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Sunday, March 15, 2015

When It All Starts Falling Apart

I turned 50 last month.  There, I admitted it.  Actually, I'm not that bothered by it.  It really is just a number.  However, it's undeniable that when age catches up, things start to fall apart.  It's a good thing I'm not talking about myself.

It's my house.


Our house was built in 1997 and we moved in in 2002.  It was still pretty new then and we spruced it up when we moved in.  We painted it indoors and out and installed a pool fence (after this picture was taken).

 


We subsequently installed pavers in the front driveway and re-landscaped the backyard, removing the pool fence for our older kids.  We had a good thing going for a while.



Then we let it go.  We stopped investing so much in the house and invested more in the family - vacations, school, activities.  I don't regret it, but hell hath no fury than a house scorned.

At first it was little things we chased - the loss of two saguaros, a new roof surface, new pool filter, getting rid of some pesky rodents.  But we weren't keeping up and now we own an 18 year old home with emerging problems.  We need new flooring.  We need major plumbing work.  We need to repaint inside.  We need new kitchen appliances.  And the list goes on and on.



Now we're just in a place where we're not sure where to start.  Our inertia is crippling us, so the house is deciding for us.  I think the refrigerator/freezer has decided to go first.  It's been threatening to stop freezing and now this weekend it has given up.  Hopefully we don't have to give up on it just yet.

So while I can claim that 50 is just an age, the same philosophy doesn't seem to be working with our house.  I can pretend all day that 18 is the new 6 for the house, but the house isn't buying it.

Maybe it's time to consider a facelift.

Cindy



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Easter Peeps Cake


If you're not an expert baker or cake decorator (and I certainly am not either), you might think fancy cakes are impossible to make.  Here's one I created and it wasn't hard at all.  It's all about the color.



Here's what you need:

2 cake mixes (I used chocolate but you can use white or yellow)
Ingredients required by the cake mixes
3 tubs of white or cream cheese frosting (I like to have too much frosting instead of not enough)
Food coloring
Robin eggs candy
M& Ms in pastels
Peeps
Optional coconut
9" round cake pans (you could probably use 8" too)

Prepare the cake mixes as directed on the box.  Instead of filling the cake pans, only fill them half way. Bake, but watch those cakes - it won't take as long as the box says to bake because you only have half the depth.  In the alternative to baking half the depth, you can bake a full size round and slice it long ways when it's frozen.  I am way too uncoordinated to try that!  You will need 4 thin round layers of cake.

If you used the method of baking thinner rounds, wait until your cake has cooled before removing it from the round pans.  Wrap each round in plastic wrap and freeze (or at least make very cold).  This will help you manipulate and decorate the cake easier.

Next, divide the 3 tubs of frosting evenly into four glass bowls.  Now it's time to start experimenting with color.  If you are not used to working with food coloring, I suggest you read the package to get an idea of the ratios of the respective colors.  However, be VERY careful in following the box instructions for how much dye to use for icing - they really tend to overdo the number of drops needed!  Keep the same ratio of the colors to be mixed, just don't use as much.  It's no fun to have your guests sitting there with dyed lips and tongues - yuck!

I managed to get pink, yellow, purple and blue with my dyes.  From there it was pretty easy.  I iced each layer with a different color, including between the layers.  Once my little rainbow was finished, I lined the outside with Peeps.  If you have trouble getting them to stay, use a little more frosting on the Peep.  I finished it off with robin's eggs, M&Ms and any other candy in pastel colors.  I ran out of time, but I wanted to dye a little coconut green (use only a drop of green food coloring and mix with coconut in a Ziploc bag) to make some grass for my eggs.

If you don't like all the color on the outside of the cake, you can do the same thing inside the cake by coloring the batter of a white cake.

So colorful, so springtime and so much fun!


Happy Easter!

cindy

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My (Very Own) Scentsy Website!

Did I mention that I now have my own Scentsy website for ordering directly online?  (You can also click on the Scentsy box on the right ---->

Here are some pictures of some adorable limited time products:


You don't have to host a party or wait for someone else to host a party.  You can just order online.  It's great for long distance relatives you might want to introduce to Scentsy.  You can also host a party using the website! Let me know you want to open a party and have your guests order through the website.  The delivery goes directly to them, but you get the hostess credits.  January is DOUBLE hostess credits so you get 20% store credit and 2 half price items for parties of $150 or more.



If you still would like the benefit of free shipping for the entire party as well as catalogs to give out to friends, let me know and we can open a party!  As always, the party can be an "in person" party in your home, or a "basket" party where I give you catalogs, order forms and samples to distribute.  They are great for introducing people who don't know Scentsy to the great scents and products!


Finally, all my commissions through September of this year go to funding Pueri Cantores St. Bernard of Clairvaux mission trip to Rome in December.  This choir of young people has been invited to sing at the Mass of Peace with Pope Francis on January 1, 2016!  For more information about Pueri Cantores St. Bernard of Clairvaux, visit its website (www.pcsbc.org)

Give me a call at (602) 430-4740 or send me an email at straddlingthegap@gmail.com to get started or just start ordering online.

Cindy

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015

Here it is, a new year.  Watch the ball drop.  Kiss your honey, blow some horns and sing "Auld Lang Syne."


Remember to write the correct year on your checks.  Start gathering the tax information.  Watch the endless commercials for weight loss plans and gyms.  Make a resolution.

No thank you.  I'm fine.  I've been thinking about it for days.  I can't think of a single thing I want to define my 2015.  Last year I said "peace."  If that's still my resolution, do I need to say it again?

I guess we need a stopping point every now and then.  I like the idea of looking back to remember important things that happened, people we lost and lessons we learned.  January 1 is a good day for that.  I'm just not a resolution kind of girl.  I have things I resolve to do daily, weekly and monthly, but I can't in good faith try to think of one thing I resolve to do for an entire year.

So Happy New Year!  I'm thinking back through 2014 and looking forward to life in 2015.  I'm having a big birthday this year.  My son will start high school {gasp!} and a dear friend is having a miracle baby.  I will spend much of the year working toward getting our youth choir to Rome for New Years 2016.  I'm looking forward to all of it.

2015 is bound to be a year full of joy and sorrow, hopefully more of the former and less of the latter.  I'm still praying for peace, both for myself and the world.  I'm also praying for wisdom so I can discern more of God's plans for me.

Happy New Year.

Cindy

Saturday, December 27, 2014

So What's Up With You?

I haven't been around these parts in a little while, but Straddling the Gap still lives.  The last 9 months have been occupied with fundraising, planning, stressing and looking for donors.  Why?  My husband's children's choir, Pueri Cantores St. Bernard of Clairvaux, is going to Rome at this time next year to participate in the International Congress of Pueri Cantores.  Huh?  We get to sing for Pope Francis on New Year's Day 2016!!

It's an amazing opportunity to join nearly 5,000 other children from all over the world singing together in the Catholic Church's official language - Latin.  We are the only group from Arizona that is going and we're very proud of our kids - ages 9 through 18.  So was it enough to have this enormous endeavor on his plate?  Oh no.  I volunteered to be the chairperson of a $150,000 development campaign to fund the trip.  Yikes!

It has been a whirlwind to say the least.  We've had some adventures in fundraising and learned about development campaigns.  We're still learning.  Daily.  Sometimes I think we are learning by osmosis - constantly absorbing.  It's been thrilling but frustrating.  Scary and exhilarating all at the same time.  And we're only halfway through.

This has left me with little time to write Straddling the Gap and I do miss it.  So, for 2015 I'm going to write about what I'm doing.  Unfortunately it's not much crafting or sewing, but our fundraisers are interesting.  Next time I'll tell you about our newest fundraising endeavor - we have a tiger by the tail and a trip for two on the line.

In the meantime, if you want to hear more about our choir, please visit our website at www.pcsbc.org or like Pueri Cantores St. Bernard of Clairvaux on Facebook.

Cindy