Doing things the hard way

I've been accused more than once in my life of doing things the hard way. (My mom says I get it from my dad.)  My mom is usually the one helping me with the kids while I bury myself in a project that takes twice as long as I plan. Tom is the one urging me to go to bed when I burn the midnight oil working on something.

This time it was the cupcakes I made for my card class:

Pistachio and White Chocolate Cupcakes from scratch. The recipe is from Cupcakes, Cupcakes, and more Cupcakes, an adorable cookbook that was a gift from my in-laws for Christmas. I'd been dying to try a recipe from it, and this is the one that caught my eye. Only I couldn't find pistachio paste. (No gourmet grocery stores here!) So I had to make it. I shelled the pistachios, boiled them to release the skins, peeled them, and ran them through the blender with oil and water to make a purée. It was successful, but it took good long while. And then I discovered the recipe only made 12 cupcakes, so I had to make a second batch.

They were good. But they weren't amazing. Maybe it was just that the flavor didn't quite match up with the effort.

I also had to make cupcakes for Abby's school Valentine party. Fortunately I took an easier route and used a mix.

But I couldn't just use a mix. I found this recipe from Heather Bailey to fancy them up. I did buy the frosting. Cut me some slack.

And then, amongst much encouragement from Tom to just buy them already, I made Valentine cards with the girls. 40 of them.

We made these cute little matchbook notebooks. And for the boys pink was a bit too girlie, so we found this cool basketball and football paper in my stash. Each card had a sucker stapled to it and was hand-signed by the girls.

I'm not sure what compels me to take the hard road. Heaven knows I am busy enough and constantly complaining about not getting enough done. Is it about the glory? I hope not. I'd like to think it is about the process. Here is a photo of the girls working on the cards with me:

Both of them said the night before Valentine's day was the Best Day Ever. I think they are just like me and I wouldn't give up these memories for the world.