Friday, May 10, 2013

Let's make a cake!

Recently I made a wedding cake for a couple friends of ours. It was actually a lot easier than I had thought that it was going to be. It was a pretty simple cake, and I didn't go that over the top in the way I decorated it, but it did turn out pretty nice. It wasn't as perfect as a professional cake would have been, but I was still proud of myself. So here's how I did it.

First I gathered all of my ingredients, baking dishes, and anything I thought I was going to need. I didnt want to have to go searching for something in the middle of making the cake. 

Next I greased all of my pans so that once the batter was mixed it wouldn't sit around for too long. I could just pour the mix into the pan right away and get it baking. 

I put a light dusting of flour on top of the grease to make completely sure that my cakes weren't going to stick to the pan. I didn't want to risk having to remake anything. 

Just use a little flour and gently tilt the pan till the bottom and sides are completely coated with the flour. 

Once everything is coated turn the pan upside down and gently tap to remove any leftover flour. I did this over the sink so that I wouldnt have a huge mess to clean up. 

The next step was to simply make the cakes according to the box directions. Normally I would have made the cake from scratch, but I was a little short on time, and wanted to make sure that I wasnt going to have to rush. 

Once the cake came out of the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, or until I could turn the pan over without burning my hand. 

I placed the cake(s) on the pans I was going to be icing them on and set them in the fridge. You could just let them sit on the counter until they're completely cool, but I needed them to cool as quickly as I could so I used the fridge. 

Once they were cool I did what is called "dirty icing" which is just a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. After this layer was put on, the cakes were returned to the fridge. I left them in the fridge until the icing was completely firm to the touch. 

After the icing was solid I then stacked the cakes on top of each other, and placed a bamboo rod through the center to hold everything in place. The cakes were then iced with a thick layer of icing. I used a spatula to get the icing as smooth as I could. 

Next came the decorating. This part was actually fairly easy. It was just simply a thin line of icing around each layer of the cake. I have a cake decorating thingy, which in my opinion makes life easier. I do tend to use it mainly for making pretty cupcakes. 

The roses I had bought from Micheal's. I put a little dab of icing on the bottom of each rose and pushed them into the cake where I wanted them. 

The whole thing then went back in the fridge until the next day when we took it to the reception. It wasn't the most perfect cake but it was fairly easy, and fun at the same time. I definitely want to try other decorations and what not in the future. I just need more reasons to make cakes. 

Also, next time I make a cake like this I think I'll put a little frosting on the bottom of the bottom layer so that it sticks to the tray. I was surprised by how solid this cake seemed to be. I had been worried that it would slide apart, but it stayed together really well. It also tasted great. 

So that was my project last week. This week we have some glitter jars to make. We'll see how those turn out. Lillian loves glitter, so we may end up with nothing more than a huge mess. 

There's also a bunch of new stories just waiting to be read at Wickedly Twisted Tales, so you should go check them out as well!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Lillian is now almost completely potty trained. Literally one day she was refusing to go in the potty, and then the next she did, all on her own. We did give her rewards for when she went in the potty. I printed off a sticker chart that I found online (here) and she got one sticker for pee and two for poop. After about two weeks we stopped giving her stickers, and so far she keeps going in the potty. She just goes on her own now. We still need to get her potty trained at night and when we leave the house. So far she just wears pull ups when we arent at home and at bedtime. I'm thinking were going to try to take her grocery shopping in regular undies this weekend and see how it goes.

Lillian is talking more and more every day. She seems to love to talk all the time. Its amazing all the new things that she has learned to say. She's getting very good at expressing herself and what she wants and thinks. She loves to color, and giggle. All the time. She's learned to cross her eyes and thinks that its the funniest thing in the world. Its cute how hilarious she is.

I'm also trying to get things ready for when we leave for Idaho. We're going to be gone almost the entire month of June visiting the husband's family. I'm excited, and it'll be nice to relax for a bit. I think I need a vacation. There is just so much to go before we leave, and I know that I still have a month to get ready but that doesnt feel like enough time right now. I'm making lists of all the things that need to be done before we go, so hopefully that will make it easier. I'm also making lists for what all needs to be packed so that we dont forget anything, or over pack like I did last year. I think that I brought almost everything that we owned last time. It was pretty ridiculous. I'm going to try really hard not to do that this year. I'm also not going to worry so much about packing Lillian's stuff based on exact outfits with matching hair bows and all of that. I think I'm just going to make sure she has enough to wear, and if she runs out I can do laundry while were at his mom's. Okay, to be honest I'm going to over pack. I always do. I would rather have too much then not enough.

I also need to get the two chapters of Sleeping Beauty that will post in June written before we leave. I dont want to have to worry about them while on vacation. That means I need to get May's written first. I'm hoping that by the 15th I'll have the four chapters done and scheduled. We will see how that goes. The latest chapter of Sleeping Beauty is up Chapter 4. There are also a lot of new posts by all the other authors up. They are all pretty great as well.

I have a few crafts and things that I'm trying to get done at the moment as well. I'll post them as I get to doing them. I'm thinking more glitter jars, finishing the afghan, and maybe some other things. I figure the busier I keep myself the less I'll stress about leaving for vacation. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Everything is getting done!

So this week has seemed so busy for some reason. I still cant figure out why, since there really wasnt that much to do. I guess its probably because Easter is on Sunday, and it takes forever to get ready for anything. I have made progress on some of my goals, which is exciting! I am actually really proud of all the things that have actually gotten done, or at least started over this past week.

There is a new chapter of Sleeping Beauty that went up at 8 am this morning. You can check it out here . Please leave me some feedback if you do check it out. I would love to know what people are thinking as they read it. I've been trying to promote the blog as much as possible so that we can get more readers. The other author's works are pretty great as well, so check them out after you read mine. Twitter seems to be the easiest for promoting everything. My twitter is @SaraEcho for anyone who might care to follow me. (I really could use more followers, it would make promoting everything easier.)

I have also been working hard on Lillian's afghan. I am really proud of how far I have gotten so quickly. I am already one skein of yarn in, and started on the second. I think that its going to be beautiful when I finally finish it. I did make it larger than I had planned on, but thats okay. Its going to work great as a blanket on her queen sized bed this summer. I really enjoy crocheting. I cant wait to take more classes and get better at it. It seems to be really calming, which is awesome. Here's the blanket so far.

We have also been working hard on potty training. Lillian doesnt seem to really want to, which makes it hard. She doesnt care if there's poop or pee in her diaper or underwear. It doenst seeem to bother her at all. She does like to sit on the potty, which is a start. She also knows how to tell me when she goes potty. If we could only get her to tell us before she goes I think she would be potty trained in a second. She loves to put her monkey on the potty. The other day he even took a nap there. Which is really cute, and kind of gross at the same time. The monkey finally got washed, and it looks almost brand new. Luckily Lillian didnt mind me cleaning him. Here's where she tucked monkey in for his nap the other day. It was really sweet of her. She takes such great care of her monkey.

Lillian also got to see her grandpa, which was awesome. He had a layover in Denver on his way back home to Idaho, and so we went to see him at the airport. It was nice for him to get to spend a couple of hours with her. I really do wish that Brandon's family lived closer so that we could see them more often. I do talk to MaK every so often, and his mom video calls Lillian almost everyday. I'm grateful for the technology that we have today, because without they would miss out on seeing her growup, which doesnt seem fair. We are going to Idaho for around 20 days or so in June, which will be fun. I'm really excited to go this time, instead of nervous like I was last year. Of course this time I know everyone, know that we all get along and love each other, and Brandon and I are married. Its going to be a great vacation. 

We are still working on the getting pregnant thing, but so far no luck. I am afraid that its not going to happen, and I know thats silly. I mean we were pregnant in November, we can do it again. I'm just afraid that we'll have another miscarriage, and I dont know how I would handle that. It was so hard to lose that baby, and to know that we wont ever get to know that child. I know that God will send us our second when the time is right, I just wish it would happen sooner rather than later. Sooner as in this month. I really need to work on being patient. 

Now all I need to do is get my house clean, start on my novel, and figure out how to find more story competitions to submit my shorts to. I am so excited for the way everything has been going, and I am excited for everything to continue. Its a beautiful life, and I know that I only have God to thank for all my blessings. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

just an update.

I know I said that I was going to post regularly, but that seems to be harder to do than I had originally thought it was going to be. I get so caught up in everything else that I need to get done, and I forget about my blog completely. I am working on things though, and getting better at having time for myself. It goes get easier the more I work on it.

I am taking part in a group blog. It's pretty exciting, and something that I am very proud to be a part of. Each of the writers has chosen a fairy tale, and we are retelling them in our own way. The posts so far are fantastic, and I look forward to reading more of them. I feel honored that I was asked to be part of this, and I really hope that more people will check out our stories. So, here is the link for you to go check it out Twisted Tales. I will warn you that some of the content can be a bit graphic, and not appropriate for all ages, so just keep that in mind when reading. 

I'm also trying to get some ideas in order so that I can start working on a novel of my own. I have several started that I never bothered to finish that I may revisit, but I think I want to start something new. I've been feeling inspired lately, and I want to do this. Its something that I always put off, and I think that its about time I stop doing that. If nothing else, I can at least feel proud of myself for finally finishing a story, which really is my main goal. 

My plate might be a bit full with all the things that I keep planning to get done, but at least then when I get tired of one thing I have something else to move onto. This Friday I'm taking my second crochet class, which I am really excited about. I'm hoping to finish the blanket that I started for Lillian, and then make a second one for Brandon so that he can take it with him when he goes on deployment next. I plan on taking a granny square class next month, which should make the blanket projects easier for me. Right now I'm working only in single and double crochet, which seems to take forever, even though I'm pretty quick. 

Lillian seems to be getting bigger constantly, which is amazing to watch. She is so smart, and learning so quickly. It really makes me proud to be her mother. Right now she is all about her dad, and wants nothing to do with me when he's around. Which is okay because there will be times when he isnt around, and we did just get out of the only wanting mommy phase. Shes talking more and more everyday, and learning new things. Her favorite color right now is blue, and she knows shes two. Her favorite phrases are "Its so cuttte" "Eat my shorts" "Its so good" "its so cute" and "love you too". She can also sing the "e i e i o" part of old mcdonald. Its amazing how great she is. 

Brandon is pretty much the same as always, which means amazing. He's such a good man, and great father. He loves us more than anything, and takes great care of us. We really are blessed that he came into our lives. 

Pretty much everything would be perfect if we could only get pregnant, which hopefully we will soon. Keep your fingers crossed that this month will be the month for us!