Encasement of Patience

Our New Staircase RailingIt has been a while since I posted something about carpentry, let alone a post at all. Life has been a little crazy lately. We have been working to prepare the house for children, and one of the things that I wanted to fix was the railing for the staircase. I just did not think that it was sturdy enough, and I wanted to make it safe for the children.

We have finally gotten through all the interview process with DePelchin and have been licensed as Foster to Adopt parents. We are so excited and cannot wait to see what is going to happen next. Patience is a definite key to the process; both for the interview and building the banister.

We started learning about DePelchin about two years ago and have been in the process of getting ready for children since then. Don’t worry if you are in the process yourself, because I do not believe it usually takes that long. After the first orientation, we found that some things were going to have to happen before we could go any further. So we took the first year to just prepare, and then we went to another orientation. This is when the real process started. Training, interviews, and continuing to prepare the house have been our main focuses since then. See where patience came into play?

A major area of our concern was the staircase. I knew I wanted to make it sturdy and safe, and I had a plan to do that. I framed a 2×4 stud rail and lag screwed it into the existing frame of the house. This rail was not going to go anywhere after that. Once it was connected, I faced it with a poplar material. It is a straighter and prettier material than pine, and I figured that it would be easier to box out with. The time was in the sanding. I have to admit, if you want it to look nice, you have to take the time to sand it. Mine took about 4 full Saturdays including the paint and wainscot.

A Friend of mine and co-worker (Carpenter) said that this is always the case when it comes to trim. He could do it much faster, but for better results, he said that you have to take your time. Check out the picture above, and hopefully it will inspire you to try to do something as well.

So Remember, when building something “Patience is a Virtue, and it will also bring about a smooth finish.”

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Almond Lace Cookies

20120225-094026.jpgWell, this week has been a little hectic. Not only were we having problems with the computer, but we have been learning about Foster Care through DePelchin Children’s Center as well. My wife and I are trying to do foster care to adopt for a sibling group of two. We hope to do it later this year. I never knew how much information was involved with a situation like this. These children have lived through some real horror stories. So publishing this on Wednesday/Thursday like I hope to do for future posts was a little more difficult this week, but I Digress.

Almond Lace Cookies are wonderful little treats and easy to make. The recipe said that it would make 72 cookies. I don’t know what size cookies that they like, but this is Texas. Everything in Texas is bigger, and so were my cookies. Let’s just say we only had about 30 cookies when it was all said and done. I basically only did a spoon full when I placed them on the cookie sheets, but this made larger than normal cookies. Even though this is Texas and we want big things, I recommend going a little smaller. Theywill be easier to eat (it’s a fairly brittle cookie) and bake.

If you like almonds, you will probably really love these. The crushed almonds are accentuated with the almond extract which brings out the flavor even more. Everyone that had them really enjoyed them, and they didn’t last very long in our house. After all, there were only 30 cookies.

As for the chocolate, I do not recommend putting it into a Ziploc bag and placing it in the Microwave for a minute. This creates a Texas size mess to clean up. As I was pulling the bag out of the Microwave, only the bag came out. The chocolate stayed right where it was with some of theplastic. After I cleaned the mushy soft chocolate, I decided to try it a little differently.

My wife suggested that I put the Hershey’s dark chocolate bar in a Ziploc bag and place it in boiling water. Well, my wife is one smart cookie. It only took a few seconds to watch the chocolate melt in the bag, and it was very easily managed from this point on. Pulling the bag out of the (caution) boiling water, I snipped a small corner off of the bag, and it was easy to drizzle the chocolate onto the cookies.

This recipe is easy to make and worth the time if you want to treat your little ones. Hopefully we will soon be able to do the same as well. Remember, “Just like the chocolate, don’t leave any child behind.”

For the Recipe: Almond Lace Cookies