The story of the rainbow cake on the day we had compromised water*

capability mom makes the rainbow cake - spoonsHere is the thing. I love to bake but am not especially gifted in this area. Oh, pshaw, Capability Mom, you say, it looks like you are…well, capable. I am capable but I am not inspired. I am a nervous baker and can’t easily adapt a recipe or change part of one that I like and add something else instead. I have friends who are incredible bakers and so I know the difference.

capability mom attempts the rainbow cake

These are the pretty cakes.

When I made The Whisk Kid’s crazy gorgeous rainbow cake, for instance, I followed her recipe exactly…except when I didn’t. Here is another thing about me – I love to read but not directions…like on cake flour boxes. So I had cake flour and thought how nice it would be to use it for a cake, logical, yes? But I failed to read the box which told you the formula (not difficult – just another tablespoon or so of cake flour for each cup called for in recipe) and when we made the first batch (yes, this was before we had no water – thankfully) and they were flat and full of airholes and some were quite raw. The colors were gorgeous but I knew the cakes were a failure. Sigh. I do so dislike failure. After determining that all were mostly lost, we remade the cakes with all-purpose flour – as I should have known to do in the first place – and they came out perfectly wonderful round layers.

At this point we called it a night. I had made the base butter cream frosting from The Whisk Kid’s recipe – my first ever – and was thrilled because it was delicious.  I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, I made the top coat of butter cream frosting and waited for the under or crumb coat frosting to come to room temperature. Despite the heat of the day (and it was so hot), that butter cream remained unspreadable. Rookie that I am, I was too nervous to do anything to it other than jab at it with a spoon (this does nothing) and make 3 or 4 more batches of the top coat (because I had started frosting with that and was now committed to it). Luckily, I had tons of eggs and sugar (and a container of egg whites that vaguely felt like cheating). Why did I not just go to the store and buy Duncan Hines? Because I am stubborn and I was making this cake and it would be from scratch because that would show my daughter that …what, exactly? The lesson learned was that her mom is, if anything, determined and stubborn, yeah, like that is news. I was pretty flustered but mostly capability mom's rainbow cakekept it together (except when I gave up and enlisted two middle schoolers to frost the cake because this is an area of great weakness for me) and I was putting together a party with a moonbounce, cotton candy machine and no water, thank you very much.

It was a success and thrill and surprise to most of the guests and worth the eggs, sugar and time spent. Next time I might read the directions, too.

*There was water – running water – we just had to boil it to use it for washing dishes and drinking and brushing teeth. Good times.

Chocolate refrigerator cakes, best chocolate chip cookies, googly bands and fun

nabisco famous chocolate refrigerator roll We love chocolate at our house – well, except my husband and instead of deeming that a character flaw (which it surely is), I have decided to embrace the positive result of this particular preference which basically means…more for me. It does mean I don’t have to hide chocolate (except from the children…not that I would do that) and I know any stash (if there were such a thing) would never be disturbed even if discovered. So – all good for me. Above is a picture of a easy fun cake to make with kids that a friend just reminded me about (we made it last for a favorite stuffed animal’s birthday party).

Basically it is Nabisco FAMOUS chocolate wafers, whipping cream and vanilla. Here is the recipe from including the nutritional information – oh, come on, there is some vitamin A in there and some calcium.  My mom made this with us when we were young (it is a classic) and it is so easy (whipped cream and chocolate cookies). Let even the youngest of toddlers stack the cookies and spread the whipped cream. Sure, it’s a little messy but the little ones can make their own and will be so excited about it. Freeze for about 4 hours. When cut on a diagonal (by an adult) it is really cute. Almost rainbow cake cute but a black and white version.  A good project with no baking but you still get a cute, fun cake.

I made the following amazing (I am so modest) chocolate ship cookies for the same friend (a while ago! but talking to her just now made me connect the two) and just made a batch for teacher gifts on Tuesday. Best chocolate chip cookies ever. From the Ghiradelli bag of milk chocolate chips and the Ghiradelli website.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

11 1/2 ounce(s) Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 cup(s) walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. I use the milk chocolate chips – or semi-sweet if you must. Really, really good.

Now…same friend and I talked about the crazy craze for googly bands.  I was going to post on these anyway because I answered a call to action from TwitterMoms about getting googly bands and writing about them but was shut out by the ferocious response by other mom bloggers like the post here on child hood – I also found out that there is a contest for designing new shapes of googly bands.  My kids love these and are all about getting more. Here is the weird thing, for me anyway. These self-same bands were out – oh, about 7 years ago in pastel colors and farm animal shapes. I know because they came in a little plastic suitcase and we gave them as a goody bag gift for a birthday party (Wow. I have way too much trivial information stored in this brain). Nonetheless, we did. When a sister asked if my girls were into them (3 weeks ago) I replied that we were past those…thinking of the ones oh-so-long ago. Thanks for the reminder of these fun things, KR!

googly bands on capability mom

I really like this website – Gwyneth has a good sense of balance – Go to Goop

Before you say, “Hey, Capability Mom is all over the place this week.” I know I am. Sometimes I like to write and….sometimes I think cut and paste is the way to go.  While I do like to write and, this is not inversely proportional, to talk, sometimes I have brain shut down. I find (although I don’t always catch it in time) that it is best to shut up when that happens (okay, I never catch this in time).

So before I say or write anything that I will regret – I might mention I have seen this happen in a blog that I like and still read but now with a more jaundiced eye – the writer was freaking out and complaining about her server being down …blah blah blah – blog content missing…and then in a really offhand and coldish way mentioned that the guy who handled the server had committed suicide and then she continued to complain.  I was actually breathless with indignation and my fingers hovered over the keys to send a nasty retort but I couldn’t do it.  When I went to the site later – the post was gone, leaving me feeling as if I imagined it.  I know I didn’t and that someone else read it and told her she ought to take it down.  I still read the blog but not as often.

Anyway, here is a site that I really like and if you think I am a celebrity follower, I am not. I just think some people have a great deal to share and that this is a well-written and great site.

Goop is Gwenyth Paltrow’s blog and before you denounce it as a celebrity blog, check it out. Categories are Make, Go, Get, Be, Do, See and the recommendations are lovely, not overly spendy (well, some of the shopping, maybe) but restaurants, activities, exercise tips, healthy recipes and acts of kindness to yourself and others. Great lunchbox tips – I can always use those – here

goop do lunch box

My sister (from the West) will periodically send me the link and I recently subscribed to the newsletter. Yesterday we both read it at the same time and loved it and it happens to be timely for us. This post features a
book by Marcy Silverman Do Good:201 Ways to Lend a Hand. Lovely.

Peace out.

Mommies Who Shop – Spring events in Weston and Hamilton

capability mom barefoot booksWhat Mommy doesn’t shop? You actually do have to buy those babies clothes, diapers and equipment … and every now and them something for you. This is so cool – it is a gathering of moms  that lets you socialize, shop and get spa treatments – oh, and there will be wine and appetizers and swag. What is swag? Special treats that you get for attending the event. You can also get a ticket and specify no swag. Um, good. More for me. There are great sponsors of the event, Bella Sante and Boston Mamas and the Boston Parents Paper to name just a few, and sponsors for the gift bags include Vapur, Bot and olio designs on etsy.  All so cool.capability mom olio designs on etsy sock monkey cards

So forward this to your friends and meet up for a Mom’s night out.  The next event is in Weston and another June 3 in Hamilton, MA.  Here is a list of sponsors and designers for the Weston event.

From the website:

Mommies Who Shop is proud to support Room to Grow, a non-profit whose mission is to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty. On their behalf, Mommies Who Shop will be collecting donations of baby and toddler items for children age 0-3.

May 20, 2010 from 6-9 p.m.
Regis College, Grand Foyer
235 Wellesley Street, Weston, MA

Mommies Who Shop invites you to attend our Spring shopping gala. Sip and Shop with your friends in this upbeat boutique atmosphere. Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine, spa services, loaded gift bags and more! This is where the hippest mama’s meet the hottest designers featuring the very best in unique clothing for chic-baby and trendy tots, plus accessories, toys and gear. For the Ladies, we will feature a carefully edited selection of casual women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, handbags, fine stationary and gifts. All of the items at Mommies Who Shop will be offered at exclusive MWS event pricing.
simply the best shopping ever – edited just for you – all at sale prices

  • complimentary wine and gourmet treats provided by Healthy Habits Kitchen and Finale
  • mini-spa services and beauty products compliments of Bella Sante
  • loaded gift bags (limited quantities available)
  • AMAZING door prizes and raffle items benefitting Room to Grow.


3 Hour Nap
4 little fish
Athalia Originals
Barefoot Books
bioME 5
Blossom Babies
Chic Boutique Creations
cool dog productions
discovery toys
DP Designs
Excited 2 Learn
Hiho Batik
Hoosier Magnolia
Laughing out Loud
Maddisin and Mason Gifts
melene kent jewels
Papas Products
Pretty on Paper
Sheabella Tutus
Slings & Baby Things
The Tots
The Trendy Tot

Only the 1st 100 advance tickets sold are guaranteed a MWS gift bag.

3 hour nap duck egg lovey capability mom
duck egg lovey blanket from 3 hour nap

I found out about this event from Healthy Habits Kitchen – I found them at a winter farmer’s market just this year.

mommies who shop - capability mom blog

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