Monday, June 30, 2014


My father-in-law, Dean, passed away yesterday. It was God's perfect timing. 

Mary Margaret & Dean out west, approx. mid-1960's

Dean had a lot of health issues including congestive heart failure. He was on two oxygen tanks this past week but was still in good spirits. In fact, I really believe he was happier at the retirement community than he had been for awhile. He got a lot of attention and people loved him. They called "Dean-O" when he walked down the hall. And when he got back from skilled nursing last week, they clapped in the dining room. He said he felt like a celebrity.

Yesterday evening we went up to the assisted living community to clean out his room. The two nurses who found him told us the story. 

They got him ready for breakfast and he ate yesterday morning. Then he asked to sit on the side of his bed and for a cup of water. The nurses were speaking to him and got him some water. They left his room for 2 minutes and when they came back, he was gone. What a wonderful way to go! 

We are so grateful that he didn't struggle. We are happy knowing that Dean went "home". He had told us for awhile he was ready to go "home" to be with his wife, Mary Margaret, who passed away in 2005. We know that he is now with Jesus and the friends and family that went before him. 

We have joy in knowing we will see him again. Not because of our "good works" here on earth but only through Christ's grace and love.

Taken on Dean's 88th birthday
From left to right: me, my hubby & Dean

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cookie Photos

This week I baked cupcakes, cookies and two cakes for a birthday and graduation party. It was really fun but I am glad it is over. I am hurting quite a bit. 

We leave Monday morning for New Jersey where I will be getting another four days of Calmare treatment for my RSD. Please pray that it lasts for a bit longer than it did in March/April. It would be really nice to get off pain medicine again. 

And now, here are the cookies: 

Double chocolate chunk drizzled with dark chocolate

Peanut butter & Hersey's kisses

Orange dreamsicle with orange icing

Key lime pie with lime icing

Blue raspberry snow cone sugar cookies

M&M chocolate chip with milk chocolate drizzle

Sugar cookies in the shape of baseball bats and baseballs.
I hand painted the "wood" grain with food coloring gel.

Sugar cookies in the shape of golf clubs, golf balls and a putting green.
The putting green cookies may be my favorite cookie every.

And the cake...

White chocolate chips on all four sides, blue marshmallow fondant and a camouflage vanilla cake center. Yum!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cupcake Photos

Yesterday I baked for over 8 hours and got a lot accomplished. I baked all the cupcakes, most of the cookies and the cake.

This morning I decorated the cupcakes which was so fun! I will do another post with the cookies since there are so many. 

We had baked goods all over the house last night.

In the laundry room!

On the dining room table.

And here are the cupcakes! 

From L to R: Vanilla, S'mores and Chocolate Lovers.
Vanilla tie-dye cupcakes with sweet vanilla icing.
The graduation colors are medium blue & white.
These have blue sprinkles but they are hard to see in this photo. 2 dozen.
Another view of the tie dye cupcakes.

Chocolate Lovers Cupcakes: chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing, Lindt chocolate squares and dark chocolate drizzle. 2 dozen.
Another view of the chocolate lovers.

The house smelled amazing this morning! It has been over a year since I fried bacon. Yum!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon cupcakes: chocolate cake, peanut butter icing, bacon and chocolate drizzle. 2 dozen.

S'mores cupcakes. Chocolate cake with crumbles of graham cracker and marshmallows in the batter with marshmallow cream icing and drizzled with chocolate and a piece of graham cracker on top. 2 dozen.

White chocolate "G"s since the graduation boy's name is Garrett. I make little inverted triangles on the bottom so I can easily stick them in each cupcake.

Blue Velvet cupcakes: blue velvet cake mix with cream cheese icing and white chocolate "G" topping.
I was considering doing some with "2014" but since the graduation is outside, I went with the easier "G".

I have 11 dozen for the graduation party, 2 dozen for the nurses at the assisted living community and a few extras for my father-in-law. 

I have to ice and decorate the cake, bake and decorate 8 dozen sugar cookies and bake M&M cookies. I'm hoping to finish by tonight since I would love time to actually get ready for the graduation party tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Baking a Camo Cake

The last few days and the next few days include some serious baking. I was asked to do the desserts for a graduation party on Saturday. The guest count is around 75. That is a lot of desserts, especially when a good number of them will be teenage boys. 

Then I was asked to do a birthday cake for one of my best friend's daughter. How could I say no? The cake needed to feed 20 and so I did a stacked double 9x13.

Both the graduation boy and the birthday girl wanted a camouflage cake. Yup, we live in the country. 

Here is the birthday girl's finished cake. Her mom is picking it up tomorrow. 

And guess who helped roll out the fondant? My husband of almost 12 years. 

The cake is camouflage both inside and out. Wal-Mart sells this mix: 

But you can easily make your own camouflage cake batter. I did for three of the four cakes and it came out the same as Duff's brand. Just use white or yellow cake mix. You also need green and brown food coloring. I love food gel which is more concentrated. I found mine on Amazon. The light green is one drop of green, the dark green is 3 drops of brown and 3 drops of green, the brown is 5 drops of brown and the tan is one drop of brown. Easy. 

Then use a spoon to spoon the batter into the cake pans. This part takes a bit of time since you are going back and forth between the bowls.

 I made 4 cakes and 3 cupcakes. The cupcakes went to my father-in-law who ate 2 immediately.

The finished cakes were pretty impressive in my opinion. I didn't do anything special besides spooning the batter in the pans.

Savannah's cake got bright "hunter" orange icing in between the layers. The graduation cake will have green in between. 

I "dirty" iced the cake twice making sure to use a light layer of royal icing. Royal icing is basically powdered sugar, butter, water and meringue powder. Some people also add cream of tartar which I have done in the past. Today I didn't have it and so I skipped it. It came out just as well. 

 I stuck the cake in the fridge to harden the icing quicker in between icings.

I then used Fondaric's buttercream fondant which is SUPER yummy. I buy mine on Amazon for about $12 for two pounds. I used about a pound on this cake to give you an idea. This was a large cake. 

Basically I separated the fondant into four bowls and mixed the same colors of food gel as I did with the cake batter. The hubby helped which is why he has on gloves. I didn't and my hands turned lovely colors. But by the end of the day, it had washed off and I am back to having normal hands. 

We rolled the fondant into little balls and basically just smooched them altogether. Make sure you use powdered sugar so they don't stick to the wax paper.

Rolling fondant is a nice work out. It took us about 15 minutes to roll. 

Then we put the cake next to the rolled fondant and flipped it onto the cake. It worked great. This was my first time using fondant to cover the entire cake and couldn't believe it worked on the first shot. I love when that happens. 

Then I decorated the borders with orange icing and stuck on some sugar cookies I had made earlier in the day.

The entire cake took me about 4 hours not including the cooling time. It weighs a ton. 

Tomorrow's baking schedule includes baking 600 cookies and dirty icing the second camouflage cake. Thankfully all the dough is made for the cookies. I love baking!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recent Ebay Sales & an Online Consignment UPDATE

First a few ebay sales from this past week:

1. Ann Taylor LOFT printed dress, sold for $16.50. 

2. New Talbots black and white skirt, sold for $28. 

3. Milly of New York silk dress, sold for $55. 

4. An awesome vintage 1980's tiger jacket, sold for $50. 

5. New Gap orange pants, sold for $29. 

6. Eurkea "Power Paw", sold for $5. This was my father-in-law's and I knew they brought about $5 on ebay. I probably couldn't have gotten 50 cents for it at the yard sale. Super easy to list and ship. 

7. Banana Republic cropped green pants, sold for $19. 

8. Laura Ashley printed floral dress, sold for $19. 

If you didn't read the "Online Consignment" post, feel free to do so HERE. Basically I sent two bags of clothing to two different companies earlier this month. 

And guess what? I got two checks which totaled $140.65! was sent 19 items and they chose to keep 14 of those items. They paid me $100.65 plus another possible $24 from a St. John top they took on consignment. You can see the list of items they kept HERE was sent 17 items which were of a lower price point. They accepted 13 items and paid me $40. 

If you haven't considered selling to an online consignment shop, you may want to change your mind. I took pieces that weren't selling on ebay and sent them away for cash. It was so much easier to just bag them up and send them out than it was to wash, steam, photograph and list them on ebay.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Photos from around the house

I am LOVING Jamberry nail wraps. I am going to have a giveaway later this week so stay tuned. My awesome sister sent me a surprise box in the mail and the turquoise nail polish came from her. It is Sally Hansen's "Please Sea Me". Isn't it fun? 

I came home from visiting my father-in-law today to freshly washed windows. They look so much better! 

And the hubby vacuumed the van so we have a clean vehicle to travel to New Jersey for my Calmare treatment next week. 

I have two events to bake for this week - a 12th birthday party and a graduation party. I am excited to get started. I have 600 cookies, 100 cupcakes and three cakes to bake. Thankfully most of this can be done sitting down.


That same awesome sister also sent me a fun reusable cup. She had purchased me one a few years ago as one of my Christmas gifts. I broke the straw and was using a tiny little straw. Then I lost the cup last week. I use it every day and was really missing it. This one came in the mail and I love the curvy straw. 

I'm so thankful for easy meals. I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home today and found this chicken. It isn't healthy but I was exhausted. 

My mom & sister gave us a "welcome" mat a few years ago. It kind of wore out and so I spray painted it yesterday. Who knows if it will last but for now it is making me smile. 

Do you see the white rectangle on the grass? It is also making me smile. Plus we have a hole on the back hill. I'm hoping it is a rabbit hole and not an abnormally large snake hole. 

This is a view from the back porch. So pretty!

This past weekend I took way too many hours and painted and sealed the kitchen floor grout.

Here is the before:

And the after. See how much whiter it is? It took about 12 hours. Yes, you read that right. And I still have about 1/3 of the floor to do. Yikes.

 Veggie straws and pea crisps (in the plastic bag) are yummy. Even the hubby likes them.

We buy these on Amazon. They are seriously yummy. 

 Gummy vitamins make taking vitamins MUCH easier. They are like candy. I have a hard time swallowing large pills.

And medicine. I hate taking these but I am thankful they are there. Some days it is really hard to walk and my pain medicine helps. I am also thankful we are going back to the New Jersey doctor for another round of Calmare next week.