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!

♥♥

Motherhood is a lot like the military.

Sometimes, you just follow orders…

“Mama make the white vanilla cake.”

“Mama make green yoyo frosting and pink chip dots.”

“Mama make a green “T” for Thomas.”

“Mama make a pink “T” on a green “T.”

“Mama make a heart.”

“Mama make nuh-ver heart.”

“Thomas eat green yoyo white vanilla cake wiff pink chip dots.”

“Thomas eat a “T” for Thomas.”

He wore that heart on his sleeve…

“Mama give a nuh-ver yoyo frosting vanilla cake to Thomas.”

The ensuing gigglefest…

And the coma after that…

Even a yawn…

Thank goodness for Monsters, Inc!

What can I say?  It’s the last day of second grade.

What better time for cupcakes, comas, naps and monsters?

Happy Tuesday!  😀

Check out bocky bakes for a new post today!

♥♥

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!

♥♥

Oh, my stomach…

My stomach hurts all the time.

Last night, I think I concluded that it really is from stress.

I thought I was feeling better a few hours after dinner and then husband and I had this really frustrating conversation about nutella.  😐  Don’t ask.

Our comments went in circles.  Within a few moments, I was completely exasperated.

I finally had to stop talking and take a deep breath.

Husband could tell I was done.

He even apologized, but there was no need for that.

It was a dumb conversation and we both took part.

I realized when we ended it that my stomach was hurting worse than it had all day.

Stomach knots go well with my bloodshot eyes, puffy cheeks, bad hair and fog brain.

Autism fog brain.

Nutella fog brain.

Other fog brain.

Just fog brain.

Earlier today, I took my friend’s dog for a walk.

When we left, it was sunny and crisp with bits of blue between the big white puffy clouds over the mountain to the north.

I guess I didn’t take enough notice of the giant gray thunderstorm blowing up from the south.

About a 1/2 mile from my friend’s house it started pouring – really pouring.  😦

I pulled my hood up over my head and scrunched myself down into my jacket and tried to hide from it, but then I looked at the dog.

He was prancing with his head held high and his forward momentum growing.

I think he liked the rain.

I pulled my hood back down, unzipped my jacket a bit and followed his lead.

Maybe embracing the crazy weather outside would help with the crazy weather in my head.

We got drenched, absolutely soaked to the skin, but it was exhilarating.

I definitely got a much better workout after abandoning all hair-do protecting instincts.  😀

The walk helped clear some fog, but my stomach still kind of hurts.

Now I’m home and dry and the little boy is here with me.

The rain has stopped and it’s almost time to make dinner.

Can’t decide what to put on my stress belly.

Pasta?

Veggie burger?

Soup?

Salad?

Leftover Nestle Crunch Eggs?

A vacation?

What do you think?

For your delight, here is a website that has been cracking up the husband this week.

For your sweet tooth, here is something I tried out to calm my gut yesterday.  It worked beautifully for a while.

Oh, and something else!  One of the loveliest people I know became a teenager today…

Happy Birthday, Holly Polliwog!
(And welcome to the front seat. :D)
I love you!

♥♥

Spring Break

My son and I made cupcakes on Friday.

They were nothing fancy, just a box of Betty Crocker and a tub of fluffy frosting that we tinted Pepto pink.

The little boy ate four.  Or at least, I gave him four.

The first one was too warm and sort of fell apart when I frosted it.  I let it crumble into a bowl and dropped a blob of pink perfection right on top.

I gave my son a fork and told him to go ahead, but he couldn’t figure out how, so he knit his brow in frustration.  (I saw that coming.)

The second one was cooler and held its rosy lid more easily.  My son eagerly took it from my hand and started his happy cupcake dance into the front room.

I frosted the third one for myself, but as I was starting to peel its paper, my sous chef returned and nabbed it from me.

I was a little surprised to see him back on the line so soon, but he’s seven and he really likes cupcakes.

This time he stayed in the kitchen on frozen feet, moving only his hand and tongue.  He licked the top of the third cupcake until it was clean, then plopped it, naked, onto the counter.

His little face communicates so much sometimes, I forget that he’s autistic.  His eyes told me to frost a fourth.

I handed the last one to him and watched as he tried to eat a bite.  The crumbly texture of the cake was problematic.

He settled for a mouthful of the frosting again then tossed the rest in the trash.  He’d finally had enough.

When I walked into the front room a moment later, I discovered cupcake number two, frosting side down on the tile floor.

The five-minute “fess up to your messes” lesson was lost on the little boy.  He could tell I was a little bit annoyed.  Nobody learns when you’re teaching like that, right?

The unfortunate and easily forgotten problem with all of this is that now the child knows there’s an open can of frosting in the house.  And it’s pink.  He really likes pink.

He has eaten it slathered on graham crackers and Ritz crackers and in happy blobs right off a spoon.  He just loves frosting, you know?

In fact, last night I tossed the remaining cupcakes in the trash.  They were just receptacles for the real dessert anyway, and not very good ones at that.  Sorry, Betty.

So much for trying to improve his diet, but what can I say?  We were on day five of the two-week break and I was out of entertainment ideas.

And please, no comments about GFCF.  This is a cupcake post.  🙂

Speaking of baked goods, I have to share today’s little let-down.

Occasionally, I get a huge hankering for blueberry muffins.

I don’t really understand this craving, because I don’t actually like blueberries, but it is what it is.

When I want a blueberry muffin, I really want a blueberry muffin.

Luckily for me, Vons Grocery has always made really good ones.

They’re enormous, fluffy, moist, loaded with berries and super fresh.  They’re really more like a cake than a breakfast bread.

Best of all, they’re sprinkled with giant sugar crystals.  Gotta love that sparkley, crackley goodness embedded in the slightly crunchy top.

Delicious!  😀

Unfortunately, the blueberry muffin in the Vons pastry case this week is smaller and has no sugar on its roof.  😦

I bought one today and decided the actual cake is probably the same recipe, but it just didn’t seem like the muffin I know and love.

The missing sugar was a huge disappointment.  It left me with the feeling that my blueberry muffin craving may never be properly satisfied again.

However…

there are blueberries in my freezer and fancy sugar crystals in my cupboard, so I may just have to perfect a recipe of my own.  😀

Stay tuned for that!

Oh, and another thing, summer is here.

The boy just finished a milkshake and is now outside throwing cups of water onto the grass.

It’s official.

♥♥