Monday, May 23, 2011

A Cheesecake, Some Gardening, and a Concert

For the last several years, I have been deemed the family baker.  On birthdays and other celebrations I am the one who usually bakes something to bring.  So, for my Mom's birthday this year, I decided to bake a cheesecake.  For those who do not know me very well, anything I cook or bake is from scratch -- no boxed mixes, just plain old wholesome ingredients.

I have baked cheesecakes in the past, but this is the first one that turned out without a single crack in it!  That is until I had the brilliant idea to try and cover it (right out of the oven) with plastic wrap before putting it in the refrigerator.  Big mistake!  The plastic wrap touched down on the cheesecake, which had not yet completely set, and then as I stretched it across the top, it pulled on the cheesecake creating a big circular crack in the middle.

Despite the unfortunate crack in the middle, the cheesecake turned out wonderfully and was enjoyed by all!  I had intended to take a picture of it to post on my blog, but forgot.  Oh well, maybe next time.  If anyone is interested in the recipe, it is located in  The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion Cookbook.

So, now that preschool is over for the school year, I have had time to start my gardening.  I prepared the area in the back yard that I will be using for a vegetable/herb garden by removing the last of the day lillies and weeds, turning the dirt, and adding top soil and organic garden soil. 

Last year this area was just a mess of day lillies and weeds, which I dug up when we first moved in.  I very much dislike day lillies -- all they are good for is taking over any area you put them in!  They are horribly difficult to get rid of once they have started spreading and their flowers only last for about a second and then die off.

After the last day of preschool, I went shopping for the vegetable and herb plants to put in my new garden bed.  I bought tomatoes, grape tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, green onions, basil, cilantro, and a strawberry plant.  I already had some oregano to add to the bunch.

Today I was able to get all of my vegetable and herb plants in the ground!  Take a look!

Last night (when we ate the cheescake for my Mom's birthday), I also dug up some perennials from my Mom and Dad's house to plant in my front garden area.  These also made it into the ground today.  I'll post a picture of the front garden area when it is complete. 

Froggy Boots and I bought some more plants to add to the front garden this morning.  The plants are still in the car since it started pouring down rain as soon as we got home.  Hopefully they will make it into the ground this afternoon!

Saturday evening my husband and I had the privilege of seeing my step-daughter perform in her final concert of her senior year of high school!  I am truly amazed at her singing talent!  If my voice was half  as beautiful as hers, I would feel as if I had accomplished something spectacular!

Here is my step-daughter (second from the left) with some of her classmates singing the final song of the evening -- "The Good."  What an amazing song!  It left very few in the audience or on the stage without tears in their eyes.

Being a step-mom is like sailing through open water with a compass and no map.  You inevitably make some wrong turns along the way.  But, hopefully you will make more right turns than wrong and will end up back on dry land once again.

Sitting there listening to my step-daughter sing at her final concert felt like I had finally landed back on dry land.  I was able to come to the conclusion that no matter what mistakes I had made as a step-mom, I had done my best.  And, despite those mistakes, I hope that some of the things I did right had a positive influence on her life.  For me, this was my dry land.

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