There’s a free gym at my college campus and now that my schedule is a little less crazy this semester, I may actually find the time to make use of it. This becomes an especially large concern when our baking component of this semester focuses entirely on cakes. Now, I know I don’t actually have to eat the pretty things just because I’m making them, but i’m an eater by nature, and the curiosity factor becomes a little too high when everything we make is either a new kind of cake I’ve never tried, or a variation of one that I’ve had before. Crumbs get nibbled here and there, and I occasionally lick frosting from my fingers. The bigger problems are that I end up taking a cake home every time because I want to show off the decorating job to family and friends. Also, i know my kids appreciate the treat (although two to three times a week means its less like a treat and more like an expectation).The biggest adaptation I am going to have to make however, is learning to waste. To be honest, I am cheap. Throwing food away has always seemed an incredible sin, especially when there are children starving in Africa (isn’t that what our mother always told us?).So what do you do with a bag of stabalized whip cream? That was what we spread upon our devil’s food cakes and strawberry short cakes. It’s whipped cream that has a bit of something called “toppit” added to it to keep it from becoming runny. “You mean I can store it for an entire week and it will still be like freshly whipped cream?!””What? We’re throwing all the left overs away? Hell no, just put it all in this bag and I’ll take it home.”What is wrong with me?Not that I was complaining. The kids and I had whipped cream on our hot chocolate, our strawberries and blueberries, our desserts; I even put some in my coffee in the mornings, it was awesome. Eventually I realized it was going to outlast it’s uses and I was able to toss the rest away. My scale and i have a mutual agreement to not have any conversations for at least a month while I develop the ability walk away. In the meantime, I now have a bag of cake and a bag of frosting in my fridge. I may figure out something to make with them (and give it away) or I may just let them go moldy so my husband tosses them out.
What do these 2 things have in common? They were both images on the Christmas cards my brother proudly brought us from Taiwan.
It was so wonderful to see him again, as it’s been 2 years since the last time he was able to come visit. And though he didn’t have too much extra room in his luggage to haul gifts with him, the offerings he did bring were fabulous.
He explained to us that in Taiwan, stationary stores are incredibly impressive and some of the most popular shopping destinations. Having been in one when I visited him many years ago, I can relate to the extreme temptation of collecting tiny creature shaped erasers and note paper with sumo pandas locked in mortal combat. The cards available for special occasions range from elaborately beautiful to truly bizarre. As Christams is not an essential holiday in Taiwan, they get to have a little more leeway with the seriousness of their related stationary.
Here is one of my favourites.
Despite the fact that wanting to pick up an axe and go mental is actually a common emotion around Christmas, I was really puzzled by the angry pig as a Christmas image. However it was all explained within the card.
In case you can’t tell, the axe was to cut open his piggy bank so he could afford to buy you a gift. There were many tears but the spirit of love and giving prevailed.
I think soon I will have to go visit my brother in Taiwan again. I’ll make sure to let him take me shopping when I do.
Well, now that the last of the Christmas beaded presents have been delivered, I can post about the addictive and pervasive beading week that I roped my children into this year.
The big problem, of course, with three people all doing different beading tasks at once is that the room in use kind of becomes a huge, sprawling landscape of tiny coloured spheres and containment attempts are never 100% effective. Also, that room was the main dining/living room area, because the craft room of my dream house is still an elusive fantasy. Needless to say, other activities that this space was previously used for, such as eating, began taking place in obscure locations or downstairs in front of the television.
The hardest part about beading is trying to find stores with affordable supplies. Being in Toronto, I always have the option of going to a high end beading store and buying small strings and individual beads for a decadent premium. However, seeing as this was meant to be a way to encourage my children to finance their own gifts this year, we buckled to the corporate demon and bought the bulk of our beading supplies from Walmart. To help my kids out (and because this was mainly my fault), I paid the high overdue fines on the beading pattern library books we forgot to renew.