November 15, 2008

Project: Why it is good to follow directions

With a title like that you might get the wrong opinion about this post. But I assure you I am probably going away from the obvious direction the title might take you.

It is good to follow directions. Things work when you follow them. Things go as planned as you follow them.

Which is why I am SOOOOOOooooooooooooooo thankful that my mom has let me stay at my house these past 2 weekends to do my part of this project on my very, very own. Hell freakin' yeah, people. I love her, she is my mom and I act SO MUCH LIKE her. Except in some ways that I hope are good ways. Like I DO READ AND at least try to FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS. And let me tell you. It works. My mom merely takes them as suggestions. And once she reads them she kinda just forgets that possibly whoever wrote them knew what they were talking about. Now maybe I am bragging a little early here... and I hate to jinx it, but so far so good on this project. And that is a wonderfully nice thing.

I finished the model and cut all the pieces apart this week. Then Friday made more gingerbread and cut out and baked all the pieces. I would like to credit some of the very good tools I used this time: A pizza cutter, a fang shaped knife I have, a Pyrex rolling pin and parchment paper. First, if I would have had the pizza cutter the first time I did this, things would have gone MUCH better. And second, parchment paper is the bomb and worth every.single.penny.

I also read online (See DIRECTIONS that might possibly be helpful to follow) that it is helpful to dry your pieces in the oven at 200 degrees over night. This worked great for a few pieces that came out softer than I wanted. However, when you do this, make sure that all your pieces are on a flat surface. I didn't have enough space in the oven so I stacked pieces on top of each other. So for most of them it was fine, but for some that were in between or on top of smaller pieces, they ended up unlevel and misshapen by the morning. So I had to redo those this morning.

Then I took a break and we went to lunch at Chili's. Gave the MIL our truck so she can finally get her wrecked car fixed this week. WOOHOO, I will be glad to no longer think about that. At least hopefully, it will all be done after this week. She has already gotten 6 warning tickets for driving like that AND anyone who wants to ride with her has to ride in the back seat. If you know her, you know this doesn't bother her in the least. Which, LOL!
So back to work... I made royal icing with meringue powder for the glue to hold all the pieces together. This is where, OMG, following the directions is amazing. A-maze-ing. It turned out perfect. Like cement! It is going to be so much easier just because of THAT. Last time I guess we tried to make our own royal icing with egg whites? Because we didn't have meringue powder or ran out or didn't want to run to town? I don't know. All I know is what we did do, IT DID NOT WORK FOR THIS PURPOSE. Maybe for flowers or something, but not this. I remember having it dripping everywhere and having to hold pieces together for 15-30 minutes to get it all to stick. This time, none of that. YYYYYAYYYYYYYY! I think there are 2 other factors here, the weather is not humid and I have an awesome mixer that made it peak like it is supposed to. I am going to have to get mom one of those.... I really think it might be an important factor.


I forgot to mention these supplies ;-)

The house I am trying to model. Yes is it very old... run down and dirty. I am trying to paint it in a different light. But, this is where my grandfather has lived his whole entire 90 years. So pretty cool if you ask me. If I had money, I would repair this house so it could make another 90 years.


Done with the structural part. Sunday I will tackle the real decorating. I wish myself good luck!

November 12, 2008


Sunday night I made some soft pretzels. They were awesome. So awesome I ate 4 of the 6 myself. That was probably not good...

I made some with salt and some with sugar and cinnamon. The recipe is pretty easy.
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Coarse Salt
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and salt. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time to form soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide into six parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each into 14 inch rope. Twist into pretzel shape. Brush with butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

November 9, 2008

Project: Not regretting it YET

So... all of you know, that I get myself into things. Somehow. Someway. I get in involved in my mom's "projects". This can be good. Or this can be bad.

I have agreed to help with the cake for my grandpa's 90th birthday. The day I agreed, I was all pumped up about it. But by the time this weekend rolled around, I was kinda dreading it. It just gets overwhelming and my mom never takes a break! She will just keep going and it eventually annoys me and then I get cranky and we get in a fight because I just want her to stop already. And she can't let some ideas go...

Saturday morning before I was supposed to leave she called to say she had my little cousin K (2.5) at her house because his mom had the flu. Well I was not happy that she wanted me to come and be exposed to the flu bug (which the doctor had said was NOT a strain they were vaccinating for this year) and I was upset with her for then taking K over to my Mema's (who just had heart surgery 2 weeks ago). So of course we got into over that. Am I alone here, am I the only person who takes the flu seriously? I do not blame my mom for trying to help KM, I am all for it, but then contain the kid who has been exposed. Sorry, but that is how I feel. BUT I was gonna go anyway.

She called back a little later and said just don't come and I know she was mad, but I said that is fine that I will stay at my house and work on it. Have I mentioned what it is yet? A gingerbread house replica of my grandfather's farm house. I have actually done it once before and I think I can do it better this time. But it is a lot of work. Luckily, we have 2 weeks to do it. So since I didn't go home, I told my mom I would get the ingredients and make the pattern and gingerbread pieces. So yesterday I made gingerbread and it has been in the fridge since then. The pattern is quite complicated and it is taking way more time that I thought it would. Which is how it goes with this type of project. However, it has been nice to just be here working on it alone. I know that sounds horrible, but I think it has been the best thing. I seriously doubt we would have gotten anything done with a 2.5 year old running around and "helping", as much as I do love him so.

So here is what I have so far. Got to use the ridiculously RED kitchen aid mixer. Oh ye-ah!

And then, I was almost done with my model. And then mom sent me the picture I needed and now I have to redo it. Oh well. I have the part without a roof all wrong. Better to know now though.

Stay tuned. This is bound to turn out interesting. There will probably be tears. And yelling. But hopefully, my grandpa will secretly like it. He is a man of few words. So if I get a smile, mission accomplished!