Flowers and Jars and Other Good Things

Just some little things today…

Flowers and Jelly Jars

We go through a lot of strawberry jelly in our house.  The jars make the sweetest give-away vases for flowers from our yard.  This little bunch went to the teacher at open house last night.  The chocolate mint tucked between the roses is the happiest “mistake” in our yard.  It smells soooo good.

Bamboo

On Saturday, I went to Ranch 99 to get a new sun hat for our beach day with the boy.  I had no cash in my wallet and the hat didn’t cost enough to meet the minimum charge amount, so I came home with three stalks of bamboo too.

The bamboo focused my Monday thrift store visits to a search for the perfect jar.  This is the one I chose.  It’s huge.  HUGE.

Batik Stamp Bonanza

A few years ago, I discovered this beautiful batik stamp in a box of my husband’s collectibles.  At the time, I had no idea what it was.  I only knew that I loved it.

Husband isn’t completely sure just where it came from – maybe something from his departed grandmother – but it started an obsession for me.

I look for reasonably priced ($8 to $12) batik stamps wherever I go.  I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and to receive a few others from a friend.  I also have two from Anthropologie.

There are plenty of very high-priced batik stamps in the world, but half the fun for me is stumbling onto a bargain.  Maybe that’s why it filled me with such joy to find an entire lot of them priced together in a clearance sale on etsy.  Woohoooooo!  Now I just have to figure out how best to display them.  For the moment, they occupy a big wooden bowl on my table.  I think my favorite is that curvy floral on the top right.

 

Ooo la la buttercream…

I am so excited by the arrival of my latest purchase from The Good Cook book club.  Meg Ray is my new hero.  Cake for breakfast – I love this woman!  Can’t wait to visit one of her shops in person someday.  I’m aiming for the Ferry Building location in San Francisco.  Wanna go with me?

Corner Cupcakes

Speaking of sweets…

I finally caught up with the Corner Cupcakes truck.  Yippee!

I ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and another called a “full house,” which was the most divine combination of lemon cake, lemon curd, and lemon buttercream laced with toasted coconut.  There was coconut somewhere else in there too.  I’m sure of it!  Deeeeeelicious.  And kind of melty.  It was hot yesterday.

The chocolate cake was very good, but I am not a huge fan of the extra strong vanilla flavor in the buttercream I chose.  I prefer a mere hint of vanilla or none at all, so next time I will just order a different frosting!  There will be a next time because there is much taste bud joy in that truck.  I am excited to try other flavor combos.

All of this reminds me to ask if you are as happy-dancing-footed as I am over the pending arrival of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Mission Valley.  Yes?  Yes!  It will be nice to have one closer than Del Mar or Poway.  Maybe we can all go together on opening day.

What little things are cheering your life this week?

I hope you’re having a Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

9th Birthday Pictures

The Doll

The boy was very excited about his new doll.  He held her sweetly and seemed proud to pose with her.

These two pix are my favorites:

It pretty much went downhill from there.

The Cake

The boy chose a Happy New Year theme.  He liked the clock and all the colors.

It has only taken me nine years to figure out exactly what kind of cake to order:

1/4 sheet of chocolate AND
a 1/4 sheet of white,
both with white buttercream filling,
frosted & decorated together as a single cake.

It’s not as pretty later in the day, but both halves taste really good.

The final improvement over last year’s version was the omission of the fruity filling.  The sliced strawberries do that sliced strawberry thing and look kinda scary the next morning.  Blech.  😕  They had to go this time.

This year, his name was even spelled correctly.  Thank you, Vons bakery manager lady!

There’s a ton of it left in the kitchen.  Wanna come by and have a slice?

The Helium Balloons

I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to me that we didn’t get a single photo of the helium balloons.  😦  I thought they were magical.

Our front room has a 24-foot ceiling.  Sounds grand, but it’s really more problematic than anything else.

Every year, the balloons head up there and are impossible to get down when the kids want to play with them.  I’ve never really liked tying the balloons to chairs or anchoring them with toys or weights, so this year I paid extra to have twenty-foot ribbons.

The balloons floated skyward as usual, but the long ribbons (two dozen of them) dangled down and made a little rainbow ribbon forest that we could walk through.  It was very festive and I am determined to do it every year from now on.

The floral department was NOT pleased with my request.  Right from the start, I even offered to pay more and they still gave me crap.  Then they called me at home to give me more crap.  World ribbon shortage or something.  Annoying.  Small minded.  Not service oriented.  Whatever.

It’s funny to me that the skills I’ve built advocating for my kid spill over to stuff like this.  Heh heh.

The Other Balloons

The husband blew up a zillion extra balloons to leave outside the boy’s door the night before the party.  This is what he woke up to:

The front door was like a vacuum.  Every time we opened it for a new guest, the balloons were sucked out at lightening speed.   The scramble to retrieve them was funny, but rather unsuccessful.  Many met their ends on the porch or lawn.  It was kind of a nice icebreaker for our friends and family though!  😀

Miscellaneous Other Birthday Photos

Happy Birthday Party, Little Boy!!

P.S…

Dumbest thing I did at the party?

Putting the pizza boxes on top of the piano.

The “protective” towels made it worse.

Jenifer, don’t look.  😦

Anybody know a good piano restoration service?  😐

♥♥

Roses and Boredom

Husband and I have very little luck with roses in our yard.

We don’t have the right soil, the right water sources, the right patience…the right anything.

We tried really hard the first few years, but we got rusty leaves, white fly and a variety of other problems.

We gave up.  And, I kid you not, I have cried over this.

Some people dream of white picket fences or cobblestone paths for their very first homes.

All I could think about were roses.  Lots and lots of roses.

I thought we would have them everywhere, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Their thorns scratched the husband and the little boy when they passed to mow the lawn.

Their blooms were beautiful, but not abundant.

The leaves were plentiful, but unattractive.

The yard was just not big enough.

We took the roses out.

“Good riddance” we said, but I miss them.  A lot.

We kept just one.

In the front yard, in the wrong spot, hidden from our view, there is one little plant struggling to survive.

I don’t see it when I look out the window.

I don’t see it when I pull up in the driveway.

I don’t see it when I’m daydreaming about the roses that are gone.

I don’t ever see it, but this week, husband was out there cutting and mowing and chopping things down.

I wandered outside and there it was, bare and boring.  Husband had just pruned it back.

I took the branches at his feet and brought them in to see if their blooms might be salvaged for a vase.

I was rewarded for my teeny effort.

Look at these colors.  All from the same little starving stems.

I’ve decided this is the best rose bush in the whole world.

I can even forgive it for those little rust spots on the leaves.

Not a surprise that the variety is called Joseph’s Coat.

Alleviating the little boy’s holiday boredom required construction paper and box of cake mix.

First, we made some Memorial Day decorations for the chandelier – stars and “yoyos” (as the little boy calls the curly streamers).

We incorporated his holiday school craft…

and his drawing and cutting skills…

and we wasted a TON of staples and an entire ROLL of tape on this patriotic paper chain:

Miniature cupcakes provided sweet relief from our open afternoon schedule.

They also gave me a great excuse to try out the new frosting tips I bought last week.

I’ve decided that I will only make miniature cupcakes in the future.

They’re more fun to eat (one bite if nobody’s looking – 😀 – way better than their big messy cousins).

They’re more fun to decorate (you don’t need the professional tips – just snip the corner off a ziploc bag and fill with frosting) and they’re much easier to store.

Plus, minis just seem to go better with kids.  😀

Make some, you’ll see.

All that, a fabulous Saturday with mom, Sunday coffee with the girlfriends, a quick grocery run this morning and we’ve had a pretty good weekend!

Wish us luck on getting the little boy off to school tomorrow after four days at home.  😐  Sigh.

Happy Monday!

♥♥

And the winner is…

undecided!

Darn it!

I was all set to share my
flourless chocolate cake experiences with you yesterday.

After all, I made three of them last weekend.

Yum!

That’s one a day, for three days.

That’s right – three flourless cakes in three days.

However…

in the gigantic pile of neglected mail we finally brought in from the box yesterday, I discovered yet another recipe!

This one was sent by a friend and it sounds really good.

Unlike those I’ve already tried,
it includes a chocolate ganache glaze recipe with it.

Uh oh…will power go bye bye.

I bought the ingredients this morning.

I’ll be making the cake sometime in the next few days.

Yippee!

I owe you all a more substantial blog
and a return to my old morning post routine.

With my son home from school for two weeks,
I fell behind on a host of solitary activities and left myself no time to type in the days after.

Things are getting back to normal (whatever that is),
so please don’t abandon me!

More soon.

I promise! 🙂