Friday, January 22, 2016

Checkers and Miracles at the Table

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2016 is to have a weekly dinner at the table.  As in sitting down.  Together.  At the table.  To be honest, this was one of my resolutions for last year, too, but I kept getting tripped up on trying to coordinate all the schedules first, and that just seemed increasingly impossible. Sitting down at the table used to be an every meal occurrence, but over the past few years we've become more informal while we juggled unpredictable schedules.   With 2016, I've declared Wednesdays family dinner night, and while we may not quite resemble the Crawleys in the Downton Abbey dining room, it's quite the happy occurrence.   Because attendance isn't required, it's up to me to make it an event my people would rather attend than not :o)

To make things a little more officious, I introduce myself as host, welcome everyone to the table, ask that we try to keep to one conversation, and ask everyone to participate in the topic of the week.  What's the topic of the week, you ask?  I printed 100 thought provoking questions from Alexandra Franzen, made them into curly strips of paper and put them into a glass vase.  Each meal, we'll choose one topic to discuss.  I expected a little push back on this, maybe a rolled eye or two ... but my kids were intrigued and engaged and happy to explore each other's thoughts.  With our second dinner, they were asking where the topics were, and the light in their eyes spoke volumes.  Click }here{ for Alexandra's list of questions - these are great for special occasions or ordinary days.

Every special meal comes with dessert, don't you think?  To start our year of Wednesday Family Dinners off in a remarkable way, I pulled out the checkerboard cake pan that came from my mom.

I know Mom planned on wowing her grandchildren with a checkerboard cake at some point but never quite got around to it, so it was nice to include her in our meal in this small way.  Making a checkerboard cake takes no special skill other than having the right cake pans, and I'm here to tell you that even though the bullseye cakes don't look like they'll end up in a checker pattern, if you stack them up right, they do.  I don't have the kind of brain that comprehends how that works, so it's a little bit like a miracle to me when you cut into the cake.

All you have to do is use two different cake colors, pour the different batters in alternating rings, and then stack the cakes so the layers alternate as well.  I used Duncan Hines Autumn Velvets and the cake came out beautiful and YUMMY.

 You can find your own checkerboard cake pan on Amazon for about $15 ... click }here{ for a set from Wilton that's similar to mine ... and you can have your own checkerboard cake miracle :o)

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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