Month of Cake

AH!

April = Month of Cake
April is a busy month for birthdays around here.  My mom and myself are in April, while my brother’s birthday was in April, too.  Over the Christmas break my mom and I were sitting on the couch and she decided to start a conversation by saying, “Next year you will be 30..” and I quickly followed up with ‘and I’ve never been to Disney World!”
So, we went to Disney World.  In February. I ended my then current job at the beginning of February, went to Disney, took some extra time off, and just before the month ended I started my new job. Honestly, it was such a fun and well needed trip for the two of us.  I’ve never been, and wouldn’t settle to go with anyone but my mom for the first time, and she hasn’t been since she was 18 (that was only for a day!).
Then we decided that we’ll make one another’s birthday cake!  My mom said she wanted a yellow cake with white fluffy icing… so I had to work with that request.  Any time there’s an option for something s’mores or chocolate and peanut butter she’s all over it.  So, I went to work with make her yellow cake and white fluffy icing:
For the yellow cake I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the best birthday cake. I made 2 layers with a 9 in. pan and it overflowed. I was prepared for that possibly happening.  Once the layers cooled I leveled them and the leftover cake was good to nibble on :)  For the fluffy white icing I made marshmallow icing.
On top of the first layer of cake I had made a thick fudgy icing, made a graham cracker crumble (broken up pieces dribbled with melted butter and sugar, then put in the oven for about 10 minutes), and then I had put a layer of peanut butter icing over the graham cracker crumble.  I improvised these icings since I only need such a small batch. I should have used more butter and cream for them because the cake separated a little at the middle with the graham crumble.  So, you’d have a plate with a layer of yellow cake and fudge and graham cracker and then yellow cake covered in marshmallow icing with peanut butter and graham crumble.
Too bad I forgot to take a picture!
My cake was something else… ohmigosh, it was rich and took nearly 2 hours to eat a slice!  I said how about a chocolate cake with coconut icing?
Being that my mom knew I’m a Smitten Kitchen fan, she made this recipe. The ganache was soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good.  She used that between the layers and melted it over top the coconut icing.
The icing recipe was for a bundt cake, but this layered cake was generously iced and still had some left over… I can’t imagine how much icing would have been on this bundt cake!!  There was one issue that my mom ran into with the cake: again, 9 in. pans and the batter would rise and then fall.  She’s not normally one for measuring, but she measured everything accurately.  I didn’t find anything in the comments about this, so who knows what happened!
Either way, the cake was fudgy and moist and absolutely delicious:
IMG_20150419_155737
20150419_143937
welp, that’s what I’ve been up to… celebrating birthdays and stuffing myself with cake for breakfast everyday :D
Happy Birthday to the other April babies!!

Struggling with Addiction

I wanted to share about my brother passing and it has everything to do with addiction.  I’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions when it comes to sharing his story, but it needs to be shared.  There are people everywhere who struggling with addiction and those who love/share homes with someone who struggles with it.  This is an introduction to these entries, as it’ll be personal information that I haven’t shared on such a platform before.  I intend to share more, in pieces, as it’s a hard topic to write about in one sitting.

My paternal grandparents were addicted to nicotine and alcohol.  Growing up, they smoked all day and would drink any time after noon.  They were highly functioning alcoholics.  My dad was exposed to that for most of his life and the addiction was learned.  My brother and I were exposed to my grandparents addictions and saw my dad fall into his struggle with alcohol.  I was estranged from my dad for nearly 10 years and was greatly impacted by my grandparents choices.  I wasn’t going to let something ruin my potential and take over my life.
My brother was close with my dad and learned this behavior. At a young age my brother started smoking to fit in with the kids he wanted to hang out with, later becoming addicted to pain killers and dabbling into some other drugs. It was heartbreaking to see this happen, knowing how destructive it was on the outside and not knowing fully how destructive it must have been on the inside. My brother had a lot of secrets, which I’ve been learning about since he passed in November.  I’ll never know some of these facts, what drugs he did or how often, but I do know that they took him through a downward spiral for ~10 years.
It was so intense for him, during the last week of his life he drank a cold medicine to dull the pain.  I can’t imagine being at that point.  It hurts to know that my brother felt the need for that.
This is going to be the most personal I’ve ever been, in a long time, on the internet about my life.  I hope it helps someone.

at long last!

In 19 days I will turn 30.  Whaaat?!  It’s hard to believe.  I thank God that I have lived to see 30.

My absence on blogging was mainly due to my job – working long hours, then cut backs, and my commute… it made certain things hard to commit to, but it all worked out as it was supposed to.

There’s a place nearby that I’ve been checking out for employment for several years and one afternoon I looked at their site to see the perfect job for me was open.  More or less the same exact thing I was doing, but it also allowed me to learn and grow in areas that I knew of and didn’t do day to day.  It took 7 business days for two interviews (phone and on site visit) and the job offer to take place! 

I accepted a new job, planned my first vacation to Disney World to celebrate my 30th birthday two months early, had time to shake off the old job and get excited for the new job, and then started my new job.

2015 had started with excitement and sadness.  I was beyond thrilled for a new calendar year and what it will bring, what God has in store and all the exciting things He has for me.

On November 28th, 2014 my mom had received a call from my dad stating that my younger brother, Joe, had passed.  It was something that wasn’t expected.

The last 5 months of my life have been a whirlwind.  In some ways it still is, but not as much. 

The passing of my brother was quite the learning experience.  With friends checking in and stopping by, it was brought up that I wasn’t blogging and that after this experience I will blog more.  I’m not blogging now because my brother died, but for several reasons: I have the time to dedicate to this process, I have less deadlines and stress, time for adventures, laughter, and memories, and I have a story to tell… testimonies to share.  There’s someone who needs to read about my brother, who needs to read about my mourning, who needs to read about how all this had happened, but I was still thanking God. 

I have parts of my life that needs sharing. 

so, let the sharing begin!

what’s new?

So what have I been up to? Well, other than catching up on my DVR and making Christmas gifts, I have been exploring some of the cutest towns in Maryland. When I lived in Philadelphia I could just turn my head east and over the river I saw New Jersey. Now all I have to do is drive west 20 minutes and I’m on the Eastern Shore. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve judged these towns based on how much they resemble Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls! These are tiny towns that have the cutest ‘in town’ streets, shops and restaurants. In addition, you can clearly spot the locals and that they’ve known by the shop owners or are regulars at the establishment. It also gives off a nice homey feel.

SOUNDS: I’ve been loving the new Gungor album. I’m pretty excited to see them in November. I’ve also had the latest Civil Wars and Audrey Assad albums on repeat. There’s also The Highway station I listen to in my car… I find it hilarious that my little Veloster will blare country music next to ginormous pick up trucks on the road.

WATCHING: I’m still trying to finish Season 3 of The Walking Dead… I know I know! I can’t wait till Scandal starts up again and I’m still slightly devastated that Dexter didn’t end up with Hannah. I do like how it ended, as it reflected his personality and personal beliefs, but I REALLY wanted him to just be happy and with Hannah in Argentina.

READING: I haven’t really been reading much lately. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts if I’m not yammering with my train mates (while crocheting at the same time). I haven’t even successfully read the last issue of VegNews! :(

EATING: I’m trying to get in as much crabs as possible! This season wasn’t really a great season, but I’ve been indulging in seafood and trying to savor what I can before Autumn flavors truly set in. I have had two pumpkin spice lattes and I like to rub it in to my UK buds, as their PSL season hasn’t started yet!

What have you been reading? Listening to? Watching? Eating? Suggestions?!?!

Image

This year has proven to be challenging, but in a good way. It’s made me bend in a lot of ways, but I didn’t break. It’s made me shrug my shoulders and say to myself, “This is life: I can choose to react this way or that way. I can choose to make the best of this or be bitter/angry/complain/etc and be miserable (which will get me nowhere and not make anything better).” I was removed from my Comfort Zone more times than I can count, but I needed to be pushed out of it.

Being removed from your Comfort Zone is life and part of experiencing life. It helps you grow and recognize qualities that you weren’t aware you had. I’m working to remove some of these qualities and working to improve others. Heck, this is just what being an adult is all about!

My faith has played an enormous role in me being able to get through these events. My faith has grown and strengthened. I’ve retreated from some people and grown closer to others. I’ve also become increasingly aware of my emotions – how I can be overly emotional or not want to face emotions.

I’ve neglected this space of mine, but I want to continue to build it and communicate with other fellow bloggers. I’ve missed it!

I’ve recently had a great session with a friend of mine and discussed blogging, writing, hobbies… etc.  I say ‘session’ because it was hours and hours of sitting and talking and covering many subjects of life.

It was a lot to take in…

But the Guinness helped. haha!

IMG_1103

I don’t have a specific direction for this blog.  I’ve been browsing a lot of blogs and looking at how there are those who have a specific platform and then some that have their platform that occasionally get personal.

Here is where you’ll read about on this space of the internet:

my faith

what I eat

recipes

rants/vents

photo posts (my bud, Sarah, is so good with this)

life events (as I am a single 27 year old lady)

That’s all I’ve got.

Happy Saturday Friends :)

 

Happy (belated) New Year! Let’s talk resolutions? goals? plans?

Tags

,

I’m not fond of resolutions or had really committed to making a resolution.  I like the idea of goals and planning, I’m someone who likes to make plans, but this stuff has always been something I’ve failed at.  I rather think of it as ‘making a commitment and following through.’

So with it being the new year and all, I’ve opted to read a lot of what people had to say about making resolutions and what you should do instead of making resolutions.  I took the time to do this because there are some changes/improvements that I need to make for myself.  And honestly, I’m just not sure how to get my freakin’ butt in gear with this stuff.

 

So, here’s what I’ve read:

 

Jon Acuff’s 52 & 7

I’ve written in my journal about this.  I’m committed to this idea, because it’s a

great way to keep what you like and don’t like.  This is realistic for me.

 

10 Things Wrong With Your New Year’s Resolutions via Time Management Ninja

What’s great about this: time management is on my list of things to improve.

It needs serious improvement.

 

A new year in Christ: 8 new ways to live – Pastor Mark Driscoll – The Washington Post

 

13 Signs You Need to Get Unstuck via Relevant Magazine

(I get the magazine, but you should totally sign up to unlock the full article)

 

5 Ways to Slow Down in 2013 via Relevant Magazine

After living in France, I realized how I tend to not slow down.  Some days I get

flashbacks of rushing into the kitchen and being asked why I’m moving so fast

in the morning and I responded with how I tend to run late and I need to get to

my day and the woman I lived with simply said, “the whole world runs late! stop!”

My French family certainly shared some day to day wisdom with me.

 

5 Questions to Begin 2013 – Nicole Unice

This was an extensive journal entry for me.  I plan to write and share about it

on here!

 

How to Pick New Year’s Values – Renee Fisher via iBelieve

I like values, not goals or resolutions, but values to improve.

 

Do you remember? – Seth Godin

Love this.  Resolutions rarely work, so take inventory.  I should be able to take an

inventory on life, especially if I do that for my vegan pantry to plan for my bulk shopping.

 

Have you read anything about resolutions and goals for the new year that has inspired you?

Do you have a plan?

 

HAPPY (belated) NEW YEAR!

untitled;

I’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather and embracing the change of seasons (despite not wanting to give up my flippies and capris!).

I’ve been baking something with pumpkin every week, PLUS making pumpkin pie pancakes.  In return, I’m doing double the yoga on the weekends.

Not only do I thank God for pumpkins and, nearly, all things containing pumpkin, but I thank God for each and every breath I get to take.

“I must have a wine and cheese party to celebrate!”

Tags

, , ,

This past weekend I celebrated one of my best friends:

In about one more year I’ll need to refer to her as ‘Doctor’…

I don’t remember the last time I pulled an all-nighter, but I’m still quite capable of doing it!

There was wine & cheese

and great company.

Celebrating your loved ones is a must in life.  It’s a great thing to celebrate people and their accomplishments!

I’m baaaack!!

It’s been a long summer.

I wanted to take the time to explore more on the weekends and my eyes weren’t really into spending a lot of time on the NerdBox.  I’m still, geographically, adjusting to my move and learning about what’s around me.

Summer is over.

School buses are everywhere and it’s annoying.

And my never ending stash of Festina Pêche is gone.

I will abandon day trips to the beach for day trips to Annapolis or Baltimore.

My little friends are finding new homes (my garage).

My raw diet has given way to lots of roasted veggies and baking.

Iced coffees are now replaced with hot hot delicious Australian coffee and rainy mornings.

My adventures were local, cheap and relaxing. No summer vacation fuss here.

so, how you doin’? 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.