Sunday, December 25, 2011


Merry Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas everyone! Oh how I do love Christmas and the pure joy that seems to seep out each crack and crevice of any one you run into. Parts of the Midwest were snow-less on this very day, but it was convenient for traveling folks.

Eve. Our festivities began at 5pm with my brother and his girlfriend in tow. We had to get some last minute gifts for our annual white-elephant gift exchange! Of course. Leave it to my brother to wait until the LAST minute. But it surely led to some fun times. We proceeded on our way to my aunts house where dinner, family, friends, and presents were waiting. We took Rigby, our new puppy, who turned out to be a handful, but it was worth the smiles he brought to many faces. After we all ate and told stories that made milk/wine shoot out of our noses, we started circling up for our gift exchange. After an hour of opening, wheeling, dealing, stealing, yelling, hiding, and walking away happy, I unfortunately ended up with a mini pool table and a Huskers bottle-opener. I will not be putting either of these to use anytime soon. I really should have opened my own coffee themed present that I put into the mix. My cousin Kay and I talked in English accents the ENTIRE night. It was rather hilarious. It is so funny that you will prolly fall of your chair laughing. Then my other cousin and I looked at her new house and talked about the wedding coming in June! Cannot wait to be a bridesmaid! Woooo!

Christmas. I woke up late, showered, and got ready for my brother, sister, and her boyfriend to come over for present opening and dinner. It was a small gathering but a fun one nonetheless. I got a few fun things and money for a winter coat! I just love family time and all of the fun that comes from it. Babs, my brothers girlfriend is teaching me how to knit tonight during the second half of Daaaaaaa Bears game! I hope I can make a scarf real fast.

I got to bake with my good friend, Sarah, for our holiday happenings! Here is what we made! We may have gone a tad overboard but had so much fun adding big chunks of holiday goodness to these previously simple almond bark pretzels......Oh, and this was only 1/3 of our goodies! We gave them as gifts. :)
Finals are done. Grades are posted. I am happy. I am home!

Wow it sure does feel good! I was worn out beyond what I thought was possible. Then I elect to work extra hours over break. Ha. WHY? Well, because Christmas is a little expensive! So many people I love that I want to give something to, and so much baking to do. I suppose it all costs money. I have so much blogging to catch up on. Ha ha....shoot. I think, to be organized I will just start a new post!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Here we go! Christmas baking!

Hello Wednesday of Dead Week at Iowa State University! I decided to make triple peppermint sugar cookies last night for our connection group Christmas party! I totally cheated and used pre-made dough, pre-frosting, and already broken candy canes that I crushed just a little bit more. What can I say, I was pressed for time! But nonetheless they were a hit and the recipe made so many cookies! So I shared with our neighbors, the local coffee shop staff, and two apartments full of friends in the building next to mine! I got to hang out with a dear friend of mine, Divya, for a while after I delivered her cookies! She is the biggest encourager ever and I am constantly blessed by her when we get to see each other. Yay for friends that live so close! And now I want to bake more, because it all started with the peppermint. Pinterest has me making...oh I don't know...300 recipes for the holidays! I cannot stop pinning all of the cute things I want to make and share with my family. It does not help that I have been on a diet since September 3rd and will not eat any of these delicious goodies. Maybe I will have to give myself grace for Christmas Eve and Christmas! ;)

Anyways, I should really get back to writing papers for grades instead of using blogging as a valid excuse. Because it is. Ha.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Its Beginning To Look A LOT Like Christmas!!!

Oh happy day! Only two weeks until my semester is done-finished-over-the end, can you tell I am ready!? I have so many ideas for Christmas. Mainly I wish I had a home to decorate, because let's face it, I would probably paint the house in warm winter colors just for the holidays. But, because I don't, I will decorate my parents home and bake a ton! I do want to make ornaments for my Malawi teammates. If it works I will post a pic or two!

As for baking, I wanted to make this Chocolate Wasted Cake but I got sick over Thanksgiving break so that put a damper on things. I also did not get my chocolate covered espresso beans made. Bummer!!! But Christmas break will yield a plethora of desserts as gifts and for our Eve festivities. I want to dip pretzels really badly! I also want to make some sort of peppermint cookie, cake, cupcake, or SOMETHING!

A new goal of mine: I want to pick apart a Psalms or two a day and write all over my bible so that I can revisit my notes later! So far I am loving it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Few Thoughts

I want to bake more than I do. It is such a fun and stress reducing activity that lets my creative juices flow. I decided to bake my Orthodontist and his team my trademark Spice Cupcakes. This time I am making an almond butter-cream frosting and topping it with crushed sugar crystals, ground coffee beans, and grated chocolate flakes for that professional finish. They deserve it!! I also will be making a thank you for a couple guys that built me a bench for our balcony! Triple chocolate cookies with vanilla butter-cream sandwiched between 2 gooey morsels. YUM! I know these will be good! I also cannot wait to go home for Thanksgiving break! I will, of course, be making my famous truffles for dessert. I am thinking about trying a new flavor other than original, mint, and pretzel. Any ideas?!? Maybe a peanut butter one is in order! I LOVE peanut butter. And after the holiday I will be making a Chocolate Wasted Cake that I found on Pinterest. I will add a touch of peanut butter for the recipient who loves peanut butter like I do. I am sorry this post is without a picture but just wait for the next 2 weeks and I will have many posts to look at.

And then planning, baking, and all things CHRISTMAS will be unleashed! Bring it on! Wooo!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wedding Cake!

Wedding cake number one done and being eaten! WoooHooo! I am pretty pleased with how this one came out. The bride and groom were happy too! I got the frosting idea from "i am baker" and tried it out once last Spring, so when Kendra told me she needed a wedding cake, I stepped up to the challenge. We talked a lot about her wedding while we couldn't sleep due to the dog fights in Africa. She took my suggestion of a dessert bar and asked her talented friends to bake lots of goodies! She sent me a text message about 2 months ago worried about her cake and I told her I would be happy to do it. It was a really neat way I could contribute to her big day! Plus that, it served as my wedding gift to the happy couple!!

Here is what went into the cake. Two boxes of vanilla cake mix into two 10 inch and two 6 inch pans. Baked like normal, but for less time. I used a classic buttercream frosting to make roses out of frosting with a 1mm tip. Then I added 24 real roses to bring in the colors of the wedding to the cake! It weighed a TON! It was really fun to make and I had friends hanging out with me all day while I worked on it! We all went to Kenda and Beau's wedding together and got the cake to the reception without any problems! Praise the Lord we didn't hit a bump on our drive!!! I was really blessed with the compliments I recieved but I am really really blessed to have this God-given skill. I sure hope I get to use it again real soon. ;)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Smith Wedding

Mr. & Mrs. Smith, two of the most fun people I have ever met, got married September 24th and asked me to do their reception hall and all that jazz. It was so fun helping Sarah, a friend of about 15 years, plan all the decor, order the apples, and just help her ideas play out. The picture to the left is the area where the dinner and mingling took place. I am sorry for the ghost-like image in the middle but I had to avoid using the flash. The strands and strands of hundreds of twinkle lights were all borrowed and put up the day before along with the tulle. The tables were set by the staff at the reception hall. The tables had four different centerpieces pieced together with candles, roses, mirrors, glass containers, and rose petals. The entry way had the gift table and the generation table. Both were decorated with apples, lights, candles, and roses to help everything flow together. Their guest-book was unique and required no awkward waiting line to place your signature in a memory book. They had stamped note cards at each place setting with instructions on the wedding favor. The favor was an apple, to tie in all of their wedding colors, with a pinned in leaf containing instructions on how to make their guest book. It was really fun to see people writing notes to the bride and groom. The wedding was Christ centered and the day was breath taking. Thanks go to Mr. and Mrs. Smith for such an incredible day!
(This is the wedding favor)

Happy Friday!

Today is a wonderful day and the sun is shining and the temperature is bearable in good ole' Ames Iowa! Tomorrow is a big day for me. I am officially making my first "cut-the-cake" wedding cake! Holy Cow I am getting nervous about this task. I went to the flower shop yesterday and have 24 dozen white and orange roses being chilled. I have the cake pans and mixers. I picked out my frosting recipe with the help of my brothers Matt, and McClain, and I am ready to get to work bright and early.

I m blessed to be making this cake for my tent mate of 6 weeks, Kendra. We spent last summer in Africa together sharing our lives with orphans. She is such an amazing friend and woman of God and I am honored to be a part of her HUGE day.

Oh my goodness golly I LOVE weddings.