Busch Gardens!!

Prior to bearing children, I used to wonder about parents at amusement parks. Some of them looked downright miserable, being dragged around from ride to ride while carrying purses and diaper bags and pushing strollers and wagons. I felt bad for them, and thought about how much it would suck to not be able to ride all the fun roller-coasters or adrenaline-pumping rides. I was sure that I would never want to visit an amusement park with kids if all I could do was walk around the kiddie areas. I kind of wish someone would’ve told me how much more fun it is to see an amusement park through the eyes of a child!

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The Prince George Farmer’s Market

One of the best parts about being back east is living so close to so much farm land. I like to eat and I’m a sucker for home-grown farm-fresh foods. It comes as no surprise that I could probably go to a different farmer’s market every Saturday this summer and still not see all the ones this area has to offer.
My egg farmer, LaRue, told me about the Prince George Farmer’s Market. That’s where she sells her stuff. After a very long winter and a very wet spring, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opening of this market. They finally opened last weekend! I came in search of local honey, and was so disappointed to find out that the one farmer who had some had sold out in the first hour of the opening week, and wouldn’t have any more until mid-June. Oh sadness.

Fun at the Prince George Farmer's MarketThere was a lavender plant that was calling out to me. She really was. She said “help! I need someone to water me (not too much), love me, take me home and let me be around Parsley and Mint and Basil! I’m lonely!…and I’m only $2!” That was what I told the Hubs upon bringing home yet another herb. Hopefully she’s live a long and happy life.

Fun at the Prince George Farmer's MarketOne cool thing about this market is that they feature a story time each week. A member of the library came out to read to the kids, equipped with a flannel board, stamp pad, and coloring pages. Today’s stories were all about insects. The girls counted spots on the felt ladybug, sang “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, and read from “The Hungry Caterpillar”.

Fun at the Prince George Farmer's Market Fun at the Prince George Farmer's MarketThe market was also right next door to the Prince George Library. We checked it out as well since we were there. It wasn’t as nice as the one in Hopewell, but we still walked away with 3 more books for the girls to track on 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. Thus far LV is up to 26 and Autumn isn’t very far behind her!

Not a bad way to start out a bright and sunny Saturday!

A Berry Good Day for a Birthday! (A Dairy & Egg-Free Cake Recipe)

It’s the Hubs’ birthday! Hooray! His main birthday wish was to just hang out and eat some cake and ice cream, which I was more than willing to accommodate! We don’t eat a lot of cake, but when we do we go all out! So we started with the basics of what is in season….strawberries!

DSC_1115 DSC_1117 DSC_1119 DSC_1125We filled up $11 worth of strawberries, half of which the girls devoured on the way home (and thus the new car now has lovely red stains in the backseat, sigh). I’m already looking forward to blueberry season!

With strawberries in hand, we started on the cake. Full disclosure: the Hubs made the cake. That’s right…my husband is so awesome he makes his own birthday cake…and he enjoys making it! I used to feel terribly guilty about this, but my goodness he makes a good cake!  And now, the Hubs…

This is an awesome dairy-free cake recipe that was used during the depression. Don’t let the “dairy-free” thing scare you away. This cake is moist, delicious, and super easy to make.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can make some minor modifications and add your own touch.  The Wife and I thought that strawberries and chocolate were too classic of a combination to pass up.

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, sift together 3 Cups all purpose flour, 2 Cups cane sugar, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda. (Feel free to use white sugar).
Step 2: In the dry mixture, make three wells with your fingers. Pour 3 tsp vanilla extract into 1 well, 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar into the second well, and 3/4 Cup vegetable oil into the third well.
Step 3: Pour 2 Cups cold water over the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until combined.
Step 4: Once the base of the cake batter is complete, this is where you can get creative and add different ingredients. We decided to mix in 1 1/2 Cups dark chocolate chips.

Brush a 9″ spring form cake pan with melted butter. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 75-90 minutes, depending on your oven. When a toothpick comes out clean, you’re good to go.

You can use a 9×11 sheet pan if you need to.  Just reduce the time to 30-45 minutes. But just a heads up, with a sheet pan you won’t be able to remove the cake. Don’t worry, it still tastes amazing!

Once it’s cooled, remove the outside of the spring form. Sift powdered sugar over the top and fill with fresh strawberries for dramatic effect and photo ops.

And now for the strawberry sauce.

In a saucepan, combine: 1/4 Cup water and 1/4 Cup sugar. and bring to a boil. Add 2 Cups fresh sliced strawberries, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Toss in the strawberries until warmed through and coated with the simple syrup. Blend the mixture until smooth.

A Day At The Hopewell Library

In my other life, the life away from the toils of child-rearing and homemaking, I would’ve been morbidly obese and undeniably smart from sitting around and reading all day, every day. I love books…they’re quite addictive to me. As such, I’ve owned a library card at every city I’ve lived in. The smaller ones are cute, but their limited selection usually breaks my heart. Today’s library certainly did not do that.

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