Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wild Thing


The cake I’m about to share with y’all is a little “out there.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I love, love, love this cake,  but it is very unique, and it does make quite an impact.

When Abby found a picture of this cake design online, it was love at first sight.  I was thrilled to be able to recreate the look for her 18th birthday.  I hope that she and her friends enjoyed the final product as much as I enjoyed making it for her.  What a fun cake!

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One new thing I tried on this cake was making my own fondant.  Store-bought fondant it just so expensive, and quite frankly I don’t like the way it tastes.  So…. I did a little research online and found a recipe for homemade, marshmallow fondant.

It worked!  Not only is it super easy to make, but I think it tastes a lot better than the store-bought fondant.  Who knew that marshmallows, powdered sugar, water, and shortening is all you need to turn out beautifully smooth cakes?

Once I got the tiers covered in fondant, I added fondant “ribbons” and painted on the spots and stripes.

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Then came the feathers.  Oh, the glorious feathers!

Ty was shocked to say the least.  He posed for this picture, but this is just about the exact face he made when he saw the completed cake for the first time.

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The feathers may dwarf the cake a little bit.  This cake has 6, 8, and 10 inch tiers and serves approximately 90.


Wood Duck Cake

Last weekend I had the opportunity to decorate another hand-painted cake.  This year for his birthday, Spencer requested a wood duck drake similar in style to this bass cake I did for him a few years ago.

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To make this cake I carved the silhouette of the duck into the top layer of the cake to give it a little dimension.  Then I covered the duck with fondant, and using icing color thinned with vanilla, I painted the details onto the duck.  Not too difficult a task for me considering my background in oil painting, but still this was a very time consuming cake.

Other details I added to the cake include these cattails made from fondant and royal icing…

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The grass and borders piped with buttercream frosting…

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And these adorable fondant shotgun shells.

I think the shells just make the cake.  So simple to create.  If you can roll a play-do snake, you can make these.

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This cake was 9X13 and served approximately 40.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Half Young and Half Old

This weekend our church family celebrated our pastor’s 40th birthday.  I have to say that the closer I myself get to that number, the younger it becomes.

Bro. Eddie’s wife, Stacie did a wonderful job planning and decorating for the surprise party.  With four little monkeys of her own, I don’t know how she managed to pull it off.  You go girl!

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I was given the opportunity to make the cake for the birthday boy.  The only decorating request for this cake was that it go with the color scheme of red, black, and white.

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To supplement the main cake, I also baked up a few cupcakes.  For the cupcake toppers I piped chocolate 40’s and rolled some petite fondant roses.  On other cupcakes I added homemade, chocolate-covered, cookie dough bon bons. Yummy!

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You know how when you bake a cake and it comes out a little rounded on top?  Well before you stack and decorate your cakes you have to level the layers.  I always feel a little sad about throwing away all that cake that I shave off the top.  (Although, the Tool Man and the monkeys usually gobble it right up.) This time I decided to use those extra cake crumbs to make some cake pops.  I know you’ve seen these.  They are all over the internet these day.  You make them by combining cake crumbs and icing, rolling that mixture into a ball, and freezing it onto lollipop sticks.  Then dunk them in melted chocolate and decorate!  The results are so adorable and down right irresistible to kids and adults alike.

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Not sure the story behind this, but here’s what Bro. Eddie got for his birthday.

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Ty and his two best buds, Luke and Cassie, joined the rest of the children in singing the Happy Birthday song.  Ty had an interesting take on being 40 years old.  When he saw the 40 on top of the birthday cake he said, “Wow!  Bro. Eddie’s 40?  That’s like half young and half old!”

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Happy Birthday, Bro. Eddie!….and many more!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Bandanas and Blue Jeans

I absolutely love the cake I’m sharing with y’all today.

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Little Wyatt was turning one, so his mom requested this adorable cowboy cake for him.  The large cake was for Wyatt’s guests, but he got his very own cowhide smash cake to enjoy.

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Both cakes received a base of buttercream before being covered with fondant.  The decorations were sculpted out of fondant, and the bandana details were piped with royal icing.

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My favorite part of this cake was probably the bandana tier.  Not only was I pleased with how it turned out, but I really enjoyed doing all the detailed piping. 

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Many thanks to the Tool Man for helping me out on this cake. 

The rope around the top tier was constructed completely by him!

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He also lent his skills in cutting out the belt and attaching the belt loops.

And he assembled and painted the sheriff stars for me.

And he colored and rolled out all the fondant.

And he was in charge of cutting the supports and stacking the cakes.

And he washed a lot of dishes!

(Maybe I’m taking too much credit for this cake…)

You’re the best, Tool Man! (I think it’s because you were a cowboy in your former life.)

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This cake was composed of 6 and 10 inch round tiers and served approximately 35.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Angry Students

I started off this school year with a bang, posting weekly updates of our academic adventures here at Arrow Academy.  But as you are well aware, I wasn’t able to keep up that pace for long.  This week, though, I decided to drag the camera back out snap a few pictures of Lucy doing her lessons.

Lately, Lucy’s really been interested in “doing her cards” as she calls it.  She loves matching and sorting all the printouts I have for her.  It’s a great way for her to work on counting, colors, letter recognition, sorting, and sequencing.  Hey, if she’s eager to learn, then I’m happy to oblige!

I ran across some new material this week that I thought would be of particular interest to my monkeys…Angry Bird themed printables.  And boy was I right!  They loved it.  Even though these printables are totally tailored for younger kids, Ty couldn’t help but be excited at the sight of his favorite feathered friends.  It wasn’t long before he made a trip up stairs to fetch all of his stuffed birds and a couple of hats we had left from his Angry Birds birthday party.

First of all Lucy had to match each bird to the right color word.  Since she is only two, I colored over the words with the appropriate color to help her out just a bit.  Still, this activity is a good way to familiarize her with written text.

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Next, Lucy had to sort birds and pigs, a task she was able to accomplish in about 2 seconds.

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Since the bird/pig sorting task was so easy for her, I figured she was ready to try the next activity…

Sorting money.

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Once I helped her put the first of each coin in the right box, she was able to complete the page on her own.  She even learned what a penny was before we finished the activity!

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I don’t know about you, but these two don’t look too “angry” to me.  I’m hoping the kids’ response to these activities will be the motivation I need to make school more fun.  Lately we’ve just been doing our basic lessons, and I haven’t been taking the time to include creative activities that I know they would enjoy. I’ll try to do better.  Everyone is happier around here when school is fun.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Cruise Wrap-Up

I just have a few final pictures to share with y’all from our cruise.  I wish I could say that some of these were taken during our visit to Atlantis on Paradise Island in Nassau, but we made the decision to leave our camera on board the ship while we went on that excursion.  We had an excellent time at the water park in Atlantis, even though the weather was a tad too cool in my opinion.  Nevertheless, Ty and the Tool Man had a wonderful time trying out all the intense water slides.  Lucy and I mainly hung out at the kiddie pools.  Have any of you ever been to Atlantis?  That place is HUGE!  I believe the brochure said it was 140 acres.  I had no idea.  There were about 3 or 4 high rise hotels with swimming pools and water slides all in between.  Not to mention the snack stands and restaurants scattered all around.  And, oh year, a casino, spa, beach, and aquariums too!  It was quite an impressive place!

Anyway, back on the ship, we continued to do what we love best about cruising…


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As small as our room was, the Monkeys found plenty of nooks and crannies to goof around in.  The pull out bed, the window sill, the bathroom, the closets…

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And speaking of monkeys…

This is what we found in our room after dinner one night.

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Our last stop before heading home was Freeport.  We didn’t book an excursion here, and thus there was absolutely nothing for us to do.  All we did was take a quick stroll through the souvenir shops at the port.  Then it was back to the ship for one final day of swimming and sunning. 

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Lucy found this straw purse that she just couldn’t live without.

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Ty was eyeing these coconut carvings, but he’d already spent all his money.

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Our last night on the ship. Sad smileTime to get the suitcases out and start packing.

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But the fun’s not over yet!  We still had one more dinner to attend.

I always say that I want to try new foods on the ship, because if you don’t like something, you’re not out any moolah.  So, what did I try?

Sushi!  Well, kinda.  It didn’t really look like any sushi that’d I’d seen before.

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I did discover something that I absolutely loved, though.  Seared tuna.

Blackened on the outside, and perfectly rare in the middle.  Yummy.  The Tool Man was a little nervous about trying it, but I convinced him to take a bite, and he loved it too.  I also tried some cured salmon and really liked it as well.  Who knew that I’d like raw fish?  Maybe those Japanese are on to something.

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The Tool Man loves the French Onion Soup.

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All the desserts that were available on this ship and Ty orders sherbet every night.

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As a treat the last night on the ship, we ordered a couple of “umbrella drinks.”  Now don’t y’all freak out on me and call the preacher.  Lol.  They were non-alcoholic!  The kids got strawberry and I got pina colada.  But as you can see, Lucy decided she liked mine better.

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Saying, “goodbye,” to Lilly.

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We weren’t seated with anyone at dinner on this cruise, (I guess that’s what happens when you have kids) but this was the crew that sat adjacent to us.

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I thought I'd throw this picture in just to show y’all how much our ship rocked.  No trick photography here, people. Thankfully, the Tool Man and I don’t get seasick.  This boat rocked so much!  Front to back.  Side to side.  Sometimes all four directions at once!  I think it was due to the fact that it was smaller than the ships we are used to sailing on. I actually kind of liked all the rocking, though.  Especially at night.  It was like being rocked to sleep. 

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Well, that’s it.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our Caribbean cruise.  We had a wonderful time!  The only negative was that it didn’t last nearly long enough.  Ha ha.  Hopefully Santa will be as good this coming Christmas as he was the last!