Kiddle Family - November 2012

Friday, 24 June 2011

Missionary Homecoming Cake for the Whitneys

The Whitneys left 23 months ago, to serve a mission in Peru. They returned home just a few days ago and my friend, Meg, is hosting an Open House tonight to celebrate their return. Meg asked me to make a cake for the open house. I was happy that she allowed me to have free reign on the cake and do whatever I wanted.

For this cake, I wanted to make it unique. Something just for them. A cake that would tell a bit of a story and share some of their experiences from Peru. I sat down one day to brain storm, and I came up with this sketch....

Each of the rectangles around the side of the cake, I wanted to have a quote from their blog. Either an experience or saying or a cultural fact about Peru.
I think I read their entire blog yesterday looking for stuff. They had an amazing mission and I'm glad they kept a blog about it and were willing to share what they've been doing for the last 2 years.
Anyways, the cake turned out fantastic! Here's a look at some of the pictures I took of it finished....

In case it's hard to read in the pictures (and not all I took pictures of...) Here's all the quotes I wrote on the side of the cake....

"You are in PERU now"

Aug. 2009 On our way to Peru after 1 week in the MTC in Utah

Sep. 2009 "Jorge was our "tele-tutor" that tried to teach us espanol over the phone. He did a really good job, we didn't."

"It was good going down."

"Picture with the gorgeous GRINGA"

Oct. 2009 "We ventured out with a prayer on our lips and in our hearts that we may do someone some good today."

Sep. 2009 "There is no baptismal font at the chapel, so we charter a bus to the ocean. It was a really spiritual meeting."

Oct. 2009 "The favorite security company in Peru is DOG."

Oct. 2009 "This week our service project was on a Cuy (guinea pig) ranch. Cuy is considered a delicacy in many places in South America.

June 2010 "Life is not about how much you have got, rather it is about the attitude that you have about what you have got."

July 2010 "People even said that they understood my talk, which was surprising but gratifying.

Sept. 2010 "Yahoo! Looks like we are planning another wedding.... maybe even 3 more."

Feb. 2011 "That DOG BIT me" (Debbie was bitten by a dog and had to have numerous rabies shots.... and that's the reason there's a dog on the top of the cake in Debbie's arms.... cause I thought that would be humorous, since I'm sure Debbie is no longer keen on dogs)

May 2011 Upon finding a SCORPION in their hotel..... "Quiet or everyone will want one"

May 2011 "I have come to understand that when the Spirit instructs you what to day or do, you need to do it."

Oh, and just so you know, everything is completely edible except the skewers used for the flag poles and stablization within the cake. The people, dog, flags are made from fondant. The writing of all the quotes was done with Wilton's Food Writers (this was the first time that I've used them. They're quicker to use than my usual small paintbrush....)

And lastly, this is a 10" and 6" Pumpkin Spice cake with cream cheese icing (under a thin layer of fondant).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Calgary Temple Progress - June 22, 2011

We're lucky enough to attend church in the building on the same lot, so we can see the progress on the temple on a weekly basis. Despite there being a crazy amount of rain lately, I'm always surprised to go each week and find that there's been something done.

This morning I was at the church to clean the kitchen and I remembered to bring my camera, so I can take some pictures of the temple's progress, for any of you who are not as fortunate to be able to see it all the time.

With the beautiful weather today, there's a lot going on. A lot of workers. It's all exciting!

Here's a view from the church - looking from the SE

Matthew and I went for a walk to get some other angles....
This is the view from the NW

A view from the SWOn a side note, I'm impressed with the above picture..... because Matthew (5 yr) took it.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Letters to a Missionary

Tonight we had Family Home Evening (FHE). It's been the first time almost since last fall, that we've been able to have it on a Monday night. Yes, we still have our weekly FHE, we usually do it on Sunday.

This week, it was my turn for the lesson. Ever feel like you can't come up with a good idea for a lesson? Something that the kids would like and is still something spiritual?? Oh, I do all the time. I hate to admit this, but sometimes we just take an easy out and just watch one of the Mormon Messages and then talk about it afterwards for a bit. The kids like it and it seems to work for us lately.

But last week, my friend Liana, posted on Facebook that they wrote letters to missionaries for their FHE. What a good idea. In fact, I don't think we've ever done that. Surprised? And, we have a nephew that is serving in Argentina right now. In fact, Reggie recently just left the MTC in Utah and finally arrived in Argentina. Who better to write to, than someone my kids really know and can get really excited to write to. Maybe next time, we'll be picking some of the missionaries that are serving from our ward to write to. But for tonight, Reggie will be getting 6 cute letters from my family.

Of course we didn't just write a letter and fold it simply in half and put it in the envelope. We had to put some of our creativity into it. Here's a peek at what we made....

Emily's letter to Reggie. I loved her picture she drew. The others drew pictures too, but only took pictures of the one....

Coloring, folding and putting the letters together.

Want to see what it'll look like when Elder Lybbert receives them?? Here you go..... they're so cute!

And, if you're interested in making some that look like this too.... here's a tutorial that will teach you how to fold these cute shirts.
Oh, and on a side note, I made these the first time last year for Father's Day. They make a cute Father's Day card. I know, a little late to tell you since Father's Day was yesterday, but I didn't think about these until tonight when I was thinking of what to do for FHE tonight. So, remember that for next years Father's Day.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Sneak A Peek

One of the things I love about working with fondant, is the fact that I can do some elements in advance. They'll dry out, but that's what you want anyways. No one is really going to eat it, though technically they could. You know, like the shoe cake I made a while back... it had to be done in advance and thoroughly dried for it to hold it's shape.

Anyways, I've got a cake for next week that I'm going to do, and it includes several elements that can be done in advance. I've been procrastinating on it and haven't felt the motivation to do it. But yesterday, I finally sat down and completed everything I wanted to go on top of the cake.
I made 2 people, 1 dog, 2 flags.

For your sneak a peek today, I'll show you the flags. Both done with fondant. One flag is completely fondant, even the leaf in the centre (which was completely free-hand cut on a whim) and the other Peru flag is hand painted with food coloring because of the detail it has.

As for the rest, you'll have to wait until next Friday to see it.
And if you know the Whitneys, who have been serving a mission in Peru for the last 23 months, Meg is hosting an Open House to welcome them back home on Friday, so maybe I'll see you there.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Mini Birthday Bouquet

Today is Arline's birthday. I love Arline. She's so funny and I love to visit her every month. I think she turns 85 today, but don't quote me on that. But, definitely somewhere around that age.

I was making a regular sized bouquet as a thank you gift for someone and when I was done, I had a few cupcakes left over. I decided they needed to go to Arline (since I forgot to give her something yesterday when I was at her house visiting).

So, I rummaged through my cupboard and found a mug and made a mini bouquet, just to see if it would work. I like this looks of the larger ones better, simply because I can fit the cupcakes closer together, but this one is perfect for someone who doesn't have a bunch of people to share it with. There are 13 mini cupcakes on it.

Now, I just need someone to drop it off for me. Hmmmm.... I wonder if Laurel, my VTing companion is free tonight. And this year, I hope Arline decides to eat her (cup)cakes. I made her a small birthday cake last year and I don't think she ate it cause it looked to nice and she wanted to get a picture of it but didn't have a camera...... Have I mentioned how much I love Arline and how she makes me laugh?

Anyways, a happy birthday to Arline!!

2 of my favorite cake recipes

Okay, I thought I'd share with you 2 of my favorite cake recipes.

First one is a Vanilla Cake.
I've made several vanilla cakes completely from scratch, but the one that everyone usually prefers is this one. I even had a taste test one time, where I made several cakes and the one that everyone liked, you guessed it, was this one. It's not a scratch cake. It's an altered cake mix. So much easier. And this cake bakes a little denser, so it seems like I made if from scratch.

Vanilla Cake
1 vanilla cake mix (I usually use Betty Crocker's french vanilla)
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. egg whites (about 3 eggs)
1 1/3 c. liquid (1/2 c. milk, the rest water)
1 tsp. extract (I prefer coconut, but you can use almond or any other flavor)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Mix together well. Bake at 350F.
Okay, and I'm not going to list how long, because it depends on whether you're making cupcakes or cakes. And even cakes, it depends on if you're using even-bake strips or not.
If that frustrates you, just look on the box and go by that, but check it near the end and decide if it's done or not. I know, you're really loving me right now.

Oh, and I thought I'd mention that you can substitute all the liquid for coconut milk and add a can of crushed pineapple (drained), that's pretty yummy. Or, sometimes I've even been known to throw strawberries (usually frozen bagged ones that have been thawed) into the batter before mixing too. It's really flexible.

Okay, I'm not a chocolate cake fan. I usually chose not to eat it, but this next recipe, is for a chocolate cake and it's really good. And that's saying a lot for a non-chocolate cake lover. I'll even find that sometimes I'll eat several cupcakes of this recipe and enjoy it. Whenever I've made this for someone else, they've always loved it....

1 Bowl Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
Mix together and beat for 2 minutes. Then add
1 c. boiling water
Mix well. **This batter will be very runny! Almost like soup, just so you're not worried.**

Bake at 350F too. Keep an eye on it cause you don't want them to be undercooked.
This cake is good with a mint buttercream (my favorite) or sometimes with a peanut butter filling (my sister makes that). So many different things you can do. Experiment a little.

And lastly, I just thought I'd mention what my favorite icing recipe is..... the recipe that's on the back of the Roger's Icing Sugar bag. That's right. It's the easiest and I actually like it the best. I've made several types of recipes and this is my favorite. For anyone that doesn't have Roger's icing sugar, I'll post the actual recipe later.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rhubarb Pie

One of my favorite pies is.... Rhubarb pie! Just plain rhubarb. I love the fact that it's sweet, but still maintains a bit of the sourness to it too. Hot rhubarb pie with ice cream, it's the best.

The other day, I was quite happy when a friend said she had some rhubarb and was willing to give it away. I quickly said I would love to have some.

So, with there being a Relief Society "birthday" dinner, I decided that I would make some pie as my contribution towards dinner. And, since it's one of my favorite things to eat, I thought I'd share my recipe, in case any of you would like to make some yourself....

Rhubarb Pie

Pie Crust (for one pie - top and bottom crusts)
2c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. Crisco shortening
Use a pastry cutter until dough is the size of split peas
4 Tbsp. ice water
Sprinkle 2 spoons, then add the other 2. Use a fork to mix, then use your hands.
Handle the dough VERY LITTLE. Only mix until it holds together, you'll already notice that it's very flakey. Divide in 2 (top, bottom crusts) and roll between wax paper.

If you're a visual person and want some pictures, you can look at one of my previous blog postings that shows how I make my pie crust.... though, stop just before poking holes in the crust, cause you don't do that will filled pies. Click here for a link to it.

Rhubarb Pie
4 c. rhubarb cut into pieces
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. butter

Now that you've got your crust in the pan and ready, take your cut rhubarb and fill your pie a little more than half full.

Then you're going to mix together the above amounts of sugar, flour and salt. Pour half of this mixture onto your rhubarb in your pie. Put the rest of the rhubarb on top and fill your pie so that it is heaping. Pour the rest of your sugar/flour mix on top.
(so basically, your pie is layered... rhubarb, dry mix, rhubarb, dry mix)

Now take your butter and just dot the top.

Then roll out your top crust dough, lay it on top and finish of the edges however you'd like.
Lastly, cut some slits into the top of your pie.

Bake your pie at 425F for 40-45 minutes. And just as a side note, if you want though I don't always do this.... before you start baking, take some tinfoil and cover your crust edges. This will prevent them from baking faster than the rest of your pie and prevent you from having burnt looking edges. Then half way through the baking, remove the tinfoil and bake normally.

So, there you have it. That's how I make rhubarb pie. It's one of my favorites.

Oh, and what do you do with the left over dough?? Well, I like to roll it out and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on it and bake it (425 for approx 6 minutes) It's a yummy snack too!

Chocolate cupcake bouquet

So, I'm a little slow on blogging about this.

Last weekend, a friend of mine, Megan, asked if I would help her make a cupcake bouquet for another friend. I said I would, but I was going to make her help me make it.

Megan came over, we made and colored the icing we'd need and then I taught her how to make some of the flowers I make. I taught Megan how to make the daisy, carnation and rose (swirl). She did really good. I know she's skeptical when I say that, but I truly think she did an awesome job. Making flowers are not the easiest. I took several classes alone on how to pipe flowers and numerous hours in practice, but I think she did fabulous given the time that we had. Megan, if you're reading this, I think there's a great decorator inside you and with some practice, you'll be able to make amazing things on your own.

Plus, we made this cupcake bouquet out of chocolate cupcakes. In the past, I've always stuck with vanilla cause I thought with the lighter color of cake, it's less obvious. I had tried a chocolate bouquet in the past, with my sister, but I didn't care much for it. But, I also have to say that we didn't actually "finish" it and so I felt like I needed to give chocolate a second chance.
In the end, I think I quite liked the chocolate. In the future, I'll definitely be making chocolate bouquets again.

Here's a little look at the chocolate bouquet that Megan and I made.... you'll agree, Megan did a great job.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Clover Tongue

Most people can roll their tongue. That's nothing special or out of the ordinary.
But what about a Clover Tongue?? Have you ever seen this....
It's not the best picture. I actually came across this picture on Emily's camera today when I was looking for some other pictures.

I remember the first time I saw a clover tongue. It was a couple years ago and it was my cousin's daughter that could do it. I was amazed.
Then, last year when we went to a Ripley's Believe it or not museum, they had a display that talked about things that people can do with their tongues. The clover tongue was one of them. And wouldn't you know it, Emily looks in the mirror there, and does it. She's the only one. I still think it's pretty cool.

Well, I gotta run. It's already 3:30 and I haven't started anything for dinner. So bad. I'm looking forward to dance being done for the summer.... so I don't have to make dinner so early! It has to be all done by 4pm since that's when they have to leave most of the time. And yes, we quite often eat dinner by 4:30. So early, I know. Since I only have half an hour, I think we're having pancakes for dinner.
If anyone out there has some good supper ideas for things that can be made in a half hour (start to finish.... and if you're using meat, that has to include time to thaw, etc..... seriously half hour total), let me know. Cause on days like today, when I need a quick meal, sometimes I'm at a total loss. So, pancakes it is tonight.

Monday, 6 June 2011

On the weekend

I haven't had many cake postings lately, but it's not due to the fact that I haven't been doing any, it's because I haven't done anything new. Cupcake bouquets have kept me busy. I think I've made 6 in the past month. 2 this past weekend and I'll have another 2 this coming weekend (1 to help a friend make, one for someone else). But, don't worry, there's a cake for later this month. I haven't quite figured it out yet since I want to do something original, but I've got plenty of ideas jumping around in that head of mine. Anyone out there been following the Whitney's blog while they've been in Peru?? I'd like to use some stuff from their blog to make it more personalized, but I'm not crazy about the idea of having to skim through 2 years worth of blog entries to find stuff. So, if you've followed it, let me know.

This weekend, Matthew went to a friend's birthday party. It had a pirate theme. I made the kids balloon swords. It's been a while since I've twisted anything and since I had them out, I decided to try and make something new. Check out this cute catepillar...
If you want to learn how to make him, here's the Youtube video I watched.

And this weekend, we did some more work out in the yard. There's been a dead tree in our front yard (that's been dead for 4 or 5 years and the previous homeowners didn't want to replace) and we finally dug it up. Since it's gone, I sent Cam over to the store to buy a Mountain Ash. I like those trees. It's not a very big tree, but it's a decent size. I'm happy with it.
And I made another flowerbed too. A small one, that I planted some rhubarb in.

Oh, and here's some pictures of the big flowerbed I made earlier in the week. This one felt like it took forever! I bought a honeysuckle vine that I haven't planted in here yet.It seems, the more I work in my yard, the more ideas I get for what I'd like my yard to look like. Only problem is, most of it I won't be able to do this year due to money and time. But, at least I'm getting a bigger picture. I'm a little disappointed it's raining today, cause I was hoping to add just one more flowerbed today (the plan was originally to do it before it rained, but since it rained so much last night, I won't be out there today). I want one more flowerbed in the front, along the sidewalk. Then that might be the end of my yard plans for this year.

And lastly. As hard as we try to save a bit of money, something always comes up. This weekend, Cam got his very first speeding ticket. Boo. He said nothing to the police officer,except "Thank you" when he was handed the ticket. Nice way to use your manners Cam. Like we wanted the ticket. As I look at the ticket amount, I just think of what I could have bought with that money. There's another tree I could have bought..... or that's equal to 2 or 3 cupcake bouquets..... All I can say is, I'm so glad it was Cam and not me. If I ever get a ticket, and at the moment I have a perfectly clean record of ZERO tickets, Cam can never give me a hard time. So glad it wasn't me this time. And boo to having a ticket.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Souvenir from Prague

A couple weeks ago, Cam was at a conference in Prague (and for anyone geographically challenged, like myself, that is in the Czech Republic..... and if you truly were geographically challenged like me, you'll be thinking to yourself, "that doesn't help")
During one of our phone conversations, Cam mentioned that there are numerous stores that sell souvenirs and that there are numerous nesting dolls. I was quick to say that I would like one.
When Cam got home, I was quite happy when I opened my gift. It was this nesting doll. I was amazed at how small it could get. The smallest was smaller than a pea. I love the details painted on these dolls. Cam did a good job in picking a souvenir for me.

2011 May Long Weekend - Part 3 (finally)

With one of my favorite hobbies being geocaching, we of course had to find some new geocaches in the Radium area.

We found this clever one in a little town called Wilmer. This was a two parter. First set of coordinates took us to a large rock monument that had several plaques about Conrad Kain, a man that did a lot of exploring in the area. After answering several questions, we realized the second and final part of this cache was right beside us, by this display (see pictures).
Then we found a couple in Invermere. The first one was at a little "museum" that talks about Lake Windermere and the history of Invermere. Nothing was open, but we did spend a few minutes looking through some of the buildings. We've driven by here many times, but this was the first time that we actually stopped to see what was here. Sometimes, this is what I love about geocaching, taking me to new places that I might otherwise never take them time to stop and look at.
The little boys with the gps, leading us to the cache area.
Ben made his first find. Good job finding it.

This other cache in Invermere was down by the water. The kids liked the short break to throw rocks.

We took my parents out on the Sunday and found this quick find. Not an unusual find for us, since caching in the city, there are plenty of these. Did you know these "lamp skirts" lift up? We had a good laugh when Mom had a hard time spotting the black magnetic case, even though it was right in front of her.
While finding this cache, we spotted an Osprey nest. Dad managed to get this picture of one of the birds...

The same guy that did the Wilmer cache (up above), also did this new one in Radium. It's right in the main town of Radium. Very clever hide! I quite liked it.

And the finally, to end my posting about this weekend, I just wanted to mention the games we played. Matthew wanted to play "Blink". A card game that me and him frequently play at home. It's a game where you race to play your deck of cards faster than your opponent, by matching either shape, color or number (or shapes). Anyways, it was quite funny. I hear a commotion in my sister's trailer and I go in there to find Matthew playing against Ryan (my niece's fiance) and Matthew is winning. Matthew was so thrilled that he won. Just look at his face. Ryan on the other hand, seemed quite shocked that he lost.... twice! Matthew was definitely giving some of the men around camp a run for their money on that game.

Well, that's all I'm gonna share with you. Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into all the fun activities we had on one of our favorite weekends of the year. I think we look forward to our annual family campout all year long. And now you know why.