Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Cake Tea Party

I mentioned in my post yesterday about our tea party so I thought I would post pictures today. It's been such a looong time since Chloe and I have enjoyed a tea party together so when I mentioned the idea to her a couple of days ago, she began galloping about the house with shouts of exclamation and joy. I knew it had been too long with that sort of response.

We invited many of Chloe's children. Girls only though. Elmo, Mickey Mouse and some of the other boys were exiled to the bedroom (per Chloe's mandate).

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Chloe's mothering instincts reigned supreme. Her large brood was the most well-behaved group of children at a tea party I have ever seen.

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Chloe used her tea set she received for Christmas last year from my sister. Three of her "babies" were allowed to eat a piece. Chloe arranged for each "child" to eat her piece of cake by "pretending for her to eat it and us disappearing it into our mouths." Those were her exact words.

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Ahhh...good times. Good times. I wonder why I've neglected these tea parties for as long as I have. I realized yesterday just how much I miss these precious times with my darling daughter. She grows so fast and I don't want to miss a single moment.

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I am off now to lunch, shower and grocery shop. I am out of butter which we desperately need to ice some cookies Chloe baked this week. She has been longing to finish these up so we can partake of a second tea party. (They were intended for the first tea party but alas, when I opened the fridge there was not a drop of butter. -I felt a bit like Old Mother Hubbard.-) So we shall purchase said butter (along with our other weekly supplies) and ice our cookies this afternoon.

Have a sensational afternoon and follow it up with a delightful evening. Spend a few minutes with your children today doing something that causes them to grin from ear to ear. You won't regret it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can You Ever Eat Enough Cake?

Nope. I don't think so. I love cake. I love it more than most anything on the planet. I love it more than shrimp. I love it more than apple cider. I may even love it more than Skittles...although there is a time and place for Skittles and when it is time, nothing else comes close.

Anyways, back to my cake affair. My love of cake generated the exponential growth of cake decorating the past couple of years. So much so that I catch myself begging people to allow me the privilege of baking cakes for them. Yes, I actually beseech people to indulge my cake infatuation. Sad, but true. (I just love cake!)

Can you imagine my excitement when a dear friend of mine took me up on my offer? And not for her six year old son, either. Uh-uh. This request was for her husband. A lover of baseball. I happily dug out my sport ball cake pan and decorated him a baseball cake.

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I think I shall divulge a dirty little secret of mine. Brace yourselves. Are you ready? (this one is a doozy so I admonish you to really and truly brace yourself with something...a chair...maybe hold onto the desk. And by all means set the coffee cup down before reading further.)

My secret? I use a cake mix when I decorate cakes.

Whew! What a relief to finally say that. And yes...you read that right. I use a cake mix when decorating cakes. But that is IT! I promise you. I need "from scratch cakes" when they are for eating (and not merely pleasurable viewing). But when I spend hours decorating cakes, I need to cut the time down somewhere so that is where it happens. The cake mix.

This week I felt the need to bake something "Autumnish" but not ho hum-ish. You know? I wanted something pumpkin but not pumpkin pie. Catch my drift? Sadly, I did not own half the supplies for the desserts I salivated over, so I settled for a Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze (from my Better Baking cookbook).

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I hesitated showing you this delicious cake because I remain a little unsure whether or not the glaze is supposed to look like that. Typically when I see the word "glaze" in regards to frosting or icing on a cake, I picture a runny, liquid substance that flows down the sides of the cake. I had to pat this "glaze" down with my fingers. Something amiss, perhaps?

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But I didn't let that stop me from eating the cake. Chloe and I had a tea party with all her dolls and bears today during which we devoured nibbled some cake. I will have to share the pictures with you tomorrow. Have a happy night!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Anniversary Trip

It's been a couple of months since our anniversary trip, but oh...I still feel as though we just arrived home last week. We had such a blissful time, tucked away in a pre-civil war cabin. But, I suppose you all want to SEE the cabin and not merely read about it. Well, here you go. For your viewing pleasure...

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Lucky for us, we had our own private outhouse. (Okay...so we did have a bathroom with shower inside the cabin along with a half bath upstairs...but I did enjoy peeking into the outhouse. And it felt good to know that if, for some reason, we lost water to the cabin, we could always use the outhouse in an emergency. Outhouses really could come in handy and I am thinking of asking James to put one in our back yard. I wonder what he would say.)

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We enjoyed our evenings spent gazing at the fire in the fireplace.

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When it wasn't pouring down rain, we ventured outside for some frisbee and tree-climbing.

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It rained for the better part of our adventure so on the first day the rain didn't come pouring from the clouds, we took a drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and found some waterfalls to hike up and explore. What a fantastic day! I just love being in God's nature and seeing the beauty He created.

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So, I am glad I finally got this post up. I have so much more to talk about but I will have to wait for another post. I will try to show you some recent cakes in my next post, maybe tonight. No promises though. Hope you all have a fabulous day. I am off to create a tea party with Chloe. Homemade cookies and all.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Tablescape

After perusing one of my favorite blogs for a few weeks, I finally allowed myself the privilege of decorating my kitchen table for fall. Now every year, mind you, I pull out my "thanksgiving tote" and put the meager adornments around my sparse living room...but this year, I longed for something with a little more pizazz. I salivated over the breathtaking Tablescapes found on Stone Gable blog. I admired each photograph and dreamed of creating my very own extraordinary Tablescape. I splurged yesterday and purchased the necessary supplies to add to my own scant collection and went to work.

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I created the centerpiece from scratch. The old centerpiece which I have set out of the past five years just didn't possess the same sparkle as it did when I first made it. This new one adds a bit more presence to the table.

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I tucked in a butterfly I found for $.29 at Micheals.

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These little cans I found at Micheals for $1.49 add a touch of whimsy to the table. I filled them with silk "wild daisies" for a fresh picked look.

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The big idea I just had to try out was plate stacking. I needed plates, so I found the perfect ones at Home Goods and stacked away. (It took a while to find the right combination of plates...and also to find four of the same kind.)

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I love my fall table. Now I just need silverware, napkins and cups of some sort. Oh...and some company over for a meal.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Catching Leaves

Chloe begged for fall to arrive the entire summer. And while I didn't really understand why she felt this way, I completely agreed. Well, as Autumn drew near, she began to mention her desire to catch a leaf. Okay. Now I understood. But where did this desire come from? I don't really know. Who can ever know how ideas enter a five year old's mind?

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Anyways, my plans for a big celebration for the first day of fall...well...fell. We barely had time to make it outside to walk in the leaves that day. So, last week, I took Chloe out for her promised leaf catching day. She enjoyed it so thoroughly that I expect this will become a yearly tradition.

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We even saw a few fairy dwellings while out and about in our woodlands. We stopped to watch the river roll by. We caught a caterpillar and made a little home for him with stones.

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I love fall! How about you?

(P.S. Leaf catching is much harder than it would seem. I only caught one leaf and poor, dear Chloe failed to catch any. But you wouldn't have noticed with all the giggles and and laughter that filled those woods that day.)