Friday, February 27, 2015


In college when Paul and I were dating, we used to enjoy playing bingo.  We were always the youngest people in the smoky bingo hall.  This was in the early 90s, and all the ladies playing used to bring troll dolls and stroke their hair for luck.

A local park and rec here recently had a family bingo night.  We decided to go.  It was $1 for a card, and you got to keep the card for the whole night.  Talk about a great deal!  We played 20 games.

Luck wasn't with us on this night, but we had a great time.  There were interesting prizes - air mattresses and fish aquariums and chia pets and fishing poles.  Every seat was taken.  We saw next to three elderly women who were very friendly, and one of them shared her boxes of raisins with the boys. 
And when a construction worker at the table with Cort won a round, he let Cort go up and get his prize.  The prizes were wrapped in newspaper, so you didn't know what it was until you unwrapped it.  Cort was proud of his four pack of flashlights.
Supposedly, family bingo happens twice a year.  We'll be on the lookout for the next event.
Readers, when is the last time you played Bingo?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mocha Latte Cake Recipe

This is one of my favorite cakes I have ever made.  Possibly my favorite.  It starts from a simple cake mix, but it evolves into a masterpiece of chocolate and coffee that will impress the most discerning guests.  The frosting is absolutely heavenly.

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 package chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
1 pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powered sugar + 1 cup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350*.  Coat 2 (9 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.  Melt 1/2 cup butter; cool slightly.  On medium speed, beat cake mix with 1 cup water, eggs and melted butter until just blended.  On medium high speed, beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Divide batter between two pans and bake 25 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes.  Transfer from pans to racks.  Stir coffee granules into 1/3 cup water until dissolved; reserve 2 tbsp. of mixture.  Brush warm cake layers with remaining coffee mixture, cool completely.

On medium high speed, beat remaining butter until fluffy.  On low speed, gradually beat in 16 oz. powdered sugar and reserved 2 tbsp. coffee mixture until blended.  On medium high speed, beat until light and fluffy.

In separate bowl, on medium high speed, beat cream cheese and vanilla with remaining 1 cup sugar until blended and fluffy.  Transfer one cake layer to serving plate and spread with cream cheese mixture to within 1/2 inch of edge.  Top with remaining cake layer.

Spread cake top and sides with coffee frosting. 

It's a little bit of an effort to make this cake, but it is certainly worth it.  I'll be making this again in the near future!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Clay Creations

When I was a kid, I always took Art as my elective in school.  I loved creating all sorts of things.  I still have a few of the drawings I did.

Whenever I would make something from clay, my mom would always put it in the china cabinet.  There, it would have a prominent place among the family heirlooms - crystal and goblets and beautiful cups and plates.  It always made me feel special.

Pierce brought home this little golden fish that he created in art recently.
Following tradition, it now resides in the china cabinet.  Between all three boys, I suspect my china cabinet will be very full in a few years.

Readers, what did you do with your art as a kid?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Spinach and Scallop Angel Hair Pasta Recipe

I am always on the lookout for quick and healthy recipes to pull together for dinner.  I tossed this combination together in about 10 minutes, it was a big hit with the boys, and total cost for a family of five came in at under $5!

16 oz. angel hair pasta
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped garlic
9 oz. package fresh spinach
4 oz. frozen scallops, thawed
1/2 tsp. black pepper
freshly grated parmesan

Cook pasta according to directions, drain.  Heat oil and garlic in large skillet over medium heat.  When garlic starts to sizzle, add 1/2 cup water and spinach and scallops.  Cover and cook 5 minutes or until spinach is tender.  Add pepper and toss with pasta, sprinkle with parmesan to taste.

I found frozen scallops at the dollar store, which is what I used for this recipe (and why it was so cheap).  I think it would be awesome with large scallops, too, albeit not quite as budget-friendly.  If you didn't have spinach on hand, kale would be a good substitution. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where's Pierce?

I found Nemo.  Now where's Pierce?
Picture taken at Center in the Square.
Linking with Wordless Wednesday at Planet of the Apels.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Excavating the Pyramid

A few weeks ago our house got hit hard with that dreadful stomach virus that has been making the rounds.  Pierce had some special activities going on at school that he'd really been looking forward to attending.  I have to give him credit for positive outlook.  He kept going around the house (as his brothers hovered by the toilet) saying, "I'm not going to get it.  I know I'm not".  Famous last words. 

I found him hiding in his bed.  He didn't want us to know he was sick.  He wanted to go to school that badly.

Needless to say, he had to stay home.  But he cheered up when I pulled out the pyramid that he received from Santa Clause. 

I read to him about Egyptian culture and archaeology while Pierce got set up.  His first step was to crack the top and find the secret slide to remove it.

Once the top was off, he discovered the pyramid was full of sand.  Luckily, he was armed with special tools to carefully remove the sand.

And, he found a sarcophagus!  Pierce got very excited over this.  He kept saying how cool it was. 

Bit by bit, he removed a mummy, a death mask, the sarcophagus, and 4 animal urns (which were used to store the organs before mummification. 
What a fun way to spend a sick day!  Luckily, Pierce was able to return to school the next day, and he still got to do the activity he'd been so upset over missing.

Readers, does it seem like sickness always comes at the most inconvenient times?  Or is it just me?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lake Fencing

I love a beach in winter.
Even if it is just a lake beach.
Picture taken at the new community park at Smith Mountain Lake.
Linked with Good Fences at Run A Round Ranch.