Posted in Adventure

Calamity In The Kitchen & Other Life Lessons

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My mom’s birthday passed recently, and as usual, I was in charge of making the cake. She’s a big chocolate lover, so I planned on using my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Everything was going according to plan; two cups of flour, one cup of milk, two cups of sugar… and so on. I finished fairly quickly and got it into the oven. I cleaned up the kitchen and put my tools away. And about thirty minutes later, it was time to bring the cake out.

I opened the oven and knew immediately that something wasn’t right. In fact, something was very, very wrong. It didn’t rise at all and it baked hard and solid. The color and texture was off too, not at all how it should have looked. I knew for a fact that I put the correct amount of baking powder, but I thought that maybe somehow, (however unlikely,) I had added too much flour. My mind was racing, trying to figure out what could have happened. I held onto the hope, that with some frosting it would be okay, and disguise my unsightly creation, and maybe even pass as edible.
But before icing, I decided to do a taste test, just to make sure that it was in fact, going to be edible. So with a butter knife, I gingerly cut off an itty bitty, piece.
As soon as it touched my tongue I was horrified! I couldn’t spit it out fast enough! It couldn’t be! Nervously, I looked back to where the ingredients sat, and confirmed my suspicions. To my great dismay, I saw in the usual place of the sugar bin, a big tub of  S. A. L. T. NO! Not two whole cups of salt in my beautiful chocolate cake! How could this happen!?

The cake tasted so incredibly bad, that I instantly felt ill, sick to my stomach. Nothing I tried would get the taste out of my mouth. After I broke the news to my mom, and everyone else in the house, and took a few moments to grieve the cake that would never be, (and also have lunch) I tossed the abomination straight into the trash!
A short while later, I felt more composed (and full) and ready for my second attempt. This time I would do it right. No mistakes allowed. I made sure to read every ingredient before it went into the bowl, twice.
Confident that I had done everything correctly, I once again put the pan in the oven. As before, at the thirty minute mark I pulled the cake out of the oven; and it was perfect!
Beautifully colored and perfectly risen. A success! Hallelujah, praise the LORD! My mom’s birthday wasn’t going to be ruined after all.
Later that night, when we finally cut into it, it turned out to be one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. And, in the process I even managed to invent one of the best, most delicious frostings I’ve ever made!

So what I learned from this mishap, wasn’t only how to make a cake properly, but I was also reminded how important it is to be vigilant about ALL our tasks. I learned that no matter how many times I’ve done something before, I should not allow myself to become lazy or complacent. That I should do all things with intention, dedication and focus and be present in what I am doing.
And when I’m feeling unsure, I shouldn’t ever be afraid to ask someone for help, (especially, when trying to verify whether the sparkly white substance in question is salt or sugar).

Secondly, on a deeper level, to me it was a living example of how God works.
When we think we have it all under control, sometimes we are met with a huge wake-up call, that actually, we don’t. Yet, we are not to lose hope, for our failures are rarely wasted and usually happen for a reason. That reason, may be an opportunity for us to learn something new, and to gain wisdom and understanding. When we DO try again, we will know better and our successes can be even sweeter.
We can see that cycle repeated throughout the Bible. God takes something that was sad, sorry and miserable, and transforms it into something wonderful.
That was quite a revelation, I received from a cake gone wrong, and no matter the situation, we can still find God, speaking to us in ways we might never imagine.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”
PSALM 37:23-24

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”
PSALM 119:71

If you want to know the recipe I used, you can find it here.

Anyway, I hope my mistake made you chuckle a bit.
I sincerely hope that all of your baking endeavors turn out better than mine, and that you never end up in a situation like this.
(Although, if you’re a baker, and you bake often enough, you’re bound to make a mistake or two at some point!)

Thanks for reading,
Lady S

Posted in Adventure, photography

Mountain Calling

It was my sister’s day off from work, and she was complaining about staying home. She said, that we seem to do all the fun stuff while she’s busy slaving away at work. (I mean grocery shopping is so very entertaining and all.) So to appease her, we decided to sacrifice a day of being home, and actually go somewhere.

Slightly last minute as it was, we decided to head up to the mountains!
The drive takes close to an hour, so we had to rise bright and early to get there before the heat settled in…(our usual upper 90’s).

After lots of twists, and turns, car-sickness, and ear popping from the elevation, we made it all the way up! We stopped at a trail near the top of the mountain that we had never explored before…and now it has got to be one of our favorite places.

It had rained the night before so everything was cool, damp and fresh. There were delicate wildflowers everywhere, wild strawberries, raspberries, mushrooms and thick spongy moss. There were majestic pines, birch groves, and so many grasses and plants that I couldn’t even begin to list them. From our vantage point, the misty view of the mountains in the distance, and the flowering meadow below was breathtaking. (I would really like to try painting it.) I felt like I was in Narnia, or Middle-earth.

But alas, the day was not without a few bumps in the road. (As with any adventure.)

Since this outing was quite spur of the moment, we were a bit unprepared, (camera-wise anyway). The wrong lens was on the camera, so I was very limited in what I could actually photograph. And secondly, the memory card was almost full so I had to quickly delete whatever I could, to be able to take a handful of photos.

The third very unfortunate event was a big-fat parking ticket. While we were off enjoying our adventure, we didn’t know how much our little walk was going to cost us. We hadn’t actually planned to explore this spot, and take off down the trail like we did. And after returning from our longer than expected hike, coming very close to cardiac arrest, while trekking back to the parking lot, (in the thin air, I might add), wanting only water and an air conditioned car, we were in for a surprise. Lo and behold, patiently waiting on our windshield was a parking ticket with an $80 fine!!

Here’s a lesson, kids: always pay the $3 day fee. Always.

While that put a significant damper on our mood, I can still look back fondly on everything else.

I’ll stop jabbering now, and share a couple of the photos:

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This reminds me of something Anne Shirley would enjoy. Can I pretend to be her?
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10,679′ above sea level.
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There were so many butterflies…and other scarier, clicky, buzzing, flying bugs.
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Check out that awesome mountain-color-gradient in the distance.
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Say, ‘hi’ sisters.
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The only decent shot of this cool, dripping, mossy, rock-cave thing. Doesn’t do it justice.

While the day was a bit of a fail in the camera department (and parking -_-), I guess at the very least I was able to enjoy it with my actual eyeballs. And in the end, I’m so glad we took the journey.

And it was a fun day spent with my mom, and sisters……I guess.

Just kidding.