Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Fun

It has been so hot this summer, all we have done is go swimming, play in the sprinklers, and watch movies. We have not gone to the park. Or to the zoo. We have not gotten the bikes out of the garage.

I took my camera out for some sprinkler fun the other day. Here are a few shots of my girls. These pictures were taken at approx 6:14 p.m.
These pictures were taken at approx 6:16 p.m:
This is what we get when she gets told "no" or Brooke has something that she wants. She can turn it on and off like a switch. Good thing she's so darn cute!
Thus concludes the blog that would be more aptly titled "a pictorial description of life with a two year old."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Evolution of a Cake

I had my first official cake order this week, for a baby shower for tomorrow. I've done cakes for friends and family, but this was the first official "stranger" order (for lack of a better description!). The customer didn't care how I decorated it...they wanted a chocolate cake and it was for a baby boy. They didn't even want writing on it! (easy enough). I searched a bunch of cake pictures and found one like this (but for a girl), and loved it. So I decided to recreate it myself. Here is the evolution of Le Cake.

I decided to start taking pictures after I got the cake you get to miss the batter, baking, cooling stage.
Here you see the bottom layer of cake with a buttercream border/wall around the edge. This helps keep the filling where it belongs.
And the chocolate ganache filling. Semi-sweet ganache. See how shiny it is? That is from the 1 tablespoon of butter you put in with the cream. Yummy.
The customer wanted strawberries in the middle too (my idea) so I used about 3/4 LB of fresh strawberries. Pretty!

After putting the top layer on, I slathered on the buttercream icing! This is before smoothing/texturing. (that's oxymoron-ish isn't it?).
This is what my kitchen looked like about now. I use the whole kitchen and get a lot of things out when doing a cake! The towel over the mixer is to help keep the buttercream that was IN the mixer from starting to dry out. On the island you see what is left of the chocolate ganache in the double boiler and my cake-chic toolbox thingy.

I textured the top. If you look close you can see a swirly pattern to it. I did some blue tinting around the edge. Outlined the baby carriage and filled it all in. Added some sugar pearls and some accents. Did the borders. Called the customer to verify that the baby was an African American (she'd mentioned that in a previous conversation and I wanted to make sure I had not imagined that conversation) before I put the little guy that I made last night on the cake. He is made of fondant. He's got a little spiky mohawk and a blue pacifier. And joila! Here is the finished product!:

I was so pleased with the final cake. This picture is of it in the box. The others I took on my iphone and I didn't download them on this computer. I wish I was going to be there to eat a piece of it! What do you think?
And then I frantically cleaned up the mess so it wouldn't look like a total bomb went off when Matt got home. Here's what my kitchen looked like 30 minutes after I got the cake put in the box:

I was in serious need of a Diet Dr Pepper, let me tell ya!
I promise this is not turning into a cake blog... just thought this would be a fun little recap of my day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Most of you know that I have been taking a cake class. You can see my photo album on facebook. But I had to post the cake I did last night. I spent hours looking at cakes online trying to decide how I wanted to decorate my stacked cake.
I made a 9" chocolate cake filled with chocolate buttercream. Stacked a 6" Creme Brulee cake on top of it. It was all iced in white buttercream. As I sat and looked at the cake at home (I wish I would have taken a before picture), I was not thrilled with how level the cakes were (or were not), and the buttercream had some crumbs in it which I also was not thrilled about.

I went to class with some sparkle tipped roses that I had made at home. Some from fondant and some from royal icing. I knew I wanted to try a few different techniques with fondant (the draping and the braid are fondant dusted with luster dust). I also knew I wanted to try the quilting method with the sugar pearls (bottom layer. please disregard any crumbs). I wasn't sure how it was all going to come together. is how it turned out! I was so pleased with the results. Maybe, with some more practice, I could actually pull off a wedding cake someday! I have my first official cake order this weekend for a baby shower cake. I'm excited to do it and praying it turns out as cute as I am hoping!

What do you think of this one?!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bake to School Bakery!!

School is just around the corner! If you are a teacher, you are going "ACK!". If you are a stay at home mom, you might be doing a happy dance!

Worthwhile Moments Sweet Shoppe wants to help you make that first day of school special!

Start the morning off right with a fabulous pan of homemade cinnamon rolls! These ooey gooey delights will make sure the kids leave with a smile on their face! I have forever strived to per-fect the cinnamon roll, and I've finally gotten it down!

Cinnamon Rolls sold in 8" round cake pans, about 6-7 rolls in each, for $7 per pan.

Perhaps you'd like to celebrate the first day back with a great dessert that night at dinner. How about a special little cake? Order a 6" round (two layer, filled) cake from Worthwhile Moments, choose your flavors and the two colors of icing you would like, and any wording you would prefer. Order one in the school colors or the kiddos' favorite color.

Cakes available in the following flavors:

*Chocolate cake with your choice of buttercream, peanut butter creme, or chocolate filling.
*White cake with your choice of buttercream or glazed strawberry filling.
*Creme Brulee Cake...a butter cake with crusted brown sugar layer on each layer, filled with vanilla-pudding flavored cream and chocolate.

All cakes iced in buttercream.

Six inch, double layer "Back to school" cakes are $10/each.

For those starting school August 16th or 17th, items will be ready for pick up on August 15th/16th. (To be scheduled when order is confirmed).

Available by preorder only! Send me an email (email addy if the link doesn't work) to place your order by August 7th. Include how many pans of cinnamon rolls or cakes you would like, as well as flavors/filling/icing colors/writing if you are ordering cakes. Cash only.

Worthwhile Moments Sweet Shoppe has a variety of sweet treats and cakes of many sizes to meet many of your sweet tooth, entertainment, and celebration needs. Contact me for special order requests!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What to Do?

I need some advice and input from my blog readers. Or some encouragement. Or something.

Matt works at one of the aircraft companies here in town, Hawker Beechcraft. Some of you may have read this article. Basically it indicates that a very large number of the HBC jobs here in Wichita may be leaving Wichita over the next two years.

Matt works in "flight" on their biggest jet. When the planes are fully assembled and come off the production line, his department runs it thru pre-flight checks to get it ready for its first flight, and then does whatever needs to be done to it after the flight to make it perfect. He's an FAA licensed airplane mechanic (to keep it simple).

Speculation ranges from general outsourcing of the smaller jobs, to them sending everything except final assembly and flight test (matt's stuff) elsewhere, even as far as selling off entire product lines. Whatever happens....things are looking a little dicey in the career outlook... and looking like Matt probably won't retire from Hawker Beechcraft.

Here's the million dollar question(s). What would you do? Would you start looking for other jobs now, before there are 1000s more people also looking for jobs and trying to sell their house? Would you wait to see how the cookie crumbles because you think your position would probably be one of the last ones effected? Would you wait because maybe in the end you would get offered a chance to relocate with your airplane or at least get a severance package? In a sense, buying more time? And is buying more time good when you have a kid in school? Would it be easier to move as a first grader than say, a 3rd or 4th grader? What do you do? Do you ride it out to the end, then take unemployment while wifey goes and finds some job in town?

The market in Wichita is going to be (even more) saturated with airplane folks looking for jobs. Matt thinks that if/when he leaves HBC or whatever, that we'd have a tough time getting out of the "low man on the totem pole" spot if he were to just go to one of the other companies. Since 9/11 there has been layoff/rehire/layoff/rehire cycles like crazy. We've been okay at HBC thus far because he has 13 years in. It might take 20 years for him to build up 13 years of seniority again locally. So relocation is likely if all this speculation turns into reality.. perhaps to work for a company that owns a few of the jets, etc.

We don't really want to move. We love our house. We love our school. We love our friends. We love having Matt's parents right down the road. My girls would be devastated to leave grandma and grandpa. Would they relocate too? Can we find something that is not any further away from my family than we already are? Could we find somewhere with a decent cost of living and salary so I could continue to stay home with the girls? There are so many unanswered questions, and we just don't know what to do?

Actively look now? Just put out some feelers? Ride it out and hope for something good in the end?

What would you do? Have you been in this situation? What did you do? Please impart some advice or wisdom or encourgament. This is probably the biggest predicament / decision/ don't know what to do moment either of us have ever had, and definately ever had in our marriage!

Help. Pray. Buy an airplane. Whatever you can do to help!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Protecting Our Children

This isn't going to be a fun happy post. But it needs to be posted nonetheless. I want to help someone spread the word about something that is....scary. horrible. tragic. infuriating.

Sexual assault against children.

My beloved friend Abbe has been going through hell the last two months. One of her sweet children was sexually assaulted. That's the nice way of phrasing what happened to her child. You can read her post about this here. This family has been in a nightmare trying to get through, adjust, figure out, investigate, find good, etc in all this.

Can I just say that one of my prayers has been "God, give them a break, please!"

They have decided to speak out in hopes that maybe, maybe one kid can be saved from going through this. That their story will remind you, inspire you, kick you in the pants to discuss with your kids good touches/bad touches...and how to always come to Mommy and Daddy with anything.

It has been hard on them. It has been hard on their family. It has been hard on their friends. We have all cried. We've all worried. Some of us have wondered, "what should we do going forward? are our kids safe?". Matt and I have discussed this in depth and wrestled with "what to do" for weeks. It is definately a fear-causer. Fortunately God is a fear crusher...when we let Him be. And we've tried to remind each other of that over and over again.

For years and years and years I suppressed an incident that happened when I was about 5 years old. I don't know what made me remember it, but I clearly do, it came back to me in college. I remember having nap time at the babysitters house. I hated that babysitter. The whole family was creepy. She made me eat soggy fruit loops. To this day the smell of fruit loops makes me gag. We would all be laying on mats in a dark room during nap time. I don't even remember who went to daycare with me. But I do remember that most afternoons, her husband would enter the dark room, come around to each mat, and make us touch his privates. He'd go around to each of us and make us do it. Fortunately "that's ALL" he did. I remember pretending to be asleep sometimes so I wouldn't have to do it.

I never breathed a word of it to my mom. I don't know why...but I would guess I figured I'd get in trouble or something worse would happen to me. Why would I be afraid of that? We need to make sure that our kids not only KNOW how they should and shouldn't be touched, or what they shouldn't have to do....but they have to know that they can come running to Mommy and Daddy and tell them anything, anytime. That our love is unconditional. Who knows how many other kids had to touch this guys' privates. Who knows if he did anything worse to other kids. This lady babysat for years.....! How would things have been different if I HAD told my mom right away? Fortunately, although I repressed it for years, I'm fine today. No scars other than this strangely vivid recollection of the event. But other kids are not so lucky.... and other assaults are so much worse.

Like the one Abbe's family is dealing with.

READ Their story. Teach your kids. Even the 2 year olds. Remind the high schoolers. Remind them that you are their first and best ally. That if something happens even though you HAVE educated them, even though they ARE smart, even though you have them somewhere that you ALL THINK IS SAFE....remind them that if something happens anyways, they need to tell you. Because...just like with Abbe sharing their story, we all need to keep the communications open to help bring this darkness to light, and to nail bastards like this.

I'm just saying.

While you're educating your children...please pray for this family. And pray for everyone who surrounds them, that we can lift them up, provide for their needs in any way possible, and fill them with more love and support than they have ever known before.

Thanks for sticking thru this hard topic with me. OXOXOX

Sunday, July 11, 2010

18 Years Ago

18 Years Ago I was sixteen years old.
Today I am 34 years old. (In case you suck at Math).

18 years ago I had a lot fewer pounds on me.

The other day, I bought a tank top at Walmart that I was thrilled to get. I already had one like it and got one in another color. I was excited. And it was only $7.
18 Years ago I would not have been caught dead wearing something that was from Walmart and only cost $7. And I wasn't even a snobby preppy type.

Eighteen years ago my hair was almost always down, rarely would I put it on a ponytail.
Today, rarely is my hair NOT in a ponytail! I still "do" my hair; I shower everyday, put gel in it, blow dry and scrunch it. But it's a lot hotter than I remember it being. And so up it goes. All the time.
Plus 18 years ago I wasn't making all the meals in the house, cakes, there was nothing to keep my hair out of.

18 years ago I drove a 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix. She was white, had a sunroof, and was named Wilma. Now I drive a 2003 Yukon Denali. It is black, has a sunroof, and might now be called the Disney-mobile b/c I have the little "disney family" sticker thingys on the back and a DVC hitchplate. Loved the 79 Grand Prix. Love the Denali more. Both paid for, that's good!

18 years ago i would not go check the mail if I wasn't dressed and had make up on. This morning I threw on some clothes, popped my contacts in my eyes, and did a donut run to QT for the family. The other night, I went outside in my shortie jammies, with no bra on, and a towel on my freshly showered head, to water the flowers. I wasn't thrilled about it, but didn't care much.

18 years ago I would have been mortified to spend a Friday or Saturday evening AT HOME. Like as in, I'd be embarassed to tell anyone I was that pitiful. Now, I spend most of my Friday and Saturday evenings at home. And I do sometimes feel like a loser! :) I was chatting on Facebook and playing scrabble on my iphone with my friends on a recent Friday night, and said to Wendi....Geee.... When did we get to be so pathetic!?

18 years ago my school-night curfew was usually 10p.m. (though i was usually home far earlier). Now, sometimes my fun starts at 10p.m. if Debbi and I hit a late night movie! It's the best way to go see a chick flick....get the kids in bed, kiss the hubby goodbye, and go sit with a girlfriend and a bucket of popcorn.

18 years ago I had never had a drink of alcohol. To this day, I have never been drunk. I consume, at the most, about 3 alcoholic beverages a year.

18 years ago I had not yet had sex. Today I have two children. You figure that one out. :)

Back then, I only wore Victoria's Secret panties and always made sure my panties and bras matched. Didn't want the girls thinking you were uncoordinated in the locker room, right? Pretty much, none of that is happening now! Now I buy bras more for comfort and function and less for prettiness. Speaking of bras I could do a whole separate post on bras alone. I'm so not a fan.

Back then, I thought having four kids would be great. Two boys, two girls. Now, I'm done at the two girls. God did not program me to have four children, that's for sure.

Back then, I cared a lot about what people think. Now, I just care if you care. You can think my shirt is ugly or my butt is too big, if you care about me.

Life is light years away from the days when I was sixteen and living in small town Iowa. I didn't have much to worry about then. Life was great then, but it is great now too. More so, because I have two beautiful little souls that count on me. And not everything has changed. I still have a sweet tooth the size of Texas, I still listen to New Kids on the Block, I still am better than most of my friends at "keeping in touch," (back then I was called the Queen of Communication and I think I still deserve that title!), I still love to participate in the fun of life.

It's all good... right?! What are some of your "then and nows?"

Besides of course "back then Blogs didn't exist, and now i can't get enough of reading this one!"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cherry On Top Award

Whooo hoo I got a little blog award. Kind of a pass-it-on-amongst your bloggy friends thing, but fun nonetheless.
Abbe at All Dolled Up nominated me for a Cherry on Top award. How sweet. Most blogs blow mine out of the water, I'm so random in my thoughts. But whoo hoo.
Youv'e heard me mention Abbe before, like here. She's great.
So in this pass-it-along thing I'm supposed to tell you three things about me, and nominate 5 other blogs to pass the award along to. things.... I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. There are 16 books in all, and I have all of them. Fun, quick reads that are a good combination of fun, mystery, and a bit of romance. To add to this tidbit, I just love to read....
Thing #2....I'm a people pleaser. Not a "I'll do whatever you ask and let you walk all over me" kind of people pleaser...more of a "what's wrong? Can I fix it?" or "do you REALLY like these cookies I made?" "Is that alright with you that I just go ahead and do this?" kind of person. I just want to make people happy, I want to make things right in the world of my friends and loved ones, I want to be liked/loved.
Thing #3...Church camp is one of the happiest things from my youth. Church camp saved my soul. God showed me what it was to fellowship with people who had Jesus in their heart, and it made me want to spend my life surrounded by such wonderful people. That desire paved a solid way for me through high school, and college, and beyond. Loving Jesus, and learning to do so while spending time at church camp, made me surround myself with Jesus-lovers through all those years...and thus helped me to avoid some of the rockier roads other people may choose to take. I wish every kid could experience that every summer. The world would be a happier place if everyone fellowshipped like that.
Now onto the blogs I am passing this award onto... i'm terrible about bookmarking blogs and just hop from here to there to there a lot, so we'll see who all I can remember the URL's for.
First off is Jodi. I was introduced to her blog almost three years ago, about a month after she gave birth to twins at 23 weeks, lost her beloved son Logan, and began the fight to keep her sweet Olivia beating the odds. Since meeting in the blog world we've been facebook friends, New Kids on the block concert attenders together, and have become great friends (though we don't get together often enough. I think that about a lot of people though haha). Jodi's little Olivia has sure come a long ways in the last 2.5 years!
Then there is Jamie. (Why I have all these blogs of preemies i am not sure, since I am not part of that little world...but I'm glad I do). Actually Jamie and I went to school together in high school (or was it junior high?) for a little while. She too gave birth entirely too early to triplets...and she too sadly lost a son....and has since been very busy raising Lindy and Will through their NICU trials, their growth and development, and the all out craziness of being a mother of two.
Not that she needs a blog award or will ever know that I nominated her...but The Pioneer Woman is my favorite blog of all time. I check it at least once a day. She has all things I love on there..random life stories, fabulous recipes, and photography stuff. So for the one or two souls out there who are not yet familiar with should sooo head on over there!
Finally, (yes I know that's just four), Michelle. I read her blog because she's an old friend of Matt's, a new friend of mine, and it is interesting reading. I like reading about her year long experiment of living on the modern day equivalent to WWII Rations. I have zero interest in participating or trying the experiment myself. I also have zero interest in trying some of the things she has tried (like COW HEART?) in the last six months. But I do certainly get a kick out of reading about it. They are the opposite of us: conservation friendly, campers, "roughing it" kinda folks.... We like 4 and 5 star resorts and air And yet we are both so loveable!
Head on over to their blogs and check them out. And now's your turn to pass on the Cherry On Top award.
Thanks for stopping by!

4th of July...a little late!

Now that my tirade over the neighbors' fireworks antics is over (although, they are still shooting them off and today is the 7th), I thought I'd write a little bit about what America means to me.

Over on the Pioneer Woman's website, her latest photography assignment was "America." As usual I did not have time to really go out and work on getting some dream pictures to contribute, and there was a variety of ways I'd like to depict America. Besides the obvious flags, and fireworks, the first thing I thought of was a church. With a big cross on top. It was the one thing I wanted to make a point of going to photograph for the assignment. Here's what I got. I was going for a Cross with a great sunset in the back. Unfortunately I got impatient waiting for the sunset and I couldn't find a big cross facing the exact direction I needed it to!
Why does this depict America to me? When it seems the government and many people in this "tossed salad" country of ours wants to erase God from the picture, you cannot take away that our forefathers founded this nation as ONE..."under God." Because we are Americans, our churches can stand on a corner, their God clearly evidenced by a soaring Cross above. We don't have to draw fish in the sand to show the world we are Christians. We can say God Bless America with joy, confidence, and the utmost faith. THAT is more American than apple pie, don't you think?
I have a soft spot in my heart for our military men and women.... they give much so we can have much. Some people might sit out there and think the military people get too much of a hand out, etc. They don't pay this, they get paid for that, etc. But let me tell you, being the sister and cousin of some military boys, I have long since decided that those long months they are away from their family training, or deployed to a war zone, make them very worthy of the "perks" they get. The time my brother was at BOOT CAMP was worrisome for us, knowing the grueling training they go through. He's a marine, and he spent time deployed to Iraq. THAT was so hard. Then my cousin Chris is in the Army is in the Green Berets (i think. some sort of special ops). He's spent a lot of time deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been in the midst of some seriously not great stuff. Here's a pic of my brother at drill one weekend, and a few of my cousin while he was deployed. (I don't have ryan's deployment pictures on thsi computer). I'm so thankful for the military and their families. The military of the past helped shape an America that allows me to be proud to be an American, and the military today helps to continue to protect us while we are enjoying those freedoms.

Fourth of July means teaching the kids what it means to be an American. It means celebrating the Flag together with our family, over burgers, corn on the cob, and fireworks.
While our neighborhood was busy filling the sky with fireworks, smoke, and noise, at one time I thought "man it looks like a warzone here!"... which I guess is appropriate considering what we are celebrating right? Perhaps it looks a bit like it did many Independence days ago!?
Be proud to be an American. Appreciate your military. SHOW them you appreciate them. Pray for them, whether you know one personally or not. And when you drive by a church on with the glorious Cross displayed prominently, take a minute to thank God for the right to see such a sight. Shoot, take a moment to be thankful when you eat a cheeseburger, or an apple pie. Everytime you do something so "american" thankful.