Tinkering with tools…

I recently taught my grandson, Jack, how to hammer a nail and how to use a hatchet. He’s 6 and, I think, plenty ready to learn how to use simple tools.

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Jack learns how to use a hatchet! #hatchet

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I just watched this TED talk and now I’m thinking that we could do more! Yay, Gever Tulley!

There’s also this article from The Atlantic, goes right along with the idea that kids can do more than we gave them credit for. In fact, I suspect that there are many of us who did a lot of things when we were kids that we never let our own children do. Maybe that’s why I think Jack might need a drill for Christmas this year, and a small hand saw…

PS: For those of you who are wondering why Jack got to work with these tools and not his older sister, Elanor, it isn’t so much sexism on my part as it is that whammering and whacking seem to fit Jack’s personality better right now. So, Elanor, if you are reading this and want to work with tools too, just say so :-).


Spring is trying to be sprung…

Yesterday I was struck with the urge to pull weeds, mostly because they are the most green things in my yard right now. I did not succumb to the urge because I had to work, but I thought to myself that maybe this weekend I could get to it. And then I realized that spring is here! Weeds and singing cardinals are the harbingers of spring for me. I am happily anticipating the flowers that come later!


Martha Stewart also knows that spring is here because she sent me 3 different emails today, all linked to spring tidying up. And I’m sure that Martha, herself, hit the send button :-).

There were links to doing cute things with jars, and to organizing your bedroom, and to an assortment of organizing videos. And there was lots more. Honestly, do Martha and her minions ever sleep?!

I liked many of the ideas for the garage.


I blogged a few years ago when we cleaned out our garage, painted the inside walls white, and seriously organized it. (I’d link to those posts but I can’t find them.) Our garage still looks pretty good, but not nearly as good as the one in the picture. I’m almost tempted to do it again. Almost, but not quite. Instead I’m going to work on quilts and imagine doing this to my garage :-).

Now, it might sound like I’m poking fun at Martha Stewart, but I am not. I always enjoy looking at her magazine, and I also enjoy clicking around the MSL site. Regardless of who is generating the images and information, there is a lot of good stuff to be found there.

I know that spring is a ways off for many of you but, on a positive note, that gives you plenty of time to get organized inside before you have to start weeding!


Silicone baking cups!

The New York Baking Company contacted me to see if I would like to write an honest review of their silicone baking cups. It took me a while to realize that they probably contacted me because of my blog name, piece o’ cake, rather than the fact that I sometimes write about baking but that’s OK because I do, in fact, sometimes write about baking!


I’ve seen these silicone baking cups before but had never bought them. Not because they are too expensive (they aren’t), but rather because I wasn’t sure how they would work. Well, I can honestly say that they work great!

I made the Birthday Cupcakes from The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. The problem with gluten free cupcakes is that they have a tendency to fall apart as you peel them out of the papers or try to remove them from a cupcake pan—more so than cupcakes made with wheat flour do. Using the silicone baking cups for GF cupcakes provides a good test for this product.


The baking cup released the cupcake without tearing it up! I didn’t coat the silicone baking cups with butter, oil, or a spray.

Our grandson, Jack, was spending the night so I decided to frost the cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Jack loves peanut butter! I used a new recipe which said to blend together 4 tbls butter, 1/2 cup honey, 1 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter. I added chocolate chips.


This frosting is not stiff because you don’t add powdered sugar. Once I realized that I re-read the recipe and it said to place the frosted cake (cupcakes for me) 2 1/2″ beneath a hot broiler for about 1 minute. It would never have occurred to me to do that with a frosted cake but what the heck… I decided to give it a try. (And, no, this is not an April Fool suggestion :-).)

Luckily Lorna was with me. She said silicone does not like to broil and sure enough, the package says not to heat the silicone baking cups above 475°. I carefully removed the frosted cupcakes from the baking cups which was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The baking cups sort of turned inside-out, ejecting the cupcakes. I placed the cupcakes on a baking sheet and slid that under the hot broiler.


The recipe said to watch the cake carefully and pull it out when the frosting bubbled, but before it burned. That took less than a minute and even so, some of my cupcakes are browner than I would like. The frosting didn’t exactly harden, but it did get less soft once the cupcakes cooled. They are pretty on the plate and they were so very tasty!


I did put the silicon baking cups back on the cupcakes that were not immediately eaten to keep them from drying out. That, too, worked like a charm.

My honest review of the Silicone Baking Cups from The New York Baking Company is that they are truly wonderful! I have 12, I’m going to get 12-24 more because I know I’m going to be using them a lot.

Side Notes:

  • The cookbook from ATK is a wonderful, marvelous cookbook! I made the flax bread too (twice!) but that’s another story.
  • This frosting would be very tasty on bread—broiled or not.
  • And now that I think of it, baby marshmallows would be a nice addition to this frosting.