Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby O's Mickey Mouse-Themed 2nd Birthday Cake

This is what has been occupying whatever left of my time and energy over the past few weeks...
The good side of the Mickey Mouse cake
And the whole thing which took hours and days to set up, was all over in just a few minutes!

This is a chocolate sponge cake layered with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries decorated with fondant. My very first fondant covered cake. An unsuccessful one that is! I underestimated the time and skill required to just roll out the light blue fondant and cover the cake! On top of that, the whipped cream didn't set hard enough and the humid weather here in Penang just took the opportunity to melt the fondant on the cake before we could cut it.

I actually started molding the Mickey and Minnie figurines less than a week before the party. I had initially wanted to just buy the figurines off eBay or the toy store. A lot of eBay sellers don't ship to this part of the world (sigh!) and the toy stores don't seem to stock just Mickey and friends figurines in their original attire! Seriously didn't know that before! So I ran out of time and decided to just mold the figurines. Only Mickey and Minnie instead of all the characters from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto as I was already short of time and didn't want to challenge myself further. So using a piece of cut plastic straw, I managed to mold Mickey's head which probably was the hardest bit. Was quite pleased with the result although dear hubby calls him Mickey's cousin!

Mickey or Mickey's cousin?
Replicated the procedure and made Minnie. Then added the body, legs, shoes and arms.
The only close-up picture of the two that I took of the couple
I actually molded the Mickey Park arch, a 2D Clubhouse, stars on skewers with Baby O's name on it and other bits and bobs the following nights. Unfortunately, I now realised I have not taken a photo of them! 

The night before the party, I baked the chocolate sponge cake. I took the recipe from a friend's friend's blog. Someone I know who bakes a lot and have very successful bakes. She referred us to Kitchen Corner's fool-proof chocolate sponge cake. I only understood part of the instructions on the video but found it really helpful to see how the texture should be after each procedure! Will write what I did in another post when I find the time (and energy). Anyway, if the cake had failed, I would have gone to Secret Recipe the next day, buy a cake and just put the figurines on it!

On the morning of the party itself, I  whipped about 500ml whipping cream with a tablespoon of icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla till it is stiff and used it to layer the cake with some sliced strawberries. Then covered the whole cake with whipped cream and dunk it in the fridge to set. The layers added height to the cake which I was really glad!
Love the colour contrast

While setting, I rolled out the fondant, and rolled out again as there were cracks, then rolled out again as the size wasn't big enough, and rolled out again cause some other thing happened..... When I finally got the fondant rolled out nicely, and was putting it on the cake, the fondant split. Well, like I said, I took very much longer than anticipated and was late to go and set up the place with not long till the guests arrive. Yikes! So I gave up and just left the back as it is, all patched up... 
Oh! No! Dear me, dear me!
At least the front was decent enough...
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Then it was off to the party venue and to finish assembling the rest of the items there.

The melted cake...
Anyway, the cake wasn't the highlight of the event of course but I had a lot of fun putting it together. It was something different for me to do to occupy my time. It was almost therapeutic and I certainly look forward to doing things like these though glad that the party is over and I can rest now!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He's Alive!

Amazing love
How can it be
That you, my God
Should die for me?

- Charles Wesley

How thankful, how reassuring.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Been away and will blog about it later. It's Earth Day today. I may not be an award winning environmentalist but preserving the Earth for our future generations and teaching our kids to love the world they live in is important to me so I'm stealing some time to write just a little about it.

Last year I pledged to:
1. Potty train Baby O. Failed big time. Well, at least we tried. Numerous times. Unfortunately I think she is now traumatised by the whole experience and may take her even longer to be trained! Yikes!

2. Switch off all electrical items when not in use and not leave on standby. Quite a success except for the Astro decoder which they want us to leave on standby mode for updates. Hmm... 

3. Use a tiffin carrier or own containers for taking away food. Done whenever we know that we are going to take away. Other times still rely on the containers provided by the food seller. I must comment though that a lot of them have actually switched to recyclable paper boxes or plastic wares which we can reuse and not polystyrene anymore. Bravo to them!

Other things that we have been doing:
recycle our milk cartons, egg trays, glass bottles, cereal boxes, etc.
compost though we have unfortunately stopped doing so due to space constrain.
planted own veg though not every plant was successful as everytime we are away even for just the weekend, our poor plants succumb to the heat and lack of water :( We still have sweet potato, ginger, chilli and pandan to harvest from now.
use only one car and public transportation while we still can and don't need a second car.
use our own bags during shopping. I've in fact sometimes swapped a recyclable shopping for my handbag! One size fits all!

This year I pledge to:
1. Continue to try to potty train Baby O.
2. Make my own organic cleaning agent of some sort which does not contain as many harmful chemicals for us and the environment. Am keen to try a soap or shampoo but will have to source the ingredients. 
3. Refashion! Dug out some old t-shirts and hoping to have a chance to make them into something else that can be worn by someone to extend the life of the materials! Very excited about this but just don't know if I'll get a chance to do so. But will pledge to anyway! 

Do you have an Act of Green that you want to share with us? Remember it doesn't have to be something big! Just one small action makes a big difference! Here are some suggestions to get you going:
  • Extend the life cycle of a product - re-use bags/ wrapping papers/ use both sides of the paper etc.
  • Grow your own fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce food waste - buy only what you need/ clear refrigerator before buying more food/ ask for less (rice/ noodles etc.) when ordering if you know you can't finish it
  • Reduce use of air-conditioner by drawing the curtains to keep hot air out
  • Recycle old cell phones and electronics
  • Collect rain water to wash the car, water plants, etc.
  • Car pool instead of driving alone
  • Pay bills online
  • Ask more people to join in the pledge!

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