Family Room Makeover – part 3, Shell Collection

No nautical themed room is complete without shells.

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Well, that didn’t work

Do you ever come across an idea and think “WOW, that would make my life a lot easier”. That is exactly what happened to me. Several times on Pinterest I have seen that you can use a can opener to open plastic packaging. So I decided to give it a try.

Don't try this

For Christmas I received a stand for my GPS, so I got out my NEW can opener (yes, I am one of those crazy people who use a manual can opener).  I began on the middle of the right side of the package. The can opener managed to make a few dents, but was not cutting the plastic.

Since that was not working I decided to try the top left corner and see if starting on a corner made any difference. This time I was able to cut a small strip off of the package, but it did not cut the seal. The next thing I know the can opener broke and fell to the floor in several pieces.

The end result was an unopened package and a broken can opener. Please do not try this at home! It was a waste of my time, energy and money. I will stick with using my heavy scissors next time I need to open anything.

What’s a birthday without a cake?

Regardless of age, everyone needs birthday cake. Whether you purchase an overpriced cake from a specialty bakery, or go for the plain box mix and canned frosting, a cake is a must.

 

Recently I spent a few weeks with my father in Alabama to help him recover from rotator cuff surgery. Two days after surgery he celebrated his birthday, so a cake was needed. Usually I make a semi-homemade cake with homemade frosting. However, my father is a diabetic so most cakes are out of the question. So I started looking for options. I found that Pillsbury now has a sugar-free cake and frosting. Being a bachelor for many year my dad is not too picky, and it was just the two of us we decided to give it a try.

Sugar free cake

For the record I do not usually eat anything that is sugar-free. I do not tolerate aspartame (it triggers my migraine headaches) and I have heard so many risk associated with artificial sweeteners so I try to avoid them when possible. I realize that all artificial sweeteners are an acquired taste that I do not have. So that is important to note ahead of time. Both of these contain Splenda.

 

CAKE: You make this cake like you would any other mix. Add oil, water and eggs and bake. Before I baked the cake I tasted the batter. Before anyone says anything, yes I know that it contained raw eggs, but I wanted to be prepared for how it would turn out. There was a slight after taste before baking, but I did not notice it after it cooked. I baked the batter in two 8 inch pans and noticed that they did not rise as much as usual. The taste was pretty good (not as good as my usual cake) but it was okay. Overall, I would give it a grade of B-. If I needed another “sugar-free” cake I would make it again.

 

FROSTING: What goes better with yellow cake than chocolate icing. This stuff was so thick there was no way I could but it on the sides without tearing the cake apart. So I decided to only put a thin layer between the two layers and a generous amount on top. After tasting it I was glad I had not put more the cake. For this was the worst frosting I have ever tasted. Besides not being as sweet as regular frosting, it had a heavy, taste. Spreading the frosting was impossible. If I had to give it a grade, it would definitely be an F. I will not be buying this stuff again. My dad and I both ended up scraping as much off as we could and just eating the cake.

 

Thankfully I will not be needing any more sugar-free cakes for a while.