4th of July Photo Journal – Family

I can’t believe we’re already on the downhill slope toward Christmas. Oy! If you watch Hallmark Channel, we’re on Christmas in July… round the clock Christmas movies. Gosh, I love Christmas movies, but that’s another post for another day. Right now, let’s discuss the 4th of July, again… one last time.

This will be in the form of hubby’s family. I only say that to distinguish between our two families although technically when we got married, they all became OUR family. Anyway… Just clarifying right there :).

Now one thing that I should point out just to remember is that Hubby and I were the last ones to the party for the most part. A couple of stragglers came in but, usually, we’re some of the first ones there. When we hosted it, we were first, now that we are just patrons (haha, jokes on them… just kidding) we’re still usually some of the first ones to show up. Then I had to leave to go back to my house to get a trailer to set up the fireworks on. 

When I got to the house, the joke was on me… hubby left his truck empty. I used his truck because at that time they were using the bed of mine to sort fireworks. I hopped in his truck and there were 27 miles to empty. Now, I could have made it to my sister-in-law’s and he could have made it from there to the gas station, but at that late at night, who wants to bother? So I stopped and got fuel for him. I might be nice sometimes, but don’t spread the word! (more…)

4th of July Photo Journal – Dive Club

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day saying something to the effect, 4th of July is over, it’s now time to get your Halloween costumes, your Thanksgiving menu, Christmas Presents, and we’re basically at the New Year, Happy 2020. Truthfully I might have giggled a little too much because… the way this year has been flying by, that almost seems real! Here we are 5 days past the 4th of July. Hello, July 9. We’re quickly approaching the dawg days of summer. It is finally getting hot and humid in Missouri. Yes, we have humidity. Yes, it’s horrible. You walk out of your house and feel like you’ve just walked out of the shower. It’s nuts.

Spring has been crazy around here. Tornadoes on top of tornadoes. Rain and flooding. Cooler temperatures… you name it, we’ve probably seen it. Except for a Hurricane. If we see a hurricane in Missouri, we have real problems. Did you know I’m only just a few hours away from the dead middle point of the U.S.? It’s up on the Kansas border near Nebraska. I’ve never been there although that’s on my list of things to do someday. Why not… 

I actually live in a part of Missouri where within 30 minutes you can be further into Missouri, into Oklahoma or Kansas or Arkansas. And there is a point over near here where you can be standing on the border of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. 3 states in one swoop. Honestly, I’ve never been there either although I’ve always been within a mile or so of it. Why I never stop I have no idea.

This year because the 4th of July fell when it did, we got to celebrate twice. Once with our diver friends and again with my husband’s extended family. I overheard that some people think the 4th of July is only about bbq’s, fireworks, and spending time with family. That’s totally inaccurate. It’s about the birthday of our country. On July 4th, 1776 our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence freeing us from British control. It was only after a horrific battle called the Revolutionary War was fought and won. Just thought I’d throw that very broad, basic explanation out there for anyone who might be confused. Do they not teach that in schools anymore? Although the person who made the previous claim is closer to my age than not. I’m really confused.

4th of July

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Pigu {Italian Gougères}

Here while back, I came across a recipe for Pigu. What the heck is Pigu I wondered? Well, basically it is a little dough like thing filled with romano cheese. You start out by making the dough much like noodles, but I almost think it comes out tasting more like bread than a noodle dough. Basically, it is like an Italian Gougères.

Okay, I’ll bite (for you)… what is a Gougères? It is a choux pastry flavored with cheese (usually Gruyère), then usually filled with a savory filling.

So, we have dough, check.

We have cheese, check.

Well, it’s like an Italian Gougères, correct? We’re going to go with it and run! (more…)

Just Retired Tiered Cake (Vanilla)

Just Retired Tiered Vanilla Cake

I sure hope you didn’t try to come to my blog last week. I woke up on Wednesday and would have sworn it was April Fool’s Day (by the way, I hate that day). When I came to the blog, it redirected me to some weird website.

It was trying to get me to click on a button to back up my Window’s machine. Well joke’s on them because I don’t have a window’s machine. But whatever. Anyway…

Over the weekend, I was able to knock 2 things off my Baking/Cooking Bucket List. I made a tiered cake which I haven’t done since I took cake decorating classes. And 2, I made a mirror glaze cake.

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Triple Chocolate Cake

We’ve been working on our house, it feels like non-stop. Some days walking in there is so… almost depressing, but some days it feels like nothing is happening. It is… but it’s happening up in the attic where you just don’t see results other than more lights are popping up as well as electrical plugins. Oh… and an HVAC system. Heat… let there be heat!!

And I swear, our friends are the absolute BEST. We’ve had so much help from our dear, darling, beloved friends. There truly are NO WORDS to describe them! So, when I found out Shelby’s 21st birthday was yesterday, I knew I had to make her a cake!! (She’s newer to this bunch, this is why it was a new find of her birthday!)

Triple Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Homemade Strawberry Jam, and Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Chocolate Ganache

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

What is the deal with everyone wanting Chocolate Birthday Cake? Seriously… haha. Okay, let’s back up and I’ll explain. Tbug’s birthday is the 2nd of January. Then my father-in-law’s birthday is the 9th of January. Bam, 2 in a row.

When I asked her what she wanted, it was a yellow cake with chocolate icing. Very plain and simple. Sometimes though, those are the best. Then I asked my father-in-law what he wanted. He said, oh, I guess chocolate maybe.

Chocolate, okay, we could go many different ways with that, right? But… then he mentioned, not German Chocolate or was it not Devil’s food chocolate. Gosh, I can’t even remember now. Either way… that did help narrow it down a little.

I had run across The Stay at Home Chef‘s The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake. I’ve made the cake before, which ended in me almost having a meltdown and crying. Ugh! But I’ve learned quite a few tricks since then… So… I decided to make it word for word recipe-wise.

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Black Forest Birthday Cake

New Year’s Eve tends to be a night where everyone is ringing in the New Year. And don’t worry, we brought in the new year. In fact, I brought in the new year baking a cake… but not this one. I made this one the day before…

Our friend Doug has a birthday on New Year’s Eve. Yup, his momma got to ring in the new year in the hospital, but it wasn’t a bad accident. Nope, it brought my friend Doug into the world… 50 years ago in fact. And I have to admit, I met him in 2013 and didn’t realize he was in his 40’s at the time.

Wow, I’ve known him 5 years… CRAZY. I just thought about that. Just a thought… but back to the cake.

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She’s 16… Holy Cow

I’m not sure when or how this happened, but she decided to turn 16 on me. WHAT?!?! I feel old, trust me! She was 6 when she came into my life. I was 19 when she was born. She’s 16 now. HOLY CRAP! Yes, I just said that.

Last month I asked her what kind of cake she wanted. She said yellow cake with chocolate icing is her favorite. So… yellow cake with chocolate icing it is… But I had to add sprinkles. It would have been boring without the sprinkles.

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3-Layer Microwave Cake (Happy Birthday Momma!)

Yes, you read this correctly! This 3-layer cake was made in the microwave. Mind blown! haha.

So a blog I like to follow called Bigger Bolder Baking (mentioned a time or two) said you could make a 3-layer cake in the microwave. Now if you know anything about me… of course I’m going to have to try that out.

Once upon a time for Christmas, my mom bought me a silicon baking set… but at the time I didn’t really care for it and never figured I’d use it ever again, so of course I got rid of it eventually. To me, it was just taking up space in the cabinet. And this time frame was like when I was still in high school or just first into college. Like a long time ago. By the way, I think I’m hanging out with my 15-year-old too much… like has been said like way too many like times. haha! Yes, sometimes we count how many times she uses that word in a sentence. 1 sentence. I think the record was 6 so far. One. Sentence. Let that sink in a minute.

Anyway… I had to go online and get new silicon baking pans because obviously metal ones and a microwave aren’t friends. Also, just for future reference… a metal bread tie and a microwave aren’t friends either.

3-Layer Microwave Cake

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Getting to This Point

Thursday morning… November 29, 2018, a day I never figured would happen. It was an uphill struggle the whole way. I had a meltdown a few times along the way. We all did. It was frustrating as hell (pardon my language). If you’ve ever thought about buying a foreclosure house, my thought is… DON’T. Okay, maybe that’s being a bit melodramatic.

I was told if it was worth it, keep fighting. There were days I questioned my sanity and wondered why I thought it was worth it.

With all the buy/flip shows on HGTV and DIY Network, everyone seems to want to buy houses and flip them these days. That wasn’t our goal… for the most part anyway.

Remember back to September 2016, we sold our house. In fact, we moved out on our Anniversary weekend. That weekend felt like a slap in my face. These last few years haven’t gone anything like I thought they would. I can guarantee they aren’t anything like 25-year-old Nicole thought they’d be. Maybe that’s the fun in life… maybe not. I’m not really sure. But… needless to say, we sold our house and moved back in with my parents. That was just supposed to be a stepping stone to the next thing. (more…)