Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

The Wordless part of the post come first. Scroll down further if you want to read more.

No special occassion -- this cake was just for fun!


And now it's time for the rest of the NON-Wordless Wednesday post!

We've learned this year that it's important to make ordinary moments little less so. You really don't know how much time God is going to give you to spend here on earth. You don't know how many opportunities you'll be given to celebrate ordinary (or otherwise!) days with the people you love. So why NOT make special cakes on Tuesday mornings for no "good" reason? Why NOT bake and decorate a cake that will produce such smiles and overwhelming delight in little kids? He'll remember the fun of it and gave us a special treat to look forward to after dinner one night. We baked and decorated the cake and then ate off of pirate plates that we got at the Dollar Store. It was a blast! My son had tons of fun with it and looked at it and talked about it all day long. It was just FUN!

After the year we've had, I've really wanted to concentrate on making a point to find fun things to throw into random days. We shouldn't need a birthday or a special outing or out-of-town guests to make us look for ways to enjoy our days. Time is too short or the year is too long for that - however you want to look at it! So I've been hunting for good books on celebrations. I browsed our library bookshelves and discovered the book Celebrate! which seemed to be just the thing for what I was looking for! (It came as no surprise to me to discover it was a Workman publication. They produce quality books.) I like this book so much I really think I need to own my own copy. Amazon to the rescue! I need to keep a constant reminder around for me to keep pushing on and creating little celebrations all throughout the year.

Celebrate! is quite comprehensive, covering all the major holidays throughout the year. From a New Year's Eve party through Christmas, author Sheila Lukins offers menus, decoration ideas, music suggestions and wine tips to see you through the big events. She lays everything out in an easy-to-understand way that should help the overwhelmed party thrower to organize themselves a little better and be able to throw a practical and yet extremely fun celebratory gathering.

But Celebrate! is more than just about recognized government holidays.

Lukins opens the book with this introduction:

"I'm in the mood to celebrate! It's the kind of joyous mood that makes me happy to phone friends and family and invite them over for good food, good conversation, and good cheer! It's the kind of mood that makes needing a reason to celebrate unnecessary . . . Well, almost.

Actually I like having a reason, and I'm never at a loss to find one. There are so many occasions to choose from -- big and small, traditional and quirky -- that selecting the right one is easy."

Lukins goes beyond Valentine's Day and the 4th of July and offers menu and party plans for a "Cozy Dinner for Two", to how to "Celebrate a Ripe Tomato", to how to "Celebrate Morocco." In other words, she makes ordinary days extraordinary.

Sure, it takes a little extra planning. But in the end, a happy celebration can plaster smiles on faces in the middle of a busy work week when everyone needs something to smile about! Little celebrations on Friday nights welcome in restful weekends. Sunday lunches can afford the opportunity to relax with your immediate family of 5 to enjoying fellowship with church friends. Barbecue for no good reason. Pull out the china and light some candles just because. Lukins handily avoids her celebrations in to two topics which I think help make her point. The first half of the book offers suggestions for "A Year of Celebrations" and the second half is labeled "Celebrate Our Lives."

Celebrating our lives - all the little details - is what we need to start doing more of. From raises at work, to "left over nights" where the kids can pile anything and everything, whatever THEY want, on their fun Dollar Store plates, to movie nights with those special popcorn boxes that make you feel like you are at a carnival to whatever you can come up with!

Sometimes it's best to put diets aside and be ok with the idea of filling the sink full of dishes. A true celebration which is fun and enjoyable for all, that produces not just smiles but sincerely happy memories, is worth a few extra calories and a few dirty dishes. Why do it? Just because it's FUN. And again - you don't know how long you have to celebrate so make the party last as long as you can!

Ok, now I would positively LOVE to introduce you all to my friend Cacey Klein who just started up her own website. If anyone knows how to make extraordinary memories for her family - it's Cacey. She's a consultant for Tastefully Simple products and while I typically don't go for buying into special food lines - Cacey has served my family a few Tastefully Simple products that have won me over! They have yummy spices and mixes and their products do and taste like everything they are advertised as.

I highly recommend their beer bread (Divine! I've made it three times and it always comes out perfectly.) and for special summer treats, check out their Strawberry Sundae Chiller drink mix. (Mix it with fresh strawberries and oh. my. word.)

Do check out Cacey's site for more ideas on how to celebrate life.


What do you do to make your ordinary days extraordinary? I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment with a thought or a suggestion! I just might take you up on something.


Barbara H. said...

What a cute cake! And how neat that you made it "just because."

jama said...

Love the cake -- and the idea to celebrate the everyday moments. Thanks for the inspiration!

Stephanie said...

Great idea and thoughts. I love doing little unexpected things like that for the girls. :)

Shelly said...

Love, Love the cake! Happy WW!

Anonymous said...

That cake is great! Its even better that it was just because! Happy WW

Ali said...

What a great idea! I love the pirate cake!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Okay, Carrie, you're going to FORCE me to take out that doll cake recipe/plan that I chucked back in May just before Lulu's birthday!

Unknown said...

Wow! I wish I could do that just for fun!

annies home said...

so cool

Cacey said...

What an awesome cake - I LOVE it! I don't know how you find time to 1. Read so many books 2. Review them 3.Keep up an amazing blog and 4. Bake really cool cakes with your son! You amaze me!!!
btw - thanks for the intro to my blog :)

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