Mistake Cake

A few years back, I was inspired by this post, to make this cake.  Except that I was distracted.  And I made the buttermilk per the recipe’s notes section, and I added it all.  All.  Despite the fact that the recipe called for half.  Luckily, Deb takes amazing process photos, so I could tell by how the batter looked that something was wrong.  So I added some flour, and some more, and some more, until the consistency was just right.  And you know what?  It was amazing. the perfect, crumbly, not too sweet cake with a hint of berry tartness.  A very delicious mistake.

Havenly Mistake Cake blueberry

Since then I’ve deliberately repeated the mistake, and adapted it to fit my slightly crunchier taste–substituting turbinado and some whole wheat flour for the white sugar and flour.  With berries or peaches in the summer, and apples in the fall, every time I make it, it does not disappoint.

Mistake Cake (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Havenly Mistake Cake before baking

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk (make your own! mix 1 cup milk w/ one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, and let stand 10 minutes at room temp.)
1/2 pint blueberries or 1 cup fruit of your choice

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.
  • In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until there are no lumps, then beat in vanilla, zest, and egg.
  • At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
  • Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter fruit over top and smoosh it down into the batter a bit. Sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.


Here’s a batter photo, just in case!


The Letting Go

Winter is holding on as best it can here, but as the hours of sunshine get longer every day, its days are numbered.  The little man has shed many of his comfort objects, seemingly overnight, and we are all slowly waking from a state of hibernation.



Winter brought us just enough snow to remind us to play, but not so much to weigh us down.
And the beauty of this place still takes my breath away when I least expect it.
A couple of weeks ago, we said goodbye to my brother, after an extended stop in his own journey. He brought with him much lightness and levity, and I hope we can keep just a little of that brightness with us here.
After all, spring is here, just about to burst. Any. Minute. Now.

Separation Chronicles: Moving with Kids

The day we told our kids we were moving into two houses, my oldest had just one question: is it going to be fun? Of course, the answer had to be yes! But moving can be stressful even when your whole world isn’t changing. And moving into two houses can also feel like a loss. So how do you keep it fun?

Here are my tips for surviving with your sanity intact:

This one is for you, and is the most important: you will stay sane if and only if you take care of yourself. Need help in the self care department? yes, you do. You are not made of rock and sorting through the physical artifacts of your marriage sucks. It will be hard. Get a moving buddy! I cannot stress enough how important this is. I was lucky (incredibly, amazingly lucky) to have my brother to help me with both our yard sale and with packing. Your moving buddy can help by telling you that no, you don’t need to keep that incredibly charged item, and by making sure you eat and nourish yourself during the pack. You will need this. It will save you.
my buddy

Now what about the kids? Here are some things that worked for me:

1. Make the kids feel involved: set aside time in your pack and prep schedule to have them pack up some of their things, choose some things to donate or sell. These activities will take longer than when you do it yourself, but will help them understand and cope with the move.
Boxing day
2. While packing, keep a kid-safe space free from chaos in your home, where they can rest and play.
3. Label everything! write on the outside of the boxes, not just “toys” or “books” but be specific: then when you want to find the legos and magnatiles in a sea of cardboard, they’ll be easy to find.

4. At your new home, first things first, set up the kid’s sleeping and play space so they have things to do while you get your place sorted. (Here I’ve put up some temporary shelves with a few toys and books. They have a place to sit and play away from the chaos in the rest of the house.)
playroom shell
5. Embrace chaos! your house will be messy during this transition. Accept it and move on. Let them explore the new place and make it their own!
spaceship down
6. When all else fails, take a break! Find a place to refresh and recharge.

And keep this with you: soon all this chaos will end. This is temporary madness. On the other side, you will have a space of your own! As I sit here, only a month after moving into my own, I feel such an incredible sense of space and peace, that five weeks ago I could barely imagine. That will soon be yours.

Dreaming: Kitchen

18 days! Less than three weeks until our move and the anticipation is mounting. The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of packing, sorting, and weeding through the remnants of the last 10 years… And dreaming!  Dreaming of all the opportunity this new phase will bring. I cannot wait to walk into our new space and breathe fresh life into it.  There will be more space and light than I know what to do with!

Starting with a very basic standard suburban kitchen, but the bones are good:
kitchen beforeSo what’s in the works?
inspiration board

1. In the kitchen, we’ll have a great big table big enough for a big gathering, art projects, and anything that needs to be spread out.  While this one is a bit out of our price range, I found a great mid-century piece on craigslist that will give us plenty of space at a fraction of the cost.

2. These happy stools will go next to the counter-stable enough for the little ones and beautiful at the same time.

3. With a bit of fresh paint the whole area will come to life: I imagine this counter as the hub of family life-cooking prep, homework, and conversation.  But the light paint will need to go, as the boys feet will likely be making their marks on the low walls otherwise.  The perfect paint solution came via the always inspiring Anna at Door Sixteen: Benjamin Moore Deep Space.

I’m hoping to end up with something approximating the light and fresh spaces you see below, an airy space built for function and creativity!

desire chalkboard
via desire to inspire

emmas kitchen
via emmasdesignblogg

Making Space

Much can be said for the need for self care during the process of separation. My quiet place is mostly about visuals. I have little control over my present surroundings, and so I count the days (forty-seven to go!), and pin, and pine, and plan my new space: light, uncluttered, and full of love and laughter.

Here is some of my inspiration:


kitchen via an-magritt
sources: 1. 2.


Peace isn’t a word usually associated with two energetic young boys. Cooped up inside, during a northeastern February–literally bouncing off the walls is more like it. (As evidenced by one hole in the drywall, 2 broken doorknobs, and many other more minor casualties around the house…)

Even the 2 year old has taken to greeting me with a snarl, a growl, or a “let’s fight mama!”


Flash forward to today: family yoga class, the boys and me, on three blue mats, in a warm, wood floored room, with a few other (more well behaved) families. Erase from your mind idyllic visions of me and my boys quietly and harmoniously moving through a series of centering and calming poses. There was very little listening, there was a lot of rolling on the floor, and riding mama like a horsey, and throwing a big pile of yoga blocks in the center of the room and building a tower, and other forms of mayhem.

So at the end of class, when my 6 year old raised his hand to answer the question: “what is peace?” I wasn’t prepared to hear his answer, clear and strong, and full of hope: “peace is when there’s no war, and everybody gets along.” And just like that, everything stopped. And there it was, for a fleeting moment, with him in my lap, and his brother leaning against me. Peace. It’s in there.

Om Shanti