Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat?

Little did I realize a couple weeks ago, when I decided I'd make my class cake pops, what a trick it would be.  Or the mess.  Or the frustration.  Or, the expense.  I must have been crazy, truly, to think that making cake pops for 27 would be, well, a piece of cake.  Not.

I made the cake on Sunday ($ 0.99).  I crumbled it up and added the frosting ($ 1.29) on Monday, and attempted to form nice little round balls of sticky cake.  Messy, very messy.  I melted white chocolate  ($2.59) and dipped the little white stick in ($1.99), and stuck it in the little round sticky balls of cake.  About half of them crumbled on the cookie sheet.  I fixed them and put them in the freezer to "set".

Meanwhile, I melted orange candy melts ($2.99) in the microwave.  I waited patiently for my 20 minutes to be up for the cake balls to "set" then dipped the first one in the melted candy.

It broke apart and I had to fish it's pieces out of the bowl with a spoon.

I crammed it back together (I think the melted candy kind of helped it hold its shape) and put them all back in the freezer and decided to leave them there until this morning.

Mostly awake at 5:15 AM, I began melting the candy (again) while I read the paper.  Once it was melted, I tried dipping again with greater success.  I liberally coated the dipped cake balls with sprinkles ($2.99) these are for fifth graders after all! and poked them into the rather expensive chunks of styrofoam I bought for just this purpose (3 @ $3.99 each) to dry.

Luckily, I had also bought a bag of yellow candy melts ($2.99) as I soon realized that the bag of orange wasn't enough to cover all of the cake pops.  For some strange reason, the yellow candy seemed thicker, and those cake balls are fatter than the orange ones. Oh well.

I finished clearing the melted candy off the counter, swept up the spilled sprinkles, and put the finished cake pops in the fridge to harden around 7:00 AM.  Then it was a frantic rush to get out of the house and get to work.

Just before I left, I tried to cover the cake pops with the little plastic treat bags I had bought ($1.99) for this purpose.  The bags were too small.

I went to work, left at noon for an ELL training at district office, hurried to my accupuncture session at 4:00, and ran by the craft store to buy bigger treat bags ($4.99 - they only came in a package of 100!)

Now I sit.  I have bagged the cake pops, baked mini pumpkin muffins, had dinner, and I'm ready to call it a night.  I've gotten no school work accomplished for two evenings now, and tomorrow night I'll be interrupted every five minutes with trick or treaters.

I did the math.  $34.78 (without the tax) which comes out to about $1.29 per student.

I think I've been tricked. I could have bought them at Starbucks for about the same price! Although, I have no desire to eat these . . . the ones at Starbucks however would have been much more tempting!

Happy Halloween!
Last night I decided to slap a bit of leftover frosting on the mini pumpkin muffins, then add the left over sprinkles, but alas, I ran out of frosting a little over half way through. I went to bed, as it was nearly 10:00.

This morning I thought I'd whip up more frosting, but it seemed like too much effort for the 1/2 cup I needed.  Then I remembered I still had four squares of white chocolate.  Viola!  I melted those down, dipped the remaining mini muffins in the melted chocolate, then in the last of the orange and black sprinkles!

Now I have to cart all this stuff to school in an hour!  But, it will be fun to see the kids faces! That will be my "treat"!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Treasure Island

I can't say that I've honestly ever fantasized about meeting up with a bunch of strangers to spend a weekend stranded on an island.  However, when I received an email asking if I might be interested in doing such a thing, I barely hesitated to respond with an affirmative answer.  I was intrigued by the thought of meeting four women I felt that I "knew" through blogging over the past year or so.  I had built a relationship with them, reading and responding to their stories, as they reciprocated to mine.  I knew quite a lot about them, and wondered if there would be any "surprises" in real life.  My old and trustworthy friend, Deb (aka Catbird Scout) was part of the package, so I knew I wouldn't be alone in this adventure.

Linda (aka Bag Lady in Waiting) scoured the internet, looking for a list of suitable accommodations, and we all were drawn to idyllic sounding Lavender Hills Farm on Vashon Island.  Within a matter of days, the dates were set, the farmhouse was booked, and we'd all sent Linda our share of the rental.

And then, in the hustle and bustle of September, I sort of put any thoughts about the "blogger weekend" out of my head.

Suddenly, it was October, and emails were flying, filled with who was bringing what, and who was driving with who, and who was arriving when.  Deb and I met up, giddy as school girls on holiday, to make the drive north on what promised to be a glorious fall Friday.

And glorious it was, despite losing our way enroute to the ferry, and while finally on the ferry, receiving a phone call from our unmet new friends, telling us they also were lost (but finally found!) and discovered Deb & I would arrive at our destination first, instead of last.

We arrived, and met with the caretaker, who gave us a tour of truly one of the most beautiful old farm houses I've ever had the privilege to visit.  Every step, every corner turned, drew oohs and aahs. (alas, I neglected to take many photos, and actually can't find my camera at the moment, so if you want to see photos, hop on over to DJan's blog!)

Deb and I were just finishing unloading the van when our weekend roommates drove up.  We all hugged like long lost friends, and immediately DJan had her camera out.  The tone was set and a passerby would have never guessed we'd met only moments before.  Our time flew and was truly a fantasy come true.

Were there "surprises"?  Oh yes, but learning more about our cyber friends only made them more endearing.  We discovered much more in common than previously known, and tenuous connections via blogger were strengthened and woven tightly together during our time spent sharing, exploring, discovering and eating!

Rounding out our group of six was Sally, who came all the way from Colorado, and Jann, both of whom have written their own versions of our fantastic weekend!

Linda, Sally, DJan, Deb and Jann 
It wouldn't have occurred to me to instigate a gathering such as this one,  but I'm so thrilled I was included.  Our time spent getting to know one another was time I will forever treasure.