February 24, 2019

cool stuff i like

Well for those of you who have read my blog sort of near the beginning - here's a refresher and for those who are new-ish to my blog, here's some context - I began this space the spring/summer before my daughter began kindergarten. And as you can see from the photo above - she recently turned 13 years old, and friends......this birthday hit me really quite hard in the feelings center. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled and happy to have every day with this wonderful growing person, but for years now, my kiddo has been telling me that 13 marked the spot where childhood ended. I tried telling her no, actually you'll still be a kid, but that really fell on deaf ears for the most part, and maybe she was surprisingly effective at brainwashing me into agreeing with her and yes this is all still ONE SENTENCE, but I seriously had tears in my eyes all day long the day before her birthday.

But you know what? This story of mom angst has a happy ending. Two days after the birthday passed, Julia decided she wanted to begin watching 'Downton Abbey' and she fell in love FAST. Now we're currently engaged in a sporting competition over who loves the show more. My kiddo thinks that she loves it more than I did/do. THAT IS SO FUNNY. (Ah the confidence of youth.) No one loves that show more than I do. She's currently in Season 2 and wondering when things are going to get better for Bates & Anna. Oh dear.

Somehow I agreed to make her birthday cake again, even though every year she keeps asking for things that my skills aren't equipped to handle. She wanted a strawberry and lemon layer cake with blueberry compote (nope, it's jam) and she wanted a lemon frosting that was tinted purple. I couldn't find purple food coloring so I had to keep adding blue and red a bit at a time, and it turned out more dusty lilac than purple, but she was pleased. It took A Very Long Time. I used box mixes and subbed in butter and milk for the oil and water. And I used this lemon buttercream frosting recipe.

Online things of interest:

Speaking of cakes, I love this idea for this hoping-for-spring-time of year. A fruity cake with chocolate frosting!

I like this top for spring.

I'm watching 'A Discovery of Witches' right now and it's fun! Not at the level of the book, but still fun. Have you seen it? Are you a fan of the books?

Love this. Self care slow TV. I'm all for it! See here for more suggestions.

I made this dessert recipe during the recent Seattle Snowpocalypse. It was the easiest dessert I've ever made, I made it with a can of canned peaches, and it easily could find a place at the breakfast table.

A fun house tour.

This book sounds interesting!

So does this one.

This is lovely. 

I just ordered Alicia Paulson's enchanting looking Secret Garden Apothecary box! She's SO amazing. I'm giving it to a lovely friend.

(I wish I had thought to make a book box with this theme ha ha! Maybe someday I'll do 'A Little Princess' box for the kiddos. But probably not because I feel Most Strongly that this book must be read only in hardcover and I usually use paperbacks in my boxes. But maybe? You can read more of my Little Princess thoughts here.)

Cool Book of the Week: Ok I need your help, please! I've had a wonderful time reading my way through 'The Bear and The Nightingale' (I loved this book so much it appeared in this book surprise box) and 'The Girl in the Tower'. Now the last book (?), 'Winter of the Witch' has been released and I'm having a cover conundrum. I have the first book with the cover that was released in the U.S. And the second book I ordered from the U.K. WHICH COVER DO I CHOOSE NOW? I like them both. I find the U.S. version on the right to be more dramatic, while the U.K. version on the left is more folk artsy. I'm legitimately torn. And in case you are new to these books - these grown up fairy tale spins on the tale of Vassilisa the Brave are among my favorite reads of the past several years.

Have a lovely start to your week! I'll be back at the end of the week with the full reveal of my Winter Hygge Book Surprise Boxes.


  1. I thought your "fun house tour" was going to be about a circus...!!

  2. (Hit publish too soon...) I started watching Discovery of Witches and had read the 2.5 of the books...I was not really impressed with actress who plays the main character! She seemed WAY too young and had no gravitas to me. I will watch Matthew Goode any day of the week, but I couldn't get past too many episodes. Alas.

    1. agree TOTALLY about the actress playing Diana. Sigh. it's like she acting in a totally different show. Matthew Goode is doing fab and I love him.

  3. Happy birthday to your daughter! I have always wished for a daughter to share things like Downtown Abbey with, but alas I'm blessed with a son, and we don't have many interests in common :( (We do both like to follow our local professional hockey and baseball teams.) Perhaps I'll have a kindred spirit daughter-in-law or granddaughter some day. One can dream.

    I recently put The Bear and the Nightingale on hold at my library, so now I'm eagerly waiting for it to come in! I don't know how you're going to decide on those covers--they're both so pretty.

    1. I guess I'll have to flip a coin ha ha! My mom-in-law likes to joke that if I had had a boy first, I would have had more kids. But I got my girl and was like ALL DONE, I'M GOOD. Lol! I have a friend who has 4 girls. She's hoping hoping hoping for grandsons someday!

  4. Yikes. Perhaps I should clarify--I'm not sad that I have a son! I love him to death and we've had a blast together. I just wish I had a daughter to share things with.

    1. ha I get it totally! sometimes I think fondly of boy people when my daughter is having her umpteenth drama of the day......;)

  5. Oh, Melissa. THIRTEEN. You're amazing. Much love and many, many hugs. Keep baking. I love it!

    1. SO CRAZY RIGHT?! I can't wrap my head around it. She ADORES being 13 (all two weeks of it ha). She's been excited to be a teen since she was 7 years old lol lol.

  6. I cannot believe she is 13!! That seemed to happen very fast :)

    "No one loves that show more than I do." Ah, Downton Abbey!! I think I could give you a run for your money on this love. I always ordered the season from the UK, which aired before the US. I found a way to code a DVD player to be region free, since the DVDs are in the PAL format over there. I used to have to BITE my tongue not to spoil anyone who was watching it on PBS!!

    That cake looks absolutely delicious!!