Thirty-Eight Months

Today we went strawberry picking at Eckert’s, and Dolly came along. She certainly fared better than Chickadee, who was quite stained by the time we were done! While we were there, we also walked around, and saw some animals…plus the Stl250 cake, which we were glad to see out and in good condition!

Maybe next month, Dolly will get to go blackberry picking with Chickadee!

Cakeway to the West–An Unofficially Official Cake

I love that even over a year after our cake hunt began, I can still have an Stl250 cake to share!


The Missouri School for the Blind received one of the official cakes (originally located at the Green Center), via auction/donation after the celebratory year ended, and repainted it. The painting was done mostly by students from the school, with the help of a well-known Stl250 cake artist and one of the tireless Stl250 volunteers. I especially love the braille on the cake!

So, it’s an official cake in that it is one of the fiberglass cakes created for the event, but it’s unofficial because the school wasn’t one of the original locations, and it no longer has its original paint job. I’m so glad that it didn’t end up in a dumpster, and instead went to a location I thought deserved a cake in the first place!

Throwback Thursday

One year ago today, our big Stl250 “Cakeway to the West” cake hunt began. We still hadn’t realized that we would attempt (and eventually succeed!), to find all of the cakes (that decision was made on March 15th of last year, if you were wondering, when Ryan posed it as a challenge that I could not back down from), but this cake at Eckert’s was the first one we went looking for, and one of the closest cakes to our home.


It’s the third month of 2015, and I do still miss our cake-hunting trips…it was a great way to celebrate St. Louis’ birthday, and get to know the history of the city even better!

Cakeway to the West–Places They Missed

Now that all of the Stl250 cakes have been placed (and many removed to new homes), I’ve made my own list of places that I think deserved Cakeway to the West installations. Now, I’m not trying to replace any of the cakes that were out there, because that would just be impossible. But since there were some bonus cakes, I thought it would be fun to think of other locations that could have helped St. Louis celebrate her 250th birthday. And there really were a lot of places in the St. Louis area that I think could have easily gotten a cake of their own!

  • Dave Sinclair–Who in St. Louis doesn’t know “Thank you, and here’s my address?”
  • Mercy Medical Center–So many St. Louisans celebrate the day of their birth at this hospital, it seems like a birthday cake would have been fitting.
  • KFUO–The longest continually operating AM station in the country…how did they not get a cake?!?
  • CPH–Maybe I just want more Lutheran representation, but CPH was also celebrating a big anniversary last year, and they’re very involved in their community, plus they recently won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige award, so it seemed like they may have been a prime cake location.
  • Gateway Grizzlies–The Frontier League could have used a cake…there are two teams from the league in the St. Louis area! Of course, I picked the one on the Illinois side…
  • Schnucks–Doesn’t even matter which store, but with Schnucks being such a big chain in St. Louis, and them having celebrated their 75th anniversary last year, it seems like they deserved a cake, too.
  • Bissell Water Tower–The other two standpipe water towers in the city got a cake, why not this one, as well?
  • Cabanne House–I don’t think Forest Park had quite enough cakes, and this beautiful house would have been a great place for one.
  • St. Clair County Courthouse–I think every other county in the area had a cake at their courthouse. I know the St. Clair County Courthouse is an ugly building, but fair is fair!
  • Fitz’s–OK, I know this is unreasonable. The Walk of Fame is right next door, so there wasn’t really even any space for another cake, and the Delmar Loop rivals Forest Park for most cakes in a small area, anyway. But Fitz’s is a St. Louis staple, so I still wish they could have had their own cake!
  • The Pageant–As long as I brought up the Delmar Loop, I may as well mention The Pageant. It’s always busy, and it’s such a cool building…why not throw one more cake that way?
  • Art on the Square–I think this was the most surprising non-cake appearance for me. I was really expecting a cake to be unveiled on the Belleville town square the weekend of the art show…there were cake artists there selling their art, big crowds, Belleville’s 200th birthday…it seemed perfect. Alas, no cake.
  • KMOX–It seems to me that the mighty ‘MOX deserved a cake for many reasons, including the fact that radio just wasn’t well-represented by cakes.
  • BND–The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a cake, why not the biggest paper in the Metro East, as well?
  • Police Department/Fire Department–It seems like the city police headquarters or the Monarch Fire District in West County should have had a cake…an area’s civil servants are certainly important. Then again, after the way things played out in St. Louis last year, I guess it’s a good thing there was no cake at a police department…it probably wouldn’t have survived!
  • The Galleria–In theory, it’s the best place to shop in St. Louis. A cake by the fountain would have been a nice touch.
  • Missouri School for the Blind–After the Central Institute for the Deaf received a cake, I just assumed it would be a given that the school for the blind would also get one. I had a personal interest in this location, so it was quite a disappointment to me that it never happened.

These are the first places that came to my mind that could have had cakes…where would you have liked to see an Stl250 cake placed?

Cakeway to the West–The Beginning and the End

The gold cake prototype and the “Reunion” cake, the last of the Stl250 cakes to be unveiled, are currently on display together at the Missouri History Museum. It’s kind of fun to see the beginning of the project, and the end, together in one place!


More 2014 in Review

What a year this has been! We learned much, laughed a lot, and made a lot of great memories!

January seems like a very long time ago, and it was a pretty quiet month. We started the year with the biggest snowstorm St. Louis has seen since we’ve lived here, plus some wickedly cold temperatures, which resulted in a cracked window in our house. Chickadee helped bake Christmas cookies for the first time…yes, after Christmas Day, but still within the 12 Days of Christmas! Ryan celebrated his 4th anniversary working for Automattic with a brand-new, customized laptop. Every member of our family got to visit the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up for the first time.

February was even more quiet. We spent a lot of time watching the Olympics and learning about Russia…we even had a Russian/winter-themed tea party. We also said “Happy Birthday!” to St. Louis and joined in the kick-off weekend at the Missouri History Museum for the 250 in 250 exhibit, part of the larger Stl250 celebration.

March was when things really started to get busy. We began our epic Stl250: Cakeway to the West cake hunt on the 5th at one of our favorite local places–Eckert’s. At the time we didn’t realize that it was just the beginning of a journey that would take us all over the St. Louis metro area (and a little beyond), to find every single one of the more than 250 cakes. St. Louis wasn’t the only city celebrating a milestone year, however…our home town of Belleville celebrated its 200th birthday, as well. And Schnucks, our favorite local grocery store, celebrated 75 years in business, and even had a special birthday event for customers. We began another year’s Lenten observance, including another appearance on KFUO’s Faith ‘n’ Family for me. The Missouri History Museum had a fun St. Patrick’s Day event planned for homeschoolers. The following day, Turkey turned 11, and a few days later, Chickadee turned two. We got to be part of a cake unveiling at Concordia Seminary. And at the end of the month, we rejoiced at the beginning of another season of Cardinals baseball!

Things remained busy in April. We took a day off of our regular schoolwork to go to the “Weather Bash at Busch,” and take in a Cardinals game in the bargain. We celebrated Easter. Fredbird’s “Facebook Friday” finally made it to a metro-east location we could get to. The Belleville200 events continued with a parade. Bunny finished another session of parks and rec volleyball. We said goodbye to our old pastor.

In May we visited Grant’s Farm. Did I mention that they celebrated their 60th anniversary this year? It was a big year in the St. Louis area! Bunny and Ladybug got their ears pierced. Ladybug turned seven, and finally got the American Girl doll I had purchased and put away for her almost a year earlier. We wrapped up another school year. Ryan and I celebrated our 13th anniversary with the children at Busch Stadium. I put together a book list for our latest summer school unit–all about baseball. Speaking of baseball, Turkey started a new season with our parks & rec.

There were more Belleville200 events in June, including a street fair in one of the town’s historic neighborhoods and a classic car show. We spent my birthday doing the perfect birthday activity…cake hunting! We also got to go to a Gateway Grizzlies game with Moose for his school’s honor roll night. Our baseball-themed summer school got started.

July was an especially busy month. We finally had the somewhat ironic Independence Day tea party I’ve been wanting to have for a few years. Chickadee ran into her pal Fredbird at Busch Stadium. We visited the Schmidt Art Center to see the Belleville Bicentennial: 200 exhibit. Turkey and Ladybug entered Lego creations in a contest at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and Ladybug came in third in her age group! While we were at the Garden, we also got to view the Nature Connects Lego exhibit. As part of summer school, we took the children on a tour of Busch Stadium and then a tour of the new Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. Bunny turned ten. After all these years of living in St. Louis, we finally journeyed to the top of the Gateway Arch. We had a fun week at Vacation Bible School. The children and I went to our first vintage base ball game, and discovered how different, and how much fun, that game is.

The busyness continued in August, starting with a trip to Chesterfield Mall for a Play Nintendo event, where Turkey got to compete in his first video game tournament…he came in second! We wrapped up our cake hunt at Lafayette Square…it was amazing to look back and see all the places we had visited…our local newspaper even had a story about our journey! The children got to visit a Big Boy restaurant for the first time, on the way to our epic summer school field trip at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.  At the end of the month, everyone started a new school year.

The highlight of September was the big Belleville200 weekend. We had the privilege of attending a Naturalization ceremony, went to a Beach Boys concert on the town square, danced to German polkas, attended another vintage base ball game, and watched the grilling of a record-breaking 200-foot-long brat.It was a great time! Bunny played in her first season of competitive parks & rec volleyball. We attended the St. Louis Scottish Games for the second time, and this year, Ryan was able to go with us! And, lest you thought that finding our 250th cake in August meant that our cake hunt was complete, we found a bonus cake (one to grow on?).

In October we visited Eckert’s for our annual pumpkin picking trip. Bunny had the game-winning serve in the first round of her volleyball tournament! We also welcomed a new pastor to our church, after a fairly short vacancy. I went on a Busch Family Estate Walk at Grant’s Farm, and finally saw (and photographed!) the elusive Busch family mansion from all sides. The cake hunt continued when we went to the unveiling of another bonus cake.

November meant a lot of fun in school, including the return of our Thankful Tree, the reading of some of our favorite Thanksgiving books, and building a Lego: The Hobbit set to celebrate having finished reading the book. We had another tea party, this time to celebrate St. Louis’ 250th birthday, and Moose’s golden birthday…the first one of those we’ve celebrated! We visited Belleville’s new Bicentennial Park and admired the beautiful fall colors, and then returned less than two weeks later to see it covered in snow. Ryan and I went to the Three Sixty rooftop bar for a spectacular view of St. Louis. We celebrated Thanksgiving with a record seven pies (in addition to all of the other Thanksgiving foods)! The following day, we went downtown for Belleville’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the annual gingerbread walk. We also visited St. Charles Christmas Traditions on opening weekend for the first time, and even got to eat lunch in a bank vault!

December was, as always, insanely busy, and insanely fun. I got to see a “cake in progress” when I dropped off my entry for the Soulard Art Market “Everywhere there’s Cake” exhibit. I had a moment of insanity when I decided we should rearrange the furniture in our schoolroom (and den!), but it turned out really well, so it was worth it. We celebrated an Italian Christmas at Christmas on the Hill, and then drove immediately to Cahokia, where we learned about French Colonial Christmas celebrations. The brewery opened their Christmas lights display to foot traffic again this year, so of course we went. We also got to see nativity scenes from all over the world at Belleville’s cathedral. The children enjoyed playing their roles on Santa Lucia morning. After not making it last year, we got back to Tuba Christmas. We also returned to the Old Courthouse, this time to see what an 1864 Christmas ball would have been like. The first-ever Belleville Christmas Market had us visiting the town square several times over the course of the month. Of course, all of our celebrations culminated on Christmas Eve and Day, and again on Boxing Day, when we enjoyed our English Christmas feast. And there was one more cake visit (our way of saying goodbye), before the end of the year!

This is just a glimpse into the fun we had throughout this amazing year. Much of our fun was tied to both St. Louis’ and Belleville’s birthday celebrations. While those festivities may be over, I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures the next year holds for our family!

Happy New Year!

Cakeway to the West–Christmas Cakes

Even though our cake hunt has been over for a few months now, revisiting the cakes with the change of seasons has been a lot of fun, especially over the Christmas season. Whether it was seeing a cake with a backdrop of lights, or snow, or a Christmas character, or even in the midst of a Christmas tree lot, the festive setting added a little something to each cake we saw. Sometimes, you had to look hard to find the Christmas spirit, but it was always there!