Prayer request

The Mansell's have news. Big news. But right now it's not 110%, so I'm not going to put it out here for the world to see.

I will say I need prayers, because there are concerns, and I'm not 110% confident myself everything is ok. But when I know something concrete, I promise I'll share.

But that's all I'm saying. :-)


Planning for Egypt

I'm starting to settle into the idea that I'll be headed to Egypt in 3 months. I've downloaded learning Arabic pod casts, and I'm trying to learn at least 2 words a week. That's one tough language! LA SHUKRAN has been my first phrase. No Thank you! I've been doing a little research on the country, and this is the first thing and words it recommends.

While Egypt is an extremely hospitable country, they can (from what I've been reading) be a little over bearing when it comes to getting you to buy or shop their wares. Much like the old days shopping Juarez, Mexico or other impoverished areas. Tipping - baksheesh - is also something I have to learn more about before I leave. Since most income in Cairo comes from tourists, tipping is a way of life and how most of these people make their money. I'm also trying to come to terms with the toilet facilities...the public kind, not the ones at nice hotels or restaurants. They aren't free to use, and even toilet paper cost more. YUCK. Just Yuck.

I've already started planning my wardrobe for the trip. It's a little more difficult than you may think. We're visiting a 95% Muslim country, so out of respect, we should dress more conservative than normal. It's a little hard to plan a conservative outfit to wear in 98 degree temperatures. Fully covered arms and legs, but jeans or pants are fine. Particularly for days we plan on visiting any mosques or religious sites. (We're to add head coverings to those days.) It's two completely different sets of clothes. One set for 5 days in Egypt, and a completely different style for 3 Days in Paris.

I must admit I absolutely love immersing in other cultures. I can not wait to get completely lost in the Khan el-Khalili bazaar! Of course I want to see the pyramids, but I really want to shop!!! :-)

My top list of things I want to do in Egypt:
Ride a camel around the pyramids
Khan Bazaar
National museum of Antiquities
Nile Cruise
Mosque tours
City of the Dead

Guess I better get to work so I can have pounds to use at the Khan! :-)


Bachelor Party Or Lingere Shower Boob Cake

If you are easily offended, stop right here!

This was my first cake since I took a cake decorating class as part of a 4-H event at the local extension office when I was like 10.

I usually don't bake cakes. Not the kind that require real decorating, usually just dump out of a box, and maybe make homeade icing. That's about the extent of my cake baking.

One of my friends, and the husband of my BF Brooke, asked me to make a boob cake for a bachelor party. You have to know this group of guys. They are super nice "good guys" who were opting for a funny cake instead of full blown strippers and nastiness. Surely I could pull this off.

After research....and a lot of research, I felt comfortable enough to take on this project. Main tips I learned....If you are baking a cake from a mix and you are planning on carving, you need to reduce the amount of oil by a lot. Usually down to just a couple of tablespoons. Also, over fill your pans! By overfilling your pans, you can slice off the top peaks of the cake so it's consistent, and makes a flat base. The boys wanted shot glass boobs, so that's what they got. Pretty crazy for boys who don't drink!

I used a 9x13 pan for the base, then used two pyrex glass bowls for the boobies. Once the cakes came out of the oven, I let them cool, then took the longest serrated knife I had, and shaved off the peaks flush with the top of the pans. I let them cool in the fridge for about an hour, then pulled them back out to carve the sides. I took a glass pyrex top that had a top knob for me to hold, and used my good serrated knife again to cut the torso so it would be nice and even.  Next step was the layer of dirty icing. Basically, I iced the entire cake with a really thin layer of chocolate icing, and set it back in the fridge to harden. This layer helps make sure you don't get little bumps of cake in your real icing layer.

The rest is just icing and getting your creativity flowing!  My mother and Aunt Robin would die knowing I used the icing out of the can and tub. I did manage to pull out my pampered chef icing tool to pipe around the base. The fun part! :-) This was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I didn't tell the boys no! I even got a thank you call from the bachelor, who I don't even know! :-)

I figure I can reuse this idea for a lingerie shower, and just put more clothes on the little lady. Fun, Fun!