Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cookies, Cake and a Book

Sometimes it's hard to tell which holiday we're on around here.

Did you have a happy Valentine's Day? I hope you spent most of your day knee deep in chocolate, and with fresh cut flowers all around you.

Valentine's Day always has a way of sneaking up on me and so my children always wonder why we never decorate the house with hearts and candy and cards, and I always tell them that it's because there isn't enough time. We managed to get a little decorating in last year, but this year I never got around to it. See last year's decorations here and here. Incidentally, I'm also the one who complains whenver I see Valentine's Day products displayed in stores at the beginning of the year... it's too darn early! Blargh!
I spent most of Sunday baking and decorating sugar cookies... and also managed to make a birthday cake for my mother who turns 62 today. Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Mom's birthday celebration was very low-key, just me and my family and my parents-in-law sitting around the dining table eating BBQ chicken sandwiches with a side of Jon's famous french fries {which you can find here}.  With wind whistling outside, we settled into a nice evening with a log {one of those fake ones that burns for hours} in the fireplace to set the party mood -- homey, warm and comfortable. I added tea light candles to the table just to make it more festive and had to laugh when I noticed how dusty the candle holder was. Looks like it's been a long time since we've had cause for celebration. HA!

The recipe for the cake came from Martha Stewart. I opted against using her Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting and instead used a recipe that I've made before and is consistently tasty, and spreads like... well, butter. I'll try to post the frosting recipe in my next post for tonight I'm much too lazy to walk upstairs to get it... and it's only 8:30, the night is still young and already I'm ready to hit the hay.

And as for Valentine's Day....

Jon expressed his love for me in the way of new yoga pants and athletic jacket... he knows me so well. For him, a brand new wallet which doesn't fit nearly the amount of stuff he needs to haul around with him, and the sweet inscription on the money clip was done with little care and so it looks messy. Blargh again!! I ordered the wallet with the hidden message money clip online and now I'm ready to return it and buy a different one from somewhere else. In my defense, the only reason why I bought from this particular outfit is because they offered to do the engraving... that was the whole point of the gift. The wallet was personalized from the girls, and the inscription read:

Why do you have a happy face on your face?
Love, Samantha and Alexandra.

I understand that you may think that this is an odd thing to inscribe on a money clip, but it's somewhat of an inside joke. You see, one night at dinner, Alex had a sour look on her face, and Sammy said, "Daddy, why does Alex have that mean face on her face?" And we all howled with laughter because we thought it was just a funny, roundabout way, to ask why Alex was upset. It's been a running joke ever since. And now the wallet is probably going to be returned. Phooey!!

Next year I'm going to do my best to start shopping and decorating for Valentine's Day early... I'll probably start doing so at the beginning of each year... if I can't beat'em, might as well join'em. On my list of gift items is a book that has been around for decades. It's written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, that's right, Charles Lindbergh's wife. I think every wife, mother should have it. Each time I thumb through it I'm newly reminded of just how the work of wife, mother has not evolved as much as you may think it has. We're still caring for our families in practically the same way, and stressing over life's little chores that your mother stressed over, and her mother stressed over. Here is an excerpt from the inside cover:

"A mother of five, an acclaimed writer and a pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families." 

Doesn't sound like 1955 does it?

Lindbergh expresses sincerely her thoughts on relationships, children, family, all in this tiny blue book. And though this book is dainty, it's heft is in the wisdom it imparts on almost every page:

"I mean to lead a simple life, to choose a simple shell I can carry easily -- like a hermit crab. But I do not. I find that my frame of life does not foster simplicity. My husband and five children must make their way in the world. The life I have chosen as wife and mother entrains a whole caravan of complications. It involves a house in the suburbs and either household drudgery or household help which wavers between scarcity and non-existence for most of us. It involves food and shelter; meals, planning, marketing, bills and making the ends meet in a thousand ways. It involves not only the butcher, the baker, the candlestickmaker but countless other experts to keep my modern house with its modern  'simplifications' (electricity, plumbing, refrigerator, gas-stove, oil-burner, dish-washer, radios, car and numerous other labor-saving devices) functioning properly. It involves health; doctors, dentists, appointments, medicine, code-liver oil, vitamins, trips to the drugstore. It involves education, spiritual, intellectual, physical; schools, school conferences, car-poos, extra trips for basketball or orchestra practice, tutoring; camps, camp equipment and transportation. It involves clothes, shopping, laundry, cleaning, mending, letting skirts down and sewing buttons on, or finding someone else to do it. It involves friends, my husband's, my children's, my own, and endless arrangements to get together; letters, invitations, telephone calls and transportation hither and yon. "

It really is an inspirational read and, if I had a bedside table, I'd definitely keep it there.

And last but not least, without further adieu, here is the video of Alex singing How Did You Get To Be So Sweet. This is the version I had wanted to show you all along but it was too large a file to post straight through to Blogger. So instead, I uploaded it onto YouTube and then took the video from there... voila! It worked. Enjoy!! And thank you for tuning in to this very long post.


  1. OOOOH my gosh, how did she get to be so sweet?
    That was so cute, couldn't help but smiling as I played it a second time.

  2. I know I'm biased but I just think it's the cutest thing. I can't get enough of it. Thank you, Charlie!!