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Monday, May 11, 2015

An Apology for my Absence

There have been a few glitches with the blog lately and tons of activities keeping me busy, so busy that I couldn't get anything done on the blog. So I would like to apologize for my apparent absence. I had lined up a pair of posts for each week of April and scheduled them to post automatically but something went wrong with the scheduling and they never posted. I'm not even going to try to catch up. I'm just going to write off the whole month as a vacation and attempt to get back on track.

Some exciting things have been happening around me. My bestest friend is getting married in September and I'm the maid of honor. I've been working furiously to help get her wedding together. I've mostly been doing online research for dresses, shoes, cakes, nail salons, wedding invitations, etc. Basically I do whatever she asks me to.

Also, my brother got engaged! I'm so excited for him! He and his fiance have so much in common and they're so happy together. Plus, I couldn't ask for a better sister-in-law. It turns out they want to have their wedding this September as well and I've been invited to be a bridesmaid. Again, it's exciting! I've never been a bridesmaid before, let alone a maid of honor, so all of this wedding stuff is kind of new to me. I mean, I've been engaged for going on 11 years now and I'm still not married so that shows you how much I think about weddings.

I've been asked to do some cupcakes for my brother's reception so I'll be testing recipes over the next few months. Recipe testing is always fun! I'll probably be trying a new recipe every few weeks and I'm planning on having the whole family taste them on the weekends and on Mondays. Of course I'll definitely have my brother and his fiance taste them first.

They want four kinds of cupcakes:
1) Raspberry White Chocolate
2) Pumpkin Spice
3) Banana Cream Pie
4) Strawberry

Obviously I have a handle on the strawberry cupcakes since I've been making them for over two years and I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to do for the banana cream pie (a vanilla cupcake with banana custard filling and a whipped cream like topping) but the raspberry white chocolate and the pumpkin spice have been a creative dream for me. I had about eight variations of different combinations of raspberry and white chocolate but I finally decided to go with a raspberry cupcake filled with white chocolate ganache, topped with white chocolate buttercream, and garnished with a fresh raspberry and drizzled with a raspberry puree reduction. I've already done the test batch on them and they turned out amazing! For the pumpkin spice I'm going to do a pumpkin cupcake with pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting. It should have the flavor of a pumpkin cheesecake with the texture of a cupcake.

Okay, so here's the other huge piece of news: My dad, Admiral, and his long time girlfriend finally got engaged... and they're getting married in less than two weeks! I'm extremely happy for them. I really do adore her and they obviously love each other. And luckily for me I didn't have to help with any of the planning for this one (because I definitely couldn't handle that... how do wedding planners do it?) so all I have to do is show up for the ceremony. They're getting married in Townsend so it'll be really beautiful with an excellent view of the Great Smoky Mountains, one of my dad's favorite places in the world.

I've been crocheting like crazy for weeks. I have four projects with fast approaching deadlines that I'm trying to complete ahead of schedule so I'm not scrambling to finish them at the last second. For the past five or six years I've neglected crocheting in favor of knitting because I seem to knit faster than I crochet, but it turns out that I actually crochet quite fast when I get in a rhythm. I've been spending my mornings from about 8:00 to 11:00 crocheting while Bailey watches cartoons and even though I know I have a schedule to keep it's been very relaxing.

The knit-along and crochet-along projects turned out interesting. Good interesting. The knit project was (as I predicted) a lot like a patchwork quilt. Each piece had a different, new stitch. There were cables, daisy stitches, eyelet cables, mitered squares, a tweed piece, log cabin squares, corner to corner striped squares, and the last huge piece for the center was called a whirly square. They were all put together like a puzzle and sewn together and then a border was added. I'm extremely fond of the whole pattern. It looks amazing all pieced together. Well, mine isn't finished yet, but I've seen some from the other knitters I met through the knit-along and even though no one used the same colors I did I can see what mine will look like and everyone's looks beautiful.

The crochet-along was really neat because there were so many more crocheters than I had expected. I made a ton of friends and the people who managed to finish theirs (especially those who finished each clue within the week it was assigned) have earned huge respect from me. I kept getting further and further behind (it's hard to work with granny squares with Bailey because she carries pieces off while I'm working) and then of course all of the new projects came up. I have my squares ready to join together I just have to weave all of the ends in first. As soon as all of my other projects are completed I'm going to get back to the crochet-along and finally have a new throw for the couch.

I guess the whole experience has taught me that I can't follow a schedule or meet a deadline but the mystery part was fun, seeing a new piece of the puzzle every week and working new stitches I'd never done before.

It looks like I missed two Wishlist Wednesdays so hopefully I can get one up before the end of this month. If not I'll do one huge Wishlist in June. The next one will probably include some of the interesting wedding stuff I've been researching. My new wedding assignment is to plan the lingerie party so I might add a few of the fascinating discoveries I've made about heart shaped cookie cutters. (Spoiler: You can make both bikini tops and bottoms with the same cookie cutter.)

I also have about 20 post-it notes full of recipes that need to be photographed and posted. I modified my pizza dough recipe, found a few Starbucks copycat recipes that are really spot-on, tried a really great new pork recipe from Budget Bytes, and I have a few recipes that I still need to update either because I've made improvements or because the photographs are lacking in the original posts.

I will get to as much of this as possible as quickly as I can. There will be at least one new recipe post this week and an updated menu (since the last menu I posted was a month ago) so be prepared for the blog to kick back into high gear!

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