May Daring Bakers Challenge: piece montée

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with this when I first read about it, but I started to get more excited the more I read.  This was my first challenge and I was a bit overwhelmed.

I followed all recipes and my husband had fun documenting the adventure.  I did forget the egg wash, but they still turned out nice, it m

ight even attempt them another time, around the holidays and try to make it prettier.

Here are a few photos:

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Blessed

Yesterday the housekeeping staff at the hotel left us a note: “Have a blessed day!”

Earlier in the week we’d gone a bit out of our way to have lunch at one of our favorite places, Pita Pit.  The closest Pita Pit to us is about an hour away, so when we are near one we stop in.  That day we were in a college town, so of course here was a Pita Pit near by.  We walked in and something seemed off.  Only one employee could be seen, we’ve ways had four or more employees before.  We gave our order and tried to pay with a credit card, as we don’t carry cash.  The guy said the machine wasn’t working, so our order would be free.  He could have easily turned us away, as he hadn’t made our food.  We could tell he was a little irritated, but he was very nice to us and made everything to perfection, even though he could have slack-I mean we weren’t even paying.  I felt so blessed and tried to be compassionate and kind in return.  I don’t know if he was choosing to bless us in the mist of his bad afternoon or exactly what was going on, but it got me to thinking.

Today started out rough.  The toilet at the hotel overflowed while we were all tryin to get ready and packed up.  We alost weren’t able to bring Isaac home with us as his birth certificate was at home in Colorado.  We had a heck of a time in security, we forgot a water bottle in our bag and they moved Zach to a separate line to be rescreened and I was stuck putting our laptops away, shoes on Isaac, shoes on me, keeping track of Zach’s stuff and monitoring them rumaginging through our diaper bag, not to mention the impatient people behind me.  It was a mess!  Turns out they moved Zach because they were having trouble getting the carseat through the x-Ray machine and he forgot something in his pocket.  Oops!  Guess we fail at traveling today. :). We finally got settled into the gate and Zach went to get the sticker to gate check the car seat.  Guess what?  There were 20 extra seats on the plane so if we wanted to bring the carseat on and put Isaac in it, we could.  Four hour flight with a sleepy baby in carseat who fell asleep as the plane took off allowing Mom and Dad to do whatever we want is a huge blessing.  Especially after the morning.

Everyone needs a blessing.  We all have hard days and easy day.  We all bless others unconsciencely from time to time, but what about those day we when everything is going wrong?  Do we smile and hold the door for the person running in from the rain or do we slam the door and pass our bad fortune onto to someone else?  We have choices to make everyday.  I want to choose to smile and look for opportunities to lose my selfishness and bless someone else, even if they are grumpy to me.

Traveling

We are getting ready to go on a trip on Thursday.  Getting ready for a trip is always so challenging. I always want to start packing weeks in advance, unfortunately, you can’t really do that because you always need the things you are going to pack.  So I make lists.  It’s the only way I can clear my mind about the packing.  But still I always worry that I’m going to forget something or need something I didn’t pack.  Really, the only thing that is not replaceable is Z’s perscription, which happened once and we had to have my parent’s overnight it, so even that isn’t the end of the world.

Traveling with a toddler is an added bonus, especially such an active child who refuses to sleep in public places.  Our four hour flight will be an interesting one, but at least we only have one flight to deal with.

We are excited.  It will be an adventure that’s for sure.  Lots to get done before we leave.  But then we get to see my sister for the first time in six months and we get to see Syble (Zach’s great aunt)….how fun!

Seasons of Life

I just returned home from a high school graduation party.  Vanessa was one of my students.  She was lucky enough to have me for two classes Journalism and 10th Grade English (even though she was a freshman) and if that wasn’t enough, she also always ate lunch in my room.  We bonded.  I helped her with her math, so that she could pass.  She made me laugh and kept a smile on my face.  We became good friends.  In fact, I even went to her house to play basketball some afternoons.

I’m proud of her.  Her family is proud of her.  But more than anything I’m waiting to see what she does in the world.  She is a very passionate and opinionated person.  I know that whatever she puts her mind to doing she will do.  She is a great basketball player and an amazing writer.

With Vanessa’s graduation, I’ve been reminiscing about life–mainly about the people that move in and out of our lives.  I have over 600 friends on Facebook.  This might seem like a lot, but with few exceptions, everyone has been a part of my life away from the computer and I can tell you a little story or something about them.  Those I haven’t met fall into two categories: family of someone I’ve met or someone I’ve had a strong connection with through a blog or other Internet site.

For example, Ryan, he was my first ever Internet buddy.  We started talking over AIM when I was in high school, over ten years ago.  He went to a Christian high school and they had a radio show and I thought it was cool and somehow we became friends.  We talked a lot about God, books, music and relationships.  In fact, during my “explorative” year, when I was fresh out of high school and learning my way in the world, he was kind of that conscience on my shoulder that no one knew about but me.  It allowed us to share more of our hearts without being judged.  We even met once at DIA, just because he was flying through.  We’ve drifted apart, which is appropriate, we are both married with children, but he still impacted my life.

There are others on the list of 600.  Many have touched me, influenced me, changed who I was and helped make me into the person I am today.  I have treasured memories, moments in time I wish I could hold onto.  Experiences I wish I would have taken, attitudes I wish I’d have broken.  But they’ve all gotten me here, to a happy marriage with a great kid, a nice house and a good job.

I wonder if I’ve been a person who has touched their lives.  I’ve always wanted to walk in my faith in such a way that others were drawn in but did not feel judged or smothered, just loved.

I was recently watching a video of myself, if you are my friend of Facebook, you can view it on my page.  Zach and I were having an argument about the rules of a game we were playing.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.  I looked so angry.  I wasn’t.  In fact, I was trying so hard not to crack up laughing.  Yes, I was passionate about my subject.  I wanted to follow the rules, but I wasn’t mad like my face looks in the video.  I wonder how many times in my life, have I been joking or unsure of something and had that stern face and have scared people off, given them the wrong impression of how I was really feeling.  I’m so thankful to have a husband who really gets me and understands that my face doesn’t always match my mood.

Thank you to those who have touched my life.  I am me because you were here.  I only wish I could keep you all in my lives as much as you once were, but life seems to be all about seasons.  Things change, but know you hold a special place in my heart.