Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Today I woke up and immediately thought “It’s Father’s Day!  I need to call dad!!”  Then I realized, since it was 8:30, he’d be at the early service at church…so a text would do (hopefully his phone was off) until church was finished.

My next thought brought me back to 6 months ago and how close we came to losing him…and I wanted to get on a plane to go give him a hug.  This father’s day would have been a lot different if it had not been for quick thinking (and acting) doctors, nurses and EMT’s, friends and family who prayed for his recovery, and a God who watches over us and truly is the great physician. 

I love my dad every day and have always thought Father’s Day was special…but have never been more thankful for him on “Dad’s Day” than today.  I love you!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mark's Graduation & The Pill Bottle Cake

A few weeks I went home to North Carolina for my brother’s graduation from Campbell University’s School of Pharmacy.  After 4 LONG years, he’s the first to add Dr. to his name (husband’s next!).  For such an occasion, I HAD to make him an awesome cake…and what could be better than a pill bottle for a new Pharmacist?

Since I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of time on the short trip home, I called a local bakery to see if I could buy undecorated cakes from them for me to decorate.  The Cakery was able to fulfill my request and I was able to skip hours of baking…and play ladder-ball in the backyard instead. 

The cake ended up being six 6” rounds plus one 8” round for the bottle top.  I thought it would be fun to make a bunch of mini cupcakes to turn into pills.  Here’s how it turned out!

Graduation was on a HOT Friday afternoon.  Since my dad was part of the “platform party” (he was doing the benediction) we had reserved seats.  Gotta love the preacher perks!

After graduation, we all went to dinner at Sullivan's in Raleigh.  (mmmmm…)  It was an awesome way to end a really fun day.  After dinner they brought out the cake out and it was devoured.

One of my favorite quotes of the night – “Can I have a piece of chocolate cake, one diabetes pill, and a Tylenol with codeine?”  Who’da thunk cupcakes could be so funny!

Congrats Mark!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Antique Alley

Since June 4, Travis has been in Vermont at a composer’s workshop, New Music on the Point (lasts through June 17th).  Toby and I have been holding down the fort while he’s been gone, but I’ve missed him a ton! 

Since Saturday was my birthday, we decided to meet halfway in New Hampshire to hang out for the day.  One of my favorite things to do is going antiquing, so we decided to go to Antique Alley.  What is Antique Alley you may ask?  It’s a 20 mile stretch of Route 4 in New Hampshire that is littered with old homes turned antique shops.  MOST of the shops are really great…there are a few that were a sorry excuse for anything close to antiques…but that’s usually how it goes, isn’t it? 

One of the antique stores
We ran into some really neat things along the way!  Some of the things we didn’t go home with were an old French Horn (found in the same place we got Travis a 1-key bugle last year)…

…one of the biggest cameras I’ve ever seen…

…and an old tricycle-looking thing…I should have read the sign more closely. 

It was awesome riding around beautiful New Hampshire for the day – we had perfect weather!  Instead of making myself a cake, we opted for ice cream and found a really fun place that had HUGE servings.  We got “kiddie cups” that were bigger than most shops mediums. 

We ended up coming home with a “salt” sized Westmoreland hen on a nest (which I collect) and several old postcards from NC.  I think it’s hilarious we end up finding old postcards from Smithfield, NC all the way up in NH.  A few years ago we found old postcards from FBC Smithfield (dad has it if you want to see it!) and the Trot Motel (Frank Knott has this one).  This year I found postcards from "Johnson's Restaurant" in Dunn, NC (Toby is from Dunn!), one with the Smithfield Motor Lodge on it, and another that had a funny poem about NC on it.  I'll bet you didn't know Johnson's Restaurant was "one of the finest restaurants in the south"!  (Or at least that's what their postcard says.)  

Johnson's Restaurant top right, Smithfield Motor Lodge bottom right
Just in case you're interested, here's the poem.  It's a doozie!  

No'th Ca'lina

As soon as you get to No'th Ca'lina
The roads and the towns get newah, finah,
The people walk with a brisker step
And even your motor has more pep,
The hookworm's banished, the country has
A lot more energy, pep and jazz,
The Livest Northerner couldn't design a
Livelier Sate than No'th Ca'lina.

The farms look fatter, the Hamlets ain't
Quite ignorant of the sight of paint,
They're building roads, and they're not content
With sand and clay, but they use cement.
And the schools look good, and the mills are busy
And each inhabitant owns a Lizzie
Or a big twin-six or something finah,
As soon as you get to No'th Ca'lina.

This State's not dreaming of days gone by,
There's a modern glint in each mortal's eye,
And the village belies and the village beaux
Are as smartly dressed as the crowd which flows
On Gotham's streets.  You must give 'em credit,
These folks are fully awake, you said it.
You meet the "Boostah"; you lose the "Whinah,"
As soon as you get to No'th Ca'lina.

                                     - Bertoon Braley

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wine Cork Bulletin Board!

When we first moved to Boston 5 years ago, one of the first places we ate was John Harvard's Brew House in Cambridge.  It's a really neat brewery and restaurant in Harvard Square that has hilarious stained glass (recognize any of those guys?), good food, and the most amazing cork board I'd ever seen.  Once I saw their board (probably 4' x 6'), I knew I had to make my own (smaller) version!

Last spring, while packing for our move from Watertown to West Newton, I found the stash of corks we'd started several years before, and I caught the cork board bug again.  Once we moved in, Travis and I decided to go to Target and buy a picture frame so we could judge how close we were to filling up our board.  This is what we ended up with...

When we realized how far we were from full, we had friends start saving corks and I even hit up the Trader Joe's tasting guy a few times and got some of their corks!  Once we had more people chipping in, it came together much faster.  Here are some tips to make your own:

1)  Pick a frame you're going to fill in with the corks and take the glass out of it.  You'll be gluing the corks to the frame's back board.

2)  Start mapping out your corks!  Fill in the frame with whatever "pattern" you like - we chose alternating 2 corks vertically/horizontally.  Make sure you vary the colors, patterns and even the red dyed portions as you plot your board.

3)  Once you fill in the entire board, you'll need a really strong glue that will stick to cork.  We decided to go with Super Glue.  The "gel" super glue worked really well, and the corks aren't going ANYWHERE soon!  Pick each cork up and glue it back down (so tedious...but it only took me about an hour).  After gluing down a section, I laid a brick on top of the corks to make sure that they were touching the frame's back board while the glue dried. 

I'm really happy with how it turned out and now we're saving corks for our NEXT project!  What's your favorite thing you've seen make with wine corks?