Strawberry Shortcake Girls

Time is fleeting that is for sure. Lately I have been thinking quite a bit by how quickly my girls are growing. Nothing spectacular really…. in fact its a right of passage I suppose, something every parent goes through on a regular basis. Perhaps its because the strawberry fields near our house that we used to go to this time of year, when the girls were smaller recently closed.

I found myself glaring and reminanising over these photos of my girls at the same age strawberry picking. I remember both times were ridiculously stressful, hot & chaotic. Yet when I went over these pictures I found myself in astonishment at how perfect these moments were. These fleeting moments of my little angels babyhood perfectly captured in time.

Then I was struck by the relization that that is life in general. That is the point….. No matter where you are in life…. make sure to breath it in, absorb it…. absolutely relish in it. For it is a fast and fleeting moment like the light to a firefly, but it’s perfect and you will treasure that memory no matter how chaotic it may seem at the time. For it is a beautiful poetic chapter in the story that is your life. One you will read and reread often in your mind.

Below is the recipe of the fresh strawberry cake the girls and I would make each year with all our yummy freshly picked strawberries.

Fresh strawberry cake

  • Difficulty: average
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Cake ingredients;

  • White cake mix
  • strawberry jello pack
  • 1/4 C Avocado oil
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1/2 C half & half
  • 1 C of chopped strawberries (frozen or fresh)

Butter cream ingredients;

  • 1/3 C soften butter
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 T half & half
  • 1 C of fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I start by adding my half & half + strawberries (whole) into either a blender or food processor & blend it up just enough to chop up the strawberries. Next I mix up the strawberries & cream mixture, cake mix, jello pack, & oil. I used 6 inch pans for my cake, but you could easily modify your recipe for a full size cake or sheet cake for easy transport if needed. To prep my pans I typically grease and lightly flour the the pan and cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Pour your batter half way up the pan.

Since I used 6 in round pans, I baked each layer of my cake for about 20 min each. Test to see if cake is done by inserting knife in the middle of the cake. If the knife is clean when you remove it, it is done. Remove cake from pan and cool on a cooling rack while you prepare your icing & get your second layer in the oven to as well bake for about 20 min.

While your first cake layer is cooling and your second layer is baking, you prep your strawberry buttercream icing. Mix up your butter and slowly add your powder sugar little at a time. Then add vanilla and half & half. Finally I add the roughly chopped strawberries. While I have the icing stiffening up in the refrigerator I then get the second layer out & cooling. When you are ready to ice the cake you put 1st layer down butt up as I like to call it. Place a dollop of icing and smooth out on top. Place your second layer on top of the icing and again place a dollop of icing on top and smooth on top. I then add a couple more dollops and start to smooth the icing to the sides and then smooth it out to the cakes sides and continue doing so until the sides are all covering with the icing in a rouch icing layer. Then I place the whole cake in the fridge to let the icing harden a bit for about 10 min. Afterwards I repeat the whole layering process again and add a fresh sliced strawberry on top.

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Springtime Garden Crystals

Spring has sprung! and it is glorious. Bees are buzzing…trees and flowers are budding and its just the most heavenly slice of weather one could ask for.

This is the time right here that was created especially for gardners and all you gardener wannabes (that would be me) out there. I have never been a stellar gardner myself…. Despite all my best efforts its always proved a bit difficult for me. Of course as was the case last year the one time I was pretty successful… the rabbits found ways to raid my little garden much to my dismay. I have resorted to just pretty flower pots on the balcony this year. I might pull out a small veggie garden this year but that as yet to be determined.

Anyways I stumbled on the idea of adding crystals to your garden for their energetic properties and just had to share the top four that I personally loved.

Quartz- supposed to be great for cell growth in your plants, the stone to use when setting intentions. So visualizing and setting your intention as you place some quartz around your garden will help.

Moonstone- a stone of fertility and health. This stone promotes strength & is known as a symbol of “new beginnings”. Soothes stressful environments and promotes success and good fortune.

Citrine- This stone is all about success and abundance, which is a win for any garden. The stone that simulates the properties of the sun itself lends warmth, and cleansing vitality to your garden

Moss agate- known quite literally as the gardeners stone. This stone lends grounding to the earth properties. A stone that promotes balance & vitality in your garden.

I also love how these little gemstones make the most beautiful garden decorations. Like like jewels spread amongst your garden. Let me know if any of you out there have had any luck with using gemstones in your gardens, and if so which ones where your favorite?

Strawberry Fields Forever

We got ourselves filthy today…. I mean sweaty, boots in the farm mud kinda dirty today… However we were surely rewarded with one beautiful bucket of hand-picked strawberries and a pocketful of family memories. Let me explain to you all…. I work my hind end off (as any mother typically does) to create fun family adventures. No matter how hard I work though… nothing…. and I do mean nothing ever truly goes right. In fact it is typically a series of disastrous events for our adventures. Take today for example….It took forever to get out the door so by the time we were on the roads the girls were screaming and bouncing off the walls for they had both decided to veto naps, and were starving for lunch. We pull over and get lunch then get back on the road, and then it hits me that not only did I forget hats for the girls but sunscreen as well…..We decide to wing it anyways since we had driven close to an hour outside of Atlanta to the strawberry farm. We finally get out…. get a couple of pictures. For this is a super mom must, ALWAYS make sure to get pictures at the very beginning (time is not on your side) because with littles your chances of massive meltdowns greatly increases with every passing minute…. My eldest was freaking out over having to share the bucket with her sister….my youngest  was pissed we wouldn’t let her roam and eat all the unwashed strawberries her bohemian spirit could grab…. and not to mention most of the strawberries were so picked over, it was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Between the heat and my anxiety I ended the family adventure promptly by telling my husband to grab the girls and get everyone in the air-condition car NOW!….As I started picking every strawberry I could find to fill our bucket up even half of the way. On the drive home, I felt defeated and a tinge of ‘Why do I even bother?’ but then when we got home and I saw our pictures…tucked my ladies in to bed this evening with my eldest baby bear proclaiming this way the best day ever!… it hit me…. While we are all so busy worrying about how we are failing, we are forget to see just how much we do matter and impact the lives of those around us. Life flies by ferociously fast… don’t let how important you are pass you by as well.

“Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me

Let me take you down
‘Cause I going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever”

 

The Metaphysics of Gardening

 

I always foster these grand ideas about being some fantastic gardener. However the reality of the matter is I suck so badly at the activity, that it’s not even funny. I guess at the end of the day after nurturing, and caring for everything around and making sure that my family is still alive at the end of the day. I’m just too darned tired to remember to make sure the planets needs have all been met as well. That said this year I was determined to at least get a little garden flourishing and hopefully even alive and the end of the season (we will see…fingers crossed). Regardless of the outcome I love any opportunity to engage and to include my littles in the wonders of nature.

So first up, we started off our gardening adventures with a visit to the Atlanta botanical gardens for inspiration.

Nothing quite beats story time in the gardens,  learning about different seeds, and planting workshops.

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We left with all sorts of inspiration to boot! First we got our seed starters going- from old recyclable egg cartons. We added some potting soil, and then our seeds (along with some good wishes) . We started off with some seeds for lettuce, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. Then we got these seeds in our Cheerios box to help #bringbackthebees that we planted as well. We learned all about how important bees are to our ecosystem and how we all need to do our part in helping to support them.

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Then we finally started to see some success after about a week of watering and nurturing our seeds and it was plant time.

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Next on our garden list is for us going to get our herbs going strong to add some yummy flavors to our food. Also doesn’t hurt to add a little good metaphysical mojo as well…

Basil- This is plant is known to bring in money and fortunate energy. Who can’t use a little more wealth in their lives? Am I right? Strongly attracts energy for money but also for love and health matters as well

Sage- Known for its purification properties, dry and burn your own sage for environment cleansing properties

Lavender- the plant that brings in more men into your life. Lavender brings on great love energy. Plus this plant is so soothing you can use it for endless soothing and restful properties.

Lemon- Great for clearing blockages

Another little added jazz for your garden would be adding some crystals to the soil surrounding the plants. Not only for a cool look but a lot of crystals are known for over all garden health and productivity.

moonstone-a symbol of fertility and the lunar energy. promotes restorative health in a garden.

Tigers eye- thought to improve overall root growth in plants. A stone known for courage and strength will promote overall stability and strength in your garden.

Citrine is a stone that energizes and warms your garden. Extremely protective this stone is in association with the solar plexus and is known to transmute negative energy into positive.

I hope you found this inspiring enough to get your green thumb on as well. The planet needs fresh new growth and dedicated warriors to help preserve and enrich our environment.

Happy Earth Day to all & Namaste!