Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We've been enjoying a new hobby this summer... Letterboxing! It's been a great way to get the kids out of the house, enjoy a "treasure hunt" of sorts, find new spots in our own backyard and see old spots in a new way. I was stunned to find that there are over 100 boxes planted within 25 miles of Provo. This little hobby could really keep a gal busy.

Our notebook is filling up with fun and funky hand carved stamps, little pieces of art that reward you at the end of your quest.
The kids have enjoyed deciphering clues, scrambling down paths, searching under rocks, and spending great family time together.

To learn more about the fun, and practically FREE, past-time of Letterboxing, you can visit Atlas Quest or Letterboxing North America.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thank me now and curse me later

One Sunday a month, my husband's family gets together to celebrate that month's birthdays. With Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins, we end up with quite a crowd. Last Sunday, we threw the 4th of July into the mix. Our contribution to the party was a fantastic carrot cake. Back in 2005, I found this recipe in InStyle magazine. Everytime I make it I am completely taken aback by how delicious it is. In fact, it is so good that I can only make it once or twice a year. It's the kind of cake you just can't stop picking at. On Sunday, as we cleaned up the kitchen, everyone seemed to keep coming back to take "one last bite."

Because I keep losing the recipe, I'm posting it here so I can always find it. Hope someone out there enjoys it too. (Sorry there's no picture, but by the time I thought about it there was nothing left but crumbs and frosting smears.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pkg. (3oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8” cake pans. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into medium bowl. In large bowl beat together sugar, oil and eggs with electric beater on medium, until well blended. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture until just blended. Stir in carrots and coconut (this seems too dry and impossible first, but the more you mix, the more the moisture in the carrots helps the blending and mixing). Evenly divide batter into prepared pans. Bake in heated oven 40-45 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pans on wire rack. In medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until blended with electric beater on medium. Add confectioner’s sugar; beat until mixture is smooth. Add vanilla. Place one cake layer on serving platter. Spread with about ¾ cup frosting. Place second layer on top. Spread top with remaining frosting.