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Cake Decorating Party

6 Dec
Mini Cakes

Mini Cakes

This past Sunday, Jaden celebrated her 10th Birthday early by having some friend over for a cake decorating party.  After letting Jaden & Fisher decorate cupcakes for my birthday and having so much fun, I decided that Jaden and her friends would have even more fun decorating their own mini-cakes.  And I was right!

Cake Decorating Table

I baked a 6″ x 2″ round cake for each girl and iced it with buttercream icing.  I sectioned out the leftover buttercream icing and colored each in a different color.  Finally I bagged each color in a piping bag fitted with a coupler and a decorative tip.  I set out the rest of my decorating tips for the girls to use if they so chose.  It only took a short demonstration to teach the girls how to unscrew the coupler and change out the tips.  Once they got that down, they were off to the races!

Child Decorating Cake

And boy did they work hard on their cakes.  They carefully piped on each line and flower.  They studied each angle before apply the icing.  They made sure to use every tip and color available to them at least twice!  As one girl proclaimed, “You can’t rush art.”  So true, girls, so true.

Child's Decorated Mini Cake

We even tested out some spray-on food coloring.  It worked well although, once the girls got a hold of the spray cans, the house was filled with a fine red mist of food coloring.  They got messy with everything in every way possible and cherished every moment.  You should have seen the table after the sprinkles and candy Imperials had been opened.  Yikes!

After making gingerbread cookie rockets for her brother’s birthday party, these mini-cakes were a cinch!  The girls absolutely loved it and each got a slice to eat once they were done.  I’d highly recommend this to anyone interested.  I would definitely do it again in the future.  :]


Bottles & Rockets

5 Dec
Gingerbread Rocket

Gingerbread Rocket

This past Saturday was Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  For the very first time we had a proper party for him that included some friends from school.  I know, what kind of mother am I?  You’ve never thrown your son a birthday party?  Oh, I have.  It’s just never been one of those parties where you mail out invitations and agonize over RSVP’s.  It has always just been family in the past.

I have fretted over how to entertain a group of boys for weeks now.  What do boys like?  Heck if I know.  In the end I made some gingerbread cookies in rocket shapes and had my husband construct them for me.  (By the time it came to build the rockets, I was on the verge of a nervous break down.  I had this beautiful picture in my head of how I wanted them to look and when my first attempt at construction was a failure, I almost lost my mind.)  Mind you, I’d been cleaning and baking for two straight days up until this point and was utterly exhausted.

Jordan opted for boy-proof construction rather than something that was pretty but would fall apart as soon as someone touched it.  Thus the copious amounts of icing.  By the time the icing had dried, these rockets could have made a daring bid for the moon.  These things were solid.  And I’m glad that they were because the boys first instincts were to pick them up and zoom them around the room. Whew!

Decorated Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

I don’t know who was happier, Fisher or his rocket!  :]  If you’d like to make your own gingerbread cookie rockets, here is what you need:

  • Gingerbread Cookies, Baked to Desired Shapes
  • Sugar Cones
  • Gingerbread House Icing “glue” (Super sticky and thick Royal Icing)
  • Candy for Decoration

My not-so-specific-instructions:

For the pointed “nose cone” of the rockets I used sugar cones.  You’d think that these would be found near the ice cream aisle, but that was not the case.  I honestly thought that I’d never find them at the grocery store.  They were finally located next to the Peanut Butter & Jelly.  You know, the same aisle as Coffee.  Because that makes total sense.

Next, I measured base of the cone to find out how wide it was.  I planned on inverting the cone for the tip of my rocket and wanted to make sure that the gingerbread cookies I baked would correctly support the cone.

Finally, I mixed up some gingerbread cookie dough cut out rectangles and triangles.  I used three rectangular cookies per rocket to make the body of the rocket.  Thus the rocket ended up being three-sided.  I had originally planned on using four cookies per rocket to make up the body, but that did not allow for proper attachment when I can to the sugar cone.  I also used three triangles per rocket to make the directional fins at the base of the rocket.  It’s hard to tell in the picture because of all the icing, but the little triangular fins are there.

Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

Here’s a lovely sketch by yours truly to demonstrate how it all came together.

Diet Coke & Mentos

Once the rockets were decorated and all the left-over candy decorations had been eaten, the boys headed out into the back yard to set off some bottles of Diet Coke with the aid of mint-flavored Mentos.  It was a huge hit.  The boys begged to stand in the line of fire, but I couldn’t possibly be the mom who sent home boys soaked in soda after a birthday party.  I would be shunned for the rest of time for such a thing.  The boys were only temporarily disappointed.  ;]

The party was a hit and the boys only talked and sang about poop for 30 minutes of the two-hour party.  I say that’s the stamp of success.

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

30 Nov
Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  He has counted down to it pretty much since his 7th.  To celebrate, I made his favorite cupcakes to share with his class at school today:  Dirt & Worm Cupcakes.  They are super easy to make, taste great and are always a huge hit at school.

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

I used a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix, but you can use whatever chocolate cake mix you prefer.  Once they have completely cooled, I piped on some chocolate icing, rolled the tops of the cupcakes in crushed Oreo cookies and topped them each with a gummy worm.  Tah-dah!

Even though I used a box mix, I do highly recommend that you make your own chocolate icing.  It is always superior to canned icing that you find at the store and it is super simple to make.  This is my favorite chocolate icing recipe, one that I got from my mother:

Chocolate Icing Recipe:

  • 1/2 heaping cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened


Cream together the butter and cocoa powder.  Next, mix in the vanilla extract and salt.  Add the sour cream and mix until combined.  Slowly work in the confectioners sugar.  Once combined, mix at medium speed for a few minutes until it is nice and smooth.  I use this time to rinse off utensils and tidy up around the kitchen.  (Confectioners sugar inevitably ends up everywhere when I use it.)

The icing is usually cool from the refrigerated sour cream, so I let it set for a minute or two to let it warm up.  Cold icing is hard to pipe with.  If you want to pipe on the icing, just grab a bag and a large, open tip.  It doesn’t really matter what tip you use as long as it is a large one.  You don’t even have to make it look pretty since you’re just going to roll the iced part of the cupcake in crushed Oreo cookies.  It’s a fool-proof decorating plan!

If you don’t have a piping bag or tips, just grab a spatula or even a butter knife.  Again, it doesn’t have to look pretty.  The crushed Oreo’s hide just about any icing misstep.

This recipe will make enough icing for 24 cupcakes, plus a few extra.  This recipe is also great on chocolate cake.  I usually mix up two batches when icing a two-layer, eight inch round cake.


The joys of I-35

7 Feb

The race was on this past Saturday.  The snow would soon start to melt and that meant that most of the town would be on a mission to go sledding.  Thus we got up early on Saturday to hit the slopes and claim a spot before it got too crowded.  “But, Raine.  Oklahoma is so flat?  Wherever did you find slopes?”  Funny you should ask.  You see the State is largely flat.  However I-35 that runs through the heart of town provides the perfect area for sledding.  Wherever you find a bridge crossing over the Interstate, you have steep slopes.  So we spent a large part of the day sledding down I-35.  What better weekend entertainment could you ask for?

Never before have I worn so many clothes.  (Try that out as a pickup line!)  With below freezing temperatures and the plan for rolling about in the snow all day, we layered up like cake.  (Terrible metaphor, I know.)  The kids have never had so much fun and neither have I.  It was a first time experience for us and we reveled in ever moment of it.  It wasn’t long before the kids were on their stomachs, rocketing down the slopes head first into certain collapse at the bottom.  They didn’t care.

We tried out ever conceivable way to sled down the slopes, some more successful than others.  This particular position was fantastic for launching the kids into oblivion once we hit a large mound of snow near the bottom.  Of course, I only did it once.  I’m not sure if you can tell, but it wasn’t my favorite position for sledding.  [wink]

Sadly by Sunday temperatures rose into the 40’s and most of the slopes had shed their snow by mid-afternoon.  There were a few desperate children still out there trying to hit patches of snow where they could find them, but they were few and far between.  We will however have another chance for sledding this weekend as we’re scheduled for another winter storm this week.  An estimated 4-10 inches or more of snow will arrive on Wednesday.  Color me happy.  (Not.)  ;]

Snow Report, Day Two

2 Feb


In case you were wondering, Dachshunds are not built for the snow…at least not mine.  Poor Lemon.  With ten inches of snow, she was having a hard time yesterday jumping around in the snow.  Oh, she thought she loved it.  She sat by the door all day yesterday whining and crying to go back out into the storm.  Apparently she likes having golf ball-sized snowballs under her arms.  It would take a good twenty minutes just to thaw her out.  Needless to say, she hasn’t been as eager to go back out today.


Fisher, on the other hand, thought that the -13 degree wind chill was fabulous.  That is until he discovered that diving into snow drifts bigger than him wasn’t such a good idea.  His pants got soaked and then immediately froze into sheets of ice.  Along with his face turning varying shades of red, he didn’t last long either.


The guys actually tried to go to work yesterday, but only made it as far as the entrance to our subdivision before getting stuck.  Even after digging out the car, they couldn’t go anywhere because of the white out caused by the blizzard.  Thus they returned home half-frozen and defeated.  They did, however, make it into the office today despite the frozen/snow-covered roads.

I will be spending day four in the house with the kids.  And tomorrow isn’t looking any better.  With the neighborhood buried in ice and snow, I can’t see a school bus venturing near us for several days.  It looks as though school won’t be back in session until Monday.  [cough]  I may develop an eye twitch before this week is over.  With Jaden on the mend she is back to her questioning, complaining self.  And Fisher is well, Fisher.  Hyper.  Bouncy.  And hard of hearing when it comes to instruction.

So…uh…anyone want to come for a visit?  [wink]

Blizzard + Flu = Good Times

1 Feb


So…we’ve been a little busy today with the Blizzard and all.  With close to ten inches of snow on top of probably one to two inches of sleet/ice and a wind chill of -13 degrees, I’d definitely say that the weather was inclement.  Plus, Jaden has the flu complete with a 104 degree fever, vomiting and all the other lovely symptoms that come along with it.  Let’s just say that I’m going to have a serious case of cabin fever by this weekend.

I’ll hopefully get some more photos uploaded tomorrow for your viewing pleasure.  (Because this is most definitely the most snow this Georgia girl has ever seen.)  And just in case you were wondering, tomorrow will be day four with the flu.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a can of Lysol.  ;]

The Moment.

20 Jan

I finally had my moment this morning.  The moment that I never had as a child.  It is the  one where you wake up and notice that the light squeezing through the blinds looks different from the way it should.  And that is because when you finally drag yourself from your warm bed you discover that there is snow as far as the eye can see.  This morning I have felt like a kid.

The school called dark and early this morning to let us know that school was canceled for the day due to ice and snow.  Under all of our fine, powdery snow is ice.  The snow looks so soft and inviting and then it strikes out as soon as you step foot on it.  “Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mention the ice?  Yes, well…surprise! It took me all night to get it juuuust right.”

As soon as the kids woke up this morning they had their moments as well.  [The loudest and most hysterical gasp ever to have been uttered]  “Snow!”  “Omigosh-Mommy-snow!”  Of course with the thoughts of snow ball fights in their heads, they ate breakfast in record time and where waiting be the door seemingly in minutes from waking up to go outside and decimate each other.

Denny decided to tag along and see what all this snow talk was about.  He quickly discovered that, “Holy cow!  This stuff is just frozen water!”  [Gobble, gobble, gobble]  The dog loves cold water and loves ice cubes even more and now here it was.  Water and ice combined into a fluffy delicacy all for his personal enjoyment.  Oh, it was almost too much for his doggie mind to handle.  He then proceeded to open his mouth and gently set it down on the snow so he could walk and scoop it up at the same time.  Genius!  Once he’d ridden that train as far is it would go, he set out to capture and consume as many straw snow balls that he could get to.  Much to the detriment of Jaden & Fisher’s winter-time fun.  ;]

Ahh…so this has been our morning.  The kids have made snow balls that disintegrate into dust upon impact and Denny has been effectively snow plowing the backyard.  Well, that is until they’d been out in it for about ten minutes and discovered that a wind chill of -2 degrees was serious stuff.  So now we’re all inside drinking hot chocolate and waiting for the feeling to come back into our fingers.  We’d cross them for luck, but they don’t seem to be working at the moment.  [wink]