Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Today marks 14 years that hubby and I have been married.

Like vows go, we have stood by each other in sickness and health and in good times as well as bad.  Thankfully the healthy and good times have FAR outweighed the bad and I anticipate that will continue.

Through these last 14 years, we've learned that we must have patience, practice forgiveness,  know that we can trust, always listen and be supportive.

We've learned to laugh more and have fun often.

We have also learned that 14 years goes quickly by and I'm certain the next 14 will as well.  But I indeed look forward to them and the memories we will be making together and as a family.

Monday, October 28, 2013

5th Birthday Cake

Perhaps you already know this, but last week Smiley turned 5 (no?  click on the link to see some pics).  As a family we celebrated her birthday quietly by driving 4 1/2 hours in the car back to our home from Great Grandma's house after a fun weekend of family time and a bit of pheasant hunting.  She chose where we stopped for lunch ~ Subway ~ and opened presents when we arrived back home.

We tend to not do "friend" birthday parties until the kids are a bit older but since both mine and hubby's families mostly live in different states, large family parties tend to not happen either.  However, this year, my parents were able to come up for a visit and my brother and his family were able to come down.  So, a small party was planned.  And you can't celebrate a birthday without a birthday cake.  However, when you are five, it can be very difficult to decide on what kind of cake you want.  After going through the typical character cake ideas... Dora, Princesses (which I made for her 3rd birthday), Doc McStuffins and Fairies, Smiley determined she wanted a rainbow cake.

Whoo Hooo!  I was excited :)

So, we got baking!

I started with 2 boxes of white cake mix ~ disregarding the box instructions, I doctored them up by mixing them with (use 1/2 of these amounts for only 1 box of cake mix):
1 C Vegetable oil
1 Cup Water
16 oz sour cream
8 eggs
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding mix

Once the batter was throughly mixed, I:

• Split the batter evenly (about 1 3/4 cup of batter per cake) into 6 different bowls.
• Added a different rainbow color of food coloring to each bowl.  I used a small blob of Wilton's  concentrated gel icing color to each bowl (I used no taste - red, orange, yellow, kelly green, blue and purple).
• Mixed the coloring into the batter very well.
• Poured the batter into 6 different, greased (I also line the bottom of my pans with parchment paper cut to size)  8" or 9" round baking pans (lets be honest, I only have 2 pans, so I repeated this step 3 times)

• Baked each cake about 18 minutes at 350°
• Removed from the oven, cooled about 5 minutes in the pan then removed from the pan to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
• Once they were cool, I wrapped them in Saran wrap and stored the in the fridge until the next day when I was ready to frost and assemble the cake.

Fast forward to the next day:

I made up some frosting:

3 sticks softened, unsalted butter
3 8oz packages softened, cream cheese
3 lbs confectioners sugar
* Using my stand mixer, I mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then gradually add the confectioners sugar.

*I left my frosting white (actually off white in color due to the color of the butter) as I wanted the inside of the cake to be the star.

Time to assemble:

• I started by leveling each cake ~ using a serrated knife, I sort of shaved the top of each cake to make sure they were straight across and not rounded/raised in the middle.
•Then I began to stack and layer:  (I wanted this cake to go the "typical" rainbow route)   purple - frosting - blue - frosting - green - frosting - yellow - frosting - orange - frosting - red then frosting across the top and down the sides of the cake.

I had purchased some long, stick like sparkle candles as well as a tall #5 candle, but I thought I needed more decor for the top of the cake.  I headed to my craft room and pulled out some fun paper.  Using the colors of the rainbow, I created a bunting to stick into the top.  I did this by cutting the paper into a diamond shapes, then folded and glued each one over a piece of black string to create a double sided flag.  I attached the ends of the string to 2 bamboo skewers and stuck them into the top of the cake.  Ta dah ~ a super simple cake decoration.

I also added some colorful sprinkles to the top of the cake for a little hint of color as well.

We brought the cake out, sang happy birthday to Smiley, let her blow out the candles, and got ready to enjoy a little cake and ice cream.

Our guests were very surprised to see that the inside of Smiley's plain looking birthday cake was not so plain at all, it was a beautiful rainbow of color.

And me, I had fun telling everyone to  "Taste the Rainbow"


A week ago, on the 21st, my "baby" turned 5.  I say this all the time, but where have the last five years gone?  
I feel like I blinked and they disappeared!

Anyway, our little Smiley is still just as smiley as she was when she was a baby 
(see here, here, here and here ~ I could go on and on, but I'll stop).  
And her smile....well, it makes us all smile.  

The girl is chatty, goofy and outgoing....unless put on the spot, 
then she turns into some super shy girl who looks like my daughter.  

She love, love LOVES to sing.  She sings top 20 hits,  "church" songs and makes up her own tunes on a daily basis.  
Last week she was heard singing while  sitting in a closet at her Great Grandma's house.  She had a picture book and was making up a song to go with the pictures on the pages. 
She loves to dance, practice gymnastics, hit a volleyball around and pretend to pitch a softball, color, craft, create and "help" in the kitchen.  

Smiley has blessed our lives in so many ways, and the joy she brings to our family is tremendous!

Happy 5th birthday baby girl!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Embracing Fall

If you read my last post, you know that fall is one of my most favorite times of the year.  That being the case, when the kids had last Friday off, I knew that we were going to go to one of our favorite outdoor spots.  Of course I brought my camera along so I could get some fun fall pictures.  The kids had a blast climbing around, goofing off with each other and "fighting" over the camera (that's how I even made it into some shots).
And now, prepare yourself for a little photo overload.  Her, for your viewing pleasure a fun fall outing with Sassy, Action, Smiley and Myself:

Enjoy your Monday Friends!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Can you feel it?

The warm humid air of summer is slowly becoming cooler and crisp.  The evenings that were once full of sunshine until well after the kid's bedtime are becoming darker earlier.  The bright green leaves that grace the neighborhood trees are showing hints of different shades of green, red, yellow, orange and brown. The official first day of fall has come....and gone.

While I love the warmth of summer and the long sunny days spent basking in the sun and playing in the water at the beach, pool or on the boat,  there is so much about fall that brings a smile to my face.

Here are a few of my favorite things about fall:

1.  Getting to celebrate another year of marriage to my honey.

2.  Cool mornings, crisp evenings and warm bonfires to take away the chill.

3.  Mother nature's air conditioning, open windows and fresh air.

4.  Cozy sweaters and tall boots
(pinned in on my "My Style" board on Pinterest, but I can't find the source via the website link)

5.  Lazy Sunday afternoons watching football (and maybe, just maybe the back of my eyelids ~ there is
     something to be said for a good Sunday nap)

6.  The slow change into beautiful vibrant colors of reds, oranges, yellows, browns and greens.

7.  The lovely, warm, cozy scent of cinnamon in the form of candles, baked goodies and beverages.

8.  Speaking of beverages ~ spiked apple cider ~ mmmmmm
     Need a recipe for yourself ~ try this one (I don't put the ginger in, I keep it warm in a crock pot and
     yep, for the adults I serve it with a shot....or so of spiced rum)!

9.  Chili, soups, casseroles and other warm comfort foods

10.  Fall-ifying my home ~ switching out the seashell and driftwood decor of summer for rich colored
      leaves, pumpkins, candles, flowers and pictures.

11.  Getting to spend time with family during our annual hunting trip.

12.  While I don't like the early setting of the sun, there is something to be said for the beautiful morning
       sunrises that I am able to witness on a very consistent basis due to the darker mornings.

The seasons, they come and go and while there are definitely some I like more than the others, they are all beautiful and unique.  And fall is, hands down, one of my favorite!

What do you like about fall?