Let Them Eat (And Decorate) Cake!

If you’ve read some of my past blogs, you’ll probably come across one or two dealing with cakes I’ve made/decorated for friends.  My love for cake decorating is slowly morphing into a career for me.  

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I have recently become the Wilton Method Instructor for my local Michael’s Arts & Crafts store, and I couldn’t be more excited!  How often do you get to go work and do something you love??  It’s not “work” when that happens.  I have been able to blend my love of cake decorating with making a little cash on the side…not too shabby 🙂

It all happened very quickly.  I was in the store…probably getting cake supplies, surprise surprise, & asked the cashier if anyone took the cake classes (just out of curiosity).  She said yes & asked if I was interested.  I said no, I had already taken them, and she informed me that they were looking for a new instructor and wondered if I would be interested.  Long story short, I applied & a few weeks later, I’m teaching my 1st class!  Amazing!

Cake decorating doesn’t sound like a typical hobby.  I took the Wilton Course 1 back around the time my son turned 1 year old.  I remembered my mom and grandma made all of my birthday cakes & I always thought that was really neat.  My hubby’s mom did the same thing.  Not only did it create great memories…I don’t know if you’ve checked the prices of cakes recently, but I’m sure it saved a lot of money!

So, I signed up for the course with a few friends and my only goal was to learn how to ice a cake and do the little star pattern that has made Wilton famous.  Once I finished the course, I was hooked!!!  My friends and I took the remaining 2 courses.  I fell in love with fondant work most!  I love how it can transform a cake.  Most of the cakes I do now are with fondant.  I do have a great respect for intricate icing work too.  That is a disappearing art form.

About 2 months before my family moved halfway across the country to Virginia, I took the advanced gumpaste and fondant course…smart right?  I was working, getting our house ready to sell, packing…why not add another thing to my list??  I managed to pull it off though.

What started off as a simple hobby has blossomed into a wonderful side job and I love every minute of it.  My favorite part is talking to the recipient of a cake…determining what they’re looking for & bringing it to life.  I hate transporting cakes, but I love the look on peoples faces when they see the final project.  And…I don’t even mind when they tear into the cake…hey….that’s what you’re supposed to do!

If you are interested in taking a Wilton Method Cake class, contact your local arts and crafts store (i.e. Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc).  You can also check out Wilton’s website and check for classes in your area.  Here is the link to their website.

No matter what your level of experience is, the Wilton courses are great.  If you’re just beginning, they have tons of information and great techniques.  If you’ve been doing this for years, it’s a great refresher!  Check them out!

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Diapers Are So Last Week

When it comes to parenting, there are a few things that terrify me.  My son driving.  My daughter dating.  Having “the talk” one of these days.   Luckily, these things are (hopefully) in the distant future.  One horrifying thing high up on the list…potty training.  

I can handle child birth.  I don’t mind getting spit up on.  Late night feeding?  Bring them on…but potty training???  No thank you.

If there was someone who would come to your home, hang out for about a week and potty train your toddler for a price, I think I would gladly pay them.  

So…guess what I’ve been doing this week…

With my son, I started potty training waaayyyy too early.  I think the day he turned 2, I went out and got a potty chair, a bag of pull ups and a package of big boy underwear.  The potty chair was really cool.  It had lights.  It played music.  It even had a sensor in the bottom that knew when my son did his thing & would talk to him!  

Unfortunately, he thought it was just another toy.  Once I saw that, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.  But, I couldn’t take it back…he was having too much fun with it.

Eventually, Brayden got potty trained.  There was a lot of tears, a lot of fits thrown, a lot of drama.  And, Brayden got upset a little too.  At one point, I believe I made the statement to my hubby that I was going to have to send Pampers with him to college.  Like I said, a lot of drama.

Sophie will be 4 years old…2 months from today.  My original goal was to have her potty trained by 3 1/2.  Yeah.  Didn’t happen.  

I’ve read the books.  I’ve looked up tips on websites.  I’ve even looked for ideas on Pinterest.  Maybe if I made the potty chair sparkly…maybe if I bedazzled it, she’d want to use it, right?  

My conclusion??  Kids aren’t going to potty train themselves.  You can wait around until they “let you know that they’re ready”.  Maybe that works for some.  However, people who say that haven’t met my little princess.  She was perfectly happy to go potty in diapers…she actually told me that a couple of weeks ago!  That’s when it hit me.  Enough. It’s time for momma bird to push the baby out of the nest and let her fly.

So, I let her run out of diapers.  That was a scary thing to do.  I had a back up though…pull-ups.  One morning, I got her out of bed & put panties on.  At first, she was like “what are you doing?”  I explained that she was a big girl now & she needed to go potty in the potty chair.  If she felt like she needed to “go”, she needed to tell me.   

To my amazement…it worked!!!  Now, she camped out on the potty chair for 45+ minutes at a time, but at least she was trying.  When we would go out of the house, I decided to put pull-ups on…you know, cause I didn’t want to deal with the mess.  I figured she’d tell me that she needed to go, even with those on.  Nope…I have quickly learned that if she’s wearing panties, she won’t have accidents.  Put the pull-ups on, and we’re back to our diaper days.

I never would have guessed that I could go “cold turkey” with potty training, but it has worked for us so far!  I remember how nervous and stressed I would be when we would go out in public while potty training my son.  Maybe I’ve mellowed a little bit.  Maybe I don’t mind cleaning up a mess if it means I don’t have to buy diapers anymore, but I don’t feel the stress with Sophie.  

We’re finishing up week #1 & we’re far from being 100% potty trained, but I am so excited about the progress she has made.  I feel confident that by the time her birthday rolls around, she will be done with this very important milestone in life.

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate in one way or another with this article.  If you’re can’t, I’m sorry if this was TMI (do people still say that??).  I am just one excited momma who’s diaper buying days are over!!!  

Can Do!

Wow!  It has been a really long time since I’ve written anything.  It has been a wild and crazy summer so far.  I’m sad to say that my son will be going back to school in less than 1 month!!  Didn’t he just get out??

So, let’s see if I can get you up to speed on our crazy summer.  At the end of June, my hubby took a group from our congregation and went to Moore, OK to do some tornado relief clean-up/rebuild.  A few years ago, we started a group called “Hands & Feet”.  Two years ago, they went to a small town in Tennessee to clean up after a tornado.  Last year, they went to Kentucky.  This year’s trip was very successful.  They were able to help a single dad roof his house, put windows in, and do a lot of sheetrock repair.  His home was damaged and flooded during one of the tornadoes.  

A few days after the hubby got back from Oklahoma, we went to Lipscomb University, to their annual lectureship.  We got to listen to some really amazing speakers and attended some great classes about Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount.

While we were in Nashville, my parents and grandma met us there and brought the kiddos back to our house.  I was all set to enjoy several days without the kids, but I caught a nasty 24 hour stomach bug, and spent an entire day in bed…not fun!  Luckily, it only lasted 1 day and I was back to normal after that.

A couple of days after we got back form Nashville, we hit the beach with my family & then spent a few more days with them at our home.  After they left, we’ve been busy getting back into routine…which leads me to the main part of this blog.

We are growing a garden this year.  Well, we planted & God is taking care of the rest…but you know what I mean.  Anyway, we have been blessed with crazy amazing growth.  We’ve been growing lettuce, corn, squash (yellow & zucchini), cucumbers, okra, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and bell peppers…I think that’s it.

ImageThis is just a small example of the lettuce we’ve had from our garden…

ImageZucchini bread…of course 🙂

ImageThis is the latest…bell peppers, onions and jalapeno pepper pizza.

Normally, when we have a garden, we eat some stuff fresh, try to freeze a little and end up throwing most of that away.  This year, we thought we would do something a little different.

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Tada!  We bought a canner!  Although neither of us have ever canned anything in our lives, we decided to take the plunge and try our hand at canning our veggies.  Let me just say, I was soooo nervous to even start.  I did a lot of research on how to can and also what kind of canner to get.  I got this one on Amazon.  It had over 600 reviews and it was rated 4.7 out of 5 stars.  It was probably one of the cheaper models on the market, but I figured over 600 people couldn’t be wrong 🙂

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I checked this book out from the library.  I’m actually on my second renewal.  Not only does it have great step-by-step instructions, it has a lot of recipes as well.  I think my library will let me renew 3 times, so I will probably be maxing it out.  One day, I may actually break down and buy it!

So, the canner came in on Friday…wow…yesterday!  While I am not going to claim that I am now a canning pro, I will say (for all of you newbies out there) it was easier, not as scary as I thought it would be.  My first project:  Green beans.  We didn’t have a ton that were ready to pick, but we had enough to try out the canner.

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The manual never left my side while I was doing the process!  I’m very much a “by the book” kind of gal.Image

 So, there you have it!  5 pint size green bean jars.  Processed, sealed and ready for storage.  I have to say, it was hard to not break one open today…just to see how they are!

I also had a few cucumbers ready to pick.  I would have had more, but earlier in the week (while waiting not so patiently for my canner to arrive), we had several cucumbers that we picked, so I made refrigerator pickles.  Tonight, I made regular pickles in my canner that also doubles as a water bath canner.  

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I know what some of you are thinking…that’s a lot of trouble to go through, just for 2 pints of pickles.  Yeah, probably, but I want to use the produce when it’s fresh.  So, hopefully I won’t be processing 2 cans at a time, but you never know…

So far, my assessment of canning:  It’s a lot of work!!  My hat is off to all of you ladies (and men) who have been doing this for years.  I know when we see all those jars lined up and are eating green beans in the winter, it will all be worth it!  It is also kind of expensive, when you’re first starting out.  I see each little jar as an investment for the future.  I like the fact that I’ll be able to re-use them in the years to come.  

There is something very satisfying in working the garden, picking the veggies and then putting them in jars to use for later.  I love that we’re able to share the “fruits of our labor” with our friends.  I think this is going to be a great learning experience for our kiddos too.  

I will keep you updated as I can more things.  My next project will be pickling jalapenos and making jalapeno jelly (super yummy!!).  I’m hoping to get to that within the next few days…just gotta get some more jars!