Easy as Pie!

Proverbs 31 is full of references to how our Biblical role model put extra effort into everything she did for her family. When you go the extra mile, you enjoy what you’re doing so much more.

Take baking a pie, for instance: You prepare the bottom crust, fill the pie, add the top crust, pierce, crimp and bake. It comes out steaming, aromatic and delicious! There is nothing quite like a homemade pie!

But imagine how much more creative you could be with your family’s favourite pie recipe! With the use of an embossed rolling pin, ravioli cutter and a few techniques, you could create a pie that is a work of art! The flowers are as simple as the ones we made from playdough as children!

Are You Hoarding Toilet Paper?

When the COVID-19 pandemic ends and we think back to 2020, one of the first things we’ll remember is how it was impossible to find toilet paper on the store shelves. People arrive early and buy it up, leaving none for anyone else. And it’s not just toilet paper; frozen vegetables and canned goods, baking supplies, and even bread are being hoarded. 

Do you remember in Exodus, when God sent manna every morning for the Israelites to gather and make into cakes? They were instructed to eat only the manna they had gathered for each day. Those who didn’t follow that instruction discovered, as Exodus 16:24 tells us, that stored manna “bred worms and stank.” There was one exception: manna stored the day before the Sabbath (when twice the amount of manna was gathered) did not spoil overnight.

This tells us two things:

  1. God will provide what we need
  2. We are not to take more than we need. That is showing that we don’t trust God to provide.

There is a thin line between selfish hoarding of supplies and being prepared for an emergency. A couple of extra packs of toilet paper is preparedness. An extra bag of vegetables to put in the freezer. A few more tins of food for the pantry. 

But when you buy so much that your home’s storage areas can’t contain it, it’s time to look at the stash of toilet paper in your living room and examine how much you truly trust God will provide. Until this crisis, we just knew that if we needed toilet paper it would be as near as our local store. 

It’s the same with rent and mortgage payments, debt repayments and groceries. God wants us to feed our families and put food on the table. He wants us to honour our obligations. And He will provide the way to do it, even long after COVID -19 ends.


What Social Isolation is Teaching Us

Six months ago, if someone told you that you would be virtually under house arrest —  no work, sleep in every morning, binge watch TV, raid the fridge — you would have rolled your eyes and said “I wish!”

Well, be careful what you wish for, because it has now come true. It’s human nature to resist what you are told — no, ordered — to do, and naturally we find ourselves complaining at times. A world-wide pandemic is not a good reason for this to have happened, and yet there are so many things to be thankful for.

Sandcastles Weddings — my livelihood — has suddenly and unexpectedly been put on hold until further notice. We are just a small part of the huge wedding industry that is affected. But Proverbs 31 Lifestyles has no such limitation, and this is where I’ve been putting my focus in the past couple of weeks.

Dave and I don’t have a young family, as many of you do, but we are in constant text/phone touch with our kids and the grandkids. Everyone is healthy and from what I hear there is only a minimum amount of cabin fever. Families are together; parents who once commuted to the office are now working from home.

Churches have been told to close, and yet the Christian community is finding incredible ways to get their Sunday services up on the internet. Never before have we really understood that WE are the church!

Instagram and Facebook are exploding with uplifting memes. I for one have many friends who are thousands of miles away, and we can visit every day via social media. 

Spending is at a minimum. Not only are our incomes slashed, but the stores are closed. And surprise! We’re doing okay! Granted there are some stories of greed, such as people hoarding toilet paper, but these are eclipsed by the heartwarming stories of service and sacrifice on the part of the doctors, nurses, truck drivers and store staff. 

We finally have the time to try new recipes, work around the house, read the newest books.

The warmer weather is coming (I’m in Canada, maybe it’s already spring-like where you are) and soon we will be able to enjoy our gardens and backyards. The air should be fresher; I am reading articles about how the earth is repairing itself with fewer cars on the roads and wildlife is returning to places where it hasn’t been seen in years.

The best thing of all is the God is in control. He can remove this virus from the earth as fast as it disappeared, and when the time is right, He will. In the meantime, He can — and will — keep your family and mine safe.

Use this time to rejuvenate, whatever that means for you. Work on new projects, or simply rest — there is no right or wrong way. Sooner or later it will be over and we will be back to the hustle and bustle of our old routines. Hopefully we will have learned something from all this, and hopefully our new normal will be somewhat different.




Wedding Gifts: Is it okay to ask for Cash?

Emily Post is rolling in her grave. There appears to be a new practice of sending cute poems to wedding guests, ASKING FOR CASH IN LIEU OF WEDDING GIFTS. Make no mistake: these poems (or any other requests) are not cute… they’re rude.

And it seems to be spreading. A bride-to-be who is now claiming to be a wedding expert is using her blog to tell her friends that it’s a smart thing to do. Especially if you, like she and her fiancé, already own their own home filled with everything they need.

There seems to be a departure from the true spirit of receiving wedding gifts — your friends and family are celebrating their happiness for you with a gift. They know your situation. If you can’t use another toaster, blender or microwave, they will often give wine, theatre tickets, or –my personal favourite — a donation in your name to charity.

Sometimes, couples ask for money in order to pay for a wedding they couldn’t otherwise afford. It’s fine to put any cash gifts toward the wedding expenses, but to plan a wedding beyond your means and expect your guests to pay for it is unacceptable.

Always ready to cash in (pardon the pun) on a new trend, brides can now use special wedding registries that claim to “let you ask for cash without sounding tacky.” Even that sentence sounds tacky!

Other couples consider this to be similar to a traditional gift registry. In fact, some go far as to set up Go Fund Me accounts to pay for their weddings and honeymoons! Often this is to help pay for a destination wedding to which the donor won’t even be receiving an invitation!

Gift registries play an important role. They allow guests to chose a wedding gift that will coordinate with the vision a bride has for her home, and they are particularly useful for those who live far from the couple. However, it is in very poor taste to ask for gifts, and printing anything to that effect on the wedding invitation is the highest breach of etiquette.

There is only ONE acceptable way to potentially receive more cash than gifts. That is to not register. Guests will often do what is easiest for them, and if they are unsure of what you want they will often give you cash or a cheque.

Are Copper Bowl Better for Beating Egg Whites?

In a word, yes.

There is a scientific explanation for it:

When air is whisked into egg whites, the mechanical action denatures the proteins in the whites. The denatured proteins coagulate, stiffening the foam and stabilizing the air bubbles. If the foam is overbeaten in a non-copper bowl, eventually the proteins become completely denatured and coagulate into clumps. When you whisk egg whites in a copper bowl, some copper ions migrate from the bowl into the egg whites. The copper ions form a complex with one of the proteins in eggs, conalbumin. This means that fewer protein molecules are free to denature (unfold) and coagulate, because some are tied up in conalbumin-copper complexes. The conalbumin-copper complex is more stable than the conalbumin alone. As well, the copper may also react with sulfur-containing groups on other proteins, further stabilizing the egg proteins. Although the iron and zinc found in other metal bowls also form complexes with conalbumin, these complexes don’t make the foam more stable.

Confused? Me too! Let’s just take the word of French chefs, who are convinced!

Your copper bowl should be reserved just for egg whites, as acidic foods can cause a chemical reaction that will lead to copper poisoning. By all means, polish the outside of the bowl, but avoid bad tasting meringue by keeping copper cleaners away from the inside surface.

Copper bowls come in all sizes, but I like my medium-sized one best. And of course I adore the copper insert that fits into my KitchenAid mixer bowl!