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May 08, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy! | An Everyday Occasion

This blog is all about "everyday" occasions.  For me, that means trying to make everyday special in some way or another - a yummy dinner, creative play after school, a special candle with morning coffee, cute baked treats for friends, picnic lunches or impromptu parties.  These are the little things, that add up to a lot for our life.

And, yes, these sort of things to take some time and effort - on which we're all short, I know.  I always chuckle when people that say they're soooo busy - too busy.  Everyone is busy.  Period.  Everyone has a full plate - hopefully.  Being busy is the blessing of a full life.  But I attempt not to let that busy-ness get overwhelming... sometimes it is a losing battle, but I do try none-the-less.

It can be easy to forget to be in control of our lives - we do all have choices.  We all have the ability to make each day what we want it to be.  Everyday.  Being in control of our lives and taking responsibility for the satisfaction we are getting out of our lives, is, well... up to us.  Everyday.  For me, it is creating little everyday opportunities like these impromptu celebrations that remind me to put down my phone, get to that email later, let the bedtime routine go for a night and take some time to have fun. 

I know most of the "occasions" I post here are particularly planned and photographed with perfection in mind, but I wanted to show you what a normal everyday occasion looks like at our house, too.  I try to give myself a break sometimes and just to something easy and fun.  It might not be magazine worthy - but it doesn't have to be.  Not all of the time, anyway ; )

Look at that smile.   My Mr.

I don't talk about Mr. Darcy on here as much as I should, or as much as I used to, but take comfort that he is still such a big part of our everyday - mine especially. 

Many people joked that he would take back seat when we had kids, but for us that hasn't been true.  It is true that my time is more divided than it used to be, but he's still my special boy - and is slowly becoming the same for Emma.  He and I go on walks every morning, and he is my sounding board during the day... my only full-time employee.  Mike always says he'd love for me to record our "conversations"... 

I love how excited Emma was to throw Darcy a party and shower him with gifts and love.  We took a special shopping trip after school to pick out his treats and a new toy.  She picked out a shark - thought he'd love it.  And some "bubble-bites."  If you get that reference, you are also the Mom or Grandma of a toddler.  I love giving gifts and I love instilling that joy in Emma, too. 

I like to think that I can always make something out of nothing.  Besides the treats and gift for D, we didn't spend any extra money on the party.  Just a little digging around in my ribbon scraps and the freezer...

Each time I make cupcakes, I throw a couple in a freezer bag- we never need an entire batch of cupcakes sitting around this house... somebody (like me) is always willing to eat them.  It is nice to have them for a late night snack (just a couple of seconds in the microwave), or moments like this when you need a last minute dessert.

So, in about 10 minutes we made some icing (Emma thought Darcy would like red with sprinkles) and we had a festive birthday dessert.  It was refreshing for a dessert project to only take 10 minutes and only one bowl to wash... besides cleaning the sprinkles off of the floor.  As, you can see, we used leftover candles from Mimi's birthday.  Mr. didn't mind a bit.   

And just so you know, I had planned to make homemade doggy treats for him, but my day got crazy, and instead of trying to fit it in, I just let it go and went out and bought him a doggy cupcake.  Sometimes it is about knowing when to surrender that can keep you sane... and not "soooo" busy all of the time.

We also had another very special treat for D's birthday...

It is Morel Mushroom season again - well, at least it was last week.  My parents found a ton at their farm this year.

Around here, the classic way to serve these is fried in a heavy batter.  The last couple of years, I've made Cream of Morel Soup, and the Chicken and Morels

This year, I tried a little something different and fried them in a tempura beer batter and served them with a creamy horseradish dip. 

They turned out really great.   I used the same tempura recipe that I used for these Onion Rings a couple of years ago - a little spice, a little beer and a little flour.

We still have some left over, but I'll need to use them in the next day or two... anyone have a good recipe?  I've seen a crostini with leeks and ricotta cheese that looked great. 

Here's Emma getting in on some of the battering action.  She's really becoming an active helper in the kitchen.  Still a huge mess-maker, but so am I.  We call that being "creative" in the kitchen around here : )


  1. What a great post!! I giggle too when the busy talk surfaces with folks. You are right, to be busy is a blessing and to grow old is a privilege. Happy birthday to your sweet dog. We cherish our furry kid's birthdays as well.

  2. So so true!! I loved this post!! :) My daughter just went to her friend's "dog birthday party." :)

  3. I've been meaning to ask how you store your baked goods that you're intending on consuming within a few days of being baked. Our family enjoys your cookies and cupcakes and I store everything in airtight containers (not in the fridge), but the icing always ends up liquifying and almost runny after just 2-3 days. Would love to hear your tips or suggestions!

  4. Very sweet post and a nice celebration! My dog follows me around all day and is such an important part of our family. She is only 2 and when I look at her, I can't believe it took us so long to ever get a dog!

  5. Jenny,
    I love the reminder, we all need to make everyday special. I agree, it doesn't have to mean you spend all day on a dinner or dessert, just create a little magic with some ribbon and candles. Mr. Darcy is the cutest dog. Is he a mix breed or a thoroughbred?
    Enjoy your weekend.


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