My first attempt at a yeasted cake, testing the recipe for THE BEEKEEPER’S BALL. The recipe goes into the novel.

So over on Facebook, I had multiple requests for the Best Birthday Cupcakes in the World. No exaggeration. Happy to oblige, because these are super easy. 1458502_10152138658663369_1685299782_n.jpg
Cake
1 box spice cake mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 cups fruit puree of your choice, such as canned pumpkin, apple sauce or apple pie filling, apricots, prunes or plums

Icing
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese or neufchatel, softened
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla
about 4 cups powdered sugar

Mix together all the cake ingredients. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Pour into lined cupcake tins or into a cake pan. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the tins. Insert a toothpick in the middle to test for doneness.

In the same bowl (no need to clean up), blend together the icing ingredients. Keep adding the powdered sugar until it’s the right consistency for spreading.

Allow the cake to cool and frost, then sprinkle with nonpareils.

Janie requested a photo of the glorious Clara Louise, my first grandchild, born last Christmas Eve. There are no words, so enjoy a couple of pics:1932197_10100226898485544_1336871936_n.jpg

1962835_10152331023999458_486876114_n.jpg

Wordcrafters in Eugene, Oregon had a unique event–unique for a writers’ conference, anyway. “The Introverts’ Ball” featured writers at their MOST introverted. Here is a shot of Elizabeth George, who has a hidden talent for photobombing, with Susan Wiggs and respective husbands, Tom & Jerry.

Some of my best shots from the beach.

I’ve bought lots of these in the past year. It just makes so much sense. Please enjoy the photos from Olaf. And get your own Little Sun at www.littlesun.com
Cheers,
Susan

From: olafur <olafur>
Date: Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 4:53 AM
Subject: From Olafur
To:

Hello friends,

2013 marked the first full year of Little Sun, and in this letter, I’ve put together some great pictures that give you a window into the ways Little Sun has touched the world.

Every week, I spend a little time pushing Little Sun, but the project’s success has most to do with the incredible efforts and spirit of the Little Sun team, shining together on the top floor of my studio in Berlin. And of course, because you have given so much to help Little Sun get its start, the pictures in this newsletter are as much a testimony of your success as it is of ours. Thank you for pushing this with me.

I hope that Little Sun will inspire your confidence in the way creative thinking can touch the world, and I ask you once again to please pass on this newsletter to anyone you think it will resonate with. I depend on you.

Little Sun’s success lies in our collective energy. The sun belongs to all of us.

Let’s Little Sun.

YOURS,
Olafur

Holding hands with the sun.pdf

For those of you who don’t do Facebook, here’s my most blessed news of the season. Or maybe ever. My first grandchild was born on Christmas eve, as healthy and beautiful as her namesake, my mom.
Here there are–Clara Louise Sr. (my mom) and Clara Louise Jr. (my granddaughter) at one day old. They are destined to be BFFs. I love a sweet, old-fashioned name. What are some of your favorite family-tradition#babynames?

Photo
Photo

…when it is dark and wet and freezing, I must remember this moment on Bingin Beach in Bali!

Bali, beeyotches. Surfing and Yoga. Staying at Mu.

2DBQ3311.jpg

NPR’s Book Concierge

Our Guide To 2013’s Great Reads

by Jeremy Bowers, Nicole Cohen, Danny DeBelius, Camila Domonoske, Rose Friedman, Christopher Groskopf, Petra Mayer, Beth Novey and Shelly Tan

Choose your own adventure! Use the categories below to search through more than 200 standout titles selected by NPR staff and critics. Then click on the books’ covers to find out why we love them.

The Apple Orchard

By Susan Wiggs

Tess Delaney’s life is upended when she discovers a family she never knew she had and a long-lost heirloom that could save their land and the business they’ve built since arriving in California just after World War II. As a treasure hunter on the cusp of reaching all her professional goals, Tess risks it all when she digs into her family’s past, uncovering secrets that may offer understanding, second chances and a shot at romance. Mixed in with the engaging contemporary storyline are flashbacks to Nazi-occupied Denmark and the noble actions of Danish citizens during the war. Intriguing, compelling and lovely.

— recommended by Bobbi Dumas, freelance writer, book reviewer and founder of Read-A-Romance Month

what’s on my mind right now:

  • "Listening can sometimes be the most important part of the conversation." --Isabel in THE BEEKEEPER'S BALL. Is... fb.me/1kGacM4se 1 day ago

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I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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