The Broadus Crew!

The Broadus Crew!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Cupcake!!

I cut the wrapper out of wrapping paper. I thought the cupcake looked a little under dressed and exposed up their on it's stand. ;)

So, it's not really the birthday of the actual cupcake, but for me it is. I have finally found a vanilla cake from scratch that is oh so yummy. I tried several, but could not get the texture and taste I wanted. So, after quite a few mess ups, I combined some recipes and Happy Birthday Cupcake!!!

I was really looking for a cake that was light and fluffy, like a box mix, but with a home baked taste. I think this one is as close as I want it to be. I know billions of people love cakes from a mix, but home-made cakes are so much easier to decorate with a firmer texture, and they last longer than a box cake. I have probably read every suggestion under the sun on substituting ingredients to make a more home-made tasting box cake. Though substituting some ingredients made the cakes a little richer, they still tasted pretty much the same to me. These cakes are fine for every day, but when baking for celebrations, I want it to look and taste special.

I will be sending a dozen of these little cupcakes (ok, eleven) with the hubby tomorrow for his coworkers to taste.  I hope to get some good feedback from them, and if so, this will be my "official" cake. If not, I will be sad, but will keep on trying to find my "official" cake.

I found that someone liked them. Sneaky little hands helped themselves to some extras sitting on the cabinet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bakugan skateboard cake

The wheels are straight on the cake even though the picture makes them look like they are turning.

I really enjoyed making this cake today. I actually started on it Monday. Not the baking part, GROSS!!! I hate it when I hear someone baking a cake and then freezing it for a few days. I want it FRESH!!! Sorry, no offense. 

Anyway, I made the wheels Monday out of gum-paste. They are technically edible, but not really. Gum-paste is more like clay. It can be molded into pretty much anything, and dries super hard, so it is pretty much impossible to bite into. It's also just nasty.

Tuesday, I made the Bakugan symbol out of royal icing. It takes a few days to dry super hard, and it's kind of like painting a sun-catcher, but I love this stuff (it's what they make candy buttons from).When mom used to make flowers for her cakes, she had to keep an eye out for little hands trying to sneak one away. I have the same problem with my kids, only they get plenty, since I break most of what I make. ;)

This morning, I put the babies down for a nap. The older children were busy baking cupcakes in their kitchen, so I had time to pop 2 cakes in the oven, and whip up some icing. It didn't take long for the girls to come in to help. But, this cake is for someone else, so sadly they couldn't help. They did enjoy giving me their opinions of color while I tinted the icing, though.

This cake is for a 7 year old's birthday, so it really made me feel good to get a "totally awesome" from my 6 year old.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm a better magician than housekeeper.

Many people think that I am a good housekeeper, but the truth is, I am a better magician. If you were to pop over unexpectedly, you may see more than you expected. There has always been a myth that our house stays spotless. It's because you are allowed to see what I want you to see. I will say, that it is a different mess everyday. Our house gets cleaned everyday, but with all that goes on around here, it's hard to keep up.

Logan's room is around the bookcase. Notice the "emergency path" he made before going to bed.

Today, I had enough of the playroom, and decided to tackle that project with the help of 7 kids. I have to say, I was able to successfully get done what was needed, but this was the hardest job I've tried to do with the kids. I would clean one area, and of course, that's where they would want to play.

I cleaned out an area (that will soon be for my crafts) to give the babies a safe place to play from all the mess. The 9 month old played in the playpen, and the older ones were able to help me sort through toys. I picked up all the big stuff, then literally, used the doodle mop to push all the small toys, paper, crayons, to the center of the room. I was very tempted to sweep it all to the garbage.

It is finally clean!!! I love having a playroom, but it is really hard to keep it all cleaned and organized (sharonized). When it's time to play I don't want to have to search for things. Hopefully, this will also help the children learn the importance of organizing and keeping their spaces clean for the future. Start good habits now, right?

I implemented organizing practices that work in the rest of the house. It may take more effort, but maybe it will help in there too. I made a list of a few things I do to help ease kid clutter.

1. Keep it as simple as possible. I love to organize with baskets and labels, but let's be real. That rarely works for kids. Instead of trying to divide toys into their own individual box, I try to make more general groupings. I put all babies together, trains, cars, etc. Sure, I would love all the Barbies separated from the fairies, and the comic book guys separated from the Mario people, but that's just too much. I try to think more like a kid.

2. Once everything is nicely grouped, there is always that pile of toys that just doesn't fit anywhere. Cell phones, cameras, play weapons, and happy meal toys that they have to keep. I have bins with each of the kid's name for those kinds of things. They mostly know what is theirs, so they can quickly toss them in the right bin.

3. With the toys grouped, many are in containers that are not easily opened by little hands. I do like the fact of free play, but I don't like everything pulled out at one time, as it has been lately. With the inability to dump everything out at once, they are forced to ask for help. That gives me the chance to have them clean up what they were playing with before starting with something else. It really works well, t just takes a little more on my part.

4. These kids love to color. I think they would color all day. With lots of coloring, comes lots of papers. My kids love to play with their papers once they've been colored. I probably tossed an entire coloring book of papers this morning. I enjoy their creativity, but I don't need to keep everything they draw. I allow them to stick a picture a day on the backdoor with magnets, and we have 4-12x12 cork boards in the playroom to display art. Every Friday the art gets tossed for a new week. (normally)

5. We start as early as possible with teaching our kids to pick up their toys. I don't have to have a spotless playroom every single night, but it would be nice to see the floor. The kids usually do a quick clean sweep at night (marshmallow time). They start in one room and pick up as quickly as possible. They try to "win" by cleaning their spaces before I finish cleaning the kitchen after supper. Once each room is clean, they each get a marshmallow. This may seem really small, but they love it!

I am always having to come up with fun new ways to keep the kids excited about picking up. The older they get, the more of a chore it becomes.

How do you get your kids to pick up, without driving yourself crazy?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh fondant...

Fondant is not like play-dough at all! Play-dough does not crack, get soft, or change it's shape as easily as fondant. (I love playing play-dough with the kids) Here are some of my play-dough creations...

I made an entire army of these guys. :)
Mr. Caterpillar took forever, but he's pretty cute.
Let's not talk to Thomas about the elephant. I agreed to let him smoosh the elephant, but forgot the head was attached with a toothpick. Yeah, that didn't go so well. :(

So, why can't fondant be as easy as play-dough? Since no one actually eats the fondant, do you think I could sneak a play-dough character on a cake? Of course not. I was only kidding. ;)

I am using the oh so tasty Duff Goldman Buttercream Fondant. It's  much easier to work with than any other fondant I've tried, including home-made. With better quality and taste, comes a price. It's pretty expensive, so I've never used it to cover an entire cake.

I have been practicing Lego cupcake toppers like these...

How cute are they? I came across this last year when we did a Lego birthday for Logan, and was reminded of them today by a friend, so I thought I would give it a whirl. I am just using random fondant I had left over from a previous cake, so I didn't worry about colors. I also didn't want to waste fondant on the disc that goes on top of the cupcakes, since it's just for practice. So, here is my first attempt...

Not exactly the same quality, but I thought it was pretty good for my first attempt. It only took me 2 hours to make these 7. :(

I have been watching tutorials on fondant, but have not found one for these. I am always up for advise, so please share.

I was raised by a baker who wouldn't dare touch fondant. She would have never worked so hard to make something that most people pull off anyway. Fondant has come a long way in the last few years, and is now actually edible (some of it anyway), but people still tend to peel it off when eating their cake. Is it really worth the extra cost to buy a fondant covered cake? Sure, they can make cake into a work of art, but isn't a cake for eating? Hopefully, through my baking journey I can learn to provide cakes that an average person can afford, but also be really pretty, and taste great.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So little time, so much to sew!

I have just started sewing in the last few months. I am learning as I go, but I am enjoying the process. I have made a few kid sized aprons,  a chef's hat, a crayon roll, felt food, a baby doll sling, and several "mess up" projects. It's quite time consuming, so I may get one thing done a day. I usually do my sewing while everyone is napping, or at least while the babies are napping. The older kids like to play a spy game while I sew, especially when I am making felt food. They search the computer for clues, then look to see what color of fabric or felt I am using. They are so funny sneaking around trying to get a glimpse at what I am working on. My 6 year old came up with the spy game during the summer, and it caught on quite well. For those times when the kids are not interested in spying on me, they like to get creative on their own. They color, paint, or play with play-dough. They do have most of the day for free play, but they enjoy doing their own projects, and I enjoy a little free time of my own.

Here is an apron I made to put on, hopefully.

I have also completed a baby doll sling to list. I will post a picture of that soon.

I am currently working on a bag of pretend groceries. I hope to get finished with that this week.
(I could have harvested a crop by the time I finish)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Baby Shower Cake

This is a baby Shower cake I did this weekend. I wanted to do something a little different, but had to improvise. It never fails. No matter how planned you think things are, disaster happens at the last minute. I started the cake Saturday night, but figured I would have time to finish Sunday after church. While pulling into the church parking lot reality of time hit, and we had to miss small group for me to go home and finish the cake. I made a stork earlier in the week out of royal icing, but he broke. I think it turned out ok, but it would have been nice to have more time to smooth the icing a little more. I hope everyone enjoyed the cake, especially the expecting mom. I enjoy making cakes, but it is hard work for an amateur like me.

The funny thing about missing our small group is that it's on "Take it to the Limit". I asked Thomas if he was going to rat me out in class about taking things to the limit so much that we couldn't make it to class. Luckily, it was only the second week, so I blame it on lack of knowledge.

Why I blog...

I have posted a few things that highlight my interest, but now it's time to back up the bus, and fill you in on my home life. 

I’ve been happily married to my love, Thomas, for 10 years. We have 3 boys (ages 6, 2 and 9 months) and a 4 year old little girl.  I enjoy sharing the story of how a woman like myself with very little child experience came to managing a home of 6 people and a family daycare. 

I just had my second child and was planning to return to work when our babysitter called to tell me that her husband got a big fat raise, and she would no longer be keeping children. This was great for her, but what about us?  Now here it is 7 days until I return to work with 2 children at home and no babysitter.  I went through a moment of panic, and next I did what I should have done immediately. I prayed.

 "Lord, show me what you want me to do. How are we going to work through this?"

 It still gives me chills to think how fast everything worked. Within a few hours, I had spoken to everyone from the state agency and an accountant about what things would have to happen to run an in home daycare. I knew that God had laid this on me to do.  I lined all my ducks in a row, and had a plan of how the daycare would work, and how we could afford the upcoming changes. Next, I had to present it to Thomas, and together we decided it was a go. Nervously, I notified work of my last day.

Our plan looked good on paper, but now I had to actually get things started.  Immediately I filled two spots (from the babysitter that had quit) and then filled another spot a few days later. I had 3 children lined up but needed to have 5 children to survive our change in income. Why is it that we panic when we know what we need to do?  So, yes, I prayed. Within 15 minutes, I had 2 phone calls, and filled my last two spots. God was in control, as long as I trusted in Him.

I enjoy thinking back to the beginning of this story as a reminder that God will take care of us as long as we get out of the way. Through this blog I will share things that God continues to do for our family along with the daily adventures around here. I think you’ll be greatly surprised to know what happens here on a daily basis.  I love to play and teach the children, but I also enjoy my hobbies of baking, sewing, decorating, and organizing. I try to find fun ways for the kids to be involved at the same time.  I don't do these things just to show what I can do, but because I enjoy doing them. I think it is okay to push yourself to the limit, if it's in a healthy manner. I could sit around and watch tv during nap, or sit in a chair and just watch the kids play, but that's not me. I am a super busy body and this is how I pull it off.

Please share your comments and kid stories with me. I have been in lady groups at church, and everyone loves to share there own stories. It's great therapy for those bad moments, and great inspiration for those new and exciting adventures.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How does your laundry get done with a house full of children?

Quite often, I get asked the question, "How does your laundry get done with a house full of children everyday?"  So, I decided to show and tell.

Yep...that's a 2 and 3 year old doing laundry. :)

They fold too! 

 I tried to get laundry done first thing this morning, but the kids were too fast for me, and I ran out of time before they all woke up. So, I had to include it as a part of our day. Today, I had 7 children to "help". First, I separated all our clothes into piles on the kitchen floor. Then, they picked a pile and loaded it into the washer. When it beeped, they ran over to put the clothes in the dryer. (I wonder how much longer I can enjoy that treat). That gave me around an hour of solid playtime with everyone.  When the dryer is finished, it's time for the babies (anyone who pulls the laundry off the couch), to have their independent playtime. The girls fold anything smaller than them, and I fold the rest. It's like a game to see if they can finish before me. I am particular, but I never refold anything that they so proudly worked on.  We did 4 loads of clothes, and the breaks between loads allowed me to include myself in more playtime.

I am not the only one who benefits from their help. They learn how to do laundry, of course, but they also have to work as a team and follow directions. I think it's a win win! :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lana is baking

Lana's aunt had surgery yesterday, so she is all about baking her cupcakes. She is suited up, and ready to go. We didn't really use the whisk, but she thought it was necessary to have something in both hands.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things I have baked

Tuxedo brownies with cream cheese icing.
Tuxedo strawberries

Peanut butter balls
Purse cake. This was made several years ago. I wouldn't mind doing another, just so I can make it a little fancier. The little girl loved her cake, though.
This is actually one of my favorite cakes. It's simple, but I just really like it.
Smash cake!
Baby shower cake.
I made everything out of icing and fondant, except for the people. I wasn't going to put all the characters on there, but Logan wanted them all on the cake.

Strawberry cake for someone Thomas worked with.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Yard Sale chair

I bought this chair from a yard sale Saturday for $5. I had already taken the bottom cover off, so it didn't look this bad when I bought it.

This is what it looks like now. I still need to paint the legs, but I am pleased with the way it turned out. The stitching doesn't look so hot, but that is totally the machine's fault. I paid $5 for the chair, and $10 for the fabric, so not a bad deal.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today's Nap Time Project

I actually started this project this morning, but finished during nap time. I brought down the toddler bed from the attic, and sanded it while we were playing outside. Once the kids were down for nap, I painted the bed red. I also made his little quilt out of two shams that I purchased on my weekend of shopping. I got a great "wow" out of Lex when he saw his new red bed. It looks really cute in his nautical room. BTW, that is a whale pillow that he is holding. He tried feeding it popcorn yesterday, so I would say that he likes it.

Tomorrow, my plans are to finish making a new slipcover for a chair I bought for $5 at a yard sale this past weekend. Hopefully, I can figure it out without ruining the fabric I bought. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First post!

Here's a few of the things I've been working on -
USM cupcakes for opening season game

Custom apron from scratch

peanut butter cupcake time - where it at where it at

I got a hold of the kid's lego and sharonized them, all 5000 pieces