Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

It's a new year in the Cake Slice Bakers and that means that we are baking from a new book. This year we will bake our way through The Southern Cake Book.

I selected the Caramel Apple Coffee Cake and man, it is good! Apples, cinnamon, butter, pecans and brown sugar make it hard to go wrong! The recipe is available online here and would make a great Thanksgiving breakfast treat.


Where I've Been...

So, this little blog of mine has been neglected, but I had good reason.

I had surgery to remove the tumor on my sinuses on October 23rd. We had been cautioned that a CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) leak was a strong possibility because of the location of the tumor, so my Dr. was pleasantly surprised when there was none.....until I had the most excruciating headache 4 days later and a small trickle of fluid from my nose. The next day's follow-up visit (where they vacuumed packing out of my nose  - I do not recommend having that done!) turned into scheduling surgery for the next day, just 1 week removed from the first surgery, to insert a lumbar drain and repair the leak.

They were unable to get the lumbar drain in place, which would have allowed them to inject a dye that would have pinpointed the leak, so they patched as best as they could and a 2nd surgery and 1 night in the hospital later, they sent me home. I think that I was there a total of 4 hours when fluid started pouring out of my nose. We scrambled to get someone to take care of Elise and make sure that she still got to go trick or treating, packed a bag, and headed back to the hospital.
So I spent Halloween evening having an X-ray guided lumbar drain inserted. I remained in the hospital for the next 6 days, where every hour on the hour they would drain 10cc of spinal fluid in an effort to help the leak repair itself. They eventually injected dye through the drain to see if anything would leak out, turned off the drain, and after a week that included 4 IV's (they kept blowing!) and a million cherry ices, pronounced me fit to go home.
That was 2 weeks ago today. The first week home was rough with some wicked headaches, the worst of my life. I'm still healing and won't go for an official follow-up visit until next week, but each day the headaches are less, so I think full recovery is on the horizon.
It has been a rollercoaster, but we absolutely love my Dr., who has gone above and beyond for us. And we have been so blessed with friends and family who stepped in and made sure that Elise was cared for and that life was as normal as possible for her. The Rev might have a career in nursing and was a great caregiver through the whole ordeal. Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal.
I'm happy to be on the mend and back to blogging! I've missed you!


Tipsy Tuesday (#287)

Follow these tips from Maryland SPCA to ensure a Happy Thanksgiving for your pets!

Tip # 287

Make no bones about it: Although, Fido may say 'yes' to a turkey drumstick, keep bones away from your pet.  Turkey bones can cause serious injury to your pet if they splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet's digestive track.

Limit table food treats: Too many fatty, rich or unfamiliar foods for your pet can cause painful and serious medical conditions.

Sage advice: No stuffing for pets. Sage and other herbs often used to make turkey stuffing contain essential oils and resins that can cause stomach upset and central nervous system depression in pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of these oils.


Elise's Minnie Mouse Party

Elise is all about Minnie Mouse, so that was the theme for her 2nd birthday party. I made a huge Minnie Mouse out of plumbing insulation, made fringed streamers, and a Minnie inspired set of letters proclaiming that Elise was TWO! I added Oreo ears and Starburst bows to the amazing cupcakes that our friend made and cute labels to bubbles and cups of cotton candy as favors. All of our food was inspired by Minnie and her Clubhouse friends, too.

It was a chilly day and had rained most of the morning, so a last minute table full of Play Doh and art supplies was a necessary save since the playground at the picnic shelter where her party was held was too wet to play. Everybody braved the chill and celebrated our precious little girl It was a good day!



Tipsy Tuesday (#286)

Most of us know how to keep kids safe while out and about on Halloween...

Tip #286

but do you put any thought into keeping your house safe for others that may visit you?
  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. 
  • Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
Now for fun, what was your all time favorite Halloween costume?


Jam Packed Weekend!

This past weekend literally could not have held another single activity! Saturday was a whirlwind of stuff - family photos in the morning, a lunch time birthday party for Elise to attend, a quick nap to avoid a cranky toddler, and off to the Fall Festival at church. I was worn out...and that doesn't even cover all of the laundry and grocery shopping. Do you ever have weekends where you just need an extra day to rest because you have so much going on?

On a sidenote, this girl loves to play in the leaves!


Tipsy Tuesday (#285)

This is a horrible time of year to try to cut back on candy....

Tip #285

and then I realized how much exercise you have to do to counteract the sugar in some of my favorite Halloween treats and I'm thinking that I'd rather cut back...because I love M&M's but I don't know how to ride a bike!

What is your favorite Halloween treat?


A Fall Tradition: Our Pumpkin Patch Visit

Last year, Elise wasn't even walking when we started the tradition of visiting a pumpkin patch. This year she was able to walk and explore all of the "munkins" at her own pace. She picked a small one out and the Rev and I picked our own as well. They are displayed on our front porch right now and she thinks it is her own little "munkin patch." Now, to decorate!


DCB Recipe #44: Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps

We are working on getting healthy and limiting carb intake, so lettuce wraps are a perfect fit for us. We used ground turkey since it is less expensive than beef and better for you, but you could also easily substitute chicken breast (just adjust your cooking time to ensure that is cooked through). I think that next time I will add some water chestnuts, shredded carrots, and broccoli. You could also add some crushed red pepper to spice it up. Very quick and super yummy!
Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps
1lb. ground turkey
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
Place turkey in DCB, cover, and microwave 5 minutes. Crumble.
Add pineapple, sauce, and any other cooked veggies that you want to add, and stir.
Microwave, covered, 2 minutes or until warmed through.
Serve with lettuce cups.


Tipsy Tuesday (#284)

I loathe having my picture taken,,,but we are having family photos/Elise's 2 year old photos/Christmas card photos taken on Saturday. And we can't show up naked....

Tip # 284

Use click it up a notch's tips for what to wear in family photos and get great results. 

A few tips to remember include coordinating colors not matching, limit patterns, and think classic (we will have to look at these for years, don't want them looking dated!).

And remember on photo day, if the kids go crazy and you feel fat, it could always be worse...see photo...



Dear Elise,

Tomorrow you will be 2 years old. It does not seem possible. This has been the most fun year! Here is what you are up to:

•Eating: WATERMELON! You love it and cannot get enough. You also really love beans,  cheese, rice, corn on the cob and peanuts. You call fruit snacks "princesses," since that is the picture on the box. You have also learned how to eat a whole apple, you can walk around with one forever! You like booster seats rather than high chairs and are pretty vocal about it.

•Sleeping: Preschool has helped secure a good afternoon nap on most days since you are worn out after you get home and eat your lunch. You adore books at bedtime and even pick a favorite each night to sleep with (they have replaced binkies, which you gave up at 21 months!). I always feel so bad turning out the lights since you settle down on your pillow with your covers and book and open it to "read" it.

•Wearing: You are in mostly 18-24 months clothing, with a few 2T mixed in. You want a bow at all times and are starting to get more vocal about what you like to wear.

•Talking: We are so going to be in trouble because you are a TALKER! Your grasp of words and ability to remember what something is after being told just once amazes me. Everywhere we go people are always amazed at how well you speak and how many words you know for your age. Probably one of my favorites is when you randomly announce to us, "I happy!" Your Daddy's favorite is when you run to him and say, "Tickle me!"

•What You Love: Music and dancing, Piper - she is your best friend, playdough, playing the "pi-no" (piano), bubbles, Minnie Mouse, being a mermaid in the bathtub, hiding in your tent, getting under the covers on our bed, Taco Tuesday, rocking yourself in the rocking chair, trips to the park, helping in the kitchen, coloring, stickers, tickle time with Daddy, watching videos and looking at pictures of yourself, ice cream, your friends at church, school, doughnuts, restaurant buttermints, eskimo kisses, and puzzles!

•What We Love: ALL OF YOU! You really are a good child for the most part, of course there is the occasional tantrum in there, usually when you are frustrated, but you are so sweet and loving. Your hugs and kisses are the best!

You are our most favorite girl!

Mommy (and Daddy!)



We had a church bake sale this past weekend and I was determined to go all no bake, since I am right in the middle of planning for Elise's birthday party this weekend.

I made this Sugar Cookie Chex Mix and these Avalanche Bars. I love peanut butter and white chocolate and these were so good, like a crispier rice krispy treat, since you don't actually melt the marshmallows.

Give them a try! What's on your fall "To Bake" (or no bake!) list?


Nope, This Is Not OK

This is driving me crazy! No, not the fact that Adult fleece is on sale for $15...or the fact that my browser knows my memory is worth nothing since squeezing out Elise and wants to help me remember my passwords. It is the use of the word "Nope." I mean it is just so slangish and it even takes 2 more letters to spell it, so what is the point? How am I supposed to break Elise from saying "Yep" if this is what the internet is going to teach her?

What is your grammar pet peeve?


Tipsy Tuesday (#283)

Ever just have days when you feel like you accomplish nothing?

Tip # 283

Try some of these tips from BuzzFeed to improve your productivity.

I'm going to start with the 2 minute rule. What about you? What makes you feel more productive?


"I Faking!"

Elise has learned the difference between real and fake. One of her favorite tricks is to pretend to cry or cough, or hiccup and then bust into a fit of giggles, proclaiming, "I faking!" Because it's Hump Day and you might need something to get you over, here are her fake hiccups.