Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ten Thousand Hours

When writing his latest book The Outliers, Malcom Gladwell developed something he likes to call the "ten thousand hour" principle.  The whole book discusses ridiculously successful individuals i.e. Bill Gates, Bill Joy, The Beatles etc.  He delves into what attributing factors have influenced their success aside from natural talent and sheer interest.  It is an intriguing book and I LOVED every second of it--please read it.  Your perspective on talents/success/hard work/heritage etc will completely change!  As he studied these people he found that by the time they had achieved their most renowned work, they had "practiced" whatever their craft was for at least 10,000 hours.  Bill Gates/Bill Joy had been programming for at least 10,000 hours by the time they developed software that became worldwide successes.  The Beatles best albums came after over 10,000 hours of playing live together and so on. 

As I read this book, I began feeling slightly mediocre, realizing that I had become a jack of all trades, master of none.  A little piano here, some ballroom dance there, some baking and cake decorating on one side, a little writing on another but nothing that truly defined me.  An in-tune soul at book club a few nights later pointed out (as my same sentiment was shared among most of us "house wives") that if we added up the hours invested into our families, we accumulated WELL OVER 10,000 hours in a much faster time than all those other uber successful individuals in Gladwell's book.  We women are investing time into what is most important and with that said, I suddenly felt more at peace with having many small talents and one major success--my family.  Hopefully when this life is all said and done, I'll have wiped enough tears, hugged plenty of little bodies, told enough scripture stories and clocked enough hours that my most "successful" work of art will be my children.  Women, when you are tired, lacking patience, feeling overlooked and outdated, just remember that the most important work you are doing will add up, minute by minute, hour by hour and the real people--the most important people--appreciate and understand the value of your "10,000 hours"!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Cake

Lisa and Matt asked me to make their wedding cake.  It was a TON of work but so worth it.  I think everyone liked it and more importantly, I achieved my main goal of it NOT tasting like an ordinary wedding cake but more of a gourmet bakery product.  I'm a firm believer that wedding desserts & specifically cakes, can and should be a unique gourmet experience that reflect the tastes and personalities of the bride and groom--not some generic pulled out of the freezer, from a box concoction that so many  cake decorators pass off as wonderful because of a nicely decorated exterior.  (ok, I won't rant anymore!) 

The bottom tier (14") and weighing in at 47.5 lb (yes I weighed it on my sis-in-law's scale before hauling it to the reception center) was made of dark chocolate cake with a dark chocolate orange ganache between the three layers.  The middle tier (10") and around 28lb was a moist pumpkin coconut with a whipped cream cheese filling.  And last, but definitely not least, was the top 6" tier--three layers of lemon poppy seed pound cake with a lemon cream filling.  Although I'm a chocolate lover at heart, the pumpkin was my favorite.  Lets just say I buy cream cheese in bulk at Costco and any occasion to add cream cheese to ANYTHING is fine by me!  The icing was a white chocolate butter cream.  For you cake connoisseurs out there, it was a basic Swiss mmeringue butter cream with added Guittard white chocolate for a better, less greasy, less buttery flavor.  It also helped stabalize the butter so that even in a warmer indoor climate, there wasn't a risk of the frosting softening and falling.

Moral of the story--cakes take a lot of time--especially with kids and trying to make half of it in Las Vegas and transport it to Utah to finish it up for the reception AHHHH.  The hubby was a single dad for about 4 days and is glad I don't have another sister getting married anytime soon :-)  I'm hoping it will be like labor and delivery--where you remember it not being pleasant but the specifics are dulled enough that you are willing to do it again and again (for his sake).

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Sister is Married!

So Scott and I have spent almost 8 of our almost 10 years of marriage as the ONLY marrieds in my family.  I am the oldest, got married young (20) and waited nearly 7 years before my brother David and AMAZING wife Summer joined the club.  I have been praying for this, crossing my fingers and jumping up and down, biting my tongue in dissension or approval at the various dates who've come and gone and now my little sister Lisa just married Matt in the SLC Temple and we have added yet another sibling to our wonderful little clan.  I can't wait to begin doing married things together, trips or retreats, date nights  etc.  I can't wait for them all to be married, to hurry up and have kids so mine can have cousins and for us to have reunions--you know, the kind where we all dump our kids on Grandma and Grandpa and head to Hawaii......those kind! 

The whole weekend was wonderful.  Matt's family is gracious and kind and fits Lisa perfectly.  She was the most beautiful bride--gorgeous dress, brilliant smile, patient as can be.  She let us all be involved as little or as much as we wanted, which meant a lot!  We had a family dinner Friday night in Provo--so fun to spend some "catch up" time a little more intimately before the throngs of excited family, friends and kiddos descended upon the occasion.  I even met one of Matt's sister-in-laws named Natalie who is completely adorable, loves to write and even has a brand new baby boy that I held for a few minutes and now I want another of my own (Scott you can blame it all on her!)  We headed to the SLC temple Saturday afternoon for the ceremony and it was perfect.  I love being in the temple with my family--I especially enjoy seeing the joy my parents get during occasions like this--gives me so much to work toward and look forward to.  That evening we went to a beautiful reception at the Highland Gardens in AF.  Lisa let me make her wedding cake and I LOVED the opportunity.  Scott was amazingly supportive and pretty much flew solo the whole week so I could work on the big project.  It turned out better than I imagined and was totally worth the long hours and late nights.  The happy couple are now living it up in Hawaii for a few days--lucky stinkers--and I expect a full report, pictures, pineapple and all when they return. 

Congrats little sister, I'm so excited for you! xoxoxo