The Ultimate Birthday Cake

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I took cake decorating classes. They were the Wilton ones through Michael’s Craft Stores. And I loved them all at the same time they felt overwhelming. Almost to the point, I really didn’t do cakes for a long time. Every now and then, the special occasion I could be talked into it, but for the most part, I avoided it like the plague.

A year ago, I got convinced to do a birthday cake for a friend’s friend. Gosh, I was so stressed out I thought I was going to cry. Then… something changed. I can’t explain it, but I made my dad a birthday cake with the help of my girls. Then we made my mom a birthday cake. Then Abug and I made my aunt a birthday cake. And slowly cakes started coming back into my life.

And then one day in May, I decided I was going to make birthday cakes to take to the lake for Memorial Day Weekend. Somehow, somewhere I got hooked on a blog called Liv for Cake. Her cakes really and truly impressed me. And that passion, that desire to decorate cakes just came back. Sure, I can buy icing in a jar (although I don’t) and a box cake mix and make a cake. But there was something about her website that drew me in. It was nuts!

I knew there would be a lot of kids at the lake, so I was afraid that they may not like the Chocolate Dulce de Leche, and that’s when I also found a funfetti cake recipe to try… but I was all the sudden hooked. Even with the few mishaps that happened.

And lately, my husband has been feeding this “addiction” for lack of better word. I upgrade my cake turntable to the above picture. I got some 6″ cake pans along with a few more 9″ and bam, I’m cooking up a storm, mistakes included. (more…)

Unicorn Cupcakes

At our house, it seems like birthdays just go on and on. That is no different for the Abug. She had her birthday party, we took birthday cupcakes to the lake (here), and then she got to go out to lunch and dinner on her birthday. And since you need a birthday cake on your birthday, she got one of those too.

We learned early on that going to the lake with birthday cake, cupcakes are easier. You don’t have to have a knife and plates to cut up and serve birthday goodies. Now… earlier this year, we actually had cake at the lake (Funfetti & Chocolate Dulce de Leche), but for her birthday it’s a little different. Why? Well, usually we are celebrating it at the lake during the Underwater Safari Hunt. That is just a crazy day anyway, so cupcakes are definitely the way to go.

Initially, I wanted to do the horse/unicorn head cupcake I saw on Facebook earlier this year for our cupcake, but since I decorated on Friday, I was afraid that heading to the lake with it already decorated, they could potentially move and that would be sad. Then I ran across Cupcake Jemma’s YouTube video on Unicorn cupcakes and I was sold on that idea. I already had some fondant at the house for the Unicorn Cake horn and ears that needed to be used up. Easy Peasy! (more…)

The Birthday Party

This sweet little girl is 4 today. 4. How did that happen? I seriously don’t know. It seems like just 4 years went by in the blink of an eye. I’m sooooo proud of how she’s turned out and some days she leaves me shaking my head wondering how her mind got where it got!

Only having her sister around certain times and with trying to plan a birthday party around our hectic at times schedule, we actually wound up celebrating her birthday 2 weeks early. Hey, a girl is allowed to celebrate her birthday for a month, right? I think so!!

The Birthday Party

I knew the theme was going to be Unicorn’s since sometime last fall. It’s random. It’s so totally her! I did some research online looking for party decorations. I started to order offline but then went to town to Party City to see what they had. They had everything I wanted and I could walk away with it in hand so I went ahead and changed up the unicorn pattern a little and bam, we were set! (more…)

The Duck Race

If you’ve been paying attention to the weather around the country any this week, then you’ll know the Midwest was supposed to get hit with a HUGE potential of Severe Thunderstorms/Tornadic weather. I woke up this morning to a HUGE bang of thunder. I always say that all we need is a good thunderstorm and all trees just blossom BAM! Yup, I was right.

The other thing to note is we’re on baby watch 2018. No… not me. The horse’s sillies. One mare is 1 week overdue and the other is about 2 weeks out. With crappy weather like this, I halfway expected to walk out and find 2 babies on the ground. So far, notta.

But there is a light rain going on and by the time I was done feeding critters, I’m kind of soggy. Which reminds me of a day not too long ago that I got soggy. Let me explain…

Jared carrying me to shore on his back. Tori walking along side.

The Duck Race

A couple weekends ago we were helping out with Trails for Kids. One of the events to raise money is the Duck Race. We sell little toy ducks that float for $2/each or 3 for $5. Then we go to Sugar Creek, the creek that runs right alongside the campground. We dump them in, and the winner wins half the pot of money collected. Easy enough, right? Sure… (more…)

Self Doubt (through Sugar Cookies)

Do you remember last fall when I discussed the Sugar Cookie Challenge? It might have even been late last summer. Well, I’m here to tell you, it was going well… and then it wasn’t. I knew it was kind of a long shot to do 300 dozen cookies, but I was willing to give it a shot. I think I actually forgot to blog a few of the different batches. I’ll go back and make sure, and if I didn’t, I’ll add them. It may not be that important but it is so fun to look back at the years on this blog and see things. Things I had otherwise forgotten… like the post on wedding dress shopping.

So where does the title fall in? Easy… When you are going along, selling dozens of cookies and then all at once BAM! cookie sales stop. You begin to wonder what happened. Then when you very seldom have repeat customers, you begin to question things again.

Were the cookies not good? I did create my own recipe. Did they not meet or exceed people’s expectations? I’m not sure. Do I just suck? Maybe. So much self-doubt creeps in. It is enough to make a person question everything. I mentioned the other day that I used to be the total optimist just like Sue Heck (the character from The Middle), but after being put down and called naive your whole life, it starts to wear on you.

New Sugar Cookies

The week before Easter I decided I was going to make some sugar cookies. It really stemmed from this whole blog. Explain? I’m glad you asked! Well, I was looking back through Easter posts on the blog looking for recipes we had used in years past. I stumbled across a post where Tbug and I decorated sugar cookies way back when. It was actually a kit I bought from the good ol’ Walmart store. The cookies were hard. Who knows how long the icing had been in the package. But it was super easy and super fun!

I decided I needed to do something like that with Abug. But the Walmart store didn’t have those kits the day I went there. So that meant I needed to make my own sugar cookies to decorate. (more…)

Easter 2018 (Better Late Than Never)

Easter 2018

Yey! Easter has come (and gone!). This year we made a trip to my aunt and uncles in southern Oklahoma for Easter. It is a 5 1/2 hour trip down, so we left Friday, celebrated Easter (with dinner) on Saturday and drove home on Sunday. Luckily this was our year to have Tbug with us too! Woot woot!

We weren’t able to get Tbug until something like 1:30 on Friday and my dad wasn’t able to get off work until closer to 3ish so by the time we got out of there, it was closer to 4 or 5. I can’t quite remember but does it really matter?

On the drive down I listened to the book, The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi. I can’t read in a car. I get car sick just sitting in one if I’m in the back seat, so reading is totally out of the question. But Audible to the rescue! It wasn’t a total loss, yey! I’ll have to do a “book report” on that in the coming days. So totally worth reading (or in my case, listening to).

We stopped in Oklahoma City for dinner. Technically Norman at a restaurant called Salt Grass. So totally YUM! Oh and don’t worry, I sent my friend Camille a picture of the water tower. I didn’t forget her on my way through… although I never got a response. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, How Rude! haha.

We got into AC & UB’s close to 11 pm. Abug told UB she was going to get up the next morning at 7 am and do chores with him. (more…)

Christmas 2017

After we came back from Ft. Worth, I swear we all came down with the plague that everyone I know is fighting.  Ugh! In fact, here I am, still fighting it. It’s awful! But enough about that….

Three days before Christmas Abug and I decided we needed to work on Santa cookies. Santa was coming and with his long flight across country and the world, he needed some good sustenance, so we went with making Red Velvet Peppermint Kiss Cookies. We figured he’d get Chocolate chip everywhere else so we’d give him something a little different. That’s the way we roll in this house.

And might I mention, my kid is a country kid, but she’s worse than her mommy about having dirty hands. Making the Red Velvet part of the cookies, the food coloring along with some of the oil transferred to her hands (and mine) and she hated that! WOW!

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Ft. Worth 2017

The real start of the Christmas season for me tends to be our trip to Ft. Worth. There have been a few years I haven’t been able to go, but I try to make it down there every year. Sadly, for me this year was a little lackluster. It was fun, don’t get me wrong, but it just didn’t scream Christmas season to me.

Hubby had to go to San Francisco for work the whole week leading up to Ft. Worth. He flew into DFW on Thursday night. We left home Thursday night and drove as far as Denton, Texas. Then from there, Friday morning we drove to the hotel that hubby was at and picked him up.

It seems like every year they change up the schedule for the NCHA Futurity. This year the NonPro and Amateur finals happened Friday night, the Open Semi-finals happened on Saturday, and the finals for the Open happened Sunday evening. Truthfully, that’s how it used to be, then they started changing it. We’re back to basics now.

Ft. Worth Stockyards

No trip to Ft. Worth is complete without a trip to the Stockyards. I have to say, this is probably my favorite place on earth… or at least one of. Hubby though wasn’t in the Holiday spirit so I felt like I was “dragging” him and he pretty well refused to go into the stores with me. One of my favorite things to do is window shop at the stores and I couldn’t hardly budge him into a store with me. I was getting frustrated.

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Apple Pie Cupcakes

I bet you thought I forgot, didn’t you? Well, truth be told, I didn’t forget but I did. The end of November snuck up on me like BAM! I’m here. It’s over. Neener neener neener. What the heck. I went to Orlando, I met a book deadline, Thanksgiving, and then WHAM! It was over. It was more so, I didn’t forget but I just ran out of time.

Okay, Nicole, what are you talking about? Haha… my Cupcake Challenge to myself. Remember that Food Network Magazine in January that started this whole thing? Well, it’s been lost many times. I’ve spilled crap on it. I’ve written all over it. But yet it still keeps coming back. Yey! I think I’m going to tear out those cupcake pages and put them in a book somewhere. If nothing else, for nostalgia purposes. Maybe to prove to myself that I was able to do it and surely I learned something about cupcakes, right?

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