to let it cool, and the cake instantly belly flopped out of the pan onto the counter. What the heck?
My son and I stood there, staring at the mess on the counter. The top inch of the mix had cooked, but the rest of the cake was a mushy half-cooked mess. What had gone wrong? I had no time to figure it out because I had to head back to the store.
This time, I bought two mixes, just in case the cake flopped again. As I proceeded to begin the whole process over again, I lifted my two cup measuring cup and realized … I’d had one and a quarter cups on the brain, so had filled the entire two cups with water and counted it as one cup. Duh!
The second cake came out perfect (well, except for the part that exploded out of the pan and landed on the oven floor) and after our Easter dinner, we served it with strawberries and vanilla ice cream, the perfect end to a perfect dinner.
Will I ever make this mistake again? You bet. I’ve made the same mistake before, while my mind has been occupied with more important things, like plot holes and wonky character growth and non-existent settings. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to buy a one cup measuring cup.
Please tell me about your cooking disasters because I love to hear how other people make a mess in their kitchen.
If you remember, last year I blogged about a new garden area we were designing. We spent the summer with a shovel in our hands, turning over the dirt, then built a small garden shed which we planned to let weather naturally so one day it would take on the appearance of those old buildings you see falling down around an old farm yard. This summer, we’ll work up the soil and fill the garden area around the shed with cedars and a variety of flowering bushes and plants.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
This winter, while we watched the snow fly and wondered if it would ever stop, we jumped online and ordered a weathervane from the Urban Nature Store.
Then my better half built a cupola, similar to the one on this site.
Today during lunch, the wind howled and brought in colder weather along with some – soon to arrive – additional snow. Our lunchtime conversation eventually turned to the direction the weathervane was pointing in. The arrow pointed south, so I said that the wind was coming out of the north and blowing south.
Apparently, I’ve spent my entire life reading weathervanes incorrectly.
I always believed that the arrow on the weathervane pointed in the same direction as the wind was blowing. This makes perfect sense to me. After all, if you shoot a bow and arrow, the arrow flies arrow-first, right?
According to my better half and youngest son, the arrow on the weather vane points into the wind. While this makes absolutely no sense to me, I’ve decided that I’m not the one that’s directionally challenged this time (although if you remember this other post, you might choose to differ). Our weathervane is directionally challenged, pointing backwards in the wrong direction.
Am I the only one who believes the arrow on a weathervane points in the direction of the wind?
1. I’m grateful for my husband who always knows what I need, whether it’s a hug, a break from the daily grind or whatever new bit of fascinating technology I’m currently drooling over.
2. I’m grateful for my eldest son who every Wednesday at noon gives me advice on plot holes or social media or computer issues.
3. I’m grateful for my youngest son, who makes my coffee before he heads off to work each morning and ensures there’s enough there to get me through the day.
4. I’m grateful for my family and our 2009 trip to Cuba. Not only was it the first time I’d ever been to a vacation resort, but it was the first time since I was a kid that my parents and siblings got together for a family vacation. I’m also grateful for this trip because it was the last vacation I would ever be able to take with my dad and I still cherish those wonderful moments we shared.
5. I’m grateful for the chance to spend more time with my mom. Having worked all of my adult life, visits with my parents were always rushed and fraught with stressors from a stressful day job. Now that I’m focused on writing full time, I call her every day or two, and manage to slip out of the house at least a couple of times a week to visit her and catch up on all the latest news.
6. I’m grateful for the bountiful table we are fortunate to have this Christmas and pray that others less fortunate have a local food bank in their area to supply their needs, as we have in our small town. If you haven’t yet done so, please donate.
7. I’m grateful for my many online friends, who come into my virtual house every day and share their life with me. It makes this huge world almost tiny and intimate, and I get to experience life through your eyes.
8. I’m grateful for the upcoming year. It always feels like a fresh start with infinite possibilities. May 2013 bring each one of you good health, much happiness, and fulfill your cherished dreams.
From my house to yours, may your holidays be filled with laughter and joy.
So now tell me, what are you grateful for today?
Today is the anniversary of my dad’s passing into the great unknown. It’s been three years since he left us, so in honor of his memory, I’m reposting one of the first blog posts I wrote.
I inherited my nose from my dad. I also inherited his calves, his easy going personality and his love of reading. He died in 2009 but my all time favourite picture of him shows him sitting on the beach in a lawn chair, a book in his hands with the sun shining down on his head.
The first book I remember holding was a beautiful hardcover copy of Cinderella, filled with strange words I couldn’t read and beautiful pictures I adored. Once I learned to read, I worked my way through Dick and Jane, on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and in between, the back of every cereal box my mom ever bought.
When I ran out of reading material, I would sneak into my dad’s book stash, which he wisely kept in the garage, and read his Harlequin romances. He also had some racier novels there, stories with – gasp! – sex, and if my mom knew I was reading those books – heck, if she knew my dad was reading those books – she would have banned them from our reading material.
These days I’m allowed to read whatever I want and I want to read a lot. In fact, I want to read more than I have time for. Favourite authors include Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Samuel (O’Neal), Ann Voss Peterson, Linda Style, Susan Vaughan, Virginia Kelly, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few. And with the arrival of the e-reader, not only is my to-be-read pile contained within one small device instead of all over the office floor, but I’ve discovered indie authors like our own Women Unplugged bloggers Dianne Venetta, Christy Hayes, Patricia Yager and Sharla Lovelace. If you haven’t read their books yet, run to your nearest e-reader and download them now. I’ll wait ….
Shortly before my dad died, he gave me the book Volcano by Richard Doyle. When he told me I had to read this book, there was a tone in his voice that I recognized so well. It was awe and wonder for a can’t-put-it-down story, emotions I too experience whenever I fall in love with a story or an author’s voice. Although I have yet to read the book – I’ve become more of a love-to-laugh-out-loud reader – Volcano will forever remain on my keeper shelf because it was the last time my dad shared his love of reading with me.
This is how I will always remember my dad, with a book in his hands and another waiting to be read. This is, hopefully, how my children will remember me, too.
So who did you inherit your reading gene from? Who are some of your favourite authors and books?
wearing my feather boa and eating bonbons in the throes of mid-book rewrites this week, I decided to share this interesting infographic from copyblogger.com on creativity. Except the layout of the Women Unplugged blog wouldn’t allow the full graphic to show. So I’m sending you over to my site today. My apologies for the inconvenience.
My favorite part of How To Break Out Of A Creative Rut? Separating work and play.
Come. Take a peek.