Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mail- Cake Central Red Sequined Fashion Cake

Day 20 of theidearoom.com's photo-a-day theme is mail. Perfect timing because today is the day I can share an exciting email I received back in November! Being a baker my site is mostly an idea catalog for cakes and baked goods that I make for clients and try for myself, so I'm always excited when my work gets showcased somewhere else besides here. In November I was excited to open my email one night and see this memo line from Cake Central Magazine regarding a cake I did earlier in October:

You have been featured in Cake Central Magazine VOLUME 5 ISSUE 4


The Fashion Issue is always an interesting challenge. I was featured in the Fashion Issue last year, see this post, for a somewhat similar style dress. Go figure, I seem to get red cakes a lot, haha! This October when I was sent the invitation to submit once again for the issue, I was sent this dress 
quite an elaborate dress, especially considering the fact that once you receive the invitation you have one week to make, photograph and submit the cake. The deadline for the cake just happened to be the week before our annual Halloween Party for which I begin baking full time about 2 weeks before. I was a little stressed and almost considered not submitting this time due to lack of time, but I knew from experience if you don't submit when they send the invite, it is a LONG while before you receive an invite again. So, I set to work and after hours of making homemade red gelatin sequins and pulled sugar sprigs- I ended up with this cake....
and featured on pages 55-56 (Yay, a 2 page spread!) shown here:
So excited! I love mail! :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Happiness

This year we took an idea our neighbors do every year and decided to try a new tradition. During Christmas time our downtown area is decked out with holiday festivities, unfortunately the whole city only has 30 days to go down there, so weekends are ridiculously crowded and it turns into a very unenjoyable night much of the time. So, instead of hating every person with a car driving downtown, this year we booked a night in an affordable hotel ( meaning an awesome hotel that we had a gift card for haha), and made a weekend of it! My daughter loves staying in hotels- what kid doesn't?! Let's face it though, they just want the pool! She loves decorating her "hotel bed" and since Minnie must go everywhere with us, she got dressed to the nines to enjoy our trip as well.
 We went and took our local lightrail train all over town, which may have been as exciting for my daughter as the pool. She loved jumping on and off at all the little stops. We took her ice skating for the first time... she stayed up most of the time!

 we had hot chocolate, went to see lights, saw the candy windows, had dinner and went swimming to end off the night!
Fun was had by all and I think we found a new happy family holiday tradition with no stress of parking, traffic or crowds!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Birthday Amidst Christmas

Funny enough, I have two sister in laws who both have birthdays on December 20th. What are the odds, right? Unfortunately, their birthdays often get overshadowed by the Christmas hoopla. So sad. This year, one of them turns the big 5-0 so her daughter, Amber of amber reverie floral and event designs decided to throw her a surprise birthday party to which she asked me to be in charge of the dessert table. Since, it was a large project, it was my gift to her mom. It was fun to try to come up with the color scheme and try some new things for her party to which the request was "nothing resembling Christmas". Her mom loves chocolate and the rest was themed with winter berries. What a nice little party and step back from all the Christmas Festivities everywhere! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Activity Enjoyment

This last week we had a friendly get together with some friends and their families and had a Christmas Light Scavenger hunt. Having never done one before, I wasn't sure what to expect but an hour and a half later we had chaos and fun all through our house as families came rushing back to compete for a prize (not a very exciting prize- just a bag of candy with bragging rights, I think that was the kicker)!
the Grinch was a bonus point!
 I'd never heard of a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt before, but they must be pretty popular, all these free printables are available to plan yours! Do it! It will quickly become a fun holiday tradition!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Popcorn

Everyone has that recipe that always gets the requests at the holidays. Mine is surprising because, while I am a baker and get orders for my cakes and treats all year, one of my most requested recipes is one of my easiest and could be made by anyone. Funny how that goes, isn't it? But year after year I have multiple people ask if they will be getting my Christmas Popcorn, so here is my handmade post for day 14 of the idea room's December photo-a-day here's my Christmas Popcorn recipe yumminess!

Christmas Popcorn
(can really be anytime popcorn, and with all its wonderful sweet and savory flavors, you can make it every day once in awhile, as you like!)
1 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup salted peanuts
2 cups salted pretzel rods
2 lbs. white chocolate ( I use these because they melt wonderfully and taste AMAZING)

Pop the popcorn and melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until completely melted and no chunks remain. Then in a large bowl, combine the nuts and pretzels with the popcorn and pour the chocolate over the top. Use a spoon to thoroughly mix it all together. Once it is all combined, pour it out onto wax paper and spread it out to be a thin layer. Wait for it to dry, then break it into pieces and eat it all give it to all your friends!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stockings

I know Christmas stockings aren't something many people think about. You hang them by the chimney with care, then store them back up till next year. In our family, however, our stockings have always been quite a big deal. Growing up, each of our stocking was hand made with care by our amazing Grandma. Each time a new baby came, it was exciting to see what their new stocking would look like and how it would look hung next to the rest of the families. I always loved my stocking, being the first grand daughter, I got a big Santa.
I always knew they were hard work and that Grandma spend almost the whole year working on the new stockings. Once I got married, I was so excited when she spent the time making one for my husband who didn't really have a stocking that was his. They just had decorative stockings, but not really an assigned stocking. My Grandma knew how I treasured mine and went through all the work making one for him.
Then even her most beautiful work yet, for my sweet daughter when she came along. It was when this one came as her Christmas gift, after a year of some health problems for my Grandma that I truly knew what a sacrifice and absolute labor of love they were from my Grandma, and became definite holiday treasures to me.
 As I said, I always knew that they were a great deal of work, but I never realized just how much work they really were, until this year. With my Grandma's health and getting up in years I fear that her stocking days may have slowed to an end. So, this year with my new son here and a few of my siblings married and having children of their own, I set out to find the company that made the stocking kits thinking I'd take up the mantle of stocking maker going forward. I started looking after Thanksgiving, thinking I'm a pretty crafty person and could probably whip out what takes my Grandma a year to do, maybe by Christmas for a few gifts this year. I went to a local Joanns and found this... My daughters beautiful stocking. It was at that moment that I truly appreciated, and even became a little teary eyed at my Grandmas love to make these stockings for us. As, I sat there looking at each little piece on the back that had to be sewn and attatched individually, I could picture my Grandma's tiny fingers sewing and threading for what must have been hours and hours throughout the year trying to finish each heirloom, and realized as crafty as I was- these truly were gifts of love that would take more than just a quick needle and thread to make. SO, while I will still try to make stockings for my family going forward- I know they will definitely take me more than a quick 2 weeks to do. Making these precious stockings, truly treasured family heirlooms. I absolutely love gifts of the hear, and this wonderful season that inspires us to remember those gifts.
These stocking kits are made by Bucilla. They have TONS of different patterns and cute designs! I had a really hard time finding out who made them and where to find them. Check them out here! Bucilla Stockings

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Blessings

As this year comes to an end, looking back on what was an extremely hard first half of the year, having a family member loose their precious little daughter to debilitating Batten Disease, and myself getting through my 3rd pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, we lost our twin pregnancy 3 months in, but having made it through the first six month of the year down 17 lbs and surviving daily IV therapy and rejoicing on days when I was able to eat a portion of a baked potato that day and actually keep down 8 oz of fluids I have become incredibly grateful for the 2 beautiful blessings in my life and my family. When marrying my sweet husband 14 years ago, neither of us every anticipated the struggle we would have to go through to grow our family, him coming from a family of 6 kids and myself from a family of 5 kids.
 After 6 years of fertility drugs, artificial insemination's, 3 rounds of IVF and 2 1/2 pregnancies, all encompassing Hyperemesis Gravidarum the entire duration and weight loss of 18 lbs the first time, 17lbs the second, I have spent the last half of this year growing more grateful each day for my sweet babies who hung in there so strongly and fought with me to get here. I find even on the days when everything seems overwhelming and life seems to rush by, I'm drawn to those memories and, while it used to give me anxiety attacks to think back on the experiences, now I look on it with an increased appreciation for them and what I went through to get them here.
You always tend to roll your eyes when others go on and on and on and on ....you know the ones- wink wink... about how wonderful it is to be a mother and have children. But what has surprised me about it all, esp since coming out of my last pregnancy, is what a huge place in your heart feels so full of love towards your children, that you never knew or could imagine you had.
 So to all that, I say hold and treasure your little ones while you can. Because tomorrow is an uncertain day and they're only little once and no one wants to live with the regrets of "I wish I had...."
Children...the biggest blessingyou never realized your life was missing.      
Merry Christmas!!