Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cake (in pictures)

I've not blogged for awhile.  Partly because of the upcoming party and all the preparations I inflicted on myself.  However, it's done, and I can breathe again for a bit before the next big item on my agenda (a presentation for Compassion International).

Rebecca's 5th Birthday Cake.

Sometimes when you bake a cake it's really about the decorating after the cake is done...  not this one.  This one is all about the cake.

I received my January copy of Martha Stewart Living magazine in the mail and found this delightful cake in its section on parties.  This particular cake was probably for a baby girl shower, but I when I saw it I fell in love (I know loving cake is not the best thing).  Since Rebecca's birthday is in March, I had a while to wait before making it.

I have no photos of the frosting disaster.  Here's what happened.  I made the Swiss Meringue Buttercream per the directions and it was light and fluffy and wow, who knew that two pounds (!!!) of butter makes really good frosting.  I used the make ahead directions which said you could refrigerate for a few days.  Unfortunately, in the busy-ness of the few days preceding the party, I didn't really think about how long it takes a refrigerated product to come to room temperature, especially when it's ten cups of frosting...  So I left it out for a bit and then tried to speed up time.  Bad idea.  The liquid separated and I was left with clumps of mostly butter...  AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!  (Yes, I know that's not a word, but that is how I was feeling :)  So, I said to myself, "SELF..."  No, I didn't really. But I thought to myself, I have to fix this.  2 lbs of butter and 10 egg whites just can't really be done over repeatedly.  Icing sugar (or powdered sugar, for my American friends) wasn't actually called for in this recipe and I had some in my pantry, I tried it.  Thankfully, it worked!  I can't tell you how much I put in, because I just kept adding until it came back to a good consistency.   Hey, when you already have 2 lbs of butter, you're not really worried about keeping it low calorie. The original amount of sugar was *relatively* low and the end result was quite tasty.

On to the cake!  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The smiles were worth it all!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sponsor Children update

So, a lot has happened in our sponsorship lives since my last post relating our mailing on February 1.

I had requested another correspondence sponsor child. (These are children who are financially sponsored, but whose sponsors [often corporations/groups] sign off on their ability to write letters to their children.  Since learning how much letters matter to these special children, I really felt that the Lord was nudging me to write to another child.  On Feb. 16th when I signed into my Compassion account there she was:

Please meet Denisse from the Dominican Republic!  What a cutie-patootie!  She is our seventh and youngest sponsor child (by a few months) and will turn 6 in September.  Super-Awesome reminded me that in God's word, seven is the number of perfection and completion :) 

We've also received several letters since that last post on February 1st.   We got our first letter from Tania on Jan.31st.  Then on February 1st we got a Christmas Card and letter from Camilo in Guatemala.  I wrote about those two letters here

On February 19th another happy dance was done by the mailbox!  Our first letter from Katherine in Nicaragua arrived.  I had asked about the sponsorship history of our children and knew that we are Katherine's third sponsors.  She writes in her letter "I give thanks to my God for putting you in my way as a sponsor.  I'll pray for you so that you always be my sponsor."   Absolutely heartbreaking.  This little girl is only 9 and has already been dropped by two sponsors. I can only imagine how devastating that would be. Her letter was very short and I hope that with time she'll open up a little.  I assured her, in my reply, that it was my prayer too, to always be her sponsor.

On February 22nd we received our second letter from Allan in Ecuador.  It was dated December 31st and it thanked us for the gift he received, a duvet for his bed.  I know when I think of Ecuador I think hot weather, but Allan lives in the mountains and the average temperature year round is about 10 C/ 50F, so a duvet would be a good thing!  He (via his tutor, Monica) enjoyed the Christmas party at the Compassion Project and asked for prayer for his family.

Today, March 7th, the mail came early-ish and I was excited to see one of those cream envelopes amid the other mail.  Opened it up to find a third letter from Allan!!!   Also written on December 31st this one was printed on letterhead that said "Reciprocal Letter", so I guess this means he's received a letter from me!    He thanks me for the benefits I have sent to him... not sure whether this is the financial support or the stickers/bookmarks...  He wonders what my country is like.  I was happy to send him off a reply note via the Compassion International website.  They have a feature where you can e-mail your letter (the letter will still need to be translated before reaching the child) which speeds up the process a little.  You can't include tangible goodies but you can encourage and thank them for the letter you've received.  I try to send a reply this way whenever I receive one of their letters.  I also tend to send my mid-month letter this way.  Once a month I write out a handwritten letter to each child.  Feb 1's post  details the sorts of things I include.

I did another big mailing on Feb. 24th (2 months before Easter) with Easter cards and stickers and a photo of Super Beautiful and Super Map at the fire station. I didn't take any photos this time as I was rushing to get them done in time. It was good to get that mailing done before my family arrived from Canada on Feb. 26th.  My mom, who lives in Quebec, picked up a couple of French cards for Loury (our Haitian sponsor daughter).  There really aren't a lot of French cards in Virginia :)  However, we do have some Spanish cards available, so I picked up Spanish Easter cards for the other six kids and I hope that they will like them! 

I've asked for and received permission to do a presentation for Compassion Sunday at our MOPS group on March 31st (yes, not a Sunday), as part of our Service/Ministry day.  I would appreciate your prayers for that.  There is also some potential to have tables set up at different meetings at church, so please also pray for these opportunities to share Compassion.  There are so many children who still need sponsoring! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: When I look into the mirror...

It's Friday again... and this is my first post of the week!  I had family from Canada here and we had a wonderful time together.  Everyone is sad that they had to go back home, but regular routines need to be reestablished now :)

So Five Minute Friday... and check out this snazzy new button: 

Here are the rules from Lisa-Jo's site:

1. Write for only five minutes.
2. Link back here and invite others to play along.
3. Go salute the five minute artist who linked up before you.

I have to say when I read what the prompt was, my stomach dropped...  I so do not want to write about when I look in the mirror, but I know this is an exercise in growth so here goes...


When I look in the mirror, I often just turn around or sigh in disgust.  I know... silly or ridiculous, but I have an issue with my looks/weight... doesn't everyone?

When I force myself to look longer than the second it takes to check that there's no streak of jam or hot sauce on my cheek, I see my mother's eyes and my father's cheeks and jaw, my Grandpa's curly hair, my Nanny's ears, my Oma's chin...

When I look at the whole I see me... who I am, but remember where I came from.  The genes that melded together and that God chose to pair to create me.

I think I'll be able to look without sighing next time.

And of course, there's the blue and white dishtowel tied around my neck proclaiming my Super status.