Always, Katie: August 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe... EVER

This year, I got to make my husband's birthday cake, which was pretty special... 

Okay, HE actually made the buttercream icing, because he recently learned how and is still tickled to do it.  So, I am MORE than happy to let him :-) 

I got the recipe here.  I figured, who better to tell me how to make something chocolate than Hershey themselves? It's your basic, no-frills chocolate cake, but... better.

I followed the direction for the three-layer cake, because I have 2 8-inch pans and 1 9-inch.  I figured, either way I was going to have to reserve some batter, dump a layer on a cooling rack, and bake twice anyway.  May as well be three layers :-)  I had Ethan make a double batch of buttercream icing, and spread it on niiiice and thick between all of the layers.  

Among my goofy little quirks (like, an irrational fear of leaving voicemail messages) is that I get all nervous when I have to cut cake.  I don't know why!  So, I used a bit of embroidery floss and pre-scored the top. Then, I decorated each "slice" with a little chocolate swirly thing.  I melted some chocolate chips in a plastic baggie and snipped a corner off... drizzled a funky design on some waxed paper, as well as the script words "Happy Birthday."  I popped 'em in the freezer for an hour, peeled 'em off, and stuck 'em on the cake.  It made a very elegant, but easy cake :-)

I do have one nifty little tip for melting chocolate in a baggie... I use a mug, and tilt all of the chips to one corner.  Then I stick that corner into the mug, leaving the rest of the baggie out, and microwave away.  Of course, that's also the same corner I snip. 

I showed this yesterday, but here's another look--I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself!!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Quiet, But Still Around

Sorry I've been so quiet for a while. (Ha!  Nobody's EVER accused me of THAT before!)  I've kept up on all of the blogs I follow, but haven't gotten around to posting myself.  Lots of stuff is going on, and I'll try to post in more detail about most of it later, but... here's a list...

  • My husband had a birthday.  I made a cake.  This is a big deal, because cake bought at a certain grocery chain used to be the gold standard by which he and his family measured cake.  (And it WAS amazing--we even used their bakery for our wedding cake.)  But the recipes there have changed, and we've been shopping around for a new bakery.  I think I got the job ;-) 
  • The lovely bride I made some jewelry and a bouquet for got married... and I have permission to share pictures!  
  • I have been nauseated and exhausted for four days now.  Still too early to POAS, but... we're hopeful.  Funny... if I felt like this at any other stage of our lives, I'd have seen a doctor three days ago.
  • I also started two new online graduate classes... one of which just might kick my butt.
  • My bff gave me a super-cool jewelry project to work on... a little bit of modernization for a piece of her mother's that she has "adopted" recently :-) Here's a sneak peek at the "before"... you can't see all of the "afters" until Kate has!

  • I have committed to having yummy home-cooked meals ready when my husband comes home from work (most of the time).  To that end, I have started freezing meals, and tried one fantastic easy recipe I'll share later.  And, yes, I'm doing pretty well so far.  Of course, it IS only the first full week of school, and I HAVE used Tuna Helper once.
  • My  Grammie was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma... I'm a little scared, of course, but my Grammie is tough and has faith that she'll be okay.  With her determination, how can I be anything less than optimistic?  But we WOULD REALLY appreciate prayers for her... the treatment includes chemo, so she has a tough journey ahead. 
  • I'm doing another wedding!  This one includes necklaces and earrings (or hair decorations for an un-ear-pierced girl) for a bride, a junior bridesmaid and FIVE bridesmaids!  I am SO excited... especially since the bride is someone I've been getting to know pretty well, and I'm beyond excited about the wedding, marriage, etc... not just my sparkly part. :-)  This will be the kind of family feel-good books are written about!  This is the bridesmaid dress--doesn't she have wonderful taste?
David's Bridal
  • I do intend to finish the Proverbs 31 series... eventually.  It will definitely not be the next ten(ish) days or the next blog posts... but eventually. 
  • I promised a giveaway when I discovered I'd written my 100th post... haven't forgotten, and it's gonna be cool... just been a bit preoccupied!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthday Weekend Recap!

I turned 24 on Sunday!  We started celebrating on Saturday night, with my in-laws.  The four of us went to a beautiful, yummy French restaurant nearby and had a delicious dinner.  

I wore this yellow dress, and on a whim, through on my red stretchy belt and red shoes.  I was surprised--it was a LOT of fun to wear!  Not a color combo I'd usually be brave enough to try, but motivates me to try more bold outfits...

Then, I got to open gifts from my precious husband and his loving parents.  Let's just say--I am ridiculously spoiled :-) 

This is the second box of gemstone stud earrings I opened... to go in the new-ish second holes in my ears. :-)  I got amethysts and blue topaz.  Like I said--spoiled! 

I also got a shiny pair of red boxer shorts--in Ethan's size.  WooHoo!


And, of course, I got some puppy play in, too!  

Ethan got me a beautiful cake from Sam's, with yummy buttercream icing... mmm...

On Friday, my Aunt Tami called and invited us to come over and see my grandparents who were going to be in town from West Virginia, so we spent Sunday afternoon at her house among wonderful family.  It was so much fun!!  It had been years since I'd been able to see my grandparents for my birthday, so it was definitely a birthday to remember!  And, Aunt Tami has the COOLEST koi pond in her backyard... her fish are like pets!  They all have personalities and stuff... and I spend a long time on my belly on the little bridge, letting them nibble on my fingers and feeding them fish food.  It's the little things ;-)

Annnddd yesterday, I went shopping with one of my gift cards, to JoAnn Fabric.  I got some beading supplies I've never tried before, and some fabric.

Here is what I did with the fabric, in about an hour and a half:

Based on a tutorial I found here!

I also made a few new pieces of jewelry... I'll show you later :-) 

All in all, I can't imagine a better birthday weekend--so much fun, so much love <3


Friday, August 5, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 19: Comfort Food

Day 19. Write about your favorite comfort food (we are women- we ALL have comfort food!)

FOOD is my comfort food!  I love to eat :-)
Macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes are two of my favorite pick-me-ups... mmm carbs.

And of course, sweets.  Especially ice cream!  Plus, if it's something sweet that I've made, I get the double benefit of the stress-relief of baking AND eating something yummy. 

But, most randomly of all... the food I want when I'm sick--even throwing up!--is...

Believe me, I know.  There was a time several months ago when some of my medicine made me nauseated every day, and I literally lived on this stuff.  Ate it for every meal... lost 10 pounds!  I would get out of the hospital in Oxford (DKA, felt awful even after I was "better") and head straight to the Skyline on High Street.  As savory/spicy as it is... it is the only thing I crave when I'm sick.  As a matter of fact, I just made myself want it so badly by writing about it... that Ethan is going to take me to get some as soon as I publish this post.  Sooo... bye!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 18: Loaded Question!

Day 18. Describe your personality.


I'm a bit of a firecracker... I feel and express feelings in BIG ways!  I need organization and structure to be happy and effective, but I am a bit too free-spirited (nice way of putting it...) to stick with an organizational scheme for very long.  I love to laugh and tease, but my humor is a little bit sarcastic and wry.  Very stubborn...  

I don't know!  Does anyone else think this a really tough question?


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Diabetic365

Hi friends!  VJ at Diabetic365 interviewed me a couple of nights ago, via Skype.  These are posted to his website... along with some tips, recipes and exercises to try.  Check it out and give him some love!

And please don't laugh at the silly faces, "umm"s, or any of my other dorky quirks ;-)


PS: OHMYGOSH, this is my 100th blog post!!  Thanks for being amazing, and watch out for some sort of celebratory giveaway!

Proverbs 31: Day 17: Three Things that Make Me Smile

Day 17. Write about 3 things that make you happy.

1.  Snuggling under layers of comfy covers in bed with Ethan (and Charley across our legs outside the covers).  I love to pile on lots of sheets and blankets and quilts and just hang out, awake or asleep.  Bonus points if it's thunder-storming!   Ahhh...

2.  ROAD TRIPS!  It's a good thing I love road trips, because we've been taking a lot of them, and have a bunch coming up!  Zooming down the interstate, singing along to the radio and laughing and chatting with hubby.  Bliss!

3.  Ice. Cold. Diet Coke.  Ohhh yeahhh... 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 16: Dear Daughter

Day 16. Write a letter to your daughter, or a young girl in your life. Tell her what beauty means.

I decided to take this opportunity to think about my future daughter, and to write her a letter.  I hope someday, I can show her this post.... 

My dearest, darling daughter,

I haven't met you yet.  Your daddy and I have been married for two years, and we are working hard to be able to have you (or your brother?).  I'm taking a medicine right now that we're hoping helps us start growing you, so maybe we can meet in the next year or so... that would make Daddy and me so happy!

While you aren't even in my belly yet, I have been dreaming about you for a long time.  I want to be a momma so much, and I want to raise a daughter--you, my sweet girl--to be a beautiful princess.  Not a spoiled brat, like some people think princesses are, but a beautiful, loving, daughter of The King.  I look forward to teaching you how to love God, and how to show His love to everyone else. 

I know when we meet you that you will already be a fighter.  I can't imagine that time in a diabetic momma's body is going to be easy on a tiny baby, so you will have already passed hurdles when you are conceived and when you are born.  You have to keep fighting.  Not us, not other people, but for what is right.  Don't you ever give up.  Ever.  Be beautiful and fierce when you need to be, and beautiful and gentle when you need to be.  

I will do the best I can to show you how to be beautiful, and your daddy will show you how a man should treat a princess.  He'll be the best example of what you need to look for in your husband (but don't forget--Daddy and I are both EXCELLENT shots), someone to appreciate and encourage your beauty and strength.  I hope you can be proud of us... because I know we'll be proud of you every day.  We're so excited about all of the possibilities for you.  You can do absolutely anything, can make any of an infinite number of choices, and we look forward to teaching you how to make the best choices and watching the beautiful princess you grow up to be.  

We're going to keep trying to meet you soon, but in the meantime, rest up!  There are millions of things here that I can't wait to show you! Starting with your "brother," Charley... his ears are soft and long... you're gonna love him!   


This is me, at age 18, holding your cousin Will right after he was born... I can't wait to have you snoozing in my arms like this!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 15: Beautiful Momma-in-Law

Day 15. Write to encourage a friend. Inspire her beauty.

Dear Mom,

I want you to know how beautiful you are... I respect you so much.  Your home is warm (figuratively, you know... Dad's A/C habit!) and inviting, and we always know where we can come to feel safe and loved.  Even after long days at work, you are willing to cook a delicious meal of our favorite dishes, and listen to us "debrief" from our days.  

I love your spunk!  Your playfulness helps me relax, and made me feel like part of the family almost immediately. And the fiery way you respond when anyone threatens someone you love is inspiring and comforting.  

I also find your love of genealogy beautiful--such a proud connection to your past!  Your roots are deep, and make you that much more of a strong, grounded matriarch for our family.  We can't wait to see you as a Grandmom to a human baby. :-)  We hope our girls are as beautiful and loving as you are.


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