Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Graduations, Babies, and Connections!

Hard to believe it's been thirteen days since my last post.  We had a problem with our internet connection, since we don't have Roadrunner or cable.  Our provider (that company that starts with a big "V") when contacted told my daughter that the problem could only be repaired by a house call (actually road/telephone pole call), and finally, today it was resolved.  It's been a long, almost-two-weeks, fast from the internet at home.  While I was able to connect at work and also on my Windows phone to at least get email and check facebook, I wasn't saavy or patient enough to attempt composing an actual blog post on a phone!  Thought I'd just ride out the technology snafu and here we are, at last reconnected.  The repairman told my daughter Katie that a wire out by the road had actually worn out or shorted out, and thus our blackout.  Like anything else, you don't realize how much you miss it until it's gone.  Recharged, it was fun to watch Henry and Pete participate in a Skype call with their daddy tonight before they went to bed.  Two little boys were very excited to see their father on the computer screen (first time), and were talking simultaneously.  They are new to Skype and once they figured out how to see and hear each other at the same time, it went very well.  It's a great way for families to communicate at a distance.

Over the past two weeks, a lot has happened.  I have two new great-nephews!  On the O'Farrell side, my nephew Adam Britten and his wife Rebecca welcomed their second son, Drew Ryan, on June 14th, weighing in at just over 9 lbs.!  Then  yesterday, on the Eddy side, my nephew Roddy and his wife Emily also welcomed a second son, Breccan Robert (at a whopping 9 lbs., 11 oz.!).  It's been a good year for babies in this family!  And tomorrow, also on the Eddy side, my nephew Gordon and his wife Mary will be having their second baby boy, Daniel.  An abundance of little fellas!

During the internet draught, a lot of baking also took place.  This past weekend I made three cakes.  The first was for my nephew Will's graduation party, celebrating his moving on from Saratoga Springs High School to The College of Charleston in South Carolina this fall.  It was a bittersweet moment, because Will is the youngest of four boys, and my sister Anne and her husband John will be empty nesters come August.  While the boys come home for holidays and any chance they get, with Will's oldest brother Jack getting married next week (to his beautiful fiance Kristin), his brother Ben following a career path in New York City, and brother Patrick interning at a golf course in Westchester until the fall, the boys aren't home often enough for a family that loves to spend time together.  I get to join them in August for our annual trek south to Emerald Isle in North Carolina.  It's a week of sun, fun, happy hours, dinners "at home" and board games.  I always call it my mental health week, but it is so much more.  It's a period of time every year when I consciously tell myself as it's happening, "Remember this.  It's good and precious and these moments will come in handy in the middle of a cold, Saratoga February."  This year,our trip to Emerald Isle will be especially meaningful.

Memories of a very happy graduation weekend ~ congrats, Will!

The second cake for this weekend was for Nancy Stevens,  the winner of this blog's monthly contest for May.  It was a marble cake covered in swirls of chocolate mocha frosting.  She decided to "redeem" her prize to coincide with her daughter Megan's 24th birthday.  They all loved it, so it was well worth the effort and I'm glad Nancy won.  Get YOUR comments in before July 1st and you have a VERY GOOD chance of being the winner for June!!!

The last cake on Sunday was for a little boy named Toby.  His mom works at Skidmore and she asked if I'd bake a cake I'd never made before -- a lemon cake with chocolate frosting.  It had a soccer ball on top, made of fondant, and was for Toby's 8th birthday party.  I didn't get a photo of Megan's or Toby's cakes, but I did manage to snap a few shots of Will's cake (in the collage, above).

Some exciting news is that my Williams-Sonoma order arrived -- my new Cuisinart red ice cream maker, with two freezer bowls!  I am VERY excited about that, and planning to make sorbets and frozen yogurt recipes (to be posted) as soon as I have the energy to unpack that big box!  It's standing next to my refrigerator at the moment, taunting me to open it, but I will wait until I can devote the proper energy to finding it just the right place for it to hang out on my kitchen counter (or not).  Still haven't decided just where I want to show it off!

The disappointing news is that it looks like my striped-cake recipe was not a contender for The Today Show's "Best Birthday Cake" contest (winner to be announced and on air June 28th) and that's OK.  I gave it a shot.  Since they were only contacting the three finalists, no word means my cake must not have been in the running, which is kind of sad because it did get RAVE reviews by my son-in-law's co-workers.  So, maybe next time I'll try something a little less ambitious than a national morning television show.  Maybe a county fair.  But, as my friend Lynn often quotes...  "Shoot for the moon.  If you miss, at least you'll land among the stars!"  As far as I am concerned, there are plenty of stars in my midst, right Will?  I know if you shoot for the moon, you'll land there!  - xoxox, Aunt Jeannie


  1. You are a winner to all of us Jeannie and you always will be, tv contest winner or not! Better luck next time! If our sweet Breccan lived closer I would be requesting one of your masterpieces to celebrate his arrival into our family and lives! I just may have to take one to Ohio with us next month when we go to meet him.

  2. You are still a winner Jeanne! You took a shot at a national contest.Most of the people who entered were most likely PROFESSIONAL bakers. They just crank the cakes and goodies out,you put thought and love into every thing you make. The joy it brings you, and the ones you bake for, is worth more than a trip to NYC any day.
    C June

  3. The Today show is wrong. My marble cake was delicious, so I am sure the recipe you sent in was as well. Thanks again for the cake. I only got a small picture of it (on my photos page) of Megan blowing out her candle. I had it all cut when I remembered that I wanted to take a picture of it. Loved the Mocha frosting!
    Thanks again!

  4. I've had 2 of your cakes, Kristen's shower cake and Will's graduation cake and they were both fantastic! Moist, flavorful, with just the right amount of sweetness to the frosting- just the way I like it! It has been fun seeing you 3 times in the past 2 months- see you in Florida next weekend for the special wedding. We can be teary eyed together as we watch Anne and John's oldest say " I do."

  5. My goodness...you have been very busy! Cake contests, babies, graduations and life in general will do that to you. I'm glad that you're internet is back up and running so that we get to read all about the Middle Grove happenings. Your posts from E.I. are some of my favorites every year. The combination of pics and stories is always such fun. Can't wait for you to be on vaca so that I can 'read all about it'!

  6. Your family sounds like mine with the birth of so many little boys. They are precious but little girls bring out the best in the men in your life and theirs. Met little Drew today. Cute little peanut. Can't wait to hear about yoyur nephew Max's trip to see the Yankees. I've got to hook you and my sister Cynthia up. she bakes a lot of cakes for people too. I think you'd make a great pair. Have a great vacation when you go.

    1. Jeanne you are a winner Already, the most important peoples eyes your family and friends . best wishes love and God Bless .

  7. Hi Jeannie,
    I had my own special graduation this past weekend, my oldest grandchild, Zachary, graduated from high school. Seating was limited but my son made sure this proud Grandma was able to go. I was happy to share in this day to celebrate this milestone for Zach and marveling at where the time went since he was born just over 18 years ago. He is headed to Alfred University in the fall, reporting early for football practice.
    June is a busy month for me, several birthdays and a wedding anniversary that featured a beautiful cake baked by none other than you, our own Adirondack baker and always a winner!

  8. You are AWESOME! That is all. I loved reading this post. :)