Tagged: cakes

Feb 20

Choo choo, Graham is two.


Our son, Graham, turned two last week. Because he is in love with trains right now, we threw him a train-themed party.
train birthday cake and table

I had this dream of buying a fabulous cake so I wouldn’t stress myself out about making/decorating a cake. But when I started price-checking cakes like I wanted, I quickly retreated. So I whipped out my trusty old cake mix boxes and got to baking. The cake didn’t turn out anything like what I wanted, but I was still happy with it. I used cookie crumbs and chocolate frosting to make a track around the perimeter for his toy trains to sit on.


I also threw together a larger train car for snacks. I used shoe boxes, covered them in brown paper grocery bags and made the wheels out of rolled up strips of black felt. One of the cars had wheels made out of some vintage coasters.

We also had some sugar cookies made by a friend of my mom – and I was so happy with them! Adorable! My favorite was the RR crossing sign and the stop light. We used these as party favors for the kids as well.
train party cookies
For low cost decorations, I made him a birthday sign out of cardboard and reused our 4th of July pennant banners. I made the sign to match the party invitation that we mailed out. He was really funny with his invitation – he carried them around the house and called them his “tards”.
train invitation
Graham absolutely loved his day. He loved all the attention and all the snacking. He was super excited for presents and told each giver “than-too” after he unwrapped. We even had a difficult time pulling him away from his new toys to blow out his candles. But once he got to it, he was thrilled to hear his birthday song and huff, puff and blow his candles out. He was so darn cute doing it that we let him do it a couple more times.

Happy second birthday, Grahamser. It’s been two sweet years – here’s to many more!

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Aug 16

Old.

This summer, my husband, my brother and his wife are all celebrating their thirtieth birthdays. (Thirty?? What? My husband is turning thirty?!?!? When did we get this old?) Of course, I am happy to celebrate with them as I have two more years before I hit that milestone.

Together, we all threw a party to help the three of them through this. Of course, good times were had by all. But I have to tell you the story of the cakes.

The damn cakes.

First of all, let me tell you that I was determined to buy the cakes, not to make them. For two reasons. One: I know very little about decorating cakes and have been “winging it” through each of my kids birthday so far. Two: I didn’t need that added stress in my life. However, when it turned out that my kids were going to their grandparents for a few days and I saw what the bakery wanted for three separate birthday cakes, I changed my mind. I thought, I’ve got plenty of time. I’ll just use a box mix and do something simple. No problem.

Right.

I made these cakes the night before. Mistake number one, perhaps? And, I used frosting from a can. Mistake number two? We’ll just say that Martha would not be proud of my cake decorating skills. Oh well. At least they tasted good. Didn’t stop me from eating two pieces today. (Hey, I’m eating for two, remember??)

But I do have to tell you that I did learn one thing in the process. I always get really frustrated when baking the layers of a cake because they always bake with a raised dome in the middle. Which I then have to chop off and discard (read: eat while waiting for cake to cool). But I feel like this wastes cake and my layers aren’t as tall as I want them after I level off the lump.

So, I googled it. And it turns out that I wasn’t the only one who was devastated by the dome. All it takes is some old wet towels wrapped around your cake pan as it bakes. Who knew?? I guess the moisture keeps the outside cool so it doesn’t cook as fast as it normally would. Follow these directions and you’ll get a perfectly level cake. Worked for me six times.

At least something worked.

Anyways, clearly the party was still a blast without beautiful cakes. Life is not about perfect cakes. Life is about good friends and good memories. Here’s to thirty more years of that with three of my favorite people in the world. Happy Birthday to Trever, Jenny and Brady! Love you guys!

Oh, and to explain the “23″ atop Jenny’s cake:
What woman wants to openly admit their true age, right? For this reason, I taught my daughter to say that her mommy and Aunt Jenny are “twenty-twee” whenever prompted. In fact, according to her, I turned 23 on my last two birthdays!! Love you, Lilah!

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Jan 25

Old school.

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I have been out of school for almost six years now. And I think I am finally starting to miss it. (Wait, did I just say that out loud???)

No, I don’t miss the homework, the studying, the late nights cramming, or the long, cold winter walks to campus.

But, I do miss the learning. Taking home a new idea each day. Am I alone in this?

Lately, it’s become more apparent as I keep adding to my list of classes that I want to take. First, it started with the photography classes. (Which is something that I had always wanted to study while in school, but was too intimidated by.) Then a friend called and asked if I wanted to take wine tasting classes. Then another friend called about cake decorating classes. And I realized I had a problem.

Too many classes. Too little Kylie.

Here’s a list of local classes that are available and I am hoping to get to take part in at some point:

il_fullxfull.118046526 1. Knitting/crocheting – These are available at a local yarn store, Twist. But you can probably ask your grandma or you aunt for a basic lesson. My sister-in-law taught me to knit several years ago (thanks, Casi!), but I’ve never made it past the simple scarf. I found it to be incredibly rewarding and a perfect pastime for the car. Also, helps justify sitting down to watch The Bachelor. I really want to learn to take it further, follow patterns for hats and more. Plus, I really want to learn to crochet.

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2. Cooking
– Wichita has a few places to do this. But ever since my good friend, Adriene, started teaching cooking classes out of her home, I have been dying to take some. I always feel like I continually cook the same meals over and over and need introduced to some new techniques/recipes. I am totally eyeing that Superbowl party-themed class.

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3. Cake/cookie decorating
– Have you ever been to the Cake Stuff store?!?! You should definitely go. Very, very cool. With both my kids birthdays around the corner, I have really been wishing I had some of these skills.

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4. Scrapbooking
– Oven 10 years ago, I worked at Scrapbook Garden. Since then, that industry has evolved and changed in many ways. It has become a very artful hobby, one that I wish I hadn’t abandoned. I have been eyeing some of the mini-book classes (probably because that is something I could actually finish). And as a bonus, they offer FREE scrapbooking 101 and rubber stamping classes. A couple other resources for classes are Bradley Paper and Mrs. O’Leary’s in Old Town. All of these are very cool stores just to visit and get inspired, even if you can’t do the classes.

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5. Wine tasting
– Who doesn’t need this as a skill? The WSU continuing education department offers this class in a 4-week session for $100. I have had this class on my radar for several years, but have been pregnant much of that! I’m thinking this is a must! Also, the wine store by my house, Auburn Spirits, hosts wine tasting events a couple times a month.

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6. Quilting
– Now, this is definitely a more involved hobby, but I also find quilting to be incredibly rewarding. Nothing better than wrapping your baby in a quilt you made. Again, there are many places to learn the art of quilting, but I’m eying classes at my favorite store, The Picket Fence or an class at the upcoming quilt show.

So, as you can see – lots to learn. I think it’s a good thing!

Photo sources: 1.bellababyboutique, 2. grlpwr777, 3. jdesmeules, 4. Ali Edwards. 5.dimmalimmhome, 6. stitchindye

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May 11

A Mousey Birthday.

Yesterday was my Lilah’s second birthday and we have spent the weekend celebrating. We started her day with pancakes at iHop, a gigantic Minnie Mouse balloon at Party City, and many hours of playing on her new swingset/playgym that Brady built for her. He just finished it yesterday, so the timing was perfect. She happily went up the ladder and down the slide a million times, each time saying “one more time!” Today we had some family over to celebrate the occasion. In honor of her favorite person in the entire world, Mickey Mouse, I attempted a Mickey-themed cake.

I am by no means an experience cake-decorator, so be warned. I’m sure could have been improved in the technique category, but I had fun making it! (Kinda sounds like an American Idol contestant after Ryan Secrest asks how they think they did.)

Anyways, here are some pictures from the party.

The below three photos show three separate times that Lilah was caught attempting to get into the cake/candy.





Graham was a trooper throughout the party. Such a good baby these days. (And how cute are his little plaid shorts? Not many people can pull of stripes and plaids, but he does!)

Brady’s labor of love:

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Mar 12

One month. One year.

Baby Graham turned one month old yesterday. Pretty crazy how time flies when you’re having fun (or when you’re sleep-deprived). He couldn’t say so himself, but I know he’s pretty pumped to be one month old. Life is pretty great for him. Not a care in the world.

Here’s some recent shots of him. I think he looks more and more like his handsome daddy every day :)

And here’s Lilah doing what she does most lately: reading.

And the other exciting birthday in our family is my niece, Eva Mae. She turned one on Monday and we celebrated by eating lots of yummy, girly cake!





The Abbey-Kadabby Cake was made my Eva’s aunt Kathleen – way to go, girl!

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Oct 20

Greens and yellows and browns, oh my.

Went with my friend, Michelle, to a great quilting store, called The Button Hole, in McPherson, KS this weekend. She has never quilted before and was very curious. I am a beginner who pretends to know what she is talking about. We make a funny combination. Anyways, she bought an awesome bunch of fabrics to make a friend a baby quilt, and I, as usual, bought a few mismatched, but beautiful fabrics – and an overambitious quilt pattern. Mostly just came home with some inspiration and motivation to actually get something made.


Also put together a cover for what will be a baby book for the new baby. Kinda boyish, I know. But don’t the floral patterns help girl it up a little?

And, on the family front – here are a few pics of my nephew, Jak’s, 2nd birthday party.


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The Cars cake was made by my SIL’s sister, Kathleen. She has quite a knack for cakes and gets more impressive ! So pretty we had a hard time cutting into it.

And one to prove that I am truly pregnant :)

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Sep 16

Babies and chocolate.

No sonogram pictures to share :(

Brady and I went to the appointment and decided to wait another month for the sono because we couldn’t agree on whether or not to learn the gender of our unborn child. I am dying to know (although I’ve always said I wanted surprises) and Brady is a rock – he doesn’t want to know, and he’s not budging.

Now, Mommies back me up here if you agree. I am a pretty firm believer in the theory that the person carrying the babe has more pull in the decisions made regardhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifing it. Right? For instance, if a name cannot be agreed upon, Mommy gets final decision. Or, if Mom and Dad can’t come to terms with the gender-revealing issue, it’s up to Mom. OR, if Mom wants chocolate Frosties for dinner while Dad wants burgers, you better bet that the baby is getting some brain freeze :)

And speaking of chocolate…

How awesome does that look. Anybody want to make my day?!?! Now you know how! Recipe here and Bakerella’s version here. WIpe the drool from your face!

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