The Former Willard Psychiatric Center Tour Date 2015

SAVE THE DATE!!

Who:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton Child Care Center presents

What:  The  Former Willard State Psychiatric Center Tour – 2015

Where:  Camp Edgemere to purchase tickets @ $10.00 each.  Children under 10 – no charge.

WhenMay 16, 2015  9AM & 1PM

At 11AM  there will be a service at the Willard Cemetery memorializing  Lawrence Mocha.   Mr. Mocha (also known at the gravedigger) was a patient at Willard who  buried over a thousand other patients while he was institutionalized.  New York Times Journalist, Dan Barry, wrote an excellent article about Mr. Mocha.  To read his article click here.

Why: This tour is offered annually as fundraiser for  The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Children’s Center.

For more information contact (607)869-5533

Curious about what you might see while touring Willard?  Check out my 2011 tour of Willard here.

PicMonkey Makes Photo Editing Simple

 

Have you ever worked with photo editing programs?  And if so, are you intimidated by them?  A long time ago I  purchased a photo editing program that I found wasn’t very user friendly.  Since then I’ve played around with some of the programs on-line and I’ve found PicMonkey  to be my favorite.  I can easily enhance, add text, make a collage, or turn an ordinary photo into the unordinary.  

This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just me gabbing about a website that I’ve found quite useful in my blogging.   And because  I’m  somewhat  frugal, I work off of the basic (free) PicMonkey program.  But if you are willing to spend a few bucks then you can upgrade to their Royale package for $4.99 a month, or $33.00 annually, and the first month trial is free.

The photo above has been slightly enhanced through the photo gallery program on my computer.  Just a little tweaking was done to brighten the images and correct the color before I uploaded them to PicMonkey to make my collage. 

From this point forward I’m going to show you just how creative you can be using  PicMonkey.  In the pictures below  I used multiple design options.  My suggestion is to sit down and play with the program and get familiar with it.  I think you’ll see that there are plenty of features to keep you busy.  If you run your cursor over the image it will tell you what photo process I applied to each photo.

 

If you have a favorite image above please go ahead and share it on Pinterest – one of my most favorite places to hang out!

The Best Oatmeal Cookie on Earth

I love oatmeal cookies so recently I decide to experiment a little.  As a result of that experimenting I came up with what I consider as the best oatmeal cookie on earth.  This cookie is moist and tender, not too sweet, and is loaded with delicious dried cherries and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.    

If you are not a raisin fan then using dried cherries is the answer.  Cherries are a healthy filler that gives your cookies the flavor, texture, and heartiness they deserve.  

Chocolate Chip Cherry Oaties

1 c. margarine, softened

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg together.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix completely.   Using a dining sized teaspoon, drop cookie dough onto the prepared sheets about an 1 1/4” apart.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until a light golden brown.  Cool before transferring to baking rack.  Store in airtight container.

What is your favorite dried fruit?

What Do You Get When You Cross A Paper Napkin With Decoupage? Spring Chickens…

 

Are you like me?  Do you go into quaint little boutiques and ooh and ah over everything but then leave without spending a dime?   I bet those shop owners just love to see people like us walk in the door.  But seriously, how can a girl who loves to shop at second hand stores ever in her right mind spend a wad of money on cute little home décor items that she knows she can make herself for pennies?

This project will require you to search out a few inexpensive items but I think you’ll have fun doing so.

First, you will need small piece of wood.  I used a 5 1/2” x 4 1/2” piece of pine (3/4” thick).  You will also need a fun or pretty paper napkin.   I happened to have these  funky chicken napkins on hand that I absolutely love.  You will also need a small bottle of acrylic paint (I used ivory) and a small paint brush,  a piece of fine grit sandpaper, a pair of scissors, and  bottle of Mod Podge

Paint the front side of your piece of wood with your paint and let it dry.  Once the front side is dry, paint the back side and edges.  Remember to rinse your paintbrush because you will need it later in the project. When all paint has completely dried, lightly sand the edges with the small piece of sandpaper to give it a weathered look.

Cut out the portion of the napkin that you want to use for your project.  I cut the napkin and then separate the layers once I’m done cutting.  This makes it easier. 

With that previously rinsed out paint brush, now apply a coat of Mod Podge on the front of your painted piece of wood.  Carefully lay the colorful top piece of your cut out napkin in place and apply a thin coat of Mod Podge over it.  I like to use a slightly wet brush while doing this so I keep a little dish of water nearby.  You have to be very careful not to over wet the brush though. I work the bubbles out with the brush and I go.   Once the first layer of Mod Podge has been applied let it dry thoroughly.  Proceed to apply three more coats (drying completely) between each application.

This particular project can be displayed on a table, shelf, or window sill.  And if you’re looking for a piece of inexpensive wall art just add a small picture hanger on the back and there you have it!

Imagine the possibilities.  Monogramed letters, quotes, shabby chic floral designs, and yes, funky spring chickens!

Looking for another clever decoupage project by The Joy of Caking?  Click here

It’s Not About The Cake

I was originally going to share a recipe for these little dark chocolate cupcakes, but when I realized that they weren’t the star of the show I shifted gears.  The frosting is the true star here!

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  It’s just about me being adventurous in my kitchen.

Love making homemade buttercream frosting?   Then I have a new trick for you.  Try substituting Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Whisky in place of vanilla extract.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge frosting fan.  For me it’s more about the cake.  But I have to tell you that I COULD NOT STOP TASTING THIS FROSTING the entire time I was taking the photo’s for this post.  Seriously, it is that good!  And don’t you love how the alcohol didn’t tint the frosting?  It stayed bright white. 

I used about 1 tablespoon of Black Velvet Toasted Caramel in place of the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract my recipe calls for and I didn’t think it tasted boozy.  However,  there is no reason that you couldn’t start out by adding one teaspoon of the BV at a time until you reach the desired flavor you’re looking for. 

Cheers!

Help From Betty Crocker and Jell-O = French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes

Every now and then I call upon Betty (Crocker) to lend me a hand in the kitchen.  While I typically bake from scratch, there are times when I just don’t feel like dragging out all of the ingredients to whip up a batch of cupcakes.  Can you say lazy?  Can you relate?

Now, just because I’m a little lazy and decide to use a cake mix doesn’t mean I can’t be creative.  Take these French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for example,  I decided they would create a perfect ending to a delicious home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner we have planned for this evening.

And if you’re like me, there are also times when you’re looking for a flavored cake that is nearly impossible to find.  When this happens I find myself in the Jell-O isle at the grocery store.  Cake mix + Jell-O pudding or gelatin = endless possibilities. (This is not a sponsored post.  I just happen to like both of these products.)

To make these cupcakes you will need:

1 Super Moist Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake Mix

1 Box of Jell-O Coconut Cream Cook & Serve Pudding

A batch of your favorite homemade vanilla buttercream frosting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake tins with cupcake papers (makes 24)

In a large bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, 1 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. olive oil, and 3 large eggs.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

I decorated these with some finely grated dark chocolate.

What would your favorite flavor combo be if I asked you to pick a cake mix and a box of Jell-O?

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

Create and Share! Best of the Weekend Party at littlemisscelebration.com

Sweet Happenings For Valentine’s Day

Thanks to Temptation Candy out in California, The Joy of Caking is hosting an awesome Valentine’s Day CHOCOLATE giveaway!

Temptation Candy has assured me that one lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will enjoy a package filled with delicious chocolates similar to the ones pictured here.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – CONGRATULATIONS TO ZOE MONTELEONE! 

To enter, all you have to do is follow Temptation Candy on one (or all) of their social media sites and then leave a comment (in the comments section only) letting me know which site(s) you are following them on.

https://facebook.com/temptationcandy

https://twitter.com/temptationcandy

https://pinterest.com/temptationcandy

Rules of the giveaway:

Open to US residents only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii); (1) entry per person; winner will be selected on or about Friday, February 13, 2015; winner will be notified by email, if winner does not respond within 24 hours then an alternate winner will be selected; winner must provide a valid street address (for shipping reasons) which will be forwarded to Temptation Candy – sorry, NO P.O. Boxes.  The prize will ship directly from Temptation Candy

The chocolates featured in this post are courtesy of Temptation Candy.  Any opinions herein are my own and I have not been financially compensated to write this post.