12 Layer Cake

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Okay, I admit it...the title of this post is a lie. I was only able to get eleven layers in the cake that I'm about to share with you, but the original version of this cake is 12 layers, I just always come up a liiiitle bit short when I make mine.  I'll explain why in a bit. 

Yesterday was Juston's birthday and I started making him this cake maybe four or five years ago every year on his birthday. We were first introduced to this cake when we were staying with some great friends (who we think of more as family) and Mimi had a friend of hers make the twelve layer cake. Did y'all follow that? A friend of a friend we think of as family made the cake haha It was life changing, I'm telling you! 

After Mimi sharing that cake with us, I took to the interwebs to try and find a recipe similar to it and I was successful! Unfortunately, I can't find the original source for this recipe. I found it via Google years ago and wrote it down, but I never wrote down where I found it. If I come across it I will be sure and credit the original source. 

While the cake may look intimidating, it really is a breeze, just a little bit time consuming on the front end, but not too much more than any other layer cake. 

The first thing I did before even starting on the cake batter was to roll out some parchment paper, then lay my cake pans on top and trace twelve separate circles, then cute all of those out. I also happened to have the cutest assistant in the kitchen working with me :)

Caroline's favorite thing about baking with me is cracking the eggs for batter, so I know she's always down for that job. Okay, so here's the recipe for the cake.

*Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees*


4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 sticks softened unsalted butter 
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups milk (I used skim but any kind will work)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In either a stand mixer's bowl, or just any large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar together. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing completely after each egg. Be sure and scrape down the sides of the bowl in between adding each egg as well.  

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. 

Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate adding in the flour mixture and the milk to the sugar mixture, combining completely after each addition. Once that's all incorporated, add in the vanilla and your batter is complete, so now it's time to bake the layers. 

Before adding the parchment paper to my round cake pans ( think they're 8 in round pans), I greased them up generously with butter. Trust me, the last thing you want is your cake layer getting stuck in the pan. The layers are so thin that getting them un-stuck would be nearly impossible and still keep them usable, so don't be stingy with the butter. After greasing the pan, lay the parchment paper on the bottom of each pan. For each layer, you'll use approximately 1 cup of batter. This is where I messed up; I pour in the right amount to start with and get to looking and think I should add more, then before you know it, I have an eleven layer cake instead of a twelve layer cake. Oh well. I only have three cake pans so I just cooked three layers at a time. You'll bake each set of layers for twelve minutes, maybe a little less or a little more depending on your over. Let the layers cool once you remove them from the oven, then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack until it's time to frost them.

Frosting ingredients:

1 softened package cream cheese
2 sticks softened  unsalted butter
1 one pound box confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start by mixing the cream cheese and butter for a few minute until completely combined. Next, add in the cocoa powder and mix completely. Add in the confectioner's sugar in small batches mixing completely before adding more. Finally stir in the vanilla. If your batter is too thick, you can thin it out with milk, but I didn't need to use any. 

Next, it's time to start stacking and frosting.

At this point, before frosting the sides, it always reminds me of crepes or pancakes with chocolate icing. 

Now for the finished product:

You could add some sprinkles on top, or some pecans or walnuts...I wouldn't, but you can haha. Juston doesn't like sprinkles and the kids don't like nuts in sweets, so I just kept it simple with no garnishes. 

I love this picture, Caroline has icing all over her face from licking the spatula and Carter had just caught sight of the cake. It was a great day. We ended up eating cake before dinner per Caroline's request. And dinner was Juston's favorite, cheeseburger meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and three cheese pasta. He had a great birthday getting spoiled by the kids :)

Gift Ideas for the Fellas

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Is anyone else out there still not finished with your Christmas shopping list? Because I'm probably not even halfway finished. I tell myself every day that I'm going to get it wrapped up, but here I sit, still not even close to being done. I thought I'd round up a few fun gift ideas for the men in your lives and some of these may find their way under our tree for Juston ;) he doesn't read here so I feel safe saying that ha. 

A gadget that you store in the freezer and add to a warm beer to chill it in just minutes? Well, this has Juston Pate written all over it. 

These soapstone rocks chill your whiskey without diluting it like melting ice would. 

If you have a man in your life who travels a lot, then this charger roll up kit is a great way to keep all of his electronic chargers in one place so they won't get lost; plus you can add a monogram to personalize it. 

I usually end up grabbing a tie for Juston every Christmas. It's something I like to let Caroline pick out. Last year she chose a Vineyard Vines tie with shotgun shells...her daddy was so proud and I even wound up finding shotgun shell socks to go with it. 

Juston's wallet is completely falling apart and he'd let it before he'd buy himself a new one, so I've ordered him one as a stocking stuffer. It's such a useful gift because who doesn't need and carry a wallet. 

I feel like husbands are so hard to buy for because most of the time if you see something you need throughout the course of the year, you just buy it, you don't think about asking someone else to get it for you as a gift. I typically end up buying Juston mostly practical things like new shoes, wallets, clothes, etc because he will literally wear shoes until there are holes in the bottoms, then wear them a few more months. I have no idea why he does this, but I am not even exaggerating. I bet if I went into his closet right now, I'd find at least two pairs of his dress shoes with holes in the bottoms. Is this just him or are all husbands this way? haha It seems so strange to me.

Life Lately

Monday, December 11, 2017

Am I the only person who just feels completely behind, overwhelmed and under-accomplished this Christmas season? I swear, I just can't get it together around here. On any given day, I'm trying to accomplish 50 things and fail at approximately 48 of them, but I guess maybe that's how everyone feels this time of year (I hope not! I hope y'all are really feeling like you've got it together! Some of us should ;)) 

Last week, I was absent around here because the time I typically spend blogging at night after everyone is asleep was spent wrapping up a real estate finance course I've been taking for continuing education and cramming for the final I took over the weekend. Then we had company the better part of the weekend as well. 

On Friday evening, we had one of our Goddaughters, who also lives in Elizabethtown now, over for dinner to celebrate her birthday. I made shrimp and grits and a chocolate peanut butter cookie pie. I'll share the recipe for it later this week!

Saturday morning I headed to Lexington (BY MYSELF!!!) to do some antique shopping. We are still needing a lot of furniture and odds and ends for the house, but I'm not sure exactly what I want in some cases, and in other cases, we don't have an immediate need for whatever it is (I'm looking at you beautiful marble topped antique wash stand), and it makes sense to just wait until after the big Christmas drain on my bank account. But, one thing that we want sooner rather than later is our dining room table and chairs, so that's what I went in search of. Here are some of the beautiful treasures I came across.

I'm loving this pine dresser for Carter's room. A lot of the furniture we had in his nursery were antique pieces we'd purchased for use in our next home when that time came. Well, it came, so now he only has a crib, glider and small night stand in his room. The color of this piece is exactly what I had in mind for his room. It's a little bit larger than I'd wanted, but it may work since his room is a good size. I obviously wasn't fitting it in the back of my Jeep, but we may end up going back for this pretty piece. It wasn't antique, but still very pretty. 

When it comes to the dining room table and chairs, I'm pretty wide open with what I want, other than knowing I want an oval or rectangular table in a darker wood, like maybe a mahogany (definitely don't want oak or cherry).  Well, I found these chairs in a shop and fell in love. Problem was they cost $100 less than what Juston wanted to spend on the entire set, so I left them...for now. Aren't they just beautiful though? I'm still drooling. I love the detail on them and really love the fabric as well. They're late 18th century/early 19th century. Can you imagine?! I love to think about all of the interesting people who could have sat in these very chairs, the memories made around a table, over a meal. These babies have probably seen a lot in their day.

This. Rug. Isn't she a beaut? I'm kicking myself for not snagging it when I was there because it's exactly what I want for our upstairs hallway runner.  I may snag this as well if I go back for the dresser.

This quote was in a booth at the Athens Schoolhouse Antiques Show I went to. It's only open one weekend a month (second full weekend), but you can find some great treasures there. I didn't find any dining room tables I wanted, but I met and chatted with some really interesting, great people. In the years since I've been going to antique shops and shows, I've noticed that there are two types of people who attend these shows...the type who love interacting with other people and talking about anything under the sun,  then the hoity toity type who seem far too self-important to be bothered to talk with much of anyone (I saw a LOT of this type when I went to the Scott Antique Market in ATL).  Well, you'll find the first type at the Athens show. There are some really, really sweet people wtih booths set up that love to tell you all about their pieces and the history.

You have have seen this beautiful dresser when I shared it on IG stories over the weekend. It's an authenticated Dorothy Draper original that resided in The Greenbrier hotel for years up until recently. It was stunning in person. The pulls was all hand blown glass and the green lacquered paint was also inside all of the drawers.  

I stopped at probably 5 different places and though I found so many beautiful things, I didn't bring the first thing home for some reason. the things I found that I would have wanted were too large to fit in my car and I'm not sure how I feel about taking Juston antique shopping with me...It's like taking the Game Warden hunting...some things he's better off not knowing...like how much a vintage, hand-woven runner costs.  

For the first time since the kids and I moved here in the beginning of October, we finally managed to get everyone up, fed, dressed and out the door to try a new church. Our sweet neighbor stopped by our house on Saturday and invited us to her church because they were having a special all music service. It was really a great service. I grew up in the Methodist church, so music is such an important part of worship to me. And this church is literally less than a mile from our house, so that's great given that I am literally ALWAYS late no matter how hard I try not to be. 

I'd really love to try out a few more churches and choose the best fit. Juston and I both grew up Methodist, but I'm open to trying whatever is good for the kids and us. The church we tried this time was Baptist.

My sweet Caroline all gussied up from the service.  

I still don't feel like I've settled here. I'm still working at home in Maysville once a week, so the kids and I make that drive and stay overnight once a week. I feel like I've been here long enough to have formed an opinion of our new town, and even though I love our house and our sweet neighbors, I really don't like this town. Maybe I'll write a separate post on the whole moving process and how it's gone/is going. It's definitely been tough though. 

I wanted to share our Christmas tree and mantle before I wrap up this long-winded post today. 

 I really wanted to do a live magnolia garland on the fireplace as well as around our front door, but didn't get it done, so I just snagged this pre-lit garland from a store here and filled it in with pine cones. cotton bolls and deer antlers.

Christmas Exteriors

Friday, December 1, 2017

Good morning y'all and Happy December! Have you already put up your Christmas decorations? We put our tree up last weekend and some of our outside decorations as well since it was so warm. We finished up everything this week. I used a lot of traditional elements in my decorating...white lights, cotton bolls, pine cones and red ribbons. I'm pretty traditional when it comes to Christmas. 
I thought in honor of the first day of December, I'd share some of my favorite exterior Christmas decorations with you in case you are still looking for ideas on how to decorate your own home.

When I get a change to snap some pictures, hopefully this weekend, I'll share some photos of our decorations here.

How beautiful is this home!  I love the symmetry and my word, that porch! This is similar to the route we went with exterior decorations. Lots of greenery and red ribbons.

Does anyone reading do wreathes on the outside of your windows? If you do, how do you hang them up there? I feel like there must be a simpler way than what we are doing, I just don't know what it is. And how do you run your electric cords? I hate them showing, which ours are right now. 
 via Southern Living magazine

This little New Orleans charmer is stunning in it's simplicity. I love decorating with fresh greenery because you can just toss it all our after Christmas! No storage to worry about. 

via James Farmer

via Atlanta Homes Magazine

That's all I've got for you today! Cheers to the last month of 2017; that sure happened fast.

Healthier Hair from the Inside Out

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ever since I had Carter, my hair has just been a mess. Did this happen to any of y'all postpartum? I remember it happening a bit after Caroline, but it seems like this time, my hair is just so fragile. I don't know if nursing has anything to do with it or not, but I pumped exclusively for a year with Carter (he had a tongue tie and couldn't nurse initially, once we clipped it, he refused to nurse since he'd already seen how easy a bottle was) and it seems like the whole time I did, my hair would just come out en masse every time I'd shower or brush it, or it would break off any time I styled it. I've been on a mission to repair it, so I thought I'd share some of the things I've been using/doing. 

Basically, after having Carter and stopping nursing, my hair just feels pretty thin and limp. I know I'm getting good regrowth finally, because when I pull my hair back I have new growth hairs flying out in every possible direction. I have what I call my pony tail mullet at the nape of my neck and bangs growing in that I never cut in the first place, so I feel like what I'm doing as far as growing my healthy hair back is working since regrowth is evident. 

I know a lot of people would just cut their hair off into a shorter do with the postpartum hair loss, but I do not have a face shape that wears shorter lengths well, plus, I prefer my hair long, so cutting it off wasn't an option as far as I'm concerned.With that being said, here's what I have been using that seems to be helping my hair.

What I've been using:

You can click the name of any of the above shampoos to get more info on them or to purchase. I received a free sample of the Maple Holistics shampoo and I just love it. The smell is very ethereal and fresh. I have naturally oily hair and typically need to wash it every day, but when I use the tea tree oil shampoo, I can get away with going 2 days between washing, which in and of itself, helps my hair since I'm not over-washing it and the product I'm using is all-natural, therefore not stripping my hair. I feel like with everything that goes onto or into your body, the less chemical, the better. Well, Maple Holistics products are paraben free, Non GMO and cruelty-free among other great things. Check out their website for more information on this company and you can also sign up for a free sample here
I've used the Lush sea salt shampoo for quite a while now and I still love it. I tend to use this one when washing my hair after I have used products like styling spray, root booster or hairspray in it. I feel like it cleanses my scalp and hair so thoroughly and does the best at removing product. It'another that smells great and is natural. 
The OGX anti-breakage shampoo is one that I picked up more recently. I've been using it for a few months now. I picked it up hoping that it would do what it says and keep my hair from breaking off when I'm brushing and styling it, and it seems to have done just that. I rotate between these three shampoos using each one at some point during the week. I use the Maple Holistics and OGX most frequently since I don't style my hair often. 

What I've been doing:

As far as what I've been doing to help my hair grow and grow stronger, some things are pretty obvious, but worth sharing anyway.

I've been getting my hair trimmed more regularly. I've heard the myth that getting frequent trims makes your hair grow faster, but from the research I've done on that, it's doesn't make your hair grow faster, but it does take off the dead ends which makes it look healthier. I used to get my hair trimmed two, maybe three times a year at most, but I've been trying to get a trim every two and a half months. 

I limit heat use on my hair. I never blow dry my hair, only air dry it (after spraying in leave in conditioner). I only curl or straighten it maybe twice a week. I lean more towards braids these days since it quick, pulled together and keeps my hair from tangling as much as pulling it into a messy bun. 

I either use my Aveda paddle brush or a WetBrush.  Both of these are very gentle on my hair and don't rip and pull when I brush with them. My only complaint with the Wetbrush is that sometimes, I feel like it's not getting it brushed as thoroughly as I like. 

 I've made a more conscious effort to eat the right foods. There are certain foods that are high in vitamin B, which is great for your hair. Some of these foods include:
leafy greens
whole grains

Your hair needs vitamin B, C, protein, iron and biotin among other nutrients to be it's healthiest. The foods listed above are on my list to consume as frequently as possible. I'm a firm believer that your outsides are a reflection of your insides, so if your hair and skin aren't looking their best, odds are you aren't feeding your body what it needs and it's showing outwardly. 

I also take a multi-vitamin each morning. I've thought about adding in a b-12 vitamin as well, but I'm trying to get what I need from my foods first and foremost. I think a multi-vitamin is such an easy step towards healthier hair that anyone can do simply.

Well, there you have it, what I've been using and doing in an effort to get my healthy, shiny, pre-baby hair back. I don't know if everyone deals with postpartum hair issues or not, but if you have, I hope you'll find something useful from the information I've shared today and if you have any tips that have benefited you, please share!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week. I don't know about you, but it feels like it's been so long since we celebrated Thanksgiving. I had to be in Maysville for work on Tuesday last week, so the kids and I just stayed the whole week and Juston drove in on Wednesday evening when he got off work. We celebrated on Thursday at my sister's house. We usually do lunch at my parents house, but they're in the middle of renovating a few rooms in their house, so we watched the parade when we got up, then cooked at my parents, and then trammed it all next door to my sister's house to eat.

My little Carter Pate has been ruining family photos for almost two years now haha. I made corn casserole, mashed potatoes and gooey butter pumpkin cake and everything mom made turned out amazing like it always does. My sister's kids always tell her that all food tastes better when Mamaw makes it and you eat it at her house. They're not wrong ha. 

After Thanksgiving lunch, we just hung out, not really doing anything exciting. Friday morning, we had a showing at our house here in Maysville (the one we still haven't sold almost a year after finding out we were moving...rolls eyes).  We headed back to the new house Friday afternoon and got to work decorating for Christmas. I feel like it's going to be such a weird Christmas this year because everything is going to be so different. It has me feeling some kind of way, but we'll see how it goes.

Christmas Wardrobe Additions

Friday, November 24, 2017

Who is out battling the Black Friday crowds today? Not me. I much prefer shopping from the comfort of my own home on the computer rather than out amongst the masses fighting for parking places and discounted televisions. I just don't think what I would save in dollars would be worth what I would lose in sanity ha. I honestly don't think I have ever gone out to shop on Black Friday. I just value my sleep too much I suppose. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family yesterday and plan to deck the halls around our house over the next couple of days, but in the mean time, I wanted to share a few ideas for some festive wardrobe additions that will add a little bit of Merry to your outfits over the coming weeks. Most all of these items are on sale for the next few days, but some have already sold out in some sizes, so if you love something you see, I'd snag it sooner rather than later.  You can click on the link below each photo to be taken straight to the item. This post does contain affiliate links. 

I tried to cover the spectrum whether it's items for everyday wear like running errands or attending kid's school functions, some options for family holiday get-togethers and some dressier options if you have some evening functions you'd like to look festive for.





If you have an evening holiday party on your agenda, these dresses may just fit the bill for what to wear.

These next few items would make great holiday party additions, but they'd also be great stocking stuffers.