A Wedding Cake

Making a wedding cake is STRESSFUL! Anyway, it is stressful in my opinion. If it stressed everyone out, we wouldn’t have wedding cakes. haha. Most everyone I talk to agrees (with each other) that the reason I get stressed out with a wedding cake is I’m too much of a perfectionist. 

Up until here recently, I had only ever made 1 wedding cake that was for an actual wedding. The second wedding cake (or technically first) was for the cake decorating classes I took back in 2007 or 2008. That one didn’t stress me out other than I had to figure out how to do them for the class. Otherwise, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. 

That’s why back in roughly that same year I agreed to do a wedding cake. I can’t find pictures of it right now, but it was a disaster. I cried and cried. I cried to the point I swore I’d never make another wedding cake… until 2020. I guess the year 2020 is a year of many weirdnesses. (more…)

Pumpkin Purée

Let’s make Pumpkin Purée from the fantastic pumpkins you grew in your garden! You didn’t spend all summer growing pumpkins for nothing, after all. Oh, I guess… you can use them for Fall/Halloween decorations… but you should probably put up a few just because, right? Well today, I’m going to show you how!

Pumpkin Purée

1.Start with the pumpkins. Now, my pumpkins here are a little smaller than they should be, but sometimes you have to harvest pumpkins early. That was the case here. These pumpkins weighed in between 4 and 6 pounds. Wash them off. While you will remove the outer shells, it is best to clean off the excess soil. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. Make sure you have a sharp knife to be able to slice the pumpkins in half. You’ll also want a spoon, olive oil, and salt. Plus, go ahead and prepare your pans. Get a large jelly roll pan (half sheet) and line with parchment paper. The parchment paper helps with cleanup later. (more…)

Pumpkins

As the summer draws to a close and fall takes over, it’s finally time to harvest your summer’s hard work in the shape of a pumpkin. I have spent a lot of time this summer researching pumpkins. This is the first year I’ve tried to grow pumpkins. In the past, I’ve dumped pumpkin seeds in a fence row and had voluntary pumpkins grow, but now is time to learn about pumpkins.

I planted 2 types of pumpkins this summer. 

The first was from seed.

When Jody was here helping plant marigolds and my Blackberry Bush, we also planted pumpkin seeds. In the past, I’ve had good luck just throwing pumpkin guts away in the fall after carving jack-o-lanterns. They wind up in a fence row. Come next spring/summer plants start growing. But a pumpkin is 90% water and if you don’t water them in a dry summer, they won’t survive.

The second type of pumpkin was a store-bought plant. I bought it at the local farm store. It was a Bonnie Plant – Pumpkin Heirloom Jack-O-Lantern. (more…)

How to Freeze Okra

When I decided to start and plant my garden this spring, I asked my family what they would like to see planted. I mean, after all, they were going to be reaping the rewards too. At that point in the day, I think that we were eating lunch (or dinner… but we were definitely eating) and the oldest and my husband had fried okra. They both immediately chimed in and said, Okra.

Okra… um… okay. I know nothing about making fried okra, but okay, I’ll figure it out. Oh wait, you mean you can eat okra that isn’t fried. Okay, I’ll learn about that too while I’m at it. Because, why not. (more…)

“Fifty” Cookies

It’s been a few minutes since I’ve made sugar cookies. But… it’s kind of like riding a bike, right? haha.

Okay, the back story of the Fifty Cookies… So a gal who has ordered cookies from me every year hit me up to see if I still did cookies. Yes. Would I do Fiftieth Wedding anniversary cookies? Yes. Then I got the story behind these cookies. It’s a good one!!

She works in healthcare. Dialysis to be exact. One of her patients has been fighting cancer for a few years. He decided that he wanted to fight until at least his 50th wedding anniversary. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 10th. How sweet is that?!?! (more…)

How to Can Peaches

It is that time of the year… Peaches!! They are in full supply. I love peaches. They are so great to eat as is or you can can them for later. Like the dead of winter when you are wanting that zesty, sweet taste of summer. There are 2 ways to can, we’ll get to that.

I would like to start some of my own Peach trees, but until that happens, I know where there is a stand on the side of the road ready to sell! And that’s just where I went on Sunday. I also bought a watermelon and my mom a cantaloupe. I don’t like cantaloupe but she does.

A fun side note about the word syrup… Grandma had me reading in her Joy of Cooking Cookbook about freezing peaches. We were looking for sugar measurements. Anyway, they kept spelling syrup, sirup. That spelling was driving me nuts. I wish I was still in Grad School so that I had access to the Oxford English Dictionary to look up the spelling history.

Also, side note: if you are canning anything… canning lids and jars for that matter are difficult to find right now. Supposedly it isn’t a shortage, but more so everyone was home and raising a garden. All canning is happening RIGHT. NOW.

Peaches

Grandma told me that she read that 1 bushel of peaches should produce 15, 20, 30 jars of peaches. It’s so funny that 3 different things she read said 3 different things. Either way, we were well on our way to that. We had 3/4 of a bushel of peaches. We got 13-quart jars and 2 half-full gallon bags for freezing.

Not all the peaches were ready for canning, so grandma’s tip is to lay them out on plastic overnight. The next day most all of them were ready to go. (more…)

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Guys, have I got the place to tell you about… The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center! This place rocked!

So, as we’ve learned, my little loves zoos. I had higher hopes for the Alaska Zoo.

On Tuesday when we spent most of what felt like all day laying around the hotel room, I somehow found the Alaska Channel. I’m not sure if that is a hotel thing or if that is actually a thing. Either way, they were talking about different places around Alaska, including the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

It is about an hour’s drive from Anchorage to Girdwood where the center is located. You have gorgeous views and let me say this so even those in the back row can hear… IT. WAS. TOTALLY. WORTH. IT. (more…)

Alaska Zoo

While we were in Alaska, we made a trip to the zoo. My little loves the zoo. Honestly, I was very disappointed by the zoo. Heck, the little zoo we went to in Louisiana was much better than this zoo. I wonder if Covid-19 wasn’t part of the problem… but it felt like the zoo wasn’t maintained/kept up with. Most of the animals if they were out (to be seen) were laying down hidden behind tall grass… It was just weird. I hope in a normal year this is better, but I just don’t know. I’ve never been to Alaska prior to this. Guess that means I need to plan a trip in my future 🙂 haha. (more…)

Caribou Grill – Glennallen, Alaska

Our first full day in Alaska we went out driving through the mountains. I made mention that I wanted to go into the mountains and we entered this trip with very little plans. Especially since the Coronavirus has been affecting all daily life everywhere. But I wanted to see beautiful scenery and I wanted to go into the mountains. So, our first day, we did just that.

p.s. I love that at home we have deer crossing signs. Here they have Moose and Elk crossing signs. However, we didn’t see any moose (or elk) in the wild until the last day. more on that to come.

Supposedly you can drive to this glacier. The roads didn’t look right or looked like we were going to have to offroad. Have you ever tried offroading in a minivan? Me either. Not sure I want to either.

This was the Matanuska Glacier. The Matanuska is Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier, and it’s just 90 minutes from Anchorage. It is 27 miles long and 4 miles wide. It is located 100 miles North-east of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway. It flows about 1 foot per day. (more…)

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Anchorage Midtown, Anchorage, AK

We did something a couple of weeks ago… We went on vacation. Last fall hubby and I were actually looking into a vacation for us to go on when we stumbled across a really good deal to go to California. Not just California, Anaheim… Disneyland to be exact. 

Ever since my little was born, my mom wanted to take her to Disney. I kept telling my mom we needed to hold off until she was at least 5 or 6-years-old. Well, this summer she turned 6.  (Which means last fall she was 5… we were at the 5-6 time frame.) We discussed our findings with my parents and my Mother-in-law to see if they’d be interested in going with us. We came up with a game plan, a date, and booked our trip for this summer. 

THEN…

Covid-19 hit. Well SH*T. What does that mean?

We waited all spring watching the news, debating, talking, stressing, etc. Disney (both World and Land) shut down. I have a friend who lives in California and has season passes to Disneyland. I picked her brain every few days about… is it going to reopen, will this happen, should I reschedule, etc. Finally, she heard rumor that they wouldn’t reopen until January 2021. Crud. 

After quick discussion, we decided to start looking into new trip destinations. We couldn’t get our money back (side note… our lives are more important than losing money from a trip, I’m not stupid), but we could reroute our trip… This was all about the time that the one beach opened in California and 40K people flooded to it and they shut beaches back down. We decided that everyone would want the beach so we started looking for other destinations. 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, etc. That’s when I suggested Alaska. It’s a state we’ve been wanting to go to… why not. We looked into Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau. We eventually landed on Anchorage. 

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Anchorage Midtown

600 E 32nd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99503

(more…)