Monthly Archives: August 2011

First Impressions

We survived the first day of school.  Parts of it were just as chaotic as I anticipated, but on the whole it was a good experience.  I, like my kindergartener, am exhausted so I am going to keep this short.  Here are my first impressions based on the first day of school.

Principal- Caring, welcoming, and great at communicating with the parents.  She also visited the classrooms today to introduce herself to the kids.  She was very visible all day.  No hiding in the office.  Love her!

Kindergarten Teacher- Organized, calm, welcoming towards students and parents.  Poor Morgan came home from school rather grumpy, but I think she will like her teacher once she gets used to this new school routine.

Fourth Grade Teacher- Super organized, greeted each student before taking the class inside, strict in a good way!  She is just what Emma needs.  Fortunately, Emma loved her.  She chatted excitedly about her first day from the time I picked her up until the time she went to bed.  She is also thrilled that part of her nightly homework is to curl up in a chair and read a book of her choice for 20 minutes.  I made her take a timer with her because I figured she would go back there with her book and we wouldn’t see her again all evening… all in the name of homework!

It looks like it’s going to be a good year.

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DFW Cakes

A couple of years ago I accidentally introduced my husband to his favorite author.  I read some of David Foster Wallace’s essays in my book club and passed them along.  Little did I know that this would become his new obsession.  I won’t go into the ways that DFW has taken over our lives because this is not the right forum.  However, if you would like to check out my husband’s blog I know he would appreciate the traffic.  My first DFW cake was based on his blog, Letters to DFW.  This was also my first ever attempt at fondant and I realize it is not very good.  We decided that the book looks a little warped and damaged because it is so well loved!

My second DFW cake is called A Supposedly Fun Cake, which is based on one of my favorite DFW essays, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.”  It is a humorous account of Wallace’s experience on a cruise ship.  If you have ever been on a cruise, then it is a must read!  The other thing you should know about DFW is that his writing is heavily footnoted.  I decided to play on this fact and create my first ever footnoted cake.  In this picture you can only see the number one next to the ship’s name, but there are numbers in various places all over the cake.  The figures on the cake are made from Legos because my husband also loves Legos and I thought it would be fun to add that element to his birthday cake.

There may be more DFW cakes in my future, which is fine by me.  It is kind of fun to combine my love for cake decorating with my husband’s love for this unique author.

Baby Shower Cakes

Teddy bears are a popular baby shower theme.  I made these blue and pink ones for a friend who was expecting boy girl twins.  They are laying in coconut dyed with food coloring.  My mom helped with the piping on one of these cakes, but I don’t remember which one!  The cake on the right is one I made for another girl baby shower.  I really like the way the colors turned out on the last one.  I made it a few years after the twin cakes and I think it shows some improvement!

More recently, I made an airplane for a boy baby shower.  This was an early attempt at fondant.  I still have a lot to learn, but I am having fun experimenting with it.  I almost always make my own marshmallow fondant, which is very elastic and forgiving, but it can be hard to color.  It takes a lot of time and muscle power to knead the color into the fondant.  I had hoped this airplane would have bolder colors, but this was all I could manage.  The propeller was carved out of a stick of gum. 🙂

Rapunzel Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes because I had the chance to play around with all sorts of new techniques.  I started by making the tower of rice krispie treats.  I just used the recipe from the box and shaped the tower pieces once the cereal was cool enough to hold the shape.  I also made the Rapunzel figure out of gum paste a couple of days before the party.  I wanted her to be completely dry before I stuck her in the cake.

The night before the party, I made the actual cakes.  This was my first time stacking more than two cakes and I definitely learned to be more precise in my leveling next time.  The cakes did lean slightly, but I wasn’t going to start over!  The braid is made from fondant that I bought and colored.  That was very challenging because the fondant was drying and cracking while I was working with it.  Lots of extra Crisco went into this part of the project!

I also assembled the tower the night before.  I covered the pieces with fondant and put them together on a wooden dowel.  I should have used a much longer dowel for stability.  Another lesson learned!  Rapunzel was built around a toothpick, which held nicely in the tower.  The hair went on last and I was super happy with the way it came out.  I let this contraption dry over night in my coffee pot.  This was my husband’s genius idea and it worked perfectly.

We transported the cake to the party in two pieces.  We attempted to assemble it once we got there, but we planned the party at a park on top of a hill on the windiest day of the year.  There was no way this tower would stand on the cake and not be blown over.  Pretty much everything that was not secured with copious amounts of duct tape was blown all over the park.  I was seriously disappointed, but for the sake of a good picture we set everything up and told my five-year old to hold on tight and smile.  If you look closely, you can see that her braid is sticking out to the side and the trees in the background are bending over from the force of the wind.

Isn’t she cute?

Bridal Shower and Football Cakes

When my best friend announced her engagement I was excited to give her a bridal shower just as she had done for me.  Of course the first thing that comes to mind for me when throwing a party is cake.  I would say this shower and cake were pretty traditional.  I took advantage of the season and used fall colors for the cakes, decorations and paper goods.

When it came time for the rehearsal dinner we had a lot of fun with the cakes.  The bride and groom are big football fans, so a football cake seemed appropriate.  I used the cake pan that I normally use to make princess cakes and after some major reconstruction surgery it became a football.

I was fairly happy with the football, but the real conversation piece was the cupcake tree.  Since my friend and her husband route for different teams, we incorporated the rivalry into the cupcakes.  Half the cupcakes were decorate for the Colts and half for the Patriots.  I made the logos out of royal icing and let them dry on wax paper over night.  When it was time to transfer them onto the cupcakes I held my breath and prayed that at least twelve of each logo would remain in tact as I transferred them.  I was thrilled with the way they turned out and they were a big hit with the dinner guests.

 

 

 

 

*Update: For more how-to info on these cakes check out my latest football cake post. 🙂

Daddy Date

Every month my girls look forward to a daddy date.  Emma goes in the middle of each month and Morgan at the end.  Normally they go to the park or the mall.  Sometimes they get ice cream or smoothies.  But today Morgan is on a fancy date.  She picked out her dress and shoes.  I did her hair and helped with her jewelry.  She added some sparkly lip gloss and they are off to dinner.

I remember Emma’s first fancy date.  She was two years old and I was pregnant with Morgan.  She got all dolled up and went out to dinner with her daddy for Valentine’s Day.  He even brought her flowers.  We realize that we are setting the bar rather high with these dates, but isn’t that what we should be doing?  Long before they even think about boys other than daddy they will know what to expect and how to be treated on a date.