It’s Big Anne’s Birthday!



As you can see from this picture, my mother comes by the name “Big Anne” honestly. Ok, well it may not be so apparent next to my son who is at least a foot taller than her.

She is “Big Anne” because even though she has a small stature she has a very big reach.


 When we were kids all she had to do was look at us and we would straighten up. The pool was in our backyard and my cousins towered over her but just one crack of the window and we would all freeze frame on the pool deck.

Here are my top 10 nuggets from my mom:

10. Thanks for making me spell the word A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E. when I was a kid. As it turns out, a good one is nearly all you need to live a good life.

9. You were right about not fighting with my sister and pulling all her long straight hair out when we were kids because she ended up being my best friend.

8. Homemade birthday cakes really are better. Thanks for that!

7. You will always be my Miss America to me. I remember watching the pageant every year and being envious of their long legs and their long hair and before she would kiss me good night she would give me that affirmation…a very sweet memory. We also got to meet several of them and go to dinner with them because somehow my father booked their first public appearance at his car dealership for the new car introduction. Amazing when I think back…

6. Treating your mother-in-law well is just another way to show your husband you love him. Thank you for modeling that for me.

5. I’m no better than anyone else. BUT, no one is better than me. Wow…I just love that one…

4. You want to do it, then do it. She was way before Nike’s time!

3. Think about how long you think something will take and double it. God I wish I paid attention to that one more…

2. Friends may come and go but family is forever.

1. Faith, family and food…and if you can have all three at the same time you are triply blest.

20120926-131632.jpgHappy birthday to my most wonderful mother!

Have a yummy day!


Even Angels Need Birthday Cake


Things I learned the “Summer of 1984”

Even angels need birthday cake.

(Recipe included

Just because he only got three cakes does not mean we should stop celebrating that he was born!

 Our overuse of the word awesome has actually devalued it.

Incorrect use: Oh wow, this movie is awesome!

CORRECT USE: It’s so awesome that she can operate on a babie’s heart, the size of a walnut!

Incorrect use: You got us tickets to the game? Awesome!

CORRECT USE: He’s breathing on his own? Awesome!

Today is the best day I’ll ever have.

There are no guarantees so make the best of every day.

Karel Soucek is one crazy dude.  Tom came into the recovery room at Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital and told me this guy went over the falls and lived. Six months later tries to jump into a ten foot barrel in the Houston Astrodome and hits the side. He was no Nik Wallenda!

 Pediatric Cardiologists and Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeons are two different specialties.

I had no idea that first you see a cardiologist who performs the diagnostics then you see the surgeon (who often has the bedside manner of a brick).

McDonalds has great coffee.

In the lobby of CHOP ( Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) there was a McDonalds. We got a coffee and cinnamon rolls every day. Never underestimate the power of good coffee.

 If a surgeon offers to try the newest surgery on your child…run, don’t walk to the surgeon who does.

The surgeon at the time at Buffalo Children’s Hospital had never done the surgery called the switch. In fact, it had only been performed fewer than two dozen times. He said he’d try.

Mortality rates become a sobering statistic when you are talking about state of the art medical intervention.

We said “no thank you” and became the first family to take our child away from Buffalo for open heart surgery. I guess all legacies come to an end.

Sometimes a hole in your heart is a good thing. Tommy’s pediatric cardiologist turned out to be a world renowned doctor. My sister-in-law Mary had not been at CHOP for a month when Tommy was born. When his diagnosis ( was made she went directly to Dr. Rashkind’s office and is singularly responsible for having him take her nephew on as a patient.

In the end, faith is all we have.

Things are often not what they seem.

I saw a man tossing a little boy up in the air in an enjoining waiting room and felt a pang of jealousy. My husband reminded me there was likely a very serious reason why those two should be in that room. Reframe: thank God they had that playful time together.

The sound of laughter in a hospital is not at all strange.

Superheroes wear masks…and scrubs.

When it’s too hard to pray, too hard to think beyond the next moment, I discovered there are countless and nameless people who are doing the praying for you.

July 2, 1984 – Happy birthday Tommy III – forever young…

Birthday Cake Frosting

From my grandmother! My mom made this for every birthday – such a treat! Best of all, it’s actually kind of easy!



1 ½









Tablespoons Flour




1 ½

Cup(s) Milk





Cups Butter





Cups Shortening




1 ½

Cups Sugar(granulated)


1 ½



Teaspoons Vanilla

Note: the 1 1/2 frosts a 2 layer round cake; the triple frosts a 2 layer 13” x 9” cake

Traditional method: Over medium low heat, stir flour and milk with a whisk until thick.

With the times method: In a large glass microwavable bowl with a handle, heat flour and milk mixture in microwave until thick, stirring every 45 seconds. Don’t walk away because this could bubble over very quickly.

Cool mixture down completely.

In a mixer cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add flour/milk mixture and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat a minute more.


This makes the most spreadable frosting you have ever made. Try adding a quarter cup of cocoa to the flour and milk mixture for a rich chocolate frosting.

 Have a yummy day!

Birthday Cake: The Real Breakfast of Champions!



36 years ago (exactly 2/3 of my life ago – naturally I just did the math) I met my husband. One of the first things we discussed was our birthdays which are one day (and 3 years) apart.

Do you do the cake cutting ceremony in your family where the birthday girl or boy cuts the cake and the person with the next birthday pulls it out? Two wishes, one cake! I love that! And, in our case more often than not, one cake, two birthdays.

So, with my husband’s birthday one day before mine I usually end up baking my own birthday cake. When I got married a million years ago I got this cookbook as a shower gift.

20120618-072229.jpgOn page 101 there is a recipe for a golden cake (looks more white than golden when baked) that is SO good I have made it countless times since.

If you sign my guest book and tell me your birthday (month and day) I will send you the complete birthday cake recipe to enjoy with your family.

This year I made homemade lemon curd (not a difficult recipe but takes twice as long as they say) and it was really good.

Funny thing, though…golden cake with homemade frosting (from an antique recipe of my grandmother) is my husband’s favorite. Me? I’m a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting girl myself. That’s not to say I don’t love the golden birthday cake, just that every once in a while I long for my own cake, not baked by my own hands.

So, this year at a birthday/Father’s Day BBQ at our cousins home I baked my husband the golden birthday cake and my mom baked me my favorite chocolate cake!

20120618-073647.jpgthen, to the disgust of many, I did something in honor of my father.

20120618-073917.jpgI made “mush.” Stuff a piece of chocolate cake in a glass and fill with milk only until the spoon can still stand up.

Eat and enjoy!!!

Have a yummy week!

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