Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cakes and Decorations and Presents!


I do believe this is the longest I've gone without a blog post! I think that our lives are settling down at a quicker pace now, and both Alex and I are so relieved! In lieu of Christmas cookies this past weekend, I made a delicious and moist Carrot Cake (does this count as a vegetable??) 😁 I halved the recipe and put it in a loaf pan. It was gone in two days lol...Last night I made a new recipe that turned out okay, Rum and Egg Nog Bundt Cake. I find most Bundt cakes a little dry for some reason, I have to adjust my oven temperature maybe...it is definitely a nice cake, tastes just like egg nog and rum! Since we can't really handle icing sugar, I frost all of my cakes with a Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting. I use maple syrup instead of honey, and it's very delicious! For the Bundt cake, I added rum to the frosting too and that made it very delectable! I'll be back to cookies this weekend though!


We went out to get our tree on Monday. This brings some much needed cozy Christmas cheer to our home! We always decorate with red, we love it! So far no dog has pee'd on the tree and no cat has torn it down lol...these are REAL concerns trust me lol!


When Alex lived in New Jersey, he would help his cousin sell Christmas trees in New York each season. He said they would make little "Charlie Brown" trees from the extra slices of the trunks. They would take a slice, make a hole and glue a branch in and sell it for $1. Well, he made one for me, for free lol...and I decorated it a little bit! :)


Speaking of Charlie Brown, I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas last night! When I finally get myself a piano, I'm learning this whole album...my favourites are Linus and Lucy, and Christmas is Coming...click the links if you want to hear the tunes! Do you revert to any childhood Christmas favourites? I also watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation last night...I love that movie!


I celebrate the Winter Solstice each year. As we know, it's the shortest day of the year and some things I do are to put out ice lanterns in the snow at night, make a Yule Log cake and hang symbols of the sun in my window. In this case, it's oranges that I dehydrated last year. I'm encouraging the sun to see my oranges and come back quickly!! It's dark at 4pm these days and I'm looking forward to more light! By the way, this is the last of my window garden, sigh...parsley and surprisingly a basil. The rest succumbed to the cold window!


I made an appetizer night for dinner. Chicken Wings (best recipe ever!), pizza and potato skins. Yum!


A quick cheese update: What's left of the Baby Swiss cheese is now sealed and aging for 3 months. I've come to terms that this will be an experiment. It smells great and the rind is very hard. There are still some blue moldy spots that I can't cut out, but we shall see. I stopped making cheeses this month because I'm so busy, but we will taste my Cheddars during the holidays and if they turned out well, I'll be making them much more often!


I got an early Christmas present last weekend! Alex made and installed a new memory board for me! The old one was something I put up really on the cheap when we moved in here a few years back. It was teetering on falling down every time I looked at it lol...so he put up a new very solid board for me, twice the size so I can put twice the memories up!! I have photos, cards from friends, little love notes from Alex and recently added a Christmas card from Martha at Plowing Through Life, whose blog is fun to read, as is her second blog Miniaturopolis, where she creates fun little scenes of miniature people, worth a look! Thank you Martha! :)

Also added to the memory board was a postcard from Mama Pea...speaking of that wonderful lady, I am a lucky gal, see these two beautifully quilted table runners?



My name was picked in a draw that Mama Pea from A Home Grown Journal had in November! Although Mama Pea is on a little break at the moment, she has a very fun and interesting blog about gardening, homesteading, ducks, geese, chickens, quilting, cooking and everything cozy and Hygge! (I'm sure I left something out!). I think her blog is fantastic, although most of you already are followers! Thanks again Mama Pea, I absolutely adore these runners! And Oscar definitely approves of the box you sent them in!!


46 comments:

Jenn said...

Nice to see you Rain! I love a good carrot cake and your type of icing sounds great! Love the tree and the decoration Alex made. I have a crafty idea for some tree slices now...
Those table runners are lovely, something to treasure for years to come.
Take care!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

You are biz-biz-bizzy! Those table runners are gorgeous!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Carrot cake is a wonderful thing. I have had them as a birthday cake but never actually made one myself. I am looking forward to the solstice and the days that lead up to spring which I really mark on the calendar.

Sam I Am...... said...

Oh, carrot cake....it's a great one that I haven't made in a long time. Congrats on your win of the cheerful holiday table runners! I love the memory board that Alex made for you. You 2 are both so talented. I'm just getting back in the swing of things having not blogged or read any recently. I will catch up though! Your tree is so pretty...I'm not sure I've ever seen one with just red lights....lovely! The cheeses are looking good!

John M said...

I like your memory board. It beats magnets on the refrigerator door.

laurie said...

that sounds like a very good frosting!! Your cakes look and sound delicous, I always find bundt cakes a bit dry except carrot cake cooked in a bundt pan, it always turns out ok but I never make bundt caks anymore, too big for just the two of us. I laughed when you said the tree hadn't been peed on or climbed on,, we had those very same issues for 30 years lol,,

Christine said...

Your baking looks delicious! That's a cute little tree Alex made and the runners are a beautiful gift. Your Christmas is well underway!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

The cakes look yummy, the decorations are very pretty, and, like you, my favorite movie is Chevy Chase’ Christmas Vacation. The memory board is wonderful, and how nice of Alex to make that for you. He is a keeper. Best of all, Rain, your life is full. Have a wonderful holiday.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

You're very welcome!

So many wonderful things going on at your place. I see a lot of love and joy. I'm very happy for all of you. And I love how you enjoy the simple things in life. That's what brings us the most joy. ❤

Leigh said...

The cake looks great! I find my moistest cakes are the ones with molasses in them, But my oven runs hot too. Congratulations on the Mama Pea winning! She is so talented. Charlie Brown is always a Christmas favorite. Have you seen The Piano Guys Charlie Brown medley? I love it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyPDQpel8bI.

baili said...

Carrot cake ? never heard of it before dear Rain thank you sooo much for sharing .

how sweet of Alex to make you such beautiful branch ,loved the fluffy snowman beside lol

i am so happy to see your gorgeous tree my friend,looks so very pretty and charming with twinkling lights!!!

he also made you a new memory board which looks amazing with all the wonderful gifts from friends!

Martha is such darling ! i visit her regularly and love her posts.

you cheese looks GREAT too

Susan said...

Carrot cake was one of my favorites - still trying to GF the thing. But, then again, it might be better if I DON'T GF it...Love that Memory Board! Isn't it a hoot that Mama Pea thought they weren't attractive? As if. Congratulations again!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

That cake looks delicious!!! I am glad to see a post from you! :)

I love the Charlie Brown tree! My movies I watch every single Christmas is Charlie Brown Christmas and Christmas with the Kranks. I never miss a year watching them! And the soundtrack to Charlie Brown Christmas! I bought the CD years ago and listen to it lovingly each and every holiday season.

I have my Solstice ritual and evening all planned out! I will welcome the return of the Sun King most definitely! Although I must say I am enjoying the dark starry skies at night. I have a special bond with Pleiades. And of course Orion the Hunter (from who our Hunter got his name from) :)

Those runners are just so gorgeous and love Mama Pea!

Stefanie said...

The kids and I will be watching Charlie Brown and The Polar Express. Also, Home Alone and maybe the old animation version of Rudolph + Frosty. Can't go wrong with carrot cake. Do you use pineapple in yours? I made a Nordstrom recipe that didn't and it still came out moist. The rum cake sounds delicious! A para at my old school when I taught used to bring that in now and then for us. I love your tree photo.

Pam Jackson said...

Baking...I too have been doing some of that. Funny, when I had my gastric bypass surgery all I could think about was wanting to bake. I am not much on cooking but I love to bake. Course that is a sort odd thing to be thinking of considering the surgery! haha....but although you are not hungry your cravings don't go away. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE carrot cake with cream cheese icing. YUM. Tree, Charlie Brown tree, chicken wings and all looks great. Looks like you are ready for the season. Great table runners. I have a nice quilted one my sis in law made me a few yrs ago. That is a talent I don't have...quilting.

Harry Flashman said...

Rain, I thought that the picture of your Christmas tree was spectacular. What a nice Christmas card that would make. I enjoy the pictures you post of your house, it always looks so well ordered and homey. You must feel very snug and safe inside there.😊

As always, your food creations look delicious.😀

Tammie Lee said...

It looks like you are having fun with the holidays and celebrating. The little Christmas tree is so sweet.

Wishing you a lovely solstice. It is significant to me too.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Sadly (and I have tried to argue otherwise), carrot cake cannot be classified as a vegetable. Alas.

And the Dave Brubeck music from A Charlie Brown Christmas is, in my opinion, the single greatest work of jazz ever done.

Birdie said...

And thank you for visiting my blog! Years ago, when I first started blogging I went by the name RainOnMe. I had tried 40, 000 different usernames and looked out the window and noticed it was raining. There was my username. I live on Vancouver Island where it rain 438 days a year.

Anyway, it was eventually shortened to just Rain. Then I closed that blog and opened a new one and had to come up with another username and was getting frustrated and saw the little bird on Twitter and now I am Birdie!

Thanks again! I have added you to my blogroll and looking forward to reading.

RO said...

Wow! One reason I don't eat cakes is because they are so dry, but glad your Carrot Cake was moist and tasty. Nothing wrong with a bundt cake that includes egg nog AND rum, Raine. Your tree is so stunning and festive! I adore those lovely runners too! Hugs..and hope your day is as amazing as you are. RO

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) The icing on that cake is delicious...on the carrot cake it was perfect. On the eggnog bundt...it was better than the cake lol. I hope you post your tree-slice crafts! :)

Rain said...

Hi Debra :) Yes, they are really nice, I feel so blessed to have received them. :)

Rain said...

Hi Gill :) I always put more carrots than called for, it makes the cake so moist, we love it. I'm really looking forward to more sun! :)

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) I'm getting back into the swing of things too! I had so many projects going on. With the pet care, I was feeling very overwhelmed, but things are easing up, so I can blog a bit here and there!

Rain said...

Hi John :) Yes! I hate things on the fridge! Actually we only have a piece of paper for the shopping list, to jot things down, otherwise I prefer it bare. The memory board is very special :)

Rain said...

Hi Laurie :) Interesting that you find the bundts dry too...the only bundts that didn't turn out dry were the ones I put fruits in this past summer. They really are too big for the both of us too! I usually put one in the freezer immediately when it cools. That's funny, you do know what I mean about keeping the tree pee free ha ha!

Rain said...

Hi Christine :) Thank you :) The baking continues!! I told Alex we will both have sweets withdrawal after the new year! But yes, Christmas is well under way here! :)

Rain said...

Hi Starting Over :) I love Christmas Vacation...the cast is great, especially Randy Quaid's character. That scene when they are drinking egg nog and you can see his mock turtle-neck under his white sweater cracks me up so much. I hope you have a wonderful holiday too! :)

Rain said...

Hi Martha :) It's true...everything I do is with my heart and it shows. I think it's the only way to live :) I love this simple life we've built together! :)

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) Thank you again for the link, the Piano Guys were really great! I don't molasses but maybe I could use maple syrup, I wonder if it would have the same effect on the moistness of the cake. Mama Pea is very talented, I feel lucky to have something of hers of my own now! :)

Rain said...

Hi Baili :) Oh yes, you MUST try carrot cake!!! It's so moist and delicious! You don't even need the frosting on it, but it makes it that much better :) I love our tree! The red lights really pop out, we have LED lights that don't get hot so we have it lit all the time. It's very cozy! :)

Rain said...

Hi Susan :) Oh gosh, I feel so bad for you every time I see your GF comment...you know I did that too for a year and HATED it. I know, Mama Pea's runners are gorgeous, I don't know how she thought they weren't! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) It feels good to be posting again. I love the interaction and sharing all of our lives together. :) Christmas with the Kranks was another one we saw last year. I love Tim Allen, it was really funny. We watch The Santa Clause every few years too, he's hilarious in it.

You're right about the dark starry skies...but they'll still be there! :) I can't wait to welcome the Sun King back...we had such a crappy summer and fall here, I feel incomplete without the sunshine. :) I love that you named Hunter after Orion!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :) By the way, I love your new profile pic!! :) I have all those old animations, Rudolph, The Year Without A Santa Clause, Santa Clause is Coming To Town and the Little Drummer Boy. I think they are wonderful! I watched Rudolph last night! Oh interesting about the pineapple...I don't like it, but Alex loves upside down pineapple cakes! Maybe I'll add some to the next cake. I always like to slip in some fruits and veggies when I can :)

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) Gastric bypass must have been a challenge for you...I don't know how people can do that. My food cravings are LARGE...I think having the craving but not being hungry would drive me batty lol...I don't have the quilting talent either, but I will try one of these days. The table runners are so pretty. :)

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) Thank you! I love our tree with all the red. We thought about doing blue this year, but the red is just so festive and looks lovely in the dark! I really do try to make this place as cozy as I can. It's hard though when you rent, but we're doing our best. It's VERY snug in here! :) Love the smileys in your comment, I have to learn to do that!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Tammie Lee :) I wish you a lovely solstice as well. For me, besides Samhain, it's the most important day of the year. The holiday celebrations continue here. :)

Rain said...

Hi TB :) Wonderful, a sympathizer, thank you...carrot cake is now considered a veggie in this house lol...I remember about 10 (?) years ago, that some organization in the States declared pizza to be a vegetable...was I just dreaming that? It was such a joke, but they were serious! I agree about the Charlie Brown Christmas music...I love it!

Rain said...

Hi Birdie :) Isn't that a nice coincidence about your former username? :) My real name is Rain so it wasn't too hard for me to figure out what name to use lol...Same here, I've added you to my blogroll and am happy to get to know you! :)

Rain said...

Hi RO :) You're very sweet :) I actually laced the frosting with rum too lol...can't get too much rum in me this time of year! ;) Any time I make a carrot cake, apple cake or zucchini cake, it's always nice and moist if I wait until the last minute to shred the veg/fruit. I should make another one actually, they are so good! I hope you're having a nice weekend! :)

Michael said...

Rain, your tree looks divine and I can appreciate teh small joys of no animal trying to "add" to it somehow. Ha.

I love ALL the songs on Charlie Brown's Christmas and the cartoon too. It's adorable. Not at all like the kids' animations today.

That carrot cake and Bundt all sound fabulous. Everything's looking cozy indeed. I hope you and Alex have the most amazing holiday season.

Michael said...

Oh, and that lil' tree is darling. What a great idea - I'm sure they were popular too.

Rain said...

Thanks Michael :) I love the little tree that Alex made for me! It's so original. I would love to have a bunch of them all lined up in my window next year! :) I can't relate to modern Christmas cartoons and specials...all the ones from when I was a kid are the best! :) I hope you and your Alex have a wonderful holiday too! And lots of time to relax!!! (and NO noisy neighbours...too much to wish for?) ;)

wisps of words said...

Gracious, I'm so glad I found you!!!!

Another delightful post, but the last photo is the best. Kitty peeking out of a box, with Yuletide decorations, in the background. :-)

Ohhhh the food you make!!!! Oh happy sigh...

And I too love your red tree!!!! Red means warmth, and when do we need warmth more, than in the deep winter? Brilliant!

A man who can do things around the home. A 'handy' man. Oh yes, 'tis wonderful to have one of those. :-))))

Lots and lots of gentle hugs....

Rain said...

Wisps of Words...still love that username :) The red tree really does bring so much warmth into our living room! I just love it. We actually keep the curtains closed all day long in that room with the tree lights on and it's so nice! All of our cats just dive into any size box they can find lol...they are so silly! Sending hugs right back! :)

Michael said...

We will be gone and ahve been gone so , yes, NO noisy neighbours! :)