Pirate Ship Cake

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So I made a thing.

I rarely do anything by degrees, especially baking. My nephew just turned three, and part of my gift to him (Aside from the Batman action figure and the giant box of Playdough) was a pirate ship cake.

I nearly quit twice.

The cakes were from scratch https://rattledup.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/katies-chocolate-cake/

and while it only took two 9X13 cakes to make, I ended up having to make three.

Mostly because the second one turned out HORRIBLY. Awful. IT was an abomination, not worthy of the term “baked good”. Somehow the cake turned into jello in the oven.

We’ve got three theories as to why that happened.

  1. all the milk accidentally got added at once, because I noted how that messed with the texture of the batter.
  2. I may not have scraped the bowl adequately enough.
  3. There was a casserole in the oven at the same time and it probably didn’t bake evenly.

It was gross. I made everyone try it, and everyone who put it in their mouths spit it back out and shivered because of how wrong it was.

Then I almost quit again when the third cake broke while I was trying to get it out of the pan. I almost cried.

I marched into the livingroom, picked up the phone and when Noah asked what was wrong I said, “It broke. I quit. I’m telling Anna it’s a 2D cake.”

He stood up, took the phone from me, and together we got the cake out of the pan. It was broken, but he stood by and started being my cheerleader while I cut and arranged the pieces together.

I cut them both about 6″ wide lengthwise. (So then I had 2 6X13s) and stacked them on top of each other, then I cut the remaining chunks into 6X3s and stacked two in the back, one in front of that, and one in the very front.)

I used a store bought frosting for the glue, and once it was all put together, I slid it in the fridge for an hour so it’d hold together while I carved. Which was pretty much cutting the front into a point.

I found the Jolly Roger from an image on Wikicommons that worked, and just taped it to a chopstick.

Then I frosted, and we took the cake over to the party. My sister ad got a bunch of candies and I just went nuts. I put a little frosting on the base so the sprinkles would stick, lined the base with the gummy sharks, and had a lot of fun with it.

When my nephew blew out his candles and realized he couldn’t have the WHOLE THING he was very upset. At least until he got to eat all the gummy sharks with his cake.

For all the headache, I’m really glad I did this one. It was my first ever 3D cake, and it’s really pushed the limits for what I think I can do now. I can’t wait for my niece’s and my son’s birthdays to see what I come up with for them!

Identity Crisis

I don’t like to make generalizations as a rule, but I also think living in a small town is hard. I grew up in one, and I credit it with my perpetual identity crisis.

To be fair to other towns, other people have informed me that my hometown is very very strange and seems to be suffering the same sort of identity crisis as I am.

It’s neither urban, or even all that rural. Just a population around the 8,000 mark and a 45 minute drive to anywhere remotely interesting. Farmer’s a plentiful, but also an annual heavy-rock music concert that literally shuts down an entire road next to the coffee shop and the bank. A town with a top ranked college within the limits, but walk downtown during homecoming week and you will not see a single  piece of college propaganda. Not a single banner, not on any of the remaining storefronts. Because they disappear regularly.

And unlike what TV, books, and the general world at large would have me believe, my hometown isn’t quaint and “artsy”, but it isn’t back-woods hicks ville either.

It’s hard to carve out your own identity against this back-drop. I didn’t have an advantage in traveling, so to me, for all but a solid year, this town was literally all of my experiences. And it never made sense. Add this to the usual complexities of growing up and carving my path with no discernible talents or passions…it was tough.

This may seem like I’m ragging on this town, I grew up here, and I love it. But I also really hate it. Because I grew up here I know every crack in every sidewalk. I’ve seen next to nothing change in 23 years of living here. This town wants to be something, and I want this town to be something. I really do. I really wanna be part of something that really makes a statement here. It takes time, but the plans are laid and crawling along.

I said in the beginning that I credit living in this specific small town to my identity crisis. Maybe that’s just me denying personal responsibility for my early quarter-life crisis. But I stand by this, this town is confused, at least as confused as I am about what it wants to be, and I’m not sure if it’s the cause of my discomfort, or if we’re just parallels of each other.

Here’s where instinct urges me to write an uplifting ending. To take all I’ve shared and spin it into a satisfactory self-bettering ending. But I can’t, in good conscience, do that to you.

Living in constant personal conflict like this has not made me a stronger person, I’ve yet to rise above this and be all the me I can. I’m not. And if you’re goodly enough to read my blog, I don’t want to lie to you…If anybody reads this, I haven’t had a comment in over a year.

I’m just on the slow-track, probably just chasing my tail trying to pick a direction to go. But either way, at least I’m running for it right?

Greener Grasses

I’ve noticed that I tend to be a “other grass” kind of person. Not necessarily in the way of “if I could just achieve this thing I’d never be unhappy again”–I’m not that dumb.

It’s mostly about the weather. The solstice was the 20th of June, and since then, since true summer began I became truly obsessed with winter. Seriously, the holidays are just now coming up and I have been planning since JUNE people.

Since. June.

And I know once the glow of the holidays wears off after the second of January, I’m going to start pining again for summer. Really, about the second week of January, I start buying up seeds and planting them in egg shells and trying to make it be Summer in my home again.

Grass to me is always greenest in the spring and the fall…and by green I mean mud, and I’m fine with that.

Tiny House – A new daydream

I’m remarkably not well traveled. It’s something I’ve wished to change about my life for about as long as I’ve lived in it. But unfortunately, travel requires more capital and time than I’ve ever had.

Like most people in their twenties anymore I’m bagged down by debt, underemployed. Add to that I’m a mom, and almost all my family lives within a fifteen minute walk from me. I’ve never been on a plane, and it was only last month that I’ve had  a reason to be driving more than three hours in one direction.

So I dream. Travel sounds lovely, but how would I manage it?

As usual for me, TV answered the question. An ad for a “Tiny House” show came on and inspiration was born. Now I watch it every chance I get and pretend Noah and I are in the process of building one to take time off from our lives and the careers we have barely started.

 

Throwback Photographs

This is without a doubt, one of my favorite photos ever taken. It is just a bowl of grapes, and an abandoned pack of cigarettes and a festive lighter left behind my my mother.

This is one of the first pictures I ever took with a camera that was genuinely mine. It was a Nikon Coolpix, though the exact model I can’t remember. It was stolen a long time ago.

It’s not the best picture ever taken. It’s probably not the best picture I’ve ever taken. But I took it, and seven years later I still love it.

I took it on a Christmas afternoon, after we’d opened presents, had our brunch, and I’d already discarded the manual in favor of just pushing every single button. (Some technical knowledge would probably be beneficial to me still, my camera has gotten a lot more complicated since then, and I haven’t even pressed half the buttons.)

I snapped the photo and was blown away by the quality. This was *hot stuff* for me. And I mean, I was probably twelve. This was one of the first images that drew me deeper and deeper into the photography hole.

And I just like sharing that.

It happens to the best of us, My Cupcake Fail

So this happened

 

So this happened to me today.
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it took me a few minutes before I could figure out what was up, I peeked in on them and my jaw dropped. What had happened? I’d done everything right! My science should not have been compromised.

I was irritated.

Once I calmed myself down a little and studied them, what I know of baking, and my recipe I figured out the trouble.

I’d used nearly two TABLESPOONS of baking soda, rather than a scant two teaspoons. that’s what I get for measuring right?

 

How to get yourself blacklisted

This guy’s biggest mistake was giving names to the agents. It’s easy to excuse venting when you’re not actively attacking people.

In the Inbox

A man named David Benjamin was unhappy an agent rejected him. He wrote a bitter blog post.

I’m providing this because I want you to know that people like this exist. Agents frequently have to protect themselves from this kind of abuse. The industry is small and agents pass this kind of thing on to each other. Note that this is not his first bitter post about an agent who rejected him.

I’ve provided the 3 screen-caps of his short blog post and 3 screen caps of the 6 comments, taken at 11am, July 27, 2016.

A link to his original post is provided at the bottom of this post.

Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 1Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 2Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 3Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 4Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 5Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 6

Original post is on his blog here.

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