Tag Archives: family

Spring Update

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Spring has sprung here in rural West Tennessee. The worst winter in about a decade has finally released its frosty grip on this red clay soil. What was brown and dead is now green and thriving again. There could be no better metaphor for my life as of late.

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Yes, I have come back to Tennessee and, while I can’t say that I am happy about the circumstances regarding my return, I am more than happy to be home. The frosty grip has been lifted and I am thriving again even if only in very small ways.

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The garden has been planted. The seeds have been sewn. The red clay soil has been worked and nutrients have been added to improve its quality. In a few seasons, if the hard work continues, it will be something to be reckoned with. There is so much promise and hope for the future.

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There are other projects in the works for the fairly near future. Two tables like the one I designed and helped to build in Florida (pictured below) will be built to suit the needs of my ever-growing extended family. Much furniture that came from my grandmothers house will receive new life. There will, of course, be pictures and details in the coming days.

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Yes, there is much promise and hope for the future. I could not be more thankful for the wonderful family that I have been blessed with. I am also eternally grateful to the incredible friends that I made in Florida. Both parties encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do to achieve my dreams. I am proud to say that, while I am still a bit flighty with the desire to go and experience other things, my heart remains firmly rooted in this red clay soil.

Until next time,
Claire

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What Does A Year Look Like?

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What Does A Year Look Like?

A year is only 24 hours experienced 365 times in a row.  As we get older it seems like the years come and go faster and faster.  Sometimes you wake up, realize that your year has passed, and it feels like you’ve barely blinked it by.  While it is happening, though, dragging on day by day, it can feel like a year will never end.  This last year, at least for me, has been mighty peculiar compared to the last 20 I’ve experienced.

This year has consisted of two overnight, cross-country road trips that culminated in a move out-of-state.  It has seen me take up no less than five new jobs that are all unique but somehow quite the same.  It has seen me work hard and move into a beautiful brick house on a lake with the man I love.  It has seen changes unlike any others I have yet to encounter.

Beginning with what I knew, I planted a fruitless garden and kept on planting until I found something new that would grow here.  I began raising six chicks, buried one, and loved the remaining five all the more for it.  I have been exploring how much of their own food that two people can grow and raise on less than 0.1 acres in town.  I have made myself stronger from the fruits of my labor.

I have given my collie more room to run and when my cat ran away I gave her a home to which she might return.  I’ve seen the unfortunate deaths of two good cars after unbelievable breakdowns, both automotive and emotional, and found out how hard it is to get a new one on my own.  I’ve worked for little more than peanuts and prayed for the day that I could afford a shoe-string budget.  I have learned exactly what it is like to start over from scratch.

This past year has seen the birth of three new cousins, a handful of weddings, a heartbreaking number of funerals, and one very important high school graduation back home – all of which occurred no less than 850 miles from where I am now.  Yes, this year has been pretty lonely for this girl, but I don’t regret it.  I have grown up a lot, too, you see.  You have to learn to lean on yourself and the community that you build when you strike out on your own – away from your family and everything you’ve ever known to a place where so many before you have only found failure.

Success does not have to be measured in nice things or the infrequency with which the bill collectors call, but the happiness that you find along the way to the life you’ve always dreamed of.  It’s hard to remember the misery that accompanied the beginning of this year-long journey and think that I should ever be happy again, but if happiness is not what I’ve found, it is contentment and I can live with that – at least until next year…

– Claire

BMO: A Cake Walk

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He-Man’s birthday is coming up (yay!) and to celebrate we are going to his hometown of Tampa.  As you may or may not know, He-Man and his twin, who we shall call Nam-Eh, have quite a thing for Adventure Time.  You could imagine my surprise when I found the link to this cake floating around on Pinterest.  “It’s perfect!” I thought.  While in Tampa, we will be having a little get together for the reciprocals and I have been charged with making the cake, among other things.  At first, I was all gung-ho about trying this out, but now I’m getting a little nervous.  I have a basic plan of action, though, if anyone would like to look it over for flaws.  After all, everything works well in theory.

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First of all, I will not be making tie-dye rainbow layers.  I will have six layers of cake in solid colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Between the layers and under the fondant, He-Man has requested that the icing be chocolate, since we “have to” have white cake to add food coloring to.  Next, I will cover the stack of cake in a layer of fondant, which scares the bajeezus out of me.  I don’t have a good working relationship with fondant.  I hate it and it hates me back.  I will start with a large blob of white fondant, reserve about 1/10th of it, and color the rest with this lovely teal.  The reserved bit will be colored a softer teal, black, yellow, green, and red respectively.  These little pieces will be attached to the outer layer of fondant with royal icing.  Legs and hands will be formed out of the remaining, darker teal.

It’s all good in theory, right?  I do have a few questions that I would like to ask to anyone who has the least bit of baking experience.

1) Do you think that I should use wooden dowels to help stabilize the cake?  The idea has crossed my mind but I can’t say for sure whether or not it will be necessary until I get the cake into the air.  It shouldn’t be more than about 8”-10” tall, but the icing between the layers might cause it to be slippery.

2) What is your recipe for fondant?  There are possibilities all over Pinterest but I want something tried-and-true that I can’t mess up.  If you have a favorite method for making fondant, please don’t keep it a secret from me!

3) Should I keep it in the refrigerator?  I want to make it the night before so that if anything goes wrong last-minute, I will have the time to fix it before the party.  The question is, will putting it in the refrigerator for 18-24hrs cause the fondant to dry out and crack?

If you can help me out, please do!  The trip is still a ways away and I will have pictures of the finished product up as soon as I have something to show but I am a planner.  Please help me get my game plan together now so that I can save myself some scrambling and anxiety later.

Thanks in advance,
Claire