Friday, August 28, 2009

Decklan's Portrait. =)

Recently I finished drawing a portrait of a little boy that I enjoy babysitting at church a lot. His name is Decklan and he is adorable! =) He is always laughing and has a twinkle in his eye, and he has to be the happiest baby I have ever known. His portrait took me several months to draw as there was a lot of detail involved. Here is the portrait and the reference photo. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as I did drawing the portrait! =)

The reference Photo

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beautiful food is like beautiful music. . . they both feed the soul. . . =)

Many people that I know use the cake mix that came out around 50 years ago. They love to make "30 minute meals," and they especially hate making any meal, or cake that takes any longer to make. They don't want to spend 3 hours to cook a meal. They don't want to plant an herb garden, and they especially don't care about either planting their own garden or going 30 minutes out of their way to get fresh produce in bulk from the farmers market.

Growing up in a family that had either a quarter of an acre of garden to an acre, that never made their meals from "the box" I never really understood the concept of "let's hurry out the door and grab something to eat on the way."

In fact, it wasn't until 2 years ago, while visiting a relative that I first made a cake from a box. I felt more uncomfortable with following the directions on the box then following the recipe of the white cake that I had at home. (And that's not talking about my weary feelings about eating the cake after reading all of the ingredients on the box. . .)

The reason why, was because I had learned to appreciate beautiful, gourmet food from scratch, that takes effort to make. Cooking in the kitchen is where some of my best memories have been made growing up and where I have learned to especially love. My first memories are of baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my cousin, making spaghetti noodles and pretzels with my grandmother and of helping my mother milk some of our dairy goats in Florida and use the milk to make cheese and pudding.

In Proverbs 31, scripture tells us that the proverbs 31 woman:
"gets up while it is still dark; and provides food for her family and portions for her maidens."
About 3 years ago I was studying this passage of scripture and meditating on it and one of the things that dawned on me was the time that she got up to make food for her family. She got up while it was still dark. Think about it for a moment. She could have had her servants make the food. She could have also spent minimal time making the food, and just put fruit and wine and things prepared by the servants before to give to her family for breakfast. But because she cared about her family, she got up early, and spent time and effort on making breakfast for her family. If I could guess, I would say that she probably enjoyed making gourmet food for her family that took effort to make.

So how should we respond to this as Christians?

I think that the Proverbs 31 woman really comes down to this bottom line. Are you thinking of your family in everything that you do?

We always hear the phrase, "put God first in your life" and that's a good statement, but when you say, oh I'm thinking about the extra time I'll have in the day for more "important things" when I spend less time in the kitchen and it's really, to read that novel/theology book that's been sitting on your shelf for about a month, is that really putting God first in your life? I'm not saying that it's always wrong to read a book instead of spending every moment with your family for we all need a break from time to time, but we should all strive to be more like Jesus in every action and every word that we submit to the world every moment of every day.

I once heard a quote from a chef on Avonlea that I thought was right on. He said:
"Beautiful food is like beautiful music, they both feed the soul."

Many of my most special memories come from the days that my whole family all had time to spend several hours in the kitchen and make an amazingly delicious and beautiful meal, paired with beautiful music, and beautiful flowers from our flower garden. These moments fed my soul with joy and laughter.

You can bless your family with these moments as well, if you only take out the time.

Melissas Bridal Shower. =)

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is to decorate cakes. Unfortunately, I really didn't have too much time to decorate Melissa's cake when I got home from the Boston 500, but, I think the simplicity of the cake made it look elegant in a way. The cake was made for one of my best friends bridal shower who recently got married. Even though it was really simple to make, it was a lot of fun! =) The cream cheese frosting was FANTASTIC! I have never made cream cheese frosting that spread so well! I will always use this recipe for cream cheese frosting from now on.

Here are some pictures of the cake:

p.s. The frosting get's completely even (like fondant) when you cool it completely in the fridge and then use hot water with a pastry brush to smooth it out.