D-A-D’s Day

In our household, my husband and I are known for giving each other gifts from the heart (that’s code for handmade) or no gifts at all.  It isn’t because we are forgetful or poor planners, but rather that we are, for lack of a better term, minimalists.  We just don’t like “stuff” that collects in the house.  If the gift requires its own dusting, it doesn’t have a chance.  We simply don’t give each other wrapped gifts that often.

With that being said, the one thing that fills our hearts to the brim, and we don’t mind dusting, is a photographic reminder of our children.  Come on.  They’re our kids and we love them to pieces.

So, I went in search of something special for our BSFs’ dad.  Something he could display at his work place to remind him of his BSFs at home.

I came across this idea on Pinterest and I knew I had to try it.

Source: goo.gl via Celinda on Pinterest

I headed straight to Hobby Lobby to gather supplies.  In search of the perfect color, I stumbled upon a package set of Martha Stewart acrylic paints. Since I didn’t need a variety pack of 8 colors, I took the package of her paints in hand and found a similar color among the selection available. The 2 fl. oz bottle of Ceramcoat Caribbean Blue 02530 Acrylic Paint was a close match to the Martha paint I liked, so I went with it.

So this is how my version turned out.

We needed a handmade card to go with our gift.  I found this adorable idea on Pinterest.

For directions on how to make this super cute and easy card, click here.

We created this “I Love You This Much!” card for all the Dads in the family.  My BSF loved getting her hands traced and making words with the sticky letters. The Dads loved her handy work, too.  Here is how ours turned out.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

Birthday Blues

My BSFs are growing like weeds.  I can’t believe, when a birthday rolls around, that another year has passed.  As cliche as it sounds, these kids grow up way too fast, which makes me sad about the baby years slipping through my fingers, but happy about the exciting adventures ahead.  So bittersweet.

With my older BSFs birthday approaching, it was time to really plan the little details.  I didn’t want to go overboard with a big party.  Too much was going on in life that I just needed to KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly.  Still, I wanted my BSF to feel very special.  I wanted her birthday wishes to come to life.  I knew I could handle some complexity among the simplicity of our plans.  The little details were keeping me from tears when all I wanted to do was call my mom on the phone and share what I was doing for this party girl.

My oldest BSF and her BFF were born within hours of each other, so this was a joint birthday party plan. We went all out, without going all out.  Matching outfits and ice cream sundaes were in order.

The little details came together and the party made the kids very happy, indeed.

When it came to the birthday cake, my BSF had already made it clear.  BLUE.  She wanted a blue cake.  She wanted the frosting to be blue and the cake to be vanilla. Ok. I could do that, easily.  I’m a baker, but more along the lines of a small town/large family baker.  You know…baking for the masses in giant cake pans…cut squares…frosting spread on top…no frosting on the sides.  It isn’t about show and beauty, but about making sure everyone gets some.

It was decided that we’d make cupcakes for the party-goers and small cake rounds for the birthday girls.

For the cupcakes, I did some research to find a frosting technique that even I could master.  I started with my favorite go-to buttercream frosting, which you can find here, and I piped the buttercream using a 1M tip.  If you make this frosting, make a double batch. You’ll probably eat the first batch before you even frost a cupcake, so you’ll need extra on hand.  I mean it.  It is that good.

As well, I wanted my BSF to have her own prettily decorated personal cake.  Again, I researched to find a technique that was different from a regular 9×13 rectangular cake pan.  So, I decided to try something new to me.  I finally got myself a 5″ round cake pan.  I know, you seasoned bakers out there.  Welcome to the 21st century, right?

I practiced this pretty petal effect on a trial-run cake, the week before the party.  Ha-ha!  A reason to have that buttercream frosting in the house twice in one week was easily found.

Along the way, I learned that a good crumb coat is essential to making this technique shine.

Check out the tutorial on how to master the pretty petal effect.  It doesn’t take as long as it looks to decorate the whole cake.  This technique is forgiving, as well, when you make a mistake, but it does take a little patience.

The top of the cake felt neglected, as it really was, so I added some colorful sprinkles to brighten things up.

The cupcakes felt neglected, too, so I added colorful sprinkles to them, as well.

My dear, darling, super-creative, totally amazing friend, who is the mother of our BSFs’ BFF…Did you follow that?  You should because she really is awesome….added the tall, stunning candles to the cakes.

I was so excited that I finished all of the cupcakes and the birthday girl cake just in time for the party.  It was a labor of love for my sweet BSF.  I could really feel the connection to my mother with all this birthday preparation.  And, all the beautiful blue made my blues fade away for another day.

Remembering Mom

Good Morning to You, Good Morning to You

We’re All in Our Places

With Bright Shining Faces

This is the Way to Start a New Day

As a child, my mother would greet us, first thing in the morning, singing this song to us. She’d draw open the curtains, turn on the lights, and wake us up.  It was endearing and annoying all together.  She needed us awake and up for the day.  We wanted to keep sleeping in the dark.  What was most special about this is that her own mother sang this morning song to my mother each morning.

It is Mother’s Day and I’m thinking about my mom an awful lot.  This is our first Mother’s Day without her.  I really miss her.  More than words can express.

I have a burning desire to capture what memories and feelings I can preserve of my mother.  This blog is one place where I will document the special traditions, recipes, quotes, readings and projects that I remember from childhood and were nurtured by my mother. I continue to draw inspiration from her. Here, too, I will document our new traditions, adventures, projects and special memories for my BSFs.  I’m learning as I go. My hope is that this will be one of the greatest gifts I share with them.

Needless to say, I sing the Good Morning song to my BSFs in the morning.  I wonder if they will do the same with their babies someday.  If they do, they will know that many loving generations of mothers in their family did the same.

As she would say, and truly, “What a gift.”


May Day, May Day

Nothing reminds me more of May Day than the mention of homemade fudge.  Back in the day, my brothers, sister and I used to prepare handmade paper baskets or cones on May Day, fill them with popcorn and homemade fudge, and deliver them to our nearest and dearest neighbors.  Every May 1st, my mother was so enthusiastic about our mission.  She approached this day with a whole lot of love.  I can only imagine that she was reminded of her childhood days, doing this with her own mother.

While she made the goodies, we kids would decorate, cut, staple and tape together our May Day baskets or May Day cones.  When everything was readied, she sent us out to the neighbors’ homes to secretly deliver our gifts.  Well, that was the intention.  We would sneak over to each neighbors’ house, ring the doorbell, drop the goods and RUN.  Part of the fun was the anticipation of getting caught, coupled with the exhilaration of NOT getting caught.

This year, my older BSF (Bright Shining Face) helped me make a batch of homemade stovetop fudge.

We popped popcorn in the Pro Popper stovetop popper.  Geesh…That’s a whole lot of POP in one sentence.

We rolled pretty scrapbooking paper into cones and stapled handles to them.

We filled the cones with pieces of fudge and popcorn and we carried on the tradition for another generation.

I’ll wait until the BSFs are a little older before we go undercover and incognito.  In the meantime, we will enjoy the simple pleasures of the process…and maybe a little piece of fudge.

Thank you, momma, for making this May Day tradition so special in our home.

I think my neighbors thank you, too.