National Chocolate Cake Day

Happy National Chocolate Cake Day!!!  I love these little foodie holidays because it gives us permission to celebrate our favorite treats with no guilt.  I am sharing with you one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes which came from my Grandma Lyke and has a couple of twists to her original recipe....namely sour cream.

Grandma's Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix these ingredients together by hand in a large bowl.  Make sure to temper the egg yolks by mixing them in last.

Sift together....

2 cups flour
1 teas. baking soda
a pinch of salt

Slowly add to chocolate mixture and stir by hand (no electric mixers used in this recipe).  

Stir in 1 cup of boiling water.

Beat the two egg white until white and fluffy and fold into the batter.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

Let cool.  Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting!

I know it seems crazy not to use your kitchen aid with this cake...but it does make a difference.  Old fashioned cakes were more moist and dense than we are used to today.  This cake recipe is close to 100 years old and has been the chocolate cake enjoyed in our family for years.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Creative Family Trees - Fresh Living

Family trees are an amazing way to decorate your home while honoring your heritage. Creating a family tree is a fun and fulfilling way to pass a snowy day.  Besides being a fun project, family trees are a great way to teach your children about your family's history.  Here are five ideas to get your creative juices flowing so you can make a beautiful family tree for your home.

1.  Fabric Collage Family Tree  

This tree is a simple "iron-on" tree to display your four generations of family names and dates.  All you need is names, a printer, and iron-on transfer paper.  The pattern is from Tweetle Dee Designs and comes with one of my favorite sayings, "A family tree begins with two hearts a flutter".  

2.  Scrabble Tiles Family Tree  

This family tree was so much fun to do with our children.  We ordered vintage scrabble tiles from Ebay and purchased a shadow box frame from our local craft store.  After covering the backing with a fun "tree" fabric, we laid out the names of our children.  We began with my husband and me at the bottom and worked up with the boys growing from my husbands name and the girls from mine.  Our next project will be to add our son and daughters-in-law and grandchildren....put we'll need a bigger frame for sure!

3.  Mother's Hand Family Tree  

This family tree is a perfect gift for the mother's and grandmothers in your life.  It could also be a great activity for your next family reunion.  For this project you will need a blank canvas, acrylic paint and some little fingers!  Trace the mother's hand for the trunk of the tree and paint in with acrylic paint.  Using green paint, dip the fingers of your family and press onto the canvas to make the leaves.  Fill in the names with a fine Sharpie marker. That's it!  Super easy and fun to make.

4.  Photo Transfer Family Tree 

This is my favorite family tree.  I love telling old family stories and this tree is the perfect way to tell a story through pictures.  You will need iron-on transfer paper and a printer...of course some family pictures too.  For mine, I decided to tell the story of my grandparents.  They met, fell in love, and raised a family while farming the land generations of family had passed down to them in upstate New York.  

For the tree I used the bark from the woods on the farm and pieced it together to make a tree.  Next I found pictures from their youth to their golden years, as well as things that meant something to them,  i.e. their children, the farm, the woods, etc.  Using iron-on transfer paper that I purchased at my local craft store I printed them out from my printer. Remember to reverse the images before printing.  Next I cut them into the shapes of leaves and glued them to the "tree" starting with the youth at the bottom and building up to the top.

I loved making this tree and plan to make a few more for gifts!  It's a treasure. 

5.  Painted Family Tree  

This is a fun and fairly easy tree to make.  I took a thin board and stained it first.  Using a pencil I traced roots, vines, and leaves.  Let me just say that I am not an artist...and using a pencil made it easy to hide mistakes and freehand this tree.  After I had it traced I used a thin brush and painted the pencil lines.  Once the paint had dried I used a Sharpie Paint Marker to fill in the names.  This tree will be hanging center on my gallery wall.

I hope these different family tree ideas will inspire you to get your family together and create a tree of your own!

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