Birthday Cake

 For me, there is nothing better than enjoying the spoils of a birthday than with a big day-after slice of homemade cake.  After flipping through a cook book Myles landed on red velvet cake for his ninth birthday. It didn't actually turn red on account of not having one third of a cup of artificial coloring. But it was tinted red with the natural stuff, and tasted mostly like chocolate.  When I was in the middle of making the icing for this cake, things were looking disasterous. I was one hour away from the family arriving, and my frosting looked like cottage cheese. So then I had a revelation. Call a professional! I picked up the phone and dialed the number of the bakery where the recipe was from. I spoke with a baker and she walked me through my process and helped me fix my mistake. It was amazing! (The problem was my house was too cold for the butter to properly soften. ) Never again will I give up when things look curdlely.  Five years ago I would have dumped it out with tears beside.

So now, for us the holidays are finally over.  January birthdays always extend the festivities a bit, but now we are home with good books, and some leftover buzzing.

Literarily this is what a day in the life of our nine years old looks like:

not pictured: Tin Tin, Tin Tin, and more Tin Tin.

This post really captures some of the emotions I was feeling as my oldest child heads into the unknown territory of getting older. Thrilling and chilling in the same moment. Check it out. Rachel's writing is really wonderful.



"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

I had no idea that this was the opening line of, Little Women when I purchased this title for my teenage cousin during my final visit to our bookstore. I confess, I have never read this classic. But with this new edition out, it just might be the year!
Today, is a milestone this December, and it must be endured. Its the day of both, Myles and Fiona's holiday parties and one of my own. The knitting group I am apart of is gathering tonight for some festivities in which I am to bring a dessert and a homemade gift for a swap. Phew. After receiving some advice from a surrogate mentor to make a pound cake, I did just that and it is baking in the oven now.  My DIY is pretty funny. Its a humble attempt at this, which feels like a mixture of festive and tacky and over-the-top, all at the same time. We shall see how it goes over. It may be coming back home with me. :)


Powers of Fiction

This summer, as we decided to educate Myles at home, it was clear to us that we would lean heavily on books.  We found a literature based curriculum that seemed to suit us and decided to go for it.  It felt like jumping off a cliff, hoping for, "a year in books."  This is how I got my mind around it at least.

As we stand in the midst of month four, I can say that books have indeed been our guiding light.  Our favorite this year was, Over Sea, Under Stone.  It blew us all away.  And it felt even more significant when I serendipitously had the opportunity to meet the great, Susan Cooper and tell her in person how much the story meant to our family. I reinforced this opinion to her in a letter, to which she promptly replied with a note and a signed pamphlet that answered some of our questions about inspiration.

When I read this article on the saving powers of fiction, I felt a kinship with the sentiments expressed.  We do not know what this life will bring to us all.  But there is a form of security allowed us in the comfort of good stories.

And along similiar lines, I am adding this to somebody's Christmas list; When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win WWII.


Christmas continued...

On Friday night our family attended a one man performance of, The Christmas Carol.  It was small and affordable, and brilliantly produced.  The story becomes richer and more meaningful every year. I am very thankful for the hope and redemption that Dickens gives witness to.  Growing up, my family made a tradition of seeing local productions of this play, so it is fun to see my own children's eyes widen at the opening words, "Marley was dead!"

I found this copy for my brother for Christmas.

Do you remember this one?  Fiona and I lost ourselves in it yesterday.  (Myles was lurking around the corner, calling out questions from the other room.  "Which war is the dad fighting in?" )

Today is a bit of a George Bailey day for me. "I want to live again, I want to live again." Can't you just see Jimmy Stewart burying his head in his arms crying this out?  We all have our own Mr. Potter hunting us down, trying to bankrupt our lives. Today, mine comes in the form deceitful hormones and piles of recycling waiting for someone to take them to the dump.  I always forget that that someone is me.


Christmas Gift Guide

December hit and I painted my kitchen purple.  Earlier this week, I walked into the paint store knowing I had something dramatic up my sleeve and there I saw a shiny, glimmering sign displaying Benjamin Moore's color trends of 2015. I was sold!  I settled on cinnamon slate in record time and now, three days later I stand and can't help but smile at the comforting color of kings on my wall.  Apparently Advent was penetrating my subconscious. It feels so festive. Like the color of plum pudding.

Above are some titles that I am giving this year.