You've Got to Smile

"When you look at a cupcake, you've got to smile"
-- Anne Byrn, award-winning cake baker!

I was looking through my draft blog entries this morning and found these cupcake pictures just begging to be posted!  I still in shock that I haven't put these up yet!!

These are the Cocoa-Strawberry Cuppies that I made for my birthday (two weeks ago -- where has time gone?)

I took a chocolate base and made it more rich by adding extra cocoa and a pinch or five of cayenne pepper.

Then I topped these sweet delights with a homemade strawberry buttercream. 

I didn't follow any specific directions. Or rather, I didn't follow them well.

My buttercream ended up being a little more runny than I had hope, but it was jam packed with flavor and real bits of little diced strawberries!  Not bad for only the second time of making homemade buttercream.

A blueberry made the perfect topper to finish them off!

I can still taste the moist cake and sweet frosting now. 

I'm still kicking myself for not throwing a few in the freezer for a later date; maybe I'll remember to do that next time around!

Hope your having a sweet Monday!


A Wee Bit of Hair

I sat down with my pad last night and drew a total blank on the latest Creative Tuesday's theme, "hair."

My thoughts jumped from hair bands, to that crazy hair stylist show on where they make outrageous up-dos, and then to Katie's hair.  Then I remembered she has fur, not hair.  doh!

I let my pencil do the thinking for a change and here is what I came up with.

Are you ready?

I bet you didn't see that coming.  I know I didn't!

This little piggy is singing "wee, wee, wee," all the way to Mr. Toasts Creative Tuesdays!

He's certainly a happy little piggy!

Not sure if you noticed, but I even pulled out my bigger sketch pad this time around. 

This little guy is created with a pencil outline which I then added color to with color pencils.  For the extra sharpness I used my ink pen very lightly to give him highlights and deep rich eyes.

Anyone have a brush we can borrow to straighten this guys mane out?  hahaha

Hope your Friday is a blast and if you need a pick me up... just think of the cute little hairy pig.  It's certainly putting a smile on my face!

Also, check out the other artists hairy drawings, or better yet enter your own over at Hot Toast and Jam!


It's Hard to Believe...

... I have left this space blank for so many days.
... the amount of rain we have gotten in NY over the last five days.
... that my little brother is another year older (and not really so little any more).
... that I absolutely can't put down the book I'm reading.  I highly recommend "Three Cups of Tea"
... that Mr. Happy and I managed to hike for four days in a row with Katie before the rain settled in.
... I have a three day weekend coming up.
... August is nearly over and I'm not ready for summer to end.
... that my tomatoes are growing very big, but not turning red yet.
... that we had turkey vultures in the yard again -- eww!
... the fortune I got from a fortune cookie fit me perfectly!
... I might paint a chair to be auctioned off for charity.

Yes, happy things have been happening.  I'm hoping to sit down this weekend and take the time to share a few of them!

I was looking through archived pictures and came across these which made me laugh and smile all over again!  (Of course they are of Katie-bug)

Happy almost Friday to you and wishing you the most amazing weekend!


Happy Under the Sea Day

I have been working on my Creative Tuesday entry for the "Under the Sea" theme, hosted by the lovely Mr. Toast, for the last week!

(sorry for the terrible picture lighting!!)

It makes me giggle when I work on it. 

It makes me laugh to think of what these two charaters would say if I met them.

And, I have taken for. ever. to finish coloring it.  for. ever!

But here it is.

My Under the Sea!! 

Hope you are able to enjoy it as much as I have!

Click here to check out all the other amazing entries and to find out what the next theme will be!  And perhaps you will join us?


Feeling so loved!

My birthday was Friday.  I turned old.  But, had a blast!  And even more important... I feel so loved!

Here are some of the highlights:

Check out these delicious cuppies!! Cocoa Cuppies with Fresh Strawberry Buttercream  *drool*

We said good bye to our intern with style!

Mr. Happy and I went on a great big hike (at night) to see the meteor shower -- and the weather was perfect for it!

I got birthday wishes with dogs!!  Thanks Liz!

Thanks Joan!  I warn you... this song will be stuck in your head...  more of the cute goldies Augie and Ti here.

Hope your weekend was amazing and hope you're feeling loved too!


Silent Man

While going through the gardens of the house we bought I came across this little metal statue. 

He appears to be a native american with something slung ove his shoulder and a pouch tied around his waist. 

I'm really not sure what this was originally intended for (only stands a few inches tall), but I have decided he is the protector of the serenity garden. 

There is something very peaceful about looking over and seeing him!

It's really fun to find unexpected things in unexpected places.

What did you find that was unexpected?


Berry Frozen

I'm in that phase of life where I want to make things from scratch! 

Keeping that in mind and adding in this ridiculously hot summer lead me to creating homemade Popsicles.

Here is how I did it -- working with the items I already had in the house.

I started with a tiny cup of Greek yogurt I had hanging out in the fridge.

Pulled out a nice juicy lime and added the juice from one half.

These little plastic cups are usually used for carrying extra sauce or salad dressing with our lunches, but for the summer they are officially reassigned as Popsicle cups!

I also used a bag of frozen berries.  I bet any fruit would have worked, even the unfrozen kind.

Apple juice to make the mixture a bit more fluid.

I put it all in the blender and buzzed it around for a bit. 

The berries turned it a bright fuchsia which was fun and then I used the spout to put the soon to be Popsicles in their cups.

A messy job, but totally worth it!!

Just look at how pretty the color was!

When the cups were filled I put them back in the white tray to hold them upright in the freezer.

I found these cool appetizer toothpicks in the cabinet and decided they would be a good substitute for Popsicle sticks.

Once the berry mix was in the freezer for about one hour, I put the sticks in.

And after a few more hours my berry nice creation was ready! 

The first ones we ate like sorbet with a spoon.  The second ones were frozen solid which meant I couldn't pull it out of the cup.  But luckily Mr. Happy has very warm hands which he used to melt the outside of the cup a bit... which allowed me to pull that pop right out. 

Mega happiness, fruitiness, and coolness on a hot day!

How are you beating the heat?


Alligator kind of Monday

Sometimes you look up and it's an alligator kind of Monday.

See ya later alligator,
after a while crocodile.

This week, I have a berry nice popscicle recipe, I will show you the crochet project I completed recently, and I am sure I have some doggy photos to make you smile! 

Hope your week is starting happily!


Cucumber Delight

I was given a rather large cucumber by a neighbor.

I really like cucumbers, but have a problem where I cut up a plain cucumber into slices, put them in single serve baggies, and then stare at them each time I open the fridge.  And they sit in the fridge.  And I don't eat them.  And I feel bad.

I didn't want this to happen to this cool cucumber gift.

So, I set out to make cucumber salad.

I've never made cucumber salad (at least I don't think so)

There are a million and a half recipes for cucumber salad on the web. 

I had no idea which one to use.

So, I read a bunch of them.  And read about ingredients like vinegar, sugar, onions, garlic....

I headed into the kitchen to whip something up that was inspired by those other recipes, but that harnessed the ingredients I already had in the house.

I started by slicing the cucumber into paper thin round slices with my crazy sharp and fast slicer. (Thank you again Beka for that awesome Christmas gift.  Yes, I still have all my fingers intact.)

My next leap was to all the ripe peaches I have been hoarding.  I'm thinking how good would a sweet and spicy salad be.  Enter the peaches.

I pitted and sliced two of them.  Next time I think I would use a few more for a more even mix of peaches to cucumber slices.

Oh, so pretty against the fresh light green of the cucumbers.

Next up. Rice vingear!  This is the first time I got to use this ingredient.  I think we originally bought this bottle a few years ago when we thought it might be fun to make our own sushi.  And we never ended up making it.  Maybe the open bottle will inspire that next?

I didn't really measure any of the quantities, but I began to pour some on.  Then gave the cucumbers and peaches a good mix.  I was looking for a very tiny coat of rice vinegar throughout.

Enter salt.  About two pinches.  I would later add another two or so pinches.

Cayenne!  This is where the spicy entered.  A few dashes, then a few more.  Then a few more. 

I live for the heat that cayenne brings to the party!

Honey.  Instead of sugar I wanted a more pure sweetener. 

This is a local honey purchased from a local orchard.  Local honey is supposed to help with seasonal allergies.  I have been busy trying to work honey into everything I am making lately.

I drizzled about two tablespoons-ish on the top.

Basil!  Fresh basil at that.  From my garden.  Love it!

About 6-9 leaves here.  I rolled them together and then sliced and chopped them. 

Cilantro.  I was a smart cookie this year and put hebs in two places.  This meant that the recent bunny invasion only wiped out a portion of my herb garden. 

Smart cookie, right?

I included a few sprigs.  Pulled the leaves off and tossed them in.

Here are all the treasures together!

The results after a nice mix.

The last two additions after tasting were a couple of shakes of cloves to give it a bump up in spice.  And a drizzle of olive oil to bring all the flavors together.

I was so happy with the result that I ate a bunch.

Then I packed a bunch more in my lunch for the next day. 

That's a combo of rice noodles and cucumber delight.

The right food, can really make your day!

What are you eating today?  What is your latest creation?

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