Alright guys, this is my first blog post ever and big disclaimer – I have NO idea what I am doing! Among about ten other things (more info to come), starting a blog was on my list of goals for 2018. “I’d love to have my own blog,” [insert deep sigh] has been a thought I’ve had for a couple of years now. Lack of time and knowledge has always left me wistfully thinking. Needless to say, I’m throwing that out the window and winging it! This is a starting point and I can stop staying “I wish.” I have quickly found out that I could spend hours alone just reading about what to do and what not to do…much like parenting. So, much like parenting, I am just gonna go with the flow and try to laugh at my mistakes along the way (and maybe learn a bit from them too)!
What on earth am I going to write about? I ask myself the same question?! I anticipate food (of course that would be the first thing I list), faking craftiness, health and fitness adventures, shopping finds, my family (that probably should have come first, huh? -love you guys!), and anything else that brings me joy.
We celebrated some special birthdays this past weekend with family. We had people over for Our Little LumberJack’s birthday on Saturday…I’m slightly obsessed with buffalo plaid and I probably can only get away with forcing it upon my children for so long -I’ll take advantage of it while I can. Note: Ben refused to wear matching buffalo plaid…one day. I saw this print in a Google search and traced it back to CollideMedia on Etsy, I couldn’t resist and bought the digital print which I can reuse over and over again…a revamp of Jack’s room in the future??
The cake…I hate to buy cakes. Why? —> $$$ Don’t get me wrong I’ve bought some lovely cakes from the highly talented vendors in our area and I will continue to do so, but I pick my battles. If I can create something in my own kitchen (that I can live with looking at and that tastes good) for much less, I’m usually all about it. Pinterest had me convinced that I could make something Lumberjack-ish. Sugar Geek Show’s Lumberjack Cake caught my eye first with the checkered inside, ummm perfect! But really Ashley…the cake has an edible ax = way too complex for me! I settled on the fact that I could buy a Wilton Checkerboard Cake Set to try and create the buffalo plaid look inside and even better I got it on sale at Joann. I saw some tutorials where people made checkered cakes without this pan, lord knows my brain didn’t want to try to do the calculations to try and make that happen! For the actual cake, I just bought boxed mixes, chocolate and red velvet. I substituted the oil with butter and the water with milk to make it taste more “homemade.” I promise I read the directions for the Cake Set…but you guys…that burning smell creeped up on me not even 5-10 minutes after I put the cakes in there. If I hadn’t been so frantic, I would have snapped pictures of the volcano that oozed down our new oven. Saves me some embarrassment I suppose. Anyhow, I was able to somehow salvage the cakes for stacking. I used Baking a Moment’s Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream in between the layers and on the outside of the cake -OMG, so good, I will definitely make again! Since I’ve only used fondant once, I knew I needed to find an easier fix to make the sides look somewhat like a tree. SugarHero!’s Where the Wild Things Are Birthday Cake tutorial was my saving grace. I didn’t complete all of the steps, but I was satisfied enough with my result just using melted chocolate rolled up in parchment paper after being cooled in the fridge. There is an extra roll of it currently sitting in my fridge…dangerous. Drag a fork on top, throw some toppers on, and stick it on a slab of wood = waaalaaaahhh and Jack loved it!
Now, I had one other issue. A 20-something year old sister coming to my house… on HER birthday …to celebrate her little nephew’s birthday …in Lumberjack style. Probably not her ideal way to party, but she is a trooper, loves her nephews to pieces, and still had the whole night ahead of her. Needless to say, I felt the urge to make her a cake too. Browsing for ideas I stumbled across Liv For Cake’s S’mores Cake …silence, this cake is beautiful – seriously, take a look for yourself! I was sold on making an attempt and found myself wandering Walmart after midnight to try and find a torch to create the same affect. I left unsuccessful and settled for using our candle lighter instead. A lover of chocolate, I felt the need to add a layer of chocolate cake between the graham cracker cake. Had I tasted the milk chocolate ganache beforehand, I would’ve known this was not needed! I think Live For Cake’s Homemade Marshmallow Fluff is the spotlight here though, oh my goodness it is so good! I get nervous anytime I’m whipping egg whites and adding boiling sugar. Okay, I’ve gotten nervous twice doing this. The first time I tried I can’t even remember what I was trying to make, but it was a miserable fail. The second time was this past weekend -it was a success! Strictly followed the directions and added a little extra vanilla, we are still licking the spoon 2 days later. She does not look as heavenly as I had imagined, but I will take this one as a win for now! Did I mention I didn’t go to bed Friday night??? About the time I finished up on the cakes, it was time to start making the actual food for the party -which we had WAY too much of. I tend to over plan and Ben loves to tell me that he told me so when this happens. Needless to say, it was a successful weekend. I cannot believe how quickly a year comes and goes!