Bon Appetit, Little Red

The chaos of getting here was so worth it. Little Red enjoyed her time at Le Cordon Bleu. The day started with her unsure if she really wanting to attend the class. She had concerns of being the only American or English speaker. I had let her know that the class has an English translator, so they must get enough English speakers to warrant a translator. She was then a bit unsure because she wasn’t going to know anyone. What do you know? A girl from her school walked in the door.

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The chef was amusing and worked really well with the children. He taught them how to make this delicious looking tart. I haven’t tried it yet, I’m waiting for us to get it home tomorrow & share with the family. Some parents stayed and watched the whole class, I decided to let her explore and learn, without being a helicopter parent. I did take some pics at the beginning and end; she took the ones of the food below.

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After her class, I asked if she had fun. I was expecting the teen response of a shoulder shrug and an “I guess”. I actually received a “Yes” from her. yippee, I don’t totally suck

Thank you LCB for offering Les Petits Cordons Bleus!
Now… If I could just get her to go explore Paris with me.

I need to learn not to over task myself

So, you think I would learn not to try to cram too much into my morning before a trip. This morning I was finishing up last minute things and simply exceeded my time allowance. I left late to catch my train to Paris. I still had time, but wait! I have to get gas in the car in order to make the drive. After that, I figured I might have enough time to still get there on time. Dang it! Left the GPS & amusement park tickets that Barefoot Runner needs to take Big Red out while I’m in Paris with Little Red. Dropped tickets off at work & now I really need to drive fast. On our way, I was thankful that Germany has some unrestricted stretches of Autobahn. I was able to open up the car and hit the max it would go, about 120 mph. The drive was not as quick when we got to Kaiserslautern. Traffic & missing my exit got us to the bahnhof about 10 minutes too late. Ugh. We walked to the travel office and tried to buy a ticket for a later train, 1 seat available. I looked at Little Red & said, “looks like we’re driving to Paris.” We hopped in the car, went to Ramstein Air Force Base, got lunch/dinner, bought a GPS, filled up the car, and took off down the A6. Thank goodness for the GPS, it was so helpful in navigating Paris. I knew our hotel had garage parking, woot! Of course, the rain didn’t help, but we finally made it.
Tomorrow, our adventure continues… Little Red has her cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu.

Baby Shower Cupcakes

A friend of mine asked me to make cupcakes for a baby shower she was hosting.  I love to make cupcakes, so I said yes.  The order was for 2 dozen cupcakes, themed for a baby girl.  Living in Germany can present some challenges.  Cupcakes are not quite as a big deal here as they are in the States.  Therefore, procuring supplies can sometimes be a challenge.  I had some various pink cupcake liners that I had brought back from D.C., but they were not what she wanted.  She had seen some purple with polka dots liners at a “Euro” store, but when I was able to get there a couple of days later, they were nowhere to be found.  We agreed that maybe we should just do white liners.  I think white liners can be boring, so I knew I was going to have to dress up the cupcakes.  Please excuse the quality of the following pictures, I took them with my phone.

2 flavors were chosen – Vanilla and Marble.  I like to do a marble cake instead of chocolate or red velvet when I am using white liners.  I am able to keep the majority of the dark colored cake in the middle, leaving the outside a light or white coloring.

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French Vanilla and Marble Cake

2 colors were chosen – pink & purple (more of a lavender).  No problem, I have food coloring and I can mix it accordingly, if I don’t have the correct color.

I was given the choice of frosting flavor.

Here is what I came up with (forgive the pics, I was going to take final pics when we had set up the display, more on that later).

After baking the cupcakes and looking at them, they looked okay.  A bit on the boring side, but okay.

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Plain French Vanilla Cupcakes

I was not happy with how plain they were looking, so I had to come up with a plan.  I took out one of my cupcake wraps (you know the kind that cost more than you want to pay to wrap around a cupcake).  I trimmed it (I can use it again), got some scrapbook paper, traced the forms, and trimmed my new “wraps”.

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That was good, but I needed a little more.  I found some flower stickers at a local store and added those to the cupcakes.  They were lavender with polka dots, I was hoping that would fit the bill with the lack of colored cupcake liners.

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They are starting to get there!  Next I needed to make the frosting.  I thought about doing a vanilla sugar frosting for both.  Then I thought, why do we want Vanilla on Vanilla.  No way! Let’s do Lavender Vanilla frosting on the French Vanilla cupcakes.  Now, I had to figure out how to make the lavender flavor.  In my sugar frosting recipe, I tend to use heavy cream, so I took about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, put my lavender flowers in a tea bag (I ended up using 3 tablespoons…. way too many – not bad, just a little stronger flavor than I would have liked.  Next time I will try 1 tablespoon), heating up the cream and tea bag (be careful, milk products can easily scorch on the stove), and then letting it steep.

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I added the Lavender Creme to the frosting concoction, added a drop of red and a drop of blue food coloring to make the frosting Lavender.  I added a little vanilla extract to the mix (after all, it was supposed to be a lavender vanilla frosting).  The next batch of frosting was going to be pink.  I wanted a little flavor to that, so I added some strawberry flavoring to the mix and a little bit of pink food coloring.

Here are the final results (please ignore the blurry picture):

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Now, remember when I said I was going to take a picture of the cupcakes on display?  They never got that far, they are currently sitting in my refrigerator.  Why?  Well, as I was about to start frosting the lavender cupcakes, I got a text from my friend JW (the person hosting the party).  The mommy-to-be became a mommy that morning.  UGH!  I could have delivered the cupcakes to her and let her freeze them for the rescheduled party (one or two weeks away), but I know her freezer is probably about the size of mine.  We have German sized freezers, which means TINY.  I also don’t feel the quality of the cupcake would have lasted.  I refuse to have people eat a cupcake that is not up to my standards.  So, it looks as though Barefoot Runner and I will be taking cupcakes in to work tomorrow to share with our lucky co-workers.  I will happily make her a new set of cupcakes at a later date.

 

 

Library of Congress and the Senate buildings

Ah, the Library of Congress… Big Red’s dream come true.  She is such a bookworm & I LOVE it!  The building is next to the Supreme Court.

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Library of Congress, housing great & not so great works.

The fountain out front is lovely; I believe it is Neptune Fountain.  I would think that it would be easy to get lost in there, with all of the collections of books, film, recordings, and other media.  Big Red & I might go in there, never to be seen again.

Down the street, past the Supreme Court, there were some of the Senate buildings. I think that it is important to remember what is said on the writing on the building, “The Senate is the living symbol of our Union of States”. I also want to remind our Senators that they are a representative of us, the people that form that Union.

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“The Senate is the living symbol of our union of states”

Across the street from that building is another complex, this one had gates that led to a courtyard.  I thought it was amusing that the gate had a “S” on it.  I guess it is to let everyone know that this gate is reserved for the Senate.

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Senate Gate

Next to the Senate buildings, there stood a church.  I wonder of the Senators visit that church, trying to find salvation for their wrongs.  Perhaps there are a few that pray for guidance.  Who knows?  Either way, the church parking lot could have been a little more full that morning.

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How to keep a shirt tucked in?

I’m able to see what searches lead people to my blog.  One of the recent ones was, “keep a shirt tucked in”.  Really?  All of my exciting things that I can/could talk about and a shirt is what brings your here.  Okay, great! Let’s work with that….

Let’s think about why a shirt won’t stay tucked in:

1) The shirt can be too short or too small.  If it is too small, it will have a tendency to ride up, making it too short.

2) Your pants are too big – nothing to hold it in the pants.

3) Pants have too low of a ride – not enough pants

4) The aerobic exercise is too much for even the best of tucks

Here are a few tips on keeping your shirt tucked in:

1) Wear a shirt that fits appropriately.  A well fitting shirt has enough material to keep your shirt tucked.

2) If your pants are too big, wear a better fitting pair of pants or a belt.

3) If your pants have too low of a ride, (you’re not trying to “sag” your pants & wear a tucked in shirt, right??) you may need to wear a mid-rise or an at waist pant.

4) Barefoot Runner is currently in the Army, when he has to wear dress uniforms, he wears “shirt-stays”.  Now, if you’re not familiar with shirt-stays, I’ll try to describe them to you.  They are basically a set of suspenders that attach to the bottom of your  shirt that attach to your socks.  Not only will your shirt stay tucked, but your socks will stay up!  BONUS!  There is a certain sexiness about him when he wears them.  I’m not sure if it is the whole garter look that he has going, or the fact that I know he will look polished and put together for the event.

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See shirt tucked… not my favorite look, but sometimes you just have to do it.

Now, I have on occasion have to wear my shirt tucked, but I try my best to wear outfits that don’t require it.  When I have to look like “a suit”, I might sport the occasional shirt tuck.  I think it is perfectly fine to not wear a shirt tucked in everyday as long as you don’t look sloppy.

 

Strolling through D.C.

I love D.C.!  There is so much history there.  So much to see.  So much to do.  I thoroughly enjoyed the sites of D.C. & enjoyed them even more during the early morning, before all of the tourists came out in full force.

First stop was the Capitol Building…

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and another pic of the Capitol building

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The building is quite impressive.  It is extremely humongous! I think most people tend to see just one side of it.  You walk down from the National Mall & there it is; who needs to visit the other side?  I do!! My first couple of trips to D.C. kept me on the Western Front of the building, but this last trip I ventured to the other side.

While viewing the other side, I strolled on over to the Supreme Court. It looks like it needs fixing.

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Just days after I had visited, they were hearing the courtroom arguments on Same-Sex marriage and the Defense of  Marriage Act (DOMA). All we can do at this point is await the ruling. I tend to be pretty quiet when it comes to politics, but I must say, I am in full support of Same-Sex marriage & the granting of rights to partners in a same-sex marriage.  Why should anyone be denied the commitment and support of a committed relationship?  I was allowed to marry the man I love, why can’t other people be afforded the same respect for a relationship?  Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago that inter-racial marriages weren’t allowed, either.  Okay, stepping off my soapbox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the view

Strolling through D.C. on my last day, I noticed a homeless man sitting on his bench watching the Scope it Out 5k Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness, presented by Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation.  I’m sure he really had no interest in why the people were running, it just happened to be what was going by in front of him.  I walked in front of him and gave him a “good morning, how are you doing”. He replied with a “doing great” or something along those lines, he was really pleasant.  I continue to walk up the street and found a bakery (that sold really expensive French Macarons – or maybe I’m just cheap because I know how to make them).  I went inside, ordered two turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato croissants, and headed back down the street.  I went back to the 5k observer and asked him if he had breakfast.  He stated he hadn’t, so I asked if he would like to have breakfast with me and handed him one of the sandwiches.  I asked if I could sit on his bench with him and he delightfully said, “of course”.  We sat and ate, while I did most of the talking.  My babbling was mainly about the runners – poking fun of myself mostly & the fact that I would have been at the end.  He was laughing at my jokes, which only encouraged me to ramble some more.

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As we sat there enjoying our breakfast, watching the runners go by, we seemed to have caught the attention of many runners.  We got a few waves, peace signs, and many smiles.  I suppose it did seem odd to see a woman sitting next to a homeless man on his bench (there were plenty of other benches available), enjoying the race, breakfast, and conversation.  I just thought, “why should this be such a big deal?”  We should all take the time to step out of our comfort zone, sit with someone that most people ignore, and realize that there are a lot of people in this world that would like for us to give them a little respect. I got up to leave, thanked him for having breakfast with me, shook his hand, and handed him what I left in my pocket (it wasn’t much, but it was what I had).  I continued on my way down the street, hoping that I had made his day, knowing that he had made mine.