Friday, July 12, 2013

Take 1 – July Secret Subject Swap

Welcome to Take One of July’s Secret Subject Swaps. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap |

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado
The Momisodes
Just A Little Nutty
Follow me home . . .
Moore Organized Mayhem
Stacy Sews and Schools
The Sadder But Wiser Girl
Menopausal Mother
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
The Insomniac's Dream
Searching For Sanity
Evil Joy Speaks

My subject is: What do you like best about your home and what do you wish you could change the most? It was submitted by  Stacy Sews and Schools. Here goes:

 I have to say that deciding what I like best about my home is the hardest part of this prompt. After all, you buy a house because the vast majority of the features are ones you like and you can “see” yourself living there.  *Note: pictures of some of the rooms in my house were used in this post: Take 1 - December Secret Subject Swap

I love the size of my house; the fact that we have 2 guest bedrooms and as many bathrooms as people. I love the man-cave in the basement, where the kids can hang out with their friends. It has a pool table, large TV, poker nook, fridge, microwave and its own full bath.
I love the laundry chute from upstairs down to the laundry/mud room. And I especially love the built-in wooden lockers in there, perfect for shoes and coats and backpacks. All the boys’ friends walk into the house, straight into the laundry room and leave their shoes there, out of everyone’s way.
Of course, as a mom who bakes a lot I have to give a shout-out to double ovens.
Triple Layer Cupcakes | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Triple Layer Cupcakes
I love that the man who purchased our last house also bought all of the ratty old furnishings we’d had for years. I got to furnish this house from scratch; pick out things that felt right and fit right and looked just how I wanted them to in this home.
But what I love the most about my home is the Art Gallery.  The walls of the stairway to the basement are covered with framed artwork my kids brought home from school over the years. The window sill holds some of their crafts. I smile. Every time. Never gets old. At this point these juvenile pieces are sort of embarrassing to the boys. Added bonus in my book.
One of the deciding factors in the purchase of this house is that we back up to woods. But it’s in the back that we find the easy part of this prompt, what I’d change.
We have 2 sliders to the back yard. The lower one leads out to a patio from the basement and faces the woods. We have sky chairs that hang from the deck above and it’s the most serene place to take a book or a cocktail. The upper sliders, off of the kitchen, lead out to a deck right above the patio. The view is beautiful and we’re treated to wildlife as well.
Does | picture taken by and property of

Does behind the house
Hawks | picture taken by and property of

A pair of Hawks on the back deck
And when the kids were little, I could go out onto the back deck and hear recess at the school on the other side of the woods. Or I could watch the kids on the swingset or playing in the yard with the neighborhood kids. I’d smile and think to myself “this is what it’s all about”.
But here’s the problem. There are no stairs off of the back deck.
When the kids were little, on a hot summer day I’d bring out a bunch of those Flavor Ice tubes for a snack. The entire neighborhood would gather below the deck, calling out the color they wanted and I’d throw them down one by one to the kids as they called out their favorite color.  Then I’d have to throw a pair of kids’ scissors out onto the lawn so they could get them open. Not really ideal.
Most important though is that you can’t get to the kids if you need to. If someone were hurt or upset I’d have to yell “hold on, I’ll be there soon” then run in, through the house, out the front door and around the side to the back. Or I had the option of running into the garage and out the door at the back of the garage or all the way down to the basement and out the slider. Know how much blood a kid can lose while you’re running around the house trying to get to them? I do.
I don’t know what the family who built this house was thinking, but convenience wasn’t it.
And the day that my older son and his friend blew up the house for a school extra credit project? Luckily they were older (and agile), they had to jump off the deck. But all’s well that ends well, they got an “A”.

Baking In A Tornado signature | Graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Triple Layer Cupcakes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients, 18 Cupcakes:
2 cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ stick butter, softened
¾ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites
Food coloring of your choice
Ingredients, Frosting:
½ cup stick, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup baking cocoa powder
Approximately 3 cups powdered sugar
Multicolored jimmies (sprinkles)
Directions, Cupcakes:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9 X 13 pans.
*Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the butter, milk, vanilla and egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes.
*Place 1/3 of the batter in a small bowl and add food coloring of your choice.
*Spread the colored batter into one of the 3 pans. Spread half of the white batter into each of the other pans.
*Bake until the center springs back to the touch. Start checking at about 15 minutes.
*Cool completely.
Directions, Frosting:
*Mix the butter, milk and vanilla. Carefully beat in the cocoa powder and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Continue to beat in as much of the powdered sugar as is necessary until the frosting is of spreadable consistency.

Directions, Assembly:
*Line cupcake tins with cupcake papers (it’s easier to assemble in the tins).
*With a cookie cutter or the mouth of a glass approximately the same size as the bottom of your cupcake tin, cut 18 circles out of each cake layer.
*Place a white round into each tin. Cover with a dollop of frosting and spread to cover the top.
*Place a colored round on top and frost, then do the same with the final white layer. Sprinkle with multicolored jimmies.


  1. OMG...that's the real video???? Or is that video animation of the blast?

    you house sounds like a dream come true babe.

    1. LOL, it's real, but they added the fireworks digitally. It really was a great project.

  2. Your house sounds just like you, wonderful!!!!! :D

  3. Your house sounds fantastic! Though, I can't say that I'd want to clean all those bathrooms...
    My dream house is a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom (one of those being a Jack and Jill bathroom for the girls), with a finished basement and the laundry upstairs.....

    And really? No steps off the back deck? That's weird! Maybe the former owners levitated?

    1. I suppose you don't want to know that I have someone who comes in to clean. I don't want to clean all of those bathrooms either . . .

  4. Well for an A....totally worth it lol. Those cupcakes look yum!

    1. It was worth it, and they did a great job, but every time I see that clip I shudder!

  5. Blew up the house?! You might be the coolest mom ever! :)
    I might kill for a double oven. I got two laundry rooms(laundry is still my mortal enemy) and there never seems to be a bathroom available when I have to go.
    Make up a guest room! I'm ready to come slide down the laundry chute and drink wine with a hawk! xo

    1. Two laundry rooms? Is that a punishment?

      Putting your name on the guest room door!

  6. You have so many lovely things about your house, but I completely get the deck thing. I always worry about fire and where the nearest exits are. I say you take out a couple of those slats and put in a twisty slide. I'm hoping that video was a production and not really your children :) Awesome, though. I love a good explosion that NOT at my house.

    1. I love that slide idea. Why didn't I think of that?

      The video was real (well, the jumping off the deck part) but the explosion was added digitally. Looks real, doesn't it?

  7. You house sounds so beautiful! With the exception of the no-stairs-in- the-back thing, you have just described my dream house. When can I move in? I'll even bring a rum cake or two with me....

  8. I SO miss having double ovens. Both my PA houses had it and it was so convenient. I cooked and baked a lot when I had a big kitchen. Now, not so much but all that's going to change when we move!!
    Closer to you perhaps ...stay tuned!

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

    1. OMG, you need to tell me a little more about this moving thing!

  9. Your house sounds amazing and the views are spectacular!!! I would love that cocktail on the deck (with a good cigar). What I'm talking about.

    Happy Friday, Slu

    1. It really is pretty here in the summer, spring and fall. It looks barren in the winter unless there's snow out there, but I love it.

  10. I can't begin to explain the multiple layers of envy I have going right now. Beautiful home, gorgeous view, and kids who know how to blow up stuff REAL good! You've truly got it all!

    1. I could kinda do without the "blow up stuff" part, but then those kids don't ask me . . .

  11. I've never really been one to covet a person's house (who am I kidding? Yes I am) But I totally want your house. Except for that back porch. That's definitely a design flaw. But watching those kids jump down before it exploded was pretty epic. Who had the foresight to film that project??

    1. Yes, it was a school extra credit project. They actually wrote out a script, filmed it and edited it. It really was fun to watch the boys work together, but I didn't realize blowing up my house would be part of it.

  12. So I guess I'm supposed to say: Wow what an awesome house! Instead of: I'm freaking jealous of you because I live in a tiny shoe box with a million kids and ONE bathroom and no where to go to escape anybody!! So, yeah... awesome house.
    :) :)

    1. It is an awesome house, but I'm in no-man's-land and you're in a state with an ocean and ski mountains and diversity. So YOU win.

  13. No stairs off the deck? How inconvenient and a source of entertainment all wrapped into one!!! :-)

  14. The one thing I wish I could change the most about our NYC apartment is that those triple layer cupcakes are not in it!

    Also, more room. Wish we had more room and storage space. The normal stuff. Hard to be hoarders here in NYC!

    1. Ha ha, true. You are at a distinct hoarding disadvantage!

  15. oh wow! The way they doctored that video, it really looks scary!! Could you possibly get someone to fix some stairs down the balcony at some point? Your house sounds awesome otherwise!

    1. I think they did an awesome job on that video.

      I've taken bids on the stairs, the problem is that the best spot to bring them down is where the former owners planted an elaborate tiered garden so I'm kinda stuck.

  16. Hey, really enjoying your posts so far and I LOVE the sound of your house! wildlife in the backyard and all. If you're interested, I found you from the July Secret Subject Swap, which I got onto from another blogger - and so it goes, swings and roundabouts.

    1. I love that you ended up here from the Swap. Hope you come back soon.

  17. G'day! Thank you for brightening my day with your post, true!
    Glad via The Happy Day Party I got to view!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Looking for some food love at Fb too

    1. Glad you found me, and that you enjoyed this post. Thanks, Joanne.

  18. Thank you for spreading JOY and sharing at the Oh What a HAPPY Day party.

    Holly at Not Done Growing

  19. You sound like a kid's dream come true mom. I love that you have an "art gallery". What a precious idea. And I would so love to have the wildlife views in the backyard. My brother lives in Greenwood and his deck was built with no stairs either. Maybe it's a Missouri thing? LOL

    1. I love that Art Gallery. It really was a great idea. When the kids were little they were proud of it, now they hate it, an added bonus!


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