Bobby’s Going-Away Party


Our son is a member of the United States Air Force.  He recently re-enlisted (on my birthday) for four more years.  We are so very proud of him and the path he has carved out for himself.  Four years ago I wrote the blog post for his going away party on a now defunct website.  In honor of Bobby and his renewed commitment to serving our country, I’m publishing the original blog post again.  Enjoy!


August 2011

I knew from the very beginning that part of my job, as a parent, was to nurture and assist our kiddos in their maturation process.  I also understood that eventually leaving the nest for good was the ultimate goal.  Sending two confident, responsible adults out into the world was how I had planned it from the very beginning.  What I failed to take into consideration was how hard it was going to be to let them go.  Danielle is gone, but only an hour away, and she comes home to smooze me when she or I need a little Mom and Daughter time.  Bobby, on the other hand,  is leaving us for good to begin a career in the Air Force.

I suppose if he had caused a lot of trouble, this would be easier, but he has been a great kid.  Bobby has a bubbly personality and enjoys being the life of the party.  Every day he cracks me up with his take on life, we follow sports together fanatically, and there’s never a dull moment when he is around.  I’m really going to miss him and I’m struggling with my emotions as the time for him to leave draws near.

In eight days we will go to Columbus and watch as our son swears his allegiance to the United States and commits to a life of serving his country.  He enters the Air Force following in the footsteps of his Mother and Father, a new generation carrying on the family business, and I’ve never been prouder of him.

Bobby wanted a burger and dog cook-out.  We were so fortunate that the weather held out, all week they were predicting rain (I did say a little prayer for that).  I made a lot of Bobby’s favorite side dishes and desserts; Snickerdoodles, Pasta Salad, Black-Eyed Pea Salsa, 7 Layer Dip, Brownies, fresh fruit, fresh veggies with Ranch dip, and these light-as-air cupcakes.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite websites, King Arthur Flour.  They were quick to put together and very tasty for a white cake.








Tender White Cake is courtesy of King Arthur Flour


2 3/4 cups KAF Cake Flour Blend

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 cups butter, softened

4 large egg whites, plus 1 whole egg

1 cup full fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract ( I used 2 teaspoons Princess Cake and Cookie Bakery Emulsion instead of almond extract)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cupcake papers in pans, set aside.

2. Mix all dry ingredients on low-speed of mixer, to blend well.  Add soft butter, mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand.

3. Add egg whites, one at a time, then whole egg, beating well after each addition.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with vanilla and almond extracts ( and/or bakery emulsion).  Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter.  Beat 1-2 minutes after each addition.

5. Scoop or pour batter into cupcake papers and bake 18-20 minutes.  Makes 20-24 cupcakes.

Danielle’s Graduation


Graduation season is upon us and I would be remiss if I did not share the photos and recipes from our daughter’s college graduation.  Three years ago, around this time, our house was abuzz with excitement.  Our beautiful and brilliant daughter, Danielle, was preparing to graduate, Magna Cum Laude, from The Ohio State University.  She could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and four years of hard work and sacrifice were finally paying off.


Our son Bobby, had recently enlisted in the Air Force, and had not been at his first duty assignment for very long when Danielle’s graduation day approached.  She didn’t think he would be allowed to take leave, and was very sad.  Mark and I knew it had been arranged and kept his arrival a secret from her (that was very hard).  When he called her from the airport, the night before graduation, she totally freaked out!


Mark’s Mom and Dad came out from Rhode Island, to be part of the first college graduation in the family.  The commencement ceremony was held in Ohio Stadium-The Horseshoe- on a blistering hot (92°) day.  I felt so sorry for those kids wearing black robes in that heat, although we were pretty miserable, too.  We watched as Danielle and over 10,000 of her fellow graduates filed out of the stadium like ants at a picnic.


The stadium was about 3/4 full that day


There were over 10,000 graduates.  The names were not announced, and it still took over an hour for the graduates to receive their diplomas.  They were moving at a pretty good clip, too.


Danielle got her tassel adjusted before accepting her diploma.


Danielle is now employed as an educational aide to students with disabilities.  She is 2/3 of the way done with her Master’s program and will start student teaching sometime this Fall. I don’t know where the time went, it just seems like yesterday that she and I were at Ohio State for the requisite two-day parent/child indoctrination program before Danielle’s freshman year.


I’ve included the menu, and you will see about half the recipes from that day on this website very soon.  The other items on the menu came straight out of a bag (chips, pretzels) or a box (Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix and Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix), although I did make the frostings from scratch.  We ordered sub and cookie platters from Subway®, and rounded out the menu with lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and cheese.  There was a ton of prep work involved in getting ready for Danielle’s party, but thankfully I had Mem and Pep to help me out with all the chopping and fixing, and the kiddos did the decorating. Enjoy!



Fresh Fruit Salad

Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip

Snyder’s of Hanover®  Pretzel Pieces

Fresh Mozzarella Cubes with Olive Selection

Black-Eyed Pea Salsa with Lime Tortilla Chips

Cheese Ball with Crackers

7 Layer Dip

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Pasta Salad



Subway®  sub platters

Ohio State Butter Mints

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Subway®  cookie platter