Thursday, March 31, 2011

Broadening Our Horizons

Have you noticed how some weeks we have a lot going on and others we seem to be slackers?  Yep, we've noticed, too.  HOWEVER, we're not actually being slackers.

The truth is making outfits for Heidi Sage (and company) is not the only thing we do!  Gasp!  Turns out we do a whole lot of other things...and we've decided to start sharing those with you, too.

For example, Chelsea is often working on garments that are not just for kids.  And Deborah likes to garden.  And I have a tendency to throw a few meals on the table each week.

We hope you'll enjoy some of the new things that will start appearing here....but don't worry!  There will still be plenty of child-friendly projects and crafts!

To get us started, I decided to pull an old post from an old blog I used to write...but now avoid.  :-)  I was reminded of this post a few weeks ago as I sat in a committee meeting and tried volunteering myself to make 600 cake balls for a charity event.  Turns out my fellow committee members were more aware of my insanity than I was.  They decided to take another route since I had three kids to tend to.

After I got home, I went back and read this post about when I had made 600 cake balls for Chelsea's wedding.  Really glad I'm not making 600 this week...


Have you ever agreed to a project that you were very excited about, but found out about halfway through that maybe you would have rather agreed to poke your eyes out with a fork??

Me, too.

About a year or so ago, we ALL started planning a wedding. My sister Chelsea's wedding. During some discussions it was brought up that Brian's favorite kind of cake was not really cake, but cake balls. And somewhere in that discussion it was decided that the groom's cake should be made of cake balls. And somewhere else in that discussion we came up with a figure that would be needed based on how many cake balls Chelsea can eat in one sitting. And from that point we moved forward to see what it would cost to order each guest the number of cake balls that CHELSEA can eat in one sitting. And through that calculation we came up with a cost of approximately $4,000. Gasp.

First mistake--don't ever base anyone else's eating capabilities on what Chelsea can do. She eats like horse and looks like a freakin' bean pole. You see, Chelsea can eat 8 cake balls in one sitting....yes, EIGHT. And when you break it down, that's 1/3 of a cake. No one....and I mean NO ONE eats 1/3 of a cake at a our calculations were a bit off. But it was too late....we had run with them...

So, anyway....somewhere in all those discussions, I agreed to make these 600 cake balls. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

But you see, Bakerella had made it look so easy. You just bake...then shred....then mix....then roll....then freeze....then dip. Easy peasy pumpkin pie, right?

So, for the past year every event I have gone to where I have been asked to bring something, I have taken cake balls. I've made cream cheese cake balls, red velvet cake balls, chocolate-chocolate cake get the picture. But making one batch of cake balls is much different than making 600.

Here's what 616 (plus the dozen or so eaten by bystanders) cake balls look like prior to a careful, artful creation. The amount of ingredients alone should have been a huge red flag....but I was still in that, "I'm so happy to do this for my baby sister and her hubby-to-be" state of mind.

I spent two straight days of baking 16 cake a kitchen that's under construction, no less. Not sure I'll ever bake another cake again...maybe just pies from here on out. :-)

During those two days, I also shredded each of the cakes and mixed them with the appropriate flavor of icing. We had Chocolate-Peanut Butter and German Chocolate...the groom's two favorite flavors. Happy to oblige, I was.

I spent a whole third day doing nothing but dipping and topping my little prizes.

To be honest I only dipped about 550 of them, because we didn't have enough boxes to pack them in...but I still like the ring of 600, so I tell that story.

After carefully packing each of the hand rolled, hand dipped treasures into their boxes, we packed them in coolers so they could stay unmelted during the 400 mile trek from my parents' house to Austin. I was just glad I didn't make those in Nashville and try to board a plane with 600 cake balls and two toddlers...can you imagine the crazy that would have come out of my eyes?

Anyway....I was feeling really good about myself for having finished such a big project and being able to contribute such an important piece to the reception. I realize it wasn't "THE Wedding Cake", but it was the Groom's it was almost as important.

But I'll have to admit I was a bit taken aback when I saw the presentation of the cake balls. Actually, I'll be honest...I lost my breath for a moment. I had been informed that the cake balls would be resting beautifully on a tiered platter. I had imagined 200-300 of those sweet puppies being displayed at once....oh, what a grand presentation that would be.

I walked in looking for this tower of perfection. I looked left. I looked right. I looked around the room about five times and there was not a single grand tower of chocolate anywhere. And then over in the corner, barely peeking up off the table, I saw it. A small tiered platter that held no more than 37-39 cake balls at a time. A sad little tear trickled down my cheek... could this really be? Did I slave for three days hunched over an endless supply of cake balls for such a small display that was so easy to miss?

Indeed, I had. I wiped my tear. Remembered this day was not about me. And headed upstairs to help the bride button 427 buttons down the back of her dress.

I will say, the compliments about the cake balls throughout the night were endless, and greatly appreciated. We, of course, over estimated our audience's cake ball consumption by about 450, but the cake balls were passed on to others and joy was spread beyond the walls of just our celebration....

And isn't that what life is really about? Sharing the love... Indeed it is.


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