Monday, January 07, 2013

Birthdays, Pendants and More

So, Brien's birthday was yesterday, hence no post.

I put together this very yummy blackberry jam cake with caramel chocolate ganache, but I'm fairly certain I'm the only one in the family who actually enjoyed it.  :oP  Brien requested this cake specifically, after finding the recipe in the Vintage Cakes book.  The jam is actually mixed into the batter, making for a very moist cake.  And, that "frosting".  OMStars.  That is a decadent ganache, and will be added to my repertoire. :o)

And, here we have the requisite "birthday face". ;o)

We had beef tortilla casserole, seven layer bean dip and guacamole for dinner and he got a new drill press and Super Mario Wii (Lil's selection).  Nana and Pop came to celebrate with us and I have to say I think he had a pretty good day. :o)

We were quite busy this weekend, beginning Friday afternoon when B took down the abomination of a fluorescent light that wasn't centered over the island or even anywhere in the kitchen.  It was sort of off to one side.  How odd is that?  And, who in the world decided it would be a good idea to put it up perpendicular to the island? Weird.

Brien has long hated the fixture, and I have to say it wasn't my favorite light either.

In fact, because the fluorescent light was off-center, B had to cut a new hole in the ceiling.  Argh!

But, isn't it lovely?  :o)

We had looked at a number of different industrial style lights and I had truly believed that's what I wanted--until I saw these pendants.  Brien and I discussed it, and we knew whatever we put up would need a new hole cut, so we decided to go with this.

Although the far corner of the kitchen over by the pantry door is now a bit darker, the rest of the room is so much brighter, especially over the island where I work.  And, even better if we decide we want to change the look of the fixture, we can purchase new shades. :o)  However, for now, I'm loving the white and I'm ready to put one in over the sink as well.

If it's January, it must be time for Rachael to start freaking out about clutter and messes.  ;o) 

Lily is seven.  She's old enough to know when she's left something where it doesn't belong.  We've had the Ransom Box for a while, but I really formalized it this weekend.

I posted the rules (and how an item winds up in the box) on the left and the tasks on the right.  The tasks range from free passes to outright chores to fun, yet thought provoking activities ("Draw a picture of you putting your toys away and Mom and Dad smiling as you do it."). 
Here's how we're trying to make it work for us. 

So far the box has remained empty.  I sincerely hope it stays that way, but knowing my lovey's tendency to pile things up on the counter, I'm sure it won't remain that way forever. Oh well. 
So, Brien finished my recipe book pages!  Aren't they absolutely perfect for me?? :o)

I can't help but smile every time I use them.  Polka dots and rainbows.  I LOVE it!

Oh, and that recipe?  We had those last night too.  I've posted the recipe before, but it definitely bears repeating.  These are, without a doubt, the best margaritas around.

He's working on new section dividers for me as well.  I can't wait to see what he comes up with. :o) And, because I'm now exploiting his graphic design skills, he's supposed to be working on a chore chart for Bitty, chore punch cards for Bitty, and potty punch cards for Beanie, as well as surprise/reward cards for when those punch cards are all punched up.  As soon as they're created, I'll be sure to share. :o)

I can't say I blame him for not working on them tonight.  We're wrapped up in the BCS Championship game and I keep getting distracted from this post as well.  :oP   This is it for college ball for the year...:sigh:

Because I'm all distracted and unfocused, I'm going to hop off.  But, I'll leave you with this:
This is the havoc that can be wrought by a two year old in less than 2 minutes.  And, in her sister's room, no less.  :sigh:


1.  All the above minus the book disaster area.
2.  Brien and I discussed it, and after trying to find a planner I liked as much and had all the features I was looking for, and we decided I could order this! I'm SO excited and can't wait for it to ship and arrive!!!  Best of all, I found coupons so I didn't have to pay full price.  HOORAY!
3. My new wall calendar.  I love getting a new calendar and filling it out for the year.  I typically get the Boynton Mom's calendar, but couldn't find one and found this one instead.  Initially I was really irked because I thought the pages were too thin and the ink would show through.  Nope!
4.  Ellie stayed dry for most of the day.  Hallelujah.  Of course, tomorrow's a new day with new pottying trials...
5.  Seeing Bitty so excited about school.  She comes home everyday so full of enthusiasm and joy for her class, school and teacher and it makes my heart happy. :o)

No milestones. 


Anna See said...

your new lights look great! what a fun change!

Korinthia Klein said...

The new light fixture is gorgeous. The perfect finishing touch to that room!

The ransom box is interesting. A modified version in our own house might be useful.

A drill press is an awesome present. (I love my drill press and smile every time I get to use it. Except for that time after we moved and the key for tightening the chuck was gone and it took 3 trips to the hardware store to find the right replacement.)

Sue said...

I love those recipe pages. I have a binder just like the one you have that my mom handed down to me. Is there anyway you can share those pages so I can print some out? I have been looking all over for replacement pages for my cookbook binder and can't find them and don't have a creative husband like you have to make me some and I am certainly not creative!! LOL. Thanks so much.


Kelli said...

Sounds like you all celebrated Brien in a wonderful way. Everything on the menu sounds yummy :) That light looks fantastic! I'll need to use that as inspiration because we want to change out our kitchen lights. Ransom box...GENIUS!!! Those recipe cards are absolutely PERFECT for you...they scream Rach. B did a great job...he's a keeper.

E said...

You are going to love your planner!!! Mine just arrives yesterday!!!!

Jori said...

That cake blows my mind! You did such a great job!! I have yet to try any of the recipes from my copy. Maybe for Kate's b-day in April.

I can't wait to see how you like your planner!!

Dianne said...

I love all of your organization ideas!!

I just read this blog post ( and thought to myself...this has Rachael written all over it - the color and yes...ROYGBIVd markers!

jaydee said...

Happy belated birthday, B.
Great job on the pendants. love them! Your recipe book is fabulous!
So glad Bitty is excited about school. It's wonderful that she is so enthusiastic and happy. You so did the right thing to take time off and spend time at home with the girls!

es said...

Where did you get those pendants. I am sending my flourescent light packing and am looking for pendants, I love these.

Rach said...

Hi es!

We found our pendants at Lowe's! Good luck! :o)