Cake Decorating

Cake Decorating

I come from a family that cooks and bakes.  My mom always decorated a beautiful cake for our birthday.  I baked Jiffy box cakes with my Grandma (Nola) Fabian when I was a kid.  My hubby’s Aunt Mary always designed and decorated cakes from her kids’ request or interests at the time.  One memorable cake of Aunt Mary’s was of a pool with the swim lanes, starting blocks and flags for her daughter Jessie who was on the swim team.

Between my mom and Aunt Mary I was inspired to do the same thing for my children.  I took a Wilton Cake Decorating Class at my local craft store.  I learned a lot of different techniques and tricks using frosting.

I never have considered myself creative or artistic, since I started decorating cakes I have come to think that my frosting could be like paint.  And some day I could paint a master piece.  Until then I will make edible master pieces.

The baking part is very easy.  I am now admitting to the world that I use a box mix for most of my cakes.  I feel like I have more time to make each cake beautiful if I use a box mix.   I have made a few cakes from scratch and they aren’t as moist and yummy as the box mixes.  I recently needed to make a yellow cake from scratch and it was delicious and not too much extra work!

Once my frosting colors are decided I divide up my frosting.  And it sometimes looks like an artist’s work area.

Crumb coating is a time-saving technique and I use it with almost every cake.   Click here to see a demonstration on YouTube.


In second grade Robbie had a VIP day.  This is where the parents can come to the class to share something special about the family or talk about what they do for work.  Robbie and I decided that we would have his classmates decorate their own cupcake.  I made lots of frosting and put them in bags.

One of Robbie’s classmates loves volcanos and tornadoes.  He decorated his cupcake as if it was a volcano and it measured about 4 inches tall.

My Favorite Cakes:

I made this cake for my future sister-in-law, BJ’s, bridal shower.  My brother and BJ enjoy gardening and they had a little pond in the corner of their yard.

This was for Henry’s 2nd birthday.  He loves chickens and he loved our cow Vanilla.

I made this cake for our family reunion.

This is Henry’s 3rd birthday cake.  I spent so much time coloring and baking the insides I just couldn’t do anything special on the outside.

My Prettiest Cakes:

This cake was made in for the cake decorating class that I took.  My first time doing roses and a bow.

My Only Wedding Cake:

I decorated this cake for my brother’s wedding.  The mothers of the bride and groom baked the cake together.

Anniversary Cake:

My Ugliest Cakes:

Robbie’s request for his 6th birthday was for a chicken, chicks and a pumpkin.

This cake was made for an ice fishing weekend with Jack’s college friends.

My Baby Shower Cakes:

My Nightmare Cake:  I made this beautiful cake for a dear friend’s son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower (they knew they were having a boy).  The decorating went very well I didn’t stress too much about colors or the design.  Because this was my third time with the similar design.  The only challenge was to find time to decorate.  I worked on it after the boys went to bed and finished it during their nap time.  My plan was to deliver it the evening before the shower, approximately 10 miles away.  Here is the part that puts this cake into the “nightmare” category…as I was turning into the driveway of my friend’s house (thankfully her driveway is long and she didn’t see me pull in) the cake platter slipped off the seat and the cake tipped into the back of the seat.  Not falling on the floor (thankfully) but destroying my design and cracking the cake in half.  Believe me there was lots of tears and swearing and throwing frosting out of the car.   I went home called my friend to tell her that I was unable to deliver the cake that evening and hoped it would be okay if I took it directly to the church the next day.  I had another night of lost sleep making more frosting and redecorating the cake.   NEVER travel in a car with your decorated cake out of sight!!!  Since this cake, all the cakes I deliver ride on the front seat, I prefer to have all my cakes picked up, and I ALWAYS make sure a cake leaves my driveway in the front seat or on someone’s lap.


My Religious Cakes:  

My Birthday Cakes:

My Adventurous Cake:

I made this one for my cousin, Libby’s, birthday.  She is a very adventurous woman.   

My Hardest Cake:

Tricky was our first rooster.  Robbie loved him and when we would feed him worms through the fence Tricky would jump very high to get the worms and it looked like he was doing tricks for us.   I surprised Robbie for his 5th birthday with this cake.

My Easiest Cakes:

This is the picture on a t-shirt that our midwives give to each family they work with.  Some t-shirts say “born at home” and if the baby was born in the hospital, assisted by the midwives, the shirt says, “born into loving hands.”  I made this cake for an annual party our midwife has on her farm.

My Cupcakes:

I made this one for a bluebird party I had at my house.

These were for Robbie’s birthday treats at preschool and the week’s theme was “emotions”.

Project 365 Week 39

Project 365 Week 39

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

9/26/11 (Monday) –  I went to my bible study tonight.  Which meant Henry had to fall asleep without my cuddling.

9/27/11 (Tuesday) – Today was the day the beef was ready.  Henry and I loaded 425 pounds of meat into coolers.   I was expecting about 250 more pounds from the hanging weight of 904 pounds!  Which resulted in $500 less to cover my butchering costs.  My customers got a pretty good deal and hopefully good hamburger.

9/28/11 (Wednesday) – I picked up my new sewing machine today!  Thanks to Grandma Hamm and all my customers who bought decorated cakes, aprons and homemade soap, my brother-in-law, John’s company (Keeper Goals) and to my Mom who taught me to save my money.

9/29/11 (Thursday) – Pure  cuteness!  Waiting patiently for me to come downstairs.


This is a sign Robbie made for me for my birthday last year.  A list of food that is good to him.  There is another sign some where in our house that has healthy foods that he likes.  I am sorry to say it was time to put it in the fire.  Only because there are many many gifts like this that are made for me in the wood shop.  I have been thinking I need to dedicate a whole wall in our garage for these kinds of creations.

9/30/11 (Friday) – Homecoming for our school was this week.  There is a parade through town and all kids are encouraged to wear orange and black to school.  This year there was face painting in art class.

10/1/11 (Saturday) – Our weekend was full of many activities.  The older boys were in a Fall Fun Run in the morning.  After the run we went to the Lost Arts Fair in the historical section of our town especially for the Norwegian pastries. (Sorry no photos because I forgot my camera).

We had a windy week and a lot of apples fell off my tree.  We collected them and I started making applesauce and apple juice.

I have my very own Mehu-Maija (Finnish Juicer/Steamer) that makes making applesauce a breeze.

In the evening was Jack’s annual Redneck Bonfire with his college buddies.

10/2/11 (Sunday) – Here is one of Robbie’s great ideas.  He wanted to make a Tee Pee.  How he starts his ideas…”Mom I need some string.”  I have learned to ask “What is your plan?”  Sometimes I get, “It is a surprise.”  Or no response and he goes to Jack for some help.  Today it was, “I just have an idea.”


After Henry’s nap we spent the late afternoon/evening fulfilling one of my dream days…biking and canoeing on a beautiful fall day.

We dropped off the canoe at the County Road J bridge on the Little Wolf River.  We parked the car down river on McNitch Road, unloaded the bikes and biked back to the canoe, about 2 miles.

There were a few exciting spots on the river with trees across the river and a rapids that Jack didn’t remember very well.  We hit a few rocks and got hung up on a couple big ones.  Henry didn’t like the rapids when we were hitting rocks, but said he liked the rapids later after we were through them.  I felt the same way.  A huge high light of our trip was seeing a bald eagle very close.

Project 365 Week 37

Project 365 Week 37 

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

9/12/11 (Monday) – This morning was especially hard on my emotions.  It took me a year to finally make the decision that Vanilla needed to go.  I loved her like a family pet, which she was for all of her years with us.  She provided us with many calves which turned into beef or money for us.  She was gentle and very friendly.  And I hope her hamburger will be yummy.

9/13/11 (Tuesday) –  I love to grow Milo (A.K.A Broom corn).  I found a floral shop that will buy it from me, Dawn’s Bouquet  click here to go to her website.  She has a beautiful store full of many gifts, fresh flowers and she offers many services.

9/14/11 (Wednesday) –  Henry and I went to the library for story hour this morning, a field trip to the fire station.  I thought it was very nice for the kids to be able to climb on the trucks, get into the ambulance and see the firefighters’ safety gear.  The inside of the ambulance could be a little scary if you haven’t been in one before.

One of my dear friends took this photo, unfortunately I wasn’t able to crop myself out of it.

9/15/11 (Thursday) – Henry is up early enough to see the boys off on the school bus at 6:50 AM.  I don’t have time to get him dress and many times both of us are out there waiting for the bus in our PJs.  I am not able to bundle up and be as cute as Henry.

I have mentioned this before…Henry loves our chickens, may be even more than my “chicken boy” Robbie.  Many times a day he wants to catch one and hold them and hug them and play with them.  He can do it all by himself.

9/16/11 (Friday) – Today was my 41st birthday.  I thought my 30s were good and all through my 30s I felt like I was just 30 years old.  When I turned 40, I felt pretty good and think my 40s will be even better.  I still feel 40 and hope to feel this way until I find out what 50 feels like.

I spent the day with my dear friend, Kat and our two little boys.

Kat’s son loves to take pictures.  This is one of his best shots…the beautiful smile that makes me smile every time I see her!

9/17/11 (Saturday) – Jack Frost is about to arrive any day and freeze all my tomato plants.  I decided to pick them all and patiently wait for them to ripen.  Henry was a huge help because it didn’t matter if they were red, orange or green.

He even got some practice with some math skills – sorting.

This is the largest tomato plant that I have ever grown.  I have only gotten two ripe tomatoes off it so far.


9/18/11 (Sunday) –  Henry seems to enjoy playing with Legos as much as Charlie.  This is Henry’s own creation.

Project 365 Week 36

Project 365 Week 36

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

 I am a day and a half late with this post due to a busy weekend and a rough start to my week.

9/5/11 (Monday) – We are making good progress with the milk house project.  Henry was a big helper.

9/6/11 (Tuesday) –  Jack took a vacation day to work on the milk house.

After school the boys wanted Jack to help them saw down a tree that fell on our trail recently.  It was good use of after school energy!

9/7/11 (Wednesday) –  Henry is still pretty sad when the big brothers are at school.  He spends part of the mornings getting himself ready for school.  I didn’t tell him that the school doesn’t allow guns.

9/8/11 (Thursday) –  I was curious to know what was eating my tomatoes.  We set up the live trap and two days later caught this cute little bunny.

9/9/11 (Friday) –  Jack and the boys took a hike and Jack took this photo of our handsome boys.

9/10/11 (Saturday) – Priming the milk house, today.  Next time Jack and I really don’t need any helpers.  The clean-up was horrible and I hope the boys will remember that when we have to paint the milk house.

9/11/11 (Sunday) – Jack finished priming the milk house!

This evening we said our good-byes and road Vanilla one last time.  Vanilla went to a new home far, far away.

Project 365 Week 33

Project 365 Week 33

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

8/15/11 (Monday) –  I guess this is what our boys do when they find a pile of clean underwear (thankfully) and access to the camera.

8/16/11 (Tuesday) – While I was laying down with Henry for his nap Robbie thought it would be a good idea to make jello.  I was surprised to see a pan full of jello in the fridge and no sign of it being made in my kitchen.  I told him how proud I was that he followed the recipe and cleaned up after himself.  Robbie told me he made it from memory.  And it turned out!

The extra balloons from our piñata project.  Which is going very poorly!  There won’t be any piñata at our birthday parties.   I may be able to make one of the two piñatas that we started work for a family wedding that is planned for this fall.

Falling asleep while reading is one of my favorite things to do!  I love seeing our boys doing that too.

8/17/11 (Wednesday) –  This evening I had my book club meeting and Jack and the boys put up this tent.  Robbie and Charlie slept in the tent one night by themselves and one night with Jack.

I think this is my favorite picture of Henry this week.  I am guessing that he is trying to open the door.  Look at that determination!

8/18/11 (Thursday) – I picked my first tomatoes.  They surprised me and while picking them I found three very ripe ones that the chickens enjoyed eating.

My garlic is dry, cleaned and I started braiding them.

The morning glories that we planted earlier this summer are blooming now.  Next year we will have to tie the climbing string a lot higher.

8/19/11 (Friday) – Our first real blackberry picking and still not many ripe ones.  Robbie spent more time “blazing a trail” for us than picking berries.

Blueberry milk mustache.

8/20/11 (Saturday) –  Henry loves to feed the chickens and my cow, Vanilla.  Vanilla loves sweet corn stalks, cobs, and husks.

8/21/11 (Sunday) – Charlie’s birthday cake was baked today and Henry was my clean-up helper.  (He must have gotten some kind of bite on his left eyebrow)

Robbie made this pillowcase for Charlie’s present.

Project 365 Week 22

Project 365 Week 22

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

5/31/11 (Monday) –  Memorial day.

6/1/11 (Tuesday) – Henry loves to help me with the chicken chores.  He collects the eggs and puts them into the bucket.  Recently I got this amazing act of a two-year old being very gentle with eggs on video.  Today he helped me with the chickens and I carried the bucket up the barn stairs and set them down to do something else before taking them into the house.

I found Henry in the garden like this.

He got up to show me an egg and this time he wasn’t so gentle.

I see this every day we meet the boys at the end of the driveway, finally today I remembered my camera.

6/2/11 (Wednesday) –  We spent a lot of time inside today because of the wind.  I was able to dry four loads of laundry on the line very quickly and we baked a triple batch of banana bread (13 mini loaves).  Henry was my helper.


Charlie finished planting their flowers around the play set.   I am very pleased that our boys like to plant flowers, veggies and work in the garden.

6/3/11 (Thursday) –  When I went outside this morning I saw this tree in our pasture with a large broken limb.

Jack started sawing up the tree tonight.  After we got caught up with picking up the brush Henry and I played with Vanilla.

6/4/11 (Friday) –  Today was hot!  I hope my summer loving friends are happy that the 90+ degree temperatures have arrived.

We met friends this evening at our favorite county park.  There was swimming, drinking from the artesian well, jump roping, kickball and PIG was played on the basket ball court.

6/5/11 (Saturday) – Perfect day for flying a kite!

6/7/11 (Sunday) – Robbie and Charlie’s piano recital was this afternoon. This is the only photo I took of them today.  I should learn how to add videos to my post.

A Two-Year Old’s Birthday

A Two-Year Old’s Birthday

Usually the third child gets slighted on many things, not this time!

Our first two-year old’s birthday was when we were living in the garage with no running water while completely remodeling our house.  

His birthday cake was brownies.

Our second two-year old had a simple, not so fancy cake.

Because I was busy making this family tree cake.

Now our third two-year old hit the jack-pot.

One of the cutest cakes I have ever decorated.

Project 365 Week 7

Project 365 Week 6

Project 365:  Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

2/13/11 (Sunday) –  My wake-up crew took pictures of me sleeping, the flash was my wake up call.  I won’t scare you with those photos.  Instead here are two of the four handsome faces I wake up for every day. 


2/14/11 (Monday) Charlie’s farm.


2/15/11 (Tuesday) – I picked this apron pattern from The Apron Book  Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort by EllynAnne Geisel and vowed to myself to follow the pattern’s directions to a ‘T’!  


I wanted to prove to myself that I can follow directions,  I FAILED!    

Early in the directions I learned the pattern isn’t making this exact apron (matching waist-line fabric and bottom of apron fabric).  The directions were for the apron skirt to be in one piece – no bottom border.  I wanted my apron to look similar to the photo!  I already had my  fabric picked out and my vision was set.  I modified the design. 

My apron:


2/16/11 (Wednesday) – Playing outside in the first meltdown puddles.

Henry found brown grass to feed Vanilla.


2/17/11 (Thursday) – Busy day: skiing with friends in the fog,


Gym class with Robbie for Jump Rope for Heart,


and a visit to the emergency room.


 2/18/11 (Friday) – Dominos at nap-time.


2/19/11 (Saturday) – Iola Winter Sports Club Youth Ski Program – roasting hot dogs on the trail and reading The Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen. 

 We took the long way back to the chalet with Aunt Becca.


2/20/11 (Sunday) – Our sledding date was cancelled due to the lack of snow.  Instead we went bowling with our friends.  Jack was the photographer, not a bowler!   (The rest of the photos were taken by Jack)

 Later in the day a snow storm arrived.  Our drive home from bowling was a little scary.  Playing in the snow was a lot of fun!

Project 365 Week 5

Project 365:  Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

2/2/11 – (Wednesday) One of my weekly jobs is to throw hay down.   My supply of small square bales is low.  I am saving those for last, mainly because the small bales are stacked above my chicken coop and is great insulation.  I still have a good supply of the large round bales and so that is what I am feeding Vanilla (cow) and Mystique (horse).  This process is a lot more work, but a lot of fun for boys.

Once the hay is thrown down the hay shoot, the fun begins! 


2/3/11 – (Thursday) A necklace (made by my Aunt Anita) for me to wear while breastfeeding, it helps keep Henry’s busy hands occupied.


2/4/11 – (Friday) Tooth fairy pillows I made for my nephew

and for a friend.


2/5/11 – (Saturday) This is an unusal sight…Henry angry and crying! 

Henry rarely cries and never is angry.   His expression of anger or frustration is something I haven’t see before.   Today he was very hungry!  I often offer him food in hopes that he will eat something.  Apparently I didn’t offer him enough food today.  He climbed onto his chair and started crying and grunting and signing “eat”.


2/6/11 – (Sunday) Peace: a quiet house (and very clean), a cup of hot tea and good books to read.