Friday, July 13, 2012

4th of July

Last Wednesday, we had our annual 4th of July family celebration. This year's was special because we had two potential new family members join us for the day; Mandy's suitor Ben and Gabe's girl Sarah were both there and had the opportunity to meet the rest of the family.

This year, we met at Uncle Jason's house. It proved to be a hot day, but it was bearable with low humidity and plenty of shade from the trees. Each family brought their own meat and a few side dishes, and so there was plenty of delicious food to go around. Mom made her first banana cheesecake for the occasion, and it was very, very yummy. After the meal, the younger kids got into the new swimming pool while the adults sat down nearby to talk. It was a quiet yet enjoyable afternoon, just sitting around and enjoying each other's fellowship. Eventually, some of the older kids, feeling the heat, joined the younger ones in the pool. Nathan loved the water, and Noah was constantly holding him up while he squealed with delight and peered over the pool rim at us. Noah also got involved in a rather spirited water gun war with Hannah, which led to some innocent bystanders getting a bit damp.

After spending the afternoon at Uncle Jason's, we stopped by the Howlands for a little visit. We chatted for a little while and then, when the sky had gotten dark enough, walked up the road to watch the fireworks. We did not get a good view because there were too many trees blocking the fireworks, so unfortunately there was not much to see. Finally, because Dad and Seth had work the next day, we had to leave, and we left Mandy to spend the night with the Howlands.

Ever since then, not much else has gone on. Dad and his brothers are traveling for a family wedding this weekend, Mandy has got several social activities, Seth is waiting to hear back from a potential new employer, and I am waiting for Georgia Gwinnett to send my transcripts to an on-line college that I applied for a few weeks ago. We've also been enjoying more interaction with Ben, as he visits us (in particular, Mandy), and last night we kids went out to a movie with him. Otherwise, things have been pretty normal around here. I've heard rumors of another upcoming dance in August, and I hope it'll happen because our last dance was cancelled due to supposedly bad weather and I miss dancing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Adventures of the Cakes

In March earlier this year, a lady at our church started a cooking class for the young ladies. Once a month or so, we go to her house and cook something. We've made pie crust and pork tenderloin once, and last Saturday it was time to learn how to decorate a cake.

Things got off to a bad start on Saturday morning. Due to an oversight, one of the cats devoured a piece of pizza and left the crust all over the kitchen floor, which meant I needed to clean it up. Then it was time to make vanilla buttercream frosting. We only had enough milk for one batch when we needed two, and Mandy and I had to leave and pick up two other girls for the class. So we grabbed our cakes and the bowl of frosting and began driving all over the county to pick up our friends. It was 9:30 in the morning, and it was already in the upper 80's. It didn't help that our suburban has no A/C, and so it made for a very hot ride. We arrived late, and I fretted over the frosting, which did not look very good but turned out to be fine.

We had a good time. First, we iced our cakes (we got some extra frosting, so there was enough for Mandy and I), which was quite a task in and of itself. Then it was time to decorate. The lady had shown us some techniques, like basket weaving and shell borders, and so it was up to us to experiment and have fun. Mandy decided to go complicated and do a basket weave on top of her cake, which she was not happy with, and I did a poor attempt to recreate an ocean with a sun and a palm tree. After a few hours of handling the sticky frosting and admiring each other's culinary creations, it was time to go. However, we four were beginning to worry. By now, it was around 1 PM, which meant it was very hot. The car had no A/C, and the heat could melt our frosting and ruin our hard work. We rolled down the windows and decided to stop halfway home at Chick-fil-A, where we would bring the cakes inside and let them cool down a little bit. By the time we reached the place, two of the cakes were already showing signs of the frosting melting, smudging, or falling off the cake. After lunch, we resumed the ride home, whereby we were all staring at our cakes and ordering the frosting to stay put for just a little longer.

My cake and Mandy's did not really survive. Apparently, hers was dry and the frosting fell off, and I've been afraid to taste mine. Nonetheless, it was an interesting adventure during the hot temperatures down here.