I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Ella's Birthday Cake

A week ago I still had no idea what to make for Ella's 5th birthday cake. She had asked for strawberry shortcake for her birthday party that is coming up this weekend but I still wanted a cake for her for her actual birthday - 5 is a big milestone year after all!

I randomly decided to check in on a blog I visit infrequently, Posy Gets Cozy, and lucky enough a really tempting looking cake and frosting recipe was up. It looked so good I decided to try it out. We decided that the cake was really as good as anticipated and the frosting was a nice complement, though I am pretty sure I will use 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract next time instead of a tsp. of almond extract - it was fine, but I really tasted the flavoring and I think something less bold would be better. This really makes a big cake, after we had each eaten a piece, I split the rest of the cake up and delivered it to three of my neighbors!

Here is the recipe:

Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

(***I used 1/2 cup of hot coffee and 1/2 cup of boiling water***)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

*The Cloudburst frosting recipe is on Posy's blog, I didn't ask for permission to repost it so I am not going to, so I added a direct link to the recipe above.




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