Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Taking your own medicine

As parents we tell our children that its not the mistakes they make, but how they deal with them. Of equal importance, is learning from the mistake. So when we make mistakes all (little) eyes are watching to see if we pitch a bitch. It is for this same reason I no longer go to the batting cages, go bowling, or play board games with my husband. Something about these activities turns me into a pissed off Kenny Powers with Tourett Syndrome. But I digress...as far as cooking and crafting are concerned, I have developed better coping skills for dealing with the many frustrations that arise with these activities. Here are some of the things I have made mistakes at, and (hopefully) learned from as well:

For these mustache pacifiers I learned many things:
The first, is that an x-acto knife is crucial to cutting out the mustaches. 
(nothing else would do-believe me, I tried)
The second was that even then, it is still difficult to cut out symmetrical mustaches. 
The third thing I learned was that not all glues are created equal. I initially used a tacky glue-fail! I ended up using super glue. But what's crazy is that when I made another set of mustache pacifiers for another friend, the super glue would not hold. My final solution was to use Glue Dots (worked so far as I know). 
What did I learn? I learned not to pitch a holy fit because things weren't going as smoothly for me as they did for those people online who suckered me into thinking this was an easy task. AND I learned that no two plastic surfaces or glues are created equally. 

For the cat in the hat cupcakes, I learned that not all food dyes are created equally. 
I made these cupcakes for my nephew's birthday this year using a canned frosting and the red icing dye that came with my Wilton icing kit (I call it my baker's tackle box). 
One bite into those cute cupcakes (they were Fundamiddles too, yummm), and it was clear I had used the world's most disgusting food dye ever created. Truth is, it was my first time using the Wilton dye, and maybe it was bad. But either way, I vowed to stick with what I know. I've never had a problem using McCormicks food dyes and have since gone back to using them. 
So what I learned is that in a situation like this: you apologize to everyone, scrape off the icing, and thank your lucky stars the cupcakes are delicious all on their own. 

My daughter and I always try and bake some sort of Christmas cookie every year. This last year was exceptionally busy, and we almost ran out of time. I was not about to let that happen. So I went to the store to buy ready-made (Pillsbury is the best for this) sugar cookie dough (that wonderful pre-made stuff you just cut or roll that's in the refrigerator section). Well, I went to two stores, and both were out. Not to be defeated, I bought the Pillsbury boxed sugar cookie mix. It tasted fabulous but it did not have that mold-able consistency we were looking for in a sugar cookie base. 
We divided the mix in half and I added (McCormicks) red food dye to half the mix and worked it in. My daughter and I tried our best to roll little snakes out of the mix and then twirl them together and form them into candy canes. The (above) picture is the result. They came out so misshapen and HUGE! But guess what, we made our own Christmas sprinkles (food dye and sugar), and Santa loved them! 
It was especially important this last year because I think it was the final year for "Santa." 
She left milk and cookies and the sweetest note for Santa.- I almost cried. 

This year my husband and I learned not to bury onion bulbs so far down-the result if you do is more green (bulbless) onions than you know what to do with.-I will post later what I did end up doing with this surplus of green onions (because you can only give so many way and use so many fresh) 

First attempt at cake pops was a complete, total, and utter failure. Everything that could go wrong with these did. But I was determined to figure these suckers out, and I am happy to report that I am well on my way to being a master cake pop maker. At least by the standards that 8 year old audience I cater to is considered. 

My first attempt at making meringue was foiled by the smallest bit of egg yolk that came to the party. Luckily I had plenty of eggs on hand. So I tossed the first attempt, started over, and beat the day lights out of the second batch (that's one way to get your frustration out without anyone knowing). 

There is so much that can go wrong with making your own candles. But luckily for me, I found candlescience.com. They are the best deal on all products and have awesome instruction videos. Even with the shipping, the wax comes out cheaper than walking into the store and buying it. The best thing about Candlescience is that for every purchase you make you get a free 1 oz scented oil of your choice. Boo-Yaa! Love me some free! I used their reccomendations for everything (they even give you the ratio for all the ingredients). The candles came out smooth, colorful and strongly scented. Everything you want in a candle. The only change I need to make before making more candles is finding a different wick. I used their "wick guide" and something is off because these suckers smoked like a Clint Eastwood movie. 
Lesson learned, and an easy (hopefully) fix for the next time. 

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