Every good and perfect gift is from above...James 1:17

Friday, August 19, 2016

Cupcake Wars

Daisy has sucked us all into watching Cupcake Wars with her. For some strange reason, and I cannot tell you why, it is interesting to watch. Making chocolate cake was on our summer bucket list. We decided cupcakes would fit this goal.

Amazing as it is, this was one of our best days of the summer. Everyone was engaged and nice and not one time did someone ask to get on a screen. 
{insert 'Hallelujah' chorus here}

After some searching on Pinterest we decided upon a vanilla cupcake (from scratch, mind you) with a chocolate chip cookie dough filling, topped with homemade chocolate frosting and decorated with a miniature chocolate chip cookie, also from scratch. Cupcake Wars is not for the weak, people. It is serious baking. 
 First step--prepping
 Cookie dough was first on the docket because it had to chill for a couple hours.

The hardest part was not eating it.
 Of course, your fingers must be cleaned at some point, so why not lick them off?
 As the dough was chilling, we began work on the vanilla cake batter.

 [Side bar - take note of the cooperation going on here]

 The chilled cookie dough balls went into the cupcakes before baking.
 Here they are straight from the oven.

 Chocolate icing time.
 Speaking of time, we were cutting it close to the wire. Our time-limit was running out very quickly!
Everyone was working on frosting and decorating as quickly as possible.

 My hands were covered in frosting, so Elijah was in charge of pics. Here a just a few randos he took. The others did not even have a subject.
(That is the dogs' Gremlin chew toy.)
 There may or may not have been some taste-testing along the way.
 A few of the cupcakes were underdone. We were just hoping the judges would not pick one of those to eat.
Now time for the presentation. The theme was Mini-opolis. So we opted for a rainbow colored tray to match the Mini-opolis background. The cupcake liners were rainbow, as well.
The babies at the table and chairs were like a scene from the movie. Of course, they matched the 'mini' theme perfectly.
 Time for the judges' reactions. 
 Judge #1
"Pleasantly surprised...you made a success out of it."
 Judge #2
"I'm a little confused with the hole in the middle...but the rest of it tastes great and looks great and I like your display."
 Judge #3
"I like that pleasantly the cookie was in the middle. I like the frosting and the rest of the pieces."
 So nerve-wracking to watch and wait!
 Overall: success! Now time for all to enjoy.
Well, almost all. No chocolate for you, Chuey.
Thank you for joining this episode of Cupcake Wars.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gma E

Evelyn Mae Robertson
August 25, 1926 - August 4, 2016
Gma's 86th birthday
I have so many wonderful memories of Grandma E. When we were kids, visits from Grandma were always filled with fun and excitement. She made frequent visits to our house. 
There was lots of joy and giggles as we ran to greet her at her car. While she was visiting not a single box of jewelry nor a tube of lipstick would be left unopened. Us kids would pour over every detail of the Avon samples. She would take the pen out of her big updo and write down an order when anyone wanted something. 
Quite often Gma would bring us gifts when she visited. If it wasn't Avon it was some kind of candy or snack or discounted box of pizza rejects.  
Gma's 88th bday
Homecoming 1987
Granny and Grandma ~ Easter 2012
Grandma never forgot a birthday. She never missed a visit for our birthdays or special events when we were little. As we got older she would faithfully call on our special day. Every year. Sometimes she made our cake. But not just a simple 9x13 cake; they were  elaborate works of art. Barbie dolls coming out of a big frosting skirt always wowed us.  
Grandma and her drink of choice--a Pepsi without ice
Staying with Gma was one of the biggest and best treats of the summer! First of all, sometimes we got to bring our dog Fluffy with us, even though she would get car sick and vomit in the car every time. We always had dry sandwiches and warm Pepsi. Us kids didn't like the dry sandwich but it was a good trade off because we never got Pepsi at home. And quite often we would get to go to Wendy's which was awesome because we didn't get to eat fast food at home either. 
Sister, Gma, Steve, Kimmy, me,  & Lissa at the fair - 1976ish
There was always adventure at Grandma's-- fiddling with her quilting machine, going to the fair, walking the dogs, playing bingo, snacking our way through square dancing. I even snacked my way through square dancing all through college. But one of the sweetest memories of time spent with Grandma E is reading bedtime stories. 
at the lake
me, Grandma and Etrigan, or 'Sunshine' as she called her
Gma and Cody
Gma, Steve, Marsha and Tuck, 1971ish
Grandma loved animals. I can barely remember her monkey; what I remember about it was when it jumped on top of my head and freaked me out. When she raised dogs, Sister always got to help feed and water them. Steve and I were the dog catchers. We would run around and around until we caught the loose dogs. The only spanking I ever got from Grandma was when I put a puppy in the trash, but I was too little to actually remember it, I only remember the story. I do remember riding in the pony cart  in parades that Tuck would pull.
me and Grandma on one of our many Avon trips
Hawaii, San Diego, New Orleans, Washington DC,
Puerto Rico, Las Vega$
Grandma and my Avon trips will always hold a special spot in my heart. Me and Gma with hundreds of old people traveling around the country. We were pretty good travel companions, with one exception. She would say something like, "Well, we're going the wrong way. We should be going east." My response would always be something like, "I have no idea what direction we should be going, but we turned left so we're going the right way." We never agreed upon west or north, left or right, but we always got where we needed to go.
Grandma showed love for her family in many ways. Always, with no exception, her visit would end with a handshake. Until we meet again, Grandma...
Gma and us 3 kids, Thanksgiving 2011
Easter 2012
Easter 2011
Dad, Grandma, Janet, Judy, Joanne
Christmas 2011
Grandma at Aunt Rose's pond
my Grandma