Dearest Boo,  I found these videos on YouTube and I could not resist, since you and I are such Cupcake Fiends.

When you were a wee one you were never really into dolls.  One time, much to my surprise you asked for a Cabbage Patch Doll.  There was such a craze for these bald headed cuties and I wanted to give you the world, so I was one of those awful parent who stood in line for hours and hours just to get our hands on one.  Once you got it the doll sat on a shelf in your bedroom, still in the package.  Pretty sure it is buried someplace in our basement today.  Then there was Barbie.  It was not exactly the Barbie doll that you wanted, it was all her horses.  First there was Tawney, then Dancer, Dallas, Midnight, Honey, Dixie, Silky Mane, Sun Runner and lastly for you Western Star.  Of course, we had to get a couple of Barbies and Skippers and Ken doll just so that you would have someone to ride your horses.  And, since their clothes were so hard for little fingers to put on, all your riders were, in all sense of the words, bare back riders.  Prancing around on your bedroom floor were Lord and Lady Godivas.

The only doll that you collected and even made any attempts to play with were the ones from the Strawberry Shortcake series.  Not sure what was the attraction with these dolls.  Maybe it was because each one was made to emit a long lasting fragrance based on fruits, flowers and candies.  And, a bonus for you, each one came with their own little pet.    Some of the ones you had were:

  • Huckleberry Pie and Pupcake Pie
  • Angle Cake and Souffle Skunk
  • Blueberry Muffin and Cheesecake Mouse
  • Strawberry Shortcake and Custard Cat
  • Orange Blossom and Marmalade Butterfly
  • Raspberry Tart and Rhubarb Monkey
  • Butter Cookie and Jelly Bear
  • Apricot and Hopsalot
  • Cherry Cuddler and Gooseberry
  • Lem and Ada with Sugar Woofer
  • Apple Dumplin’ and Tea Time Turtle
  • Cafe Ole
  • Mint Tulip
  • Lemon Meringue with Frappe
  • Almond Tea
  • Crepe Suzette with Eclaire
  • Purple Pie Man with Blueberry Bird
  • Sour Grapes with Dreg the Snake

Of course, you real true collectible love was the Breyer’s Traditional Horses.  No wait, it was a tie between Breyer’s and My Little Ponies.  The My Little Ponies were ever so much cheaper and we must have several 50 gallon tubes of them in our basement.  In looking at them I am embarrassed at how much I “enabled” this addiction of yours.   This line of plastic toys came out in 1983, the same time that your obsession with horses started.  Although, to be fair, most little girls have a slight obsession with horses at about this age.  They were the rage in the 1980’s and at one time outsold Mattel’s Barbie doll.  In thinking about all your MLP we own I am thinking that Hasbro should have sent me at least a thank you note for making that event happen all by myself.

According to WikiPedia  many different sets of Little Ponies were produced, starting with the Rainbow Ponies (which all sported rainbow-colored manes and tails) in 1983. Other variations included the So-Soft Ponies (which were entirely covered in flocking), Twinkle-Eyed Ponies (with small rhinestones in place of the eyes), Twice As Fancy Ponies (with sigils covering most of the body), and Brush n’ Grow Ponies (which had a longer-than-usual tail stored inside the body that could be drawn out through brushing).   There were also the Earth Ponies (which had symbols on their haunches representing their names), followed by the Pegasus Ponies, Unicorn Ponies, Flutter Wing Ponies, Windy Wing Ponies, and Summer Wing Ponies.  The last grouping of ponies that I can remember buying were the Sea Ponies.  Each night you could find the entire “fleet” of Sea Ponies in the bathtub with you.  I realized that I had to stop the buying insanity when the three inches of water in the tub was totally displaced by the gazillion Sea Ponies who filled the tub to overflowing.

As much as you loved the MLP and loved to play with them, the Breyer’s horses were on a totally different level.  And by “level” I mean shelves.  Your Breyer horses were named, for the most part, after breds of horses or a famous horse.  For you those were the ” Piece de resistance” to your collections.  This collections was not for playing, it was strictly for collecting.  The joy for you was to collect them for their beauty and for the sheer joy of the appreciation of their workmanship.  In looking at the horse it was as if some evil Wizard had zapped them down in scale.  They were just so perfect.  And the joy was also in the hunt for the latest model in this collection.  This was long before the Internet, so we had to rely on us blindly stumbling into a store and seeing the new horse on the self, as a new one came out maybe two or three times a year.

The last time I can remember our buying on was the day that will forever be known in our family as the “Day of the Knife”.  We were visiting some friends and the men were out golfing, so we three “girls” (Barb F. you and I) decided to go shopping.  As we were shopping when what do we discover but a new Traditional Breyer horse, of course we had to buy it.  Once we were in the car Barb and I started to talk and you asked if you could open up your horse.  Of course, no problem.  The box was opened and the horse was removed, only to discover that it was attached to the cardboard insert by those nasty plastic ties, problem.  Aha!  You remembered that I had a pocket knife in my purse, so you asked to use it, problem solved.  Barb and I were busy talking in the front seat and you were busy in the back seat, quietly setting about to release your horse.  In my memory what happened next could easily have been called “Nightmare on 120th Street”.  All I remember is your tiny little voice saying that you cut yourself, sticking your arm between the front seats for me to see, and then terror set in.  In my mind you had cut your artery and your blood was pumping in a steady beat, like a geyser, all over the front windshield, the car seats, Barb and myself.  I was too terrified to turn around to see if Freddy Krueger was in the back seat with you.  Luckily, my “momsense” kicked in and we got you to an emergency room.  My memory of the emergency room is blocked, thank God, as I am sure I was a screaming whack-a-doodle about the fact that my precious daughter was bleeding to death and it was all my fault for giving her that machete knife to injure herself.  After the poor nurses got me calmed down they assured me that your finger would only need a couple of stitches.  Seriously?  All that blood from a tiny finger cut??  Lord help me if ever I am in a real emergency!  Pretty sure I will not be any help at all.  Once we got out to Barb’s car I could clearly, and sanely, see that the “geyser” of blood in my mind’s eye was only maybe four big drops and took no time at all to clean up.  All in all, it may not have been that much, but it does make for a great “family legend” of the day we learned that you are not that good with knives and I am not that good with blood.  Oh, by the way…….Happy 17th Anniversary of the Great Finger Cut!  And I can say that you have learned how to use a knife correctly and safely.  Joy Rising!

A couple of  pictures of some of the 115 cupcakes that I made for Cindy’s Dad’s 80th birthday.  So much fun to get creative in the kitchen!  The flavors we decided upon were Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting, Raspberry with White Chocolate Raspberry Frosting, Mint Chocolate with Grasshopper Frosting, Apple with Apple Cinnamon Frosting, Chocolate with Mocha Frosting, Key Lime with Toasted Coconut Frosting, Vanilla with Butterscotch Frosting.  My favorite was the Key Lime, but you loved them all.  Bless your heart!  Yesterday I made Dr. Pepper Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting and some with Cherry 7-Minute Frosting.  Way too many for us to eat, however, bless your heart you do take after me, you want to take some to work for your co-worker to enjoy and I will spend this afternoon going up and down our street looking for some dear soul who will take the rest.

Above are the birthday cupcakes and below are the Happy Friday Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper cupcakes.

Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcake.


  • 2 1/4 c Dr. Pepper soda
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 c cake flour
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 c maraschino cherry syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan bring Dr. Pepper and cherry syrup to a boil.
  3. Place chocolate and butter into a bowl and pour hot Dr. Pepper mixture over it; cover and let set for 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk mixture until smooth.
  5. Stir in sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking soad, baking powder, vanilla and sour cream.
  6. Add flour in two parts, alternating with the eggs and whisk until smooth.
  7. Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full (please note mixture will be very runny).
  8. Bake approximately 15-20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  9. Frost as desired.

Seven Minute Cherry Frosting


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2/3 c maraschino cherry syrup (you may need more)
  • 2# powdered sugar (also called confectioners sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. In  sauce pan that is large enough for bowl to rest inside, but not touching the bottom of the sauce pan, place enough water to make water bath for frosting.  To do this place empty bowl into sauce pan making sure that the water comes to slightly below the bottom of the bowl (making your own double boiler).  The steam from the water will cook the frosting.
  2. Place the sauce pan on medium high and allow water to boil.  Should take just a couple of minutes.
  3. Put egg whites, cream of tartar, powdered sugar and salt into heat proof bowl.
  4. Using hand mixer pour 1/2 c of the cherry syrup into the mixture and mix for one minute.
  5. Place the bowl over the saucepan, allowing the edge of the bowl to rest on the edge of the sauce pan, and beat on high for seven minutes, adding more cherry syrup as needed to obtain desired consistency.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so that the frosting will not turn into large meringue cookie.
  7. Frost cupcakes.

Better Late Than Never

Dearest Boo,  once again I am late with my thoughts.  Your Uncle Mike’s birthday was ten days ago.  I did remember the date and I did get his gift to him in time, but I wanted to post this idea sooner.  It was a fun gift and I am sure that I enjoyed making the gift more than he did receiving the gift.  Fun, fun, fun for me!

“A friend is a brother who was once a bother.  ~Author Unknown”.  This sure does fit your Uncle Mike.  What a pain little brothers are and then I grew up and discovered what a charming young man he grew up to be.  Life was never dull when he was around and usually up to his antics.

Michael is a given name that comes from the Hebrew: (Mikha’el), meaning “Who is like God?” In English, it is sometimes shortened to Mike, Mikey, or, especially in Ireland, Mick.  Michael was a popular name among many royal houses of Europe for centuries; this was also the name of nine Byzantine emperors and a czar of Russia.  It has been in the top ten list since 1954 of the most popular names for boys.

Some notable Michaels – Michael is one of the Archangels, however, your Uncle Mike was not an angel.  Okay,  maybe when he was a wee baby he was an angel.  I remember that he had a horrible case of eczema all over his sweet little face.  His little cheeks were just so red and raw and so blistering and cracking.  It just hurt to look at this sweet face.  He was such a trooper during that time.  I remember that it seemed like he was allergic to everything.  We were always being reminded by your grandmother of things that he would have a reaction to if he ate it.  All I can remember is his being allergic to eggs, but I am sure that there were more things.

Famous sports Michaels – Michael Jordan in basketball and Michael Phelps in swimming.   I remember your Uncle Mike shooting hoops, just like Michael Jordan.  However, he was not your uncle’s favorite.  Magic Johnson was his “man” and I have to agree with him on this one.  The only thing better than Magic Johnson’s performance on the court is his performance off the court.  He is a true gentleman, both on the court and off.  His business enterprises are extremely successful and his is also a philanthropist and motivational speaker.   Uncle Mike picked a great sports hero in Magic Johnson.  Michael Phelps…what else can anyone say about this young man’s swimming accomplishments?  He has won fourteen Olympic gold metals, broken thirty-seven world records in swimming, and eight gold metals in a single Olympic.  Uncle Mike can swim, not Michael Phelps swim, but he can swim.  Aunt Charlotte tells the story of one time that Uncle Mike wanted to go swimming.  Only problem being that the swimming pool at the local park was locked for the night.  That did not stop him.  Somehow he was able to talk Aunt Char into climbing the fence and taking a midnight swim.  Another thing Uncle Mike has in common with Michale Phelps – they are were tall and lanky and had nicknames.  Michael Phelps was called “Gomer” in reference to “Gomer Pyle” a good natured, naive country boy.  Growing up we called Uncle Mike “Skeletor”, as he was so gosh, darn skinny.  He looked like all he had was his skin hanging on his bones.  Kind of a play on the character from He-Man.  You remember He-Man….one of your all time favorite cartoons.  Uncle Mike would eat and eat and eat and never gain a pound.   I was so jealous.  These two Michaels also had another thing in common, but that is a story for another day!  It involves “oregano”.

Then you have the fighter, Mike Tyson.  Mike Tyson has a temper and several of his assaults outside of the ring are well documented.  Your Uncle Mike had quite a temper growing up.  You could always tell when he was getting ready to let go of his anger.  His face would turn a bright red color, his body would stiffen, and his hands would start to ball up in a fist.  That was a giant clue for all of us to exit, stage right, get out of Dodge, make like a tree and leaf.  However, for some bizarre reason I felt that I could save us all by creeping up behind him and capture him in a giant bear hug.  What was I thinking????!!!  Lordy!  That was like waving a red flag in front of a bull!  He would start to struggle and I would hold on tight and be laughing.  Then I would realize that he was not laughing and I was in deep, deep trouble.  I could not let him get free or I would be in big trouble.  Not that I thought he would ever hit me – he was and still is one of the kindest, gentlest men I know, he would lay down his life for a loved one.  What I feared was that I would continue laughing, he would get angier, and I would laugh so hard at his frustration that I would pee my pants.  Nope, that would give me a nickname that I NEVER wanted to have.  So, what did I do?  I hung on for my dear life.  I remember having my arms and legs wrapped around him and we were on the ground. He was struggling so hard to get away and I was struggle so hard to make that not happen.  What was I thinking???

One of my favorite Michaels is Michael J. Fox.  Like your uncle, Michael J. Fox is a hard worker, compasionate and a dedicated father.  His compassion and dedication to his job is evident with the care he gives to all the disabled individuals he helps at the center.  He takes great joy and pride in his job and the work he is doing there.  And there is no one that can ever doubt the love and joy he has for being a father and the pride he has in his two sons.

So, for all of these reasons I decided that a rainbow to celebrate his birthday was appropriate.  Afterall, I wanted him to know that the was our “pot of gold” at the end of our rainbow.  Joy Rising!

Rainbow  Cupcakes

No real recipe for this one.


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • red, yellow, green, and blue food color
  • your favorite frosting


  1. Prepare one box of white cake mix.
  2. Once it is all mixed together divide it equally into four bowls.
  3. Into each bowl drop in three or four drops of one food color (you may need more to darken it to the color you desire).
  4. Place cupcake liners into your cupcake pan.
  5. In the bottom of each one place a tablespoon of red batter.
  6. Then add in spoonfuls of yellow batter, green batter and blue batter.   DO NOT MIX, keep the layers separate.  You do not need to add in equal amounts, although I did try to do so.
  7. Bake according to your cake mix directions.
  8. Once completely cooled, frost with your desired frosting.


The best part, for me at least, was the presentation.  I placed the cupcake into an “unopened” tin can and put that tin can into a plastic, new and unused, paint can. Here is a picture of one cupcake inside of a tin can.  I could tell you how I did this, but why spoil the mystery???

Which Came First? The Chicken or the Egg?

Dearest Boo,   This past Christmas you gave me the best gift of all!!  Proof that you do listen to me!  Over a year ago I showed you the cutest idea that I found in one of my favorite websites (bakerella).  Of course, I wanted to do it right away, but I could not find the main “ingredient”.  It was limited production that Coke made just for “Wallyworld”.  Even though it was just a few days past Christmas they were all gone from the stores locally.  I searched on line to no avail.

This is what I needed; this was my Holy Grail….

I knew that I had to make this item and that I had to give it to your Aunt Teri.  As it is in all families everyone, at some time, gets a nickname.  Aunt Teri’s is “Ter-Bear”.  How in the world did she get this name?  I pondered this a long time.  She collects bears, maybe that is how she got her name?  Or did she get it because it rhymes?  Ah!  One of the great mysteries of life – which came first?  The chicken or the egg?

To find the answer I turned to Google.  What I found first were some chicken jokes:

What do you get when a chicken lays an egg on top of a barn? An eggroll.

Is chicken soup good for your health? Not if you’re the chicken.

Why did the chicken cross the road halfway? She wanted to lay it on the line.

Which day of the week do chickens hate most? Fry-day.

What do chickens grow on? Eggplants.

What happened to the chicken whose feathers pointed the wrong way? She was tickled to death.

What do chickens serve at birthday parties? Coop-cakes!

No, no…………that is not the answer to may question.  Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  I found some scientific sites with long, boring explanations and none of them agreed.  Just when I was ready to give up I found a site with an explanation that I thought I could follow.  The scariest part was the fact that it was presented in a mathematical type story problem.  Many students fear and despise the mathematics story problems (word problems) they encounter in their classes. Math anxiety is a real life experience and is usually made worse by the thought of having to solve a story problem.   And this anxiety carried over into adulthood, which I did not realize until I was married to your father.

Your father knows a lot about a lot of stuff and just enough about the rest to bluff his way through.   That was not the problem.  This was before the internet and Google, so it was pretty handy to have your very own walking, talking “Wikianswer” man.  However, be ware of what you wish for!  He could not just tell you the answers, oh no…….he had to take you back to the beginning of Adam and Eve and explain the evolution of your question/answer.  Here’s how some of those exchanges happened…..”So, what do you want to plant in our garden this year?”  “Garden?  That’s really interesting that you would want to know.  Did you know that Adam and Eve were the first gardeners?  They lived in the Garden of Eden, a perfect place with no thorns or weeds, and where plants produced their fruit easily. We find in Genesis 2:15-20 that God told Adam to cultivate the garden, keep the garden, name the animals, and eat of the garden’s fruit, except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Adam and Eve were, also, the first parents. The Jewish, Islamic, and Christian religions hold that all people are descendants from them. According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve had 56 children. This was possible, in part, because Adam lived to be 930 years old. Some scholars believe that the length of the life spans of the people of this time was due to a vapor canopy in the atmosphere. This may have made the earth’s environment more hospitable to human life and increased life spans. These scholars believe this canopy was destroyed during the Flood and contributed to the great amount of water covering the earth.

And Adam and Eve were the first people to do something wrong.  The dictionary defines “wrong” as something that may or may not be intentional.   It is a noun and is contrary to ethics or morality.

The difference between ethics and morals can seem somewhat arbitrary to many, but there is a basic, albeit subtle, difference. Morals define personal character, while ethics stress a social system in which those morals are applied. In other words, ethics point to standards or codes of behavior expected by the group to which the individual belongs. This could be national ethics, social ethics, company ethics, professional ethics, or even family ethics. So while a person’s moral code is usually unchanging, the ethics he or she practices can be other-dependent. Blah, blah, blah.”

In the beginning I would look at him adoringly and take in every syllable that he spoke.  That lasted about the first six months, then I found myself zoning out, my eyes glazing over and my mind going into the “bore-coma”.  I could see his lips moving, but there was no way I could focus on what he was saying.  All of a sudden I would sit upright and shout out “sorry, sir, but what time did the train leave New York?”.  It was a scene from my fifth grade Math class all over again.  Mrs. Rice was explaining that two trains left different stations at different times and it was our job to find out which one would arrive at it’s destination first.  Holy Heart Failure, Batman! That became my signal to him to cut out the talk and just give me the answer – what time did the train leave New York??

Now, back to the chicken and the egg and how it was solved.

The chicken and the egg were mailed via The United States Postal Service, each in its own separate packaging.  The orgainzers kept careful track of when each shipment was sent from a post office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and when it subsequently arrived at its intended destination in New York City.   Both the chicken and the egg at 9:40 a.m., on a Monday morning, from the Harvard Square Post Office.  The intended destination for both packages was the James A Farley Post Office, which is located in Manhattan right next to the Penn Station train terminal.

They took the subway from Harvard Square to the Boston train station, and from there boarded a train to New York City, a distance of approximately 200 miles, arriving that afternoon at Penn Station. The trackers immediately went to the post office, to await the arrivals of the chicken and the egg.  The James A. Farley General Post Office is open 24 hours a day, so the trackers were able to wait there until both items arrived.  They inquired once per hour for both the chicken and the egg.  That day, Monday, neither the chicken nor the egg arrived.  The next day, Tuesday, neither the chicken nor the egg arrived.

The chicken arrived at 10:31 a.m. Wednesday. The staff at the post office told me that this was the first chicken anyone had mailed to the James A. Farley General Post Office in recent memory, and perhaps ever.  The egg arrived that same day, at 9:37 p.m., eleven hours after the chicken.


It has now been empirically determined that the chicken came first, the egg second.  Brilliant………………

So, back to my original question:  Which came first the name Ter-Bear or the collecting of bears??  Since I could not figure out a way to make a story problem at of this, I just went to the source and asked your Aunt Teri.  Answer: the nickname.  Aunt Bev called her that and because of that she started her bear collection.

Now, to show you the results of my year long quest for the Holy Grail.

The steps are fairly easy.  First you drink the soda, cut off the “skin” (wrapper) and cut around the top so that it will sit flat.  See below for the example

Then using Fondant you make this sweet, tiny little bear (of which I failed to get a picture).  Take your favorite cupcake, turn it upside down and frost the bottom.  Place your bear in the middle of the frosting and place your plastic “snow globe” over the bear.  Ta-da!   Oh, the ideas!  Since you bought me thirty bottles, Boo, my mind could have hours and hours of dreams!

And finally, which of these is not like the other??  Find it and you will find – Joy Rising!