Monday, May 28, 2018

A royal wedding cake with a southern touch!

So, yeah, just like billions of others, I caught that royal wedding bug last weekend when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle.  I set my alarm for 4:00 last Saturday morning and I woke up and turned on the TV to watch every single second of it.  Larry woke up and joined me around 6:00 and we watched it together.  Such a gorgeous, perfect wedding and they looked so in love.  Yep, I cried, but mostly because his beautiful mother wasn't there and she should have been.  Sigh.  As soon as Harry and William stepped out to begin their walk to St. George's Chapel, both so very handsome dressed in full military uniform, the waterworks were ON around here.  

The thing I loved the most, though, was how UN-royal the whole thing was.  How the two of them had their OWN wedding and shucked so many royal traditions.  God, how I love them.

Their cake was no exception.  No stuffy old fruit cake for those two!  They opted for a light, fluffy lemon elderflower cake with buttercream frosting.  I just had to try it.  

So I did today!  On our Memorial Day.  Larry and I had hamburgers, hot dogs and this amazing cake.  Now if you search the internet, you will find hundreds of recipes for this cake.  This is the one I chose.  

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup whole milk 
4 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract

You'll need all this!
Directions:

Beat the butter and sugar on high until it's all nice and fluffy
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside

Beat the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy and add in lemon zest

Using a fork, whisk egg whites, milk and extract together in a bowl

Alternate the dry and wet ingredients into the butter mixture beating on medium until incorporated

Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with baker's spray

Pour batter evenly into the pans and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes

For the buttercream frosting:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (that's three sticks!)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 c elderflower liqueur (I used St. Germain)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Directions:

Cream butter until smooth
On low, add powdered sugar one cup at a time
Add elderflower liqueur, lemon extract and salt
Whip for five minutes

Yummmmm!  Buttercream!  With elderflower liqueur!  

Larry picked a magnolia bloom off our tree in the backyard and I placed it on the top.  A royal wedding cake with a southern touch!


We felt like royalty, fo' sho'.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Seeds of hope

I hope we're finally into spring!  We've had such cold and rainy days in between few sunny, warm days that my gardening is off to a slow, late start.  Since I'm growing everything from seed this year, everything seems to be soooo slooooow.  

The sunflowers are doing great, though, and Larry took the netting off today.  The first set of seeds we planted got gobbled up by something.  They ate right through the Texas Pete this year!  Larry put down netting and that seemed to do the trick!  We've got mammoth babies growing tall already.  I'm always so proud of my summer sunflowers.  I can't wait to see these.  

Tabbie loves to lay in the sunflowers, under the windmill, in the dirt.


I was about to give up on these tomatoes and peppers I ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and just go get me some plants, like I do every year.  They took a while to sprout.  I blame the cold nights and all the rain.  They finally started sprouting last week!  


There's Atomic Grape Tomatoes, Filius Blue Pepper, Tam Jalapeno Pepper and Santa Fe Grande Pepper.  Maybe we'll have something we can eat come August!  Ha!  I bought two huge pots to transplant these into as soon as they're big enough.

Tito

...also known around here as Thomas Asparagus.

There was this little gray tabby who took up here this month and he caused all kinds of commotion and drama and anxiety and joy and slow blinks and purring. Our house has become sort of a Kitty Central since Christmas with the five (sometimes six) feral cats who come here to eat.  Well, one day, this little fellow showed up and he wasn't feral.  He was sweet and let me touch him and he rubbed up against my leg, all the things that tame kitties do.  He never hissed once and he followed me around.  He made himself right at home on the front porch, too.



Not having any idea where he came from, I started calling him Thomas Asparagus.  Thomas after my daddy and Asparagus after my and Larry's favorite vegetable.  Cute, right?

I found out from my neighbors that he belonged to someone on the street right next to ours and that she had gotten him from some folks who lived out in the country, said he was always an outside cat and that he was "being aggressive" with another cat they had.  So they gave him away.  Seething, I was.  I am a firm believer in once you get a pet, he or she is YOURS for life.  You don't "get rid" of them.  Since we live in a subdivision, it's really not smart to have an outside pet of any kind.  They get out, Animal Control gets 'em and we all know they are murderers over there.  I tried to get Thomas back to his second mama but he got away from us.  At night.  In the rain.  That's when we found out his name was Tito.  Tito had been living the thug life in the neighborhood and he'd gotten in a fight with one of the toms and had been badly bitten on his head.  By the time I got really involved, his eye had almost swollen shut.  

Here he is at the window talking to me and Tabbie Hoffman.


Oh, I wanted him.  I wanted him bad.  But my first obligation and responsibility is to Tabbie.  He's never climbed a tree or jumped a fence, doesn't even know he's a cat at all and I'd like to keep it that way.  I could not let Tito teach him about life on the streets.  No matter how much I cried.  I couldn't do it.  

But I could help Tito!  I could make a difference in his little life.  By this time, though, his wound was badly swollen, abscessing probably, and he was in a lot of pain.  He wouldn't let me get him.  He scratched and hissed and pitched pretty good fits.  I went and got a bed, a litter box and a crate.  Larry set the Havahart trap and we caught him. 

I got him in the crate and tried to calm him down.  He had been pawing his wound and it had started to drain.  And probably felt so much better!  The next morning, I took him to the vet and I had his little head wound (FOUR bites!) cleaned, got him an antibiotic shot and a rabies shot, just because.  

This was him that morning.  His eye was almost completely open!  He was sweet and friendly again, too.  I sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Puff The Magic Dragon" to him in the car and then brought him back home.


I called his first mama and talked to her.  She sounded about 14 on the phone but she was married and expecting her first baby in two weeks.  She really, really wanted Tito back but he was being a bully to her other cat, a girl.  Guess what, though?  Tito still had all his boy parts.  I convinced her that if she got him fixed, he would calm down, get all mellow and stuff and stop trying to run off at night.  He'd just lay around and get fat and sassy like my Tabbie. 

She came and picked him up and she told me that she'd made an appointment for him to be neutered yesterday and I said a little prayer yesterday morning that all would go well.  I hope it did and that he's happy being back at home.  His real home.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Changes

So I did a thing yesterday.  A BIG thing.  I deactivated my Facebook account. 

Those of you who are "friends" with me on Facebook know what a huge deal this was for me.  I have spent the past eleven years of my life sharing (and oversharing!) photos, witty status updates, hopes and dreams.  I've shared family gatherings, my homes, my Larry, our Tabbie Hoffman and our Banjo.  I shared lost jobs, going back to college, my three-year struggle to land my job at the base, trips I've taken, devastating losses of beloved family and friends and of course, happy, happy times like the night I brought my husband home FINALLY and the day my niece made me a great-aunt (although I think I've always been a great aunt).  My LIFE. 

Recently, though, I've thought a lot about leaving.  I really should have a year ago.  Or even before, after our last election, when I had to "unfriend" 300+ people for sheer ignorance and intolerance.  Trumpsters, as I call 'em.  Facebook became a place that I could vent my frustration over this person we have in the White House, a person so vile and repulsive that I will never, ever put President in front of his name, neither in print nor on my tongue.  I still don't understand how anyone (especially women) can continue to support this man.  I don't suppose I'll ever understand.  I've supported people in the past (politically and personally) but I didn't KEEP supporting them when they proved to be something I couldn't abide.  Maybe that's the worst part.  Some people CAN abide him.  That's sad.  And scary.

So when the truth came out about the Russians and the election and how they used Facebook to carry out part of their attack, I was mad.  Furious.  I remember just before the election all of the horrible things I saw on my news feed, stories that I KNEW were not true, I just didn't know where they were coming from.  I had so many "friends" posting that crap that I unfollowed people for the very first time, just so I wouldn't have to see it.  Can't they SEE that this is nonsense??  Don't they check things first before they share it??  No, they didn't.  They still don't.

Recently, more Russian involvement surfaced and we found out that a company called Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm hired by the Trump campaign, acquired private data from millions (87 million, give or take) of Facebook users and used it to manipulate voters and help Trump win the election.  Well, that I just can't support.  Even though (as far as I know, I never got notification) my data wasn't used, I feel that Facebook deliberately jeopardized our privacy for profit and the only reason CEO Mark Zuckerberg is "sorry" is because he got caught. Little punk. 

So I'm gone.  Don't know if I'll be back.  I might, some day.  I might not.  I just walked away from Myspace one day a long time ago and I can do it with Facebook, too.  I downloaded all of my data (948 MB!) so I have all of my pictures and funny statuses and things I've shared.  Eleven years of it. 

You can follow me on Twitter (just know that I am heavily into The Resistance on Twitter and if you're still a Trumpster, you won't like it) or Instagram if you like or you can check out my blog from time to time.  I'm sure there will be lots of fun and vintage goodies to come!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ring-a-ling-ling!

We got us one of them fancy Ring video doorbells and installed it yesterday. It's pretty dang cool, too! 

We downloaded the app on our phones and now when somebody comes up on our porch (or if our porch flag flies a little too hard), we get a notification on our phones that there's movement at the door.  SOOOO cool!!  Of course, if somebody rings the doorbell, we get notification that there's somebody AT the door.  And we can see and talk to them through the doorbell, whether we're at home or work or away at the beach or wherever we are.  



Modern technology.  I like it.

The Easter Bunny still comes to see me...

The Easter Bunny came to see all of us!  Larry and I got baskets of candy and goodies and I got a giant Easter Minnie Mouse and Mickey and Minnie POPs!


Banjo and Tabbie Hoffman got a new water fountain to share (Tabbie drinks out of Banjo's water bowl anyway AND eats his food...oy), Banjo got some new chew bones and Tabbie got some silver vine sticks.  They both got new toys, too.  Yay for the Easter Bunny!!