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4/24/2015

Friday Fun with GIFs: No. 10

It has been about 5 months since my last GIF post which is just WAY too long!  So here's some little something to cuten (I know it's not a word, but deal!) up your Friday...


Funny thing is I had this post ready to go for last Friday and then totally spaced and forgot to post it.  That seems to be my M.O. lately which is frustrating, but oh well.  I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!  We need to do some much needed Spring cleaning around the house...now let's see if we can actually make ourselves do it!

4/14/2015

Cute Creatures

Once our weekend with the family was over and everyone else had headed home, Antoine and I decided to explore the area and the local shops nearby.  We had some time to kill before we needed to pick up Cheese from the kennel and there were a bunch of outlets and antique shops in the area (none of which were all that stellar), so we figured why not.  After we stopped by the glassware outlet, I spotted a candy shop and we investigated since something sweet for the road sounded like a good idea.  The candy shop was a bust (very tiny with very very little candy), but right next door was a little area with a variety of fallow deer and goats you could feed.  I'd never seen white fallow deer before so I really got a kick out of these guys!  And goats are always such clowns!

Dopey and Grumpy...if that's not what their names actually are that's what they should be based on their facial expressions alone.
Look at those teeth!

How can it already feel like it's been a long week if it's only Tuesday?!  One of the great mysteries of the world, I guess.  Anyway, here's hoping you have a wonderful Tuesday!

4/10/2015

Dad's Birthday Cake

As I mentioned before, one of the main reasons we have our yearly family cabin weekend in November is to celebrate my dad's birthday.  Every year my sister usually gets a birthday cake from the store (usually a pirate one...it's an inside joke), but this year I decided to make one from scratch.  And I decided to make it lactose-light so my brother-in-law could actually have some!  I ended up making this brown butter and vanilla bean layer cake with bourbon buttercream (well, margarine-cream).  Plus, I had recently seen this scallop tutorial on Pinterest and was itching to try it out (I thought it was interesting but not too girly or anything for my dad).
The scallop design turned out fairly well for my first go at it.  The cake itself was good, but a little dry.  And the bourbon buttercream was subtle, so even my mom (a non-bourbon drinker) liked it. 
 I wasn't too crazy about the consistency of the margarine-cream frosting...but I'm a butter purist when it comes to cake baking, and I'm glad I tried it and I know it can be done.
I also made a batch of this caramel sauce (wet method) and these candied pecans (minus the cayenne) to accompany the cake.  And both came in very handy as waffle toppers the following morning!
My dad blowing out his candles.
The finished product.

It was a fun cake to make, since it was the first cake I've ever made for my dad's birthday.  And I'll definitely be trying out that scallop design again in the future...it was so easy and a nice way to cover up imperfections on the sides of the cake.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  Happy Friday!

4/09/2015

Staying in Hocking Hills

Each year for my family's annual cabin weekend my parents, sister, brother-in-law, Antoine and I usually go to either Hocking Hills or Gatlinburg and rent a cabin for a few nights.  We've been doing it for about 6 years now and it's almost always in November so we can celebrate my dad's birthday and Thanksgiving together.  This past November we decided to be a bit fancy and rent this vacation rental in Hocking Hills through Home Away.  It's definitely different from the log-cabin we normally get, but fulfilled our 3 bedroom and at least 2 bathroom requirements.  And while it was a good place to stay, it certainly was not my most favorite and had some definite design flaws.
The big windows and modern design totally drew me in, but the windows ended up being less than ideal since from 7am to 11am the sun shone through them relentlessly and made it impossible to watch tv (which is always what my dad does in the morning on such trips).
The main-level bathroom (which my sister, brother-in-law, Antoine and I shared) was my favorite part of the house...mainly the enormous bathtub!  The showers were enormous as well, like 8'x8', but the shower heads were positioned too high so by the time the water hit you it just felt like a light drizzle.
Loved that bathtub!  And I was so thankful that I brought a bunch of Lush bath products with me!
The first room you encounter in the house is probably the strangest!  It's a fairly large room and probably 75% of it is taken up by a gigantic koi pond.  It is kind of ridiculous and the fountain is slightly loud.  It is on an automatic timer and shuts off at night, but when it kicks back on around 7am it kind of sounds like someone is in the shower from the bedrooms....that didn't bother me too much though.  My main issue with the koi pond was purely design related.  So much of the main-level was dedicated to this unnecessary thing and the design/space for the kitchen and eating area suffered greatly.  Granted this would not be an issue if you weren't planning to do much cooking, but we always do during these family weekends.  We cook practically every meal, including your average, overboard Thanksgiving dinner.  And the kitchen was tiny!  It was tight if there were just two people in it (and Antoine and I are practiced at cooking together in a tiny kitchen...but this one was actually smaller than ours) and sometimes there were four of us in there at once.
The entry room also had a high-top table and chairs and a pair of big massage chairs over in the corner near the windows.  While I was not a fan of the massage chairs (they were a little terrifying and way too intense), my dad absolutely loved them!
One thing that we hadn't noticed in the listing photos for the rental was that one of the three bedrooms was actually an open loft.  We always try to avoid lofts (for a variety of reasons) when booking a place for our family weekend.  My parents took the loft, which had it's own bathroom with an equally enormous shower to the main-level bathroom.
There was also a really nice deck outside with a hot tub that looked out onto a yard below with a fire pit and little pond.  It was too chilly in November to really enjoy the deck, but my sister did take a dip in the hot tub...she can never resist a hot tub!

All in all, not the best place we've ever stayed for family weekend, but probably not the worst either.  I mean, that bathtub was pure magic and made the whole stay worth it for me.  Also, the weird koi pond in the front room wasn't all bad...at least there were cute fish to look at and feed!