Tilt-a-Whirl

comments: 79

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

28Rose1

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

30Rose1

29Oaks5

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

30Bath1

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

29Oaks11

Whirlwind days, going every which way, and a long weekend filled with friends and family, and a birthday for my love. Andy Paulson turned forty-six and had a very sweet birthday. I went old-school with the cake I made for him, and returned to my old classic, chocolate cake with butter-roux frosting. This time I made the cake in three 8"-round pans, and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. I doubled the frosting and piled it on. Highly recommend.

A Variation on Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa (I actually use Cacao Barry, which my sister turned me on to)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup steaming hot (brewed) coffee*

*Original recipe calls for boiling water but coffee brings out the chocolate flavor a bit without actually making it taste like coffee. I usually reheat whatever was leftover in coffee pot that morning.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour (using cocoa powder so it disappears) two 9" round cake pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Carefully stir in boiling water and coffee (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans (see above).

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes (see above) or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely.

As I've posted before, the frosting for this cake is my mom's old recipe for something we in our family called "the milk and flour frosting." (I later learned this is called a "butter-roux" frosting.) When I first put it on the blog several years ago, I renamed it more romantically and called it Cloudburst Frosting because it is really light, fluffy, and not-too-sweet . This frosting also had a long history in our house of being very temperamental but it is totally worth it. We think we have it down now, but you have to do it exactly this way. You just do. Don't ask me why. We really do not know.

Cloudburst Frosting

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup WHOLE (it has to be whole) milk or half-and-half
1 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

In a small pan, gradually add the milk to the flour, whisking them together into a totally smooth mixture — you don't want any lumps here. Simmer (barely) until thick over low/medium heat, whisking constantly so you don't get any lumps. (Do not walk away from the stove for even a minute — trust me. If you do get lumps, just push it all through a sieve.) You want it to be the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and let it cool completely but NOT in the refrigerator (Mom says if you put it in the fridge it won't work). Let it cool for a few minutes, and then push a piece of plastic wrap down on the surface of the mixture (so a skin doesn't form) and let it sit on the counter for an hour or two or three until it's completely cool. (Update: My sister says it's totally fine to put this in the refrigerator, so . . . ) Cream together the butter and almond; add the confectioner's sugar and beat on high for several minutes until it is very fluffy. Add the milk/flour mixture and beat until it is super fluffy. The frosting will sometimes appear to separate when you add the milk/flour mixture, but just keep beating it on high until it whips up into smooth, fluffy clouds.

            After frosting the cake, chill before serving for maximum deliciousness. I like this cake very cold.

 

The news of the world and of our city in particular has been so troubling and heartbreaking it has brought me to tears several times this past week. Today Amelia and I went past the memorial at the transit center where two brave men lost their lives. It is absolutely covered in flowers and chalk-drawn messages of love. I send my prayers out to all of the fallen warriors and their families who have given everything to protect us. I truly appreciated all of your comments on my last post. I long for advice about how to live in these troubled times.

We planted our little vegetable garden in the parkway raised beds this past weekend. We don't really have enough in it yet, I don't think. The weather is all over the place — some days in the upper 90s and some days, like yesterday, absolutely freezing cold and raining. We planted the back-porch planters with veggies and herbs, too — tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, corn, basil, lemon verbena. These I'm hoping Amelia will take care of, as it will be easy for her to water them out there. She spends a lot of time on the back porch, so I think it will be fun. I had absolutely no plan with regard to anything that I bought — I just grabbed a bunch of veggie starts randomly and we put them all over the place, in front and back. This is not how I usually do things but hey, stuff's in the ground, at least. I feel like maybe some of it is not supposed to be together, but I've never really understood what that means or why certain veggies aren't supposed to be planted near one another. . . . Feel free to enlighten me, honestly. Is it like a nutrient thing or a pest thing or . . . ? I could Google this, I know.

I'm working on a Birkin sweater, a pattern for which you can only find in the second issue of  Laine magazine. This will be a size XL sweater knit in fingering-weight yarn, with lots of complicated colorwork (three colors per row in lots of cases) so it should keep me out of trouble for a good loooooooong while is what I'm thinking. . . .

My girl dances and twirls, spinning from one thing to the next, riding bigger little-kid amusement-park rides by herself for the first time, pulling all of her bravery from somewhere deep inside her, waiting in line and getting on the rides by herself, waving to us from the tiny plane, the tiny car, the tiny speedboat, us standing on the sidelines filled with so much hope and joy and admiration. She inspires me beyond words in these moments. I can see all of her fear and all of her fearlessness in her face, can see her weighing the risk of participation with the anticipation of just how exciting it will be when that thing goes up in the air, or bounces around the track, or bangs up and down on its metal octopus arm, and she wants to go. She is serious and deliberate and even nervous, but she always moves forward, standing in line on her own, asking the other kids around her if someone will ride with her, racing to the purple car, changing her mind and going for another one, losing nerve a little bit and starting to cry when it all gets too bumpy, then pulling herself back together and smiling hugely on the final round. When she got off the speedboat (the scariest one) she raced into my arms and collapsed, all tension in every muscle gone and making this loud noise that seemed to come from her soul, like an enormously relieved sigh but one that wasn't only relieved but also amused at herself and proud of herself and also just purely delighted at the world. It is hard to describe the noise but Andy and I both knew exactly what it was (we talked about it as soon as she went to bed and we both thought it meant the exact same things). She made the noise for a long time and I held her in my arms for all of that time and could not see through my own quiet, proud, and, yeah, relieved tears. This child, this braveheart. On my shoulder, limp and heavy and soft. Big and small. These moments sneak up on me so. I never knew about them before motherhood. I can't imagine what they are called. What are these called? There have been a few of them now and they are the most moving, poignant experiences of parenthood, for me. I can't even really describe, and I don't think I'll ever forget, but I just wanted to write this so that I could remember it again right now.

79 comments

Isabella says: June 01, 2017 at 07:23 AM

Such sweet words about your daughter's brave, new world. I love the beginning of your sweater. If you haven't checked out the Instagram account, loritimesfive, give it a look see. It's one of my favorite knitting Instagrams. I hope your summer is wonderful!

Those parenting moments, when they happen, make everything right in the universe. When they happen , they are simply magical.

My baby girl ( she's 31)got engaged this past weekend, and we hosted a surprise party ( surprise to her, anyway-the rest of us knew! lol) for 50 in our backyard to celebrate.

As she walked in, and saw her family/friends, then realized what was up, she came straight to me and flung her arms around me with that kind of hug that said thank you-I love you-OMG- this is really happening,isn't life amazing- and yes, I know that "sound."

It's the sound of pure, unconditional love, isn't it?

PS-that frosting! Going to try that ASAP.

Melissa A Brock says: June 01, 2017 at 08:02 AM

Beautiful thoughts, lovely photos, thank you for sharing your family life with us. I keep praying for our world, there is still a lot of good going on, sure wish the news people would report that. (I guess that's why we love reading Blogs, we can choose the good things to read about and be encouraged). Each of us must do what the Bible says, love our neighbors.

Hi Alicia. I look forward to your posts. Can you tell me the name of the gorgeous pink rose? Its amazing!! Love julie in Wester Australia

Susannah says: June 01, 2017 at 08:24 AM

Oh Sonia... Thank you for this: "You can romantically call them cloudburst feelings. Or the less romantic milk and flour feelings, I'll let you decide. ♡"

I've been feeling all the feelings lately and this is it.

A few weeks ago when my daughter wanted to know what dimples were, I showed her a picture of your husband. Happy Birthday!

I see that someone else referenced the Carrots Love Tomatoes book, which I just bought this season. There are also charts online, which simplify companion planting, significantly. I found the book to be somewhat redundant since there’s so much cross-referenced information. Planting marigolds and borage with tomatoes and peppers has been the only pest control needed in our raised beds. This season, we’re growing pattypan squash, and cucumbers, for the first time, so extra loads of nasturtium are growing alongside those seedlings. Fingers crossed!

Your thoughts about your daughter, after the rides, made me teary today. My husband and I experienced four miscarriages over the time period when you exquisitely wrote about your adoption journey. We will not be parents after all, so some of the moments that I’ve read about as you raise your daughter, are both glorious and wrenching for me. I appreciate that you share so generously. In some way that I can’t explain, it’s helped me to move forward, with my husband, toward a different life than what we’d expected for ourselves. It is so true that every life ripples across other lives.

Best wishes to you and your loving family!

The last paragraph is possibly one of the most beautifully written pieces on parenting. Thank you! You captured it!

Just beautiful. I'm glad you wrote it down because it brought back memories of my own daughters. Sadly, I had forgotten until I read this.

Perfect moments of clarity.

I think those moments are mixed with all the feelings coming together: pride at how she is growing up, but mixed with sorrow that with that comes the letting go. And knowing, when we have achieved our goal of having raised a grown, independent, kind, loving adult....we will have to deal with the loss of that little person we could hold on our lap and hug and protect. Thank you for such a lovely post.

You paint such a beautiful picture and story of life with your blog. Your daughter will treasure perusing these pages one day when she is older. I want to encourage you - to show yourself with your family. Pictures of your daughter, your husband, your home, beauty EVERYWHERE. You are beautiful and one of the most important things to your daughter. She will want to see you as part of it all. Blessings on your beautyFULL life.

Stefanie P. says: June 01, 2017 at 01:31 PM

Miracles...that is what they are...miracles...and that you and Andy not only get to experience them, but you understand them, cherish them, and preserve them...another one of those hidden privileges of parenthood...!
You are doing a GREAT job of it!!!

Such a cute photos! It is all about joy and children! Love the cake recipe!

So beautifully written Alicia. A visit here is always such a pleasure. Hope Andy had a good birthday, the cake looks absolutely delicious. I always put coffee in a chocolate cake as well, cocoa too, they always work so well together. CJ xx

Oh what a dear brave wee girl. And what kind thoughtful parents she has. The beautiful frilly rose that threads its way through this post is amazing and it would appear that it's also scented. Do you know the name of it?

I remember those times when my children were growing up. It was almost as if they were in a dream and I was watching them on the sideline. Almost not real, but I knew it was. Remembering that I would say to myself, "Remember this always, because it will never come again." And it never did. Children grow up so quickly. Like a puff of smoke is childhood and then it's gone, so embrace it tightly while you still have it right in front of you. God bless.

You are such an inspiration. You magically put into words the universal
feelings of mom's and grandmoms all over the country. Love your blogs!❤️

I loved visiting here. Absolutely precious pictures. Thank you for sharing. Blessings ♥ Teri

Is it wrong that I totally adore your bath tub shots, ha ha ha? I love trying to catch a glimpse of what you're reading or using!

They are called love. And it never gets old. I see she has taken over your new space. I'm sure you are fine with it. Peonies! For some reason mine only has one bloom this year. I love the fabric, love the summery pics and love seeing everything bloom. Especially her. Happy Birthday to your love.

Rebecca Rendon says: June 01, 2017 at 07:38 PM

I think there are about as many opinions about gardening as there are about diets and parenting, so of course this may not be what everyone believes. But my understanding is that you should plant vegetables near each other that have similar watering needs. Some plants root more deeply than others, and those need less frequent watering than shallow rooting plants. Tomatoes, squash, and melons are deep rooters, while onions, carrots, leaf vegetables, and radishes are shallow rooters. Broccoli, peppers, eggplants and the like are in between. I follow the theory of deeply watering plants with a drip line for an hour or two depending on their needs. Deep rooters need watering once every two weeks (seriously, this works if you are watering deeply) while intermediates need deep watering every week, and shallow rooters need deep watering every 3-5 days. Hope this helps.

Patricia says: June 01, 2017 at 11:10 PM

My boys have grown into fine men...your beautiful words about the emotions of parenting are lovely and brings back so many long ago moments that I cherish. It goes so quickly. I am glad you are savoring your journey.

Beautiful sentiments in about your daughter and her bravery! It's scary to go on rides--but she did it!

Regarding the frosting recipe, the one time I tried to rush things and did the cool down in the refrigerator, it did NOT work. It didn't "cloud" up in lovely fluffiness. So I have to side with your mom!

Laura F. says: June 02, 2017 at 07:13 AM

Alicia, I hope you never let this blog disappear because in thirty years when my own five year old is long grown, I want to be able to read all your entries and bring myself back to these days. I am so scared to lose them, but this helps. Thanks for getting everything out there for all of us.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

post a comment

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

Archives

Photography

Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.