You’ve probably noticed it’s been a couple days since I posted—I’ve been relaxing in warm, beautiful southern Utah with 120 of our top-achieving demonstrators. What a wonderful time I had! I have to say that this is the best Founder’s Circle ever, and based on what the demonstrators have said, I think they agree.
A friend asked me what made it so good, and there were several reasons.
First, the location. St. George is ideally situated so that the demonstrators could do all sorts of different things. A group went to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon; a few rented a car and headed down to Vegas for the day; another larger group enjoyed entertainment at Tuacahn; and tons of demonstrators enjoyed St. George’s spa treatments and shopping options. (Listen to me—I sound like a commercial!)
Second (here comes another commercial), our accommodations were fantastic. We pretty much filled up the Marriott Courtyard here, so we had the whole place almost to ourselves. It’s a beautiful facility, the service was fabulous, and everyone was so eager to take care of us.
Third, the agenda was pretty open. Other than our opening night welcome dinner, our business swap on Thursday (which everyone attends in pajamas and is one of my favorite events!), and our last-night dinner and movie, everyone could do whatever they wanted.We did have an optional trip to Kanab on Friday, which is always a special treat for me. Some demonstrators go every year; some go once and then choose to do different things. But there’s a special spirit in Kanab and I love when demonstrators get to experience that. This year was no exception, and I could see how much the demonstrators enjoyed meeting our Stampin’ Up! family there, seeing how the process works, and actually having a hands-on experience in the world of stamp manufacturing!
Fourth, people I talked to said they loved being pampered and treated like a queen. Lots of them slept in, lounged around the pool, got caught up on reading, or just enjoyed not having to do anything! There were pillow gifts every night, more than enough delicious food, and tons of time to just chat and renew or make new friendships.
The Gathering Place was almost always occupied with demonstrators stamping, relaxing, or chatting; the comfy furniture and light atmosphere were impossible to resist! I spent most of my time there because it was so cozy and warm—and because that was the best place to touch base with as many demonstrators as possible. Of course, the jars stacked full of goodies were a draw as well!
Founder’s Circle is the only event where I actually do a swap. It’s the one event where I know exactly how many people are coming, so I can make a swap for everyone who will be there. Of course, in true Shelli fashion, I always think I’ll get my swaps finished in plenty of time—and in true Shelli fashion I’m scrambling to finish them at the last minute. I actually haven’t gotten them done by Thursday, but I always make sure everyone gets one before they go, and I don’t stress or worry about it because I’m having such a grand time.
Founder’s Circle is always great therapy for me because I’m surrounded by stamping, which I love, and demonstrators, whom I love!
Before I sign off, I did notice that several of you had asked for Sara’s Texas Sheet Cake, which I mentioned in my last post. Sara also noticed, and she sent me the recipe, which I’m including here. Happy baking!
Note: I got this recipe from my mother-in-law. It is a Douglass family birthday tradition (and any other time I feel like chocolate). All of the daughter-in-laws have the recipe and all of our cakes turn out a little differently, don't ask me why. So I'll try to be as detailed as possible.
Grease (Crisco) and flour a sheetcake pan (my sheetcake pan is 12"x16"x1"), set aside.
(I have a Bosch, can't live without it!)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
In a saucepan:
Melt 2 cubes (1 cup) of butter (For me there is no substituting, has to be butter!)
1 cup water
4 Tbs. cocoa (leveled)
I whisk this until it comes to a slight boil, and then pour into mixer with the dry ingredients. Mix well. At this point I turn my oven on to 350. When my MIL told me how to make it, she said not to preheat; just turn the oven on right before you put the cake in. I'm a rebel, so I turn it on sooner.
1/2 cup sour cream (Again, I only go for the good stuff... There is no 'low fat' in this recipe!)
1 tsp. soda
Mix well on high for a couple minutes and then pour into sheetcake pan.
Place on center rack in oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. (Tip: My MIL bakes for only 20 min, that's it...the end. Take it out. BUT, I check it by lightly tapping the center of the cake with my finger to see if it bounces back slightly, then I know it's done. This last cake I baked for 2 minutes extra.)
Note: Make this while the cake is baking, because you need to pour it on right after the cake comes out of the oven.
1/2 bag powdered sugar (I'm sorry I don't have an exact measurement. Start with less and add as you mix.)
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt 2 cubes (1 cup) butter (yes, there really is 1 whole lovely POUND of butter in this yummy cake!)
Then whisk in 4 Tbs. cocoa (leveled)
(The recipe calls for 6 Tbs. of canned milk, I just use what's in the fridge.)
This time, DON'T boil. Just melt everything together until smooth on low heat. Add to mixer.
This is key (at least for me because I don't want my frosting to be too runny or too thick): when the frosting is done, I can dip my finger in, lift up, and it starts to run, but only a little. If it looks like a dangling icesicle, it's perfect. Also, if it's too thick you can add a little milk to thin it out.
When the cake is done, pour frosting on top (leave the cake in the pan) and spread out. (It may drip over the side of the pan, that's my Dad's favorite!!)