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.
We Made A Cake

Ella is participating in American Heritage Girls and is desperate to earn as many badges as she can so her vest is full and pretty like the girls who have been in the group for a while.  I really like the program and I appreciate the clarity and consistency of the badge program.  She chose a few different projects that she wanted to pursue and we got started with the Cake Decorating badge-work this week.

She needs to dye frosting various colors for part of the badge-work so she selected a cake with pink frosting (I know, you're totally shocked).  This particular cake was featured in the book Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  I'd love to write out the recipe but it's a newish book and I have no idea about the copyright restrictions.   As it happens, the cake we made is featured on the cover below.  Not that ours looked like that!

This cake required hard to find ingredients like Dutch processed cocoa, so much butter that my heart is still palpitating and I had to actually take a bowl of egg whites and heat them up over a simmering pot of water.   Never again, I say.

We made raspberry buttercream frosting to go on top and it took longer to make than a Betty Crocker cake takes to mix and bake.  I kid you not.  My four year old son got particularly animated when it was time to mush the raspberries through a strainer and get all the juice but none of the pulp out.  I am still finding raspberry juice splatters all over the kitchen.  He definitely had a great time.

Heating egg whites over a pot of simmering water.

This cake turned out to be amazingly tasty and light and fluffy and the frosting was to-die-for good.   I just wish the author's bakery was close to my house so I could buy one of these cakes the next time I get a craving for it rather than having to slave over for hours myself.

We made the cake on the cover of the book pictured above.  Doesn't quite look the same, does it?!  

Ella is halfway to earning her badge with the making of this cake and I earned a nice glass of wine.  This book is great, even for a non-baker like me.  If you like making cakes, this is a book to have on your shelf!  Even as a non-baker, I'm glad I've got it handy as this cake was literally the best cake I've ever made.  Yum.



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