Friday, March 30, 2007

Chandler's Castle Cake

This was a cake I made for a sweet little girl's first birthday.
Use Royal Icing, lt. yellow, lt. pink, lt. green and white.
Fill decorator bags.
Bake two 8" round cakes and one 6" round.
Trim off the tops with a serrated knife to make them level.
The towers were made from poster board, cut at 3 different lengths. I used packing tape to tape them and then wrapped plastic wrap around them. Be sure they are small enough to fit inside the ice cream cones. You can also use paper towel tubes.

I placed the 6" cake on a separator plate so that this could
be taken off for Chandler to eat. :o)
You could also use a piece of cardboard covered with plastic wrap or foil.
Ice both cakes and smoothed them using the hot knife method.
Hot knifing is heating water in a pan and letting your spatula get hot and then smooth your icing. You will have to heat your spatula every couple of swipes on the cake.
Use 2 or 3 straws cut to the height of the 8" cake.
This will help support the 6" cake and not become unbalanced
or sink down on the bottom cake.
If you don't use straws (or doll rods)
and a separator plate (or board) your cake will look lopsided.
Place the 6" cake towards the back of the 8".
With a 32 shell tip, add shell borders on the bottom part on both layers.
Always start in the back.
Use a 104 tip to add the pink garland.
Use a 32 shell tip to make a reverse shell for the top borders on both layers.
Place the tallest tower towards the back.
Push them down in about a 1/2 an inch (this is why you wrap them in plastic wrap).
Use straws, doll rods or sucker sticks (shown above) to help hold the towers in place.
I pushed these all the way down until they hit the separator plate.
Using a 21 shell tip, ice up the towers.
(Yes, I have hairy arms, but they look even WORSE in this photo.)
With an 18 shell tip, add a white zigzag to the base of the cones.
With a #3 tip, pipe out the windows and door on the towers in yellow.
Add drop flowers (or roses).
With a #3 tip and green icing,
add vines up the towers and around the flower clusters.
Add leaves.
Either be sure to leave room for the greeting on the front of the cake,
or make flags from card stock or paper, tape and a toothpick,
and then add the greeting on them. :o)
You may have to break away a small piece to the cone to get the toothpick in,
then add a little icing using a 18 or 21 tip. It will help hold the tooth pick still.
Cake fit for a Princess!

Here is the cake I made Olivia when she was 5, she is now 16.
Where does the time go?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saving on Shoes

My Frugal Friday Post is about my great find at the Thrift Stores last week. I don't know the last time I paid full price for a pair of shoes, except for my husband's work boots.
My first big find was a pair of New Balance shoes that were
just like new and MY size for
I also got Emma a pair of Sketchers like new for
Then at the Salvation Army I got a pair of
NEW $60 Liz Claiborn Flex sandals for

I Love the Thrift Store!!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Friendly Persuasion

Olivia loves old movies, I do too. They are usually so rich in content (and looong), something that is hard to find today. She checked out from our local library, Friendly Persuasion.

This was a good movie, but painfully convicting. This movie is a perfect example of a woman who was very beautiful and gentle, yet she wore the 'spiritual pants' (they were Quakers). And as a 'viewer' it was very obvious that she was legalistic and took the joy from everyone as she called the shots. She also made the men into wimps. Oh how many times I have done that. :o(

What I loved about the father was that he gently and patiently persuaded his wife to *see the light*. I thought it was beautiful how he loved her, and at the same time I was thinking that is how we women are to be. If we feel that our husbands are wrong about something, we should love them, be gentle, friendly, even be open to the chance that we may be wrong (ohh gasp! lol). This is what Paul meant in 1 Peter 3:1, when he said,

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that,
if any of them do not believe the word,
they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives...

Last week we received a newsletter from our friends that are missionaries in China. Here is a part of it:

Now it is our joy to see the W family every week. It is rare to see an unsaved man (with a saved wife) “see the light” through his wife’s testimony, earnestly enquire and “wholeheartedly” come to Christ. Although a Communist Party Member, Mr. W has testified to friends and relatives about the reality of God. He also started to lead his family in daily Bible reading and is an active participant in our weekly Bible classes. In a recent conversation he said, “You mean we should follow the Bible and not the teachings of men, right?” RIGHT!

Another man, Mr. Z is being influenced by his wife and by the testimony of others in the new group. He attended two special dinners with us but has not attended any services. He recently started reading God’s Word. After a quarrel with his wife, Mr. Z (in a phone conversation) told John that he should teach on the fruits of the spiritual life from Galatians 5 because his wife did not practice them! Hey, at least he is reading the Bible. It will be a miracle if his wife (48 years old, saved three years, capable and bossy, but wanting a Christian home) submits to God’s Word and her husband that by her behavior she might bring her husband to Christ, 1st Peter 3:1.

Let us remember our duty, our place,
then God will richly give us the desires of our hearts.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Has Sprung!

Here in Alabama it feels much more like summer. It is 85 degrees today! It is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I think ALL of our neighbors are using their mowers/weed eaters/blowers, and I even hear an air nailer behind us. :o) And the next block down there is a bulldozer clearing a lot. :o)

Emma planted several flowers for me yesterday (let's hope we don't have a late frost). Josh is working the sound for a friend's daughter's birthday party this afternoon.

Jeff is helping Olivia build an arbor in her herb/flower garden,
or I should say, Olivia is helping Jeff.

Last summer Emma made this sign for Olivia and 'planted' it in her garden while she was gone one day. She is our family comedian. Here Scrappy has found a cool place to rest...on top of some flowers trying to come up. :o)

I have been working at getting the editing done on our first DVD, which has taken me so much longer than I thought it would, but I think I am getting the hang of it and things should start to really move along now. :o)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Changing Seasons

Tuesdays are piano lessons, 4-H, the quilting guild, and grocery shopping, so it kind of our day to be out and about all day. Yesterday we had a pretty complicated class at the guild and Olivia (16) had asked me if she could stay at the library while I went to the guild, which last about 4 hours. Then Emma asked if she could too. hmmmm... After thinking about it, I said they could. Call me over protective or whatever you want, but it was really hard to leave them there. We are together all the time, but now my babies are just about grown. :o( I drove up to the guild ALONE, it was such an odd feeling. After I finished the class I returned to the library to find my two girls so glad I came back an hour early. lol I had given them permission to explore the shops downtown (about a block away), and then they went to the soda shop for their lunch. They had a good time, but they were ready to go home. :o)

I came home to Josh getting ready to leave for work (he has a night job right now). My how they grow up way too fast. I know people say that all the time, but it is so true!!! I'm trying to enjoy this season, it is good....different, but good. I have a looooong list of things I want to do, things that can only be done when you don't have little ones. The funny thing is, when I had 4 at home and between training them, doing 'school', homemaking, church activities, dear ol' hubby, and rarely having a moment to think, sometimes it felt that those days would last forever...well they don't! They are over in a blink!

This season is good too! I love when we sit around the table talking, adult like conversations. :o) Yesterday was especially good... when we got home, the girls pulled these beautiful salt and pepper shakers (pictured above) they bought FOR ME while on their outing. How sweet is that?!!! THEN, just before Josh left for work he gave me $20 towards 'rent' or whatever! WOW!!!! I really like THAT! So I'm rethinking this whole season thing. lol Each season has it's challenges and rewards! PRAISE GOD! I wonder what's next???

Enjoy whichever season you are passes quickly!

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is:
fear God and keep His commandments,
because this applies to every person.

For God will bring every act to judgment,
everything which is hidden,
whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Saturday, March 17, 2007


As we prepare for worship...

Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who are and were, and are to come: We, who are not worthy of the least of your mercies, humbly present ourselves in your presence. We come to you, our Creator and Redeemer, with honor, adoration, and praise. Enable us by your good Spirit to attend with undistracted minds, with reverence and awe, to the holy duties to which you are calling us today. Allow us, we pray, to come with humble boldness into the holy of holies, by the new and living way into your presence Christ has made ready for us through his sacrifice. Teach us from your word. May we read it with wise and understanding hearts. Prepare us to sing your praises with music in our hearts, and to offer you acceptable worship. Teach us to pray; inspire us with a spirit of devotion; enable us to exercise faith in every moment of our worship. And let all we do be done to the Glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God; and graciously accept us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Adapted from the Synod of New York and Philadelphia's 1787 proposed revision of the Directory for Worship.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Love Your Neighbor

As Christians we have a duty to love/serve our neighbors. One way our family serves is by Jeff and Josh volunteering with the local fire department. Everyone should support their local departments, whether they are volunteer or paid. Even paid firefighters do not get paid very much.

Some may be surprised what situations fire departments are called out to. They not only respond to house and field fires, but they are called out to all 911 calls. Often there are calls to elderly people that have fallen, or that are having trouble breathing. They are called out for children that have a high fever, or have locked themselves in a car (you'd be surprised how often this happens).
They respond to reports of trees down in the roadways, which usually happens during storms and at night. They are first responders when a tornado comes through. They are called out for missing persons, who are usually children. Last year a middle aged woman with emotional issues disappeared. Our firefighters (and other departments) spent several days looking for her, some even took time from their regular jobs. Sadly she was found dead on the fifth day. This was emotionally and physically draining for all of us.

They are called to domestic violence situations, although, THANKFULLY they do have to wait until law enforcement is on the scene. These calls concern me the most when my husband and son respond. Almost always there is alcohol or drugs involved. They also get called to suicidal situations. There are alot of hurting people out there.

Probably what they respond mostly to are car accidents. These can be especially difficult. Some are simple fender benders, some are bloody and deadly. We live in a small community where everyone knows everyone. About 3-4 years ago Jeff responded to a call of a wreck , it was 2 teen girls (senior year of high school). One girl was ejected from the car, Jeff saw was the daughter of one of his fellow firefighters. This shook all of us to the core, and still effects us today. The wonderful thing is she was a Christian. The car that hit the girls, the driver was drinking, and he was not injured.

Last week Jeff responded to a call at 5:15 am. The speeder (clocked at 95 mph by a trooper) was ejected from his car, then ran over twice by passing trucks. It was a very difficult scene, yes, he was dead. The other (innocent) man in the truck he hit, the firefighters had to cut him out of his truck, he died later in the day.

Every time my guys are on a call, I pray. I pray for their safety, and pray for the ones they are responding to. Not only do they respond to all these types of calls, but they have meetings twice a month and they have trainings to go to all year long. All of this is volunteer, it's a part of loving our neighbor!

Saturday was our annual fund raiser,
a Spaghetti Supper and Auction.

Here Josh is cleaning the kitchen.

This is put on at the high school and the fire fighters and their families do all the work. This year we had a BIG turn out. We worked hard all evening. This is one way you can support your local fire department, take part in their fund raisers.

Olivia is adding the glaze to the cinnamon rolls.

Paying your fire dues each year is another way to support your department. Where we live, dues are voluntary.
Emma cutting tomatoes for the salad.

Keep the batteries in your smoke alarms fresh, every minute counts when there is a fire, and it may be my husband coming in to find you if you cannot get out in time.

Jeff and Olivia working the serving line.

We sleep with the fire radio next to our bed. Jeff and Josh are ready to go at a moment's notice. I am so proud of them. As I type this they are both gone to the scene of a car accident. Please pray for and support your local department, they are a special breed of people.

Be it blaze or blood they will be there!

Jeff's brother is also a volunteer fireman in upstate New York. He was voted Fireman of the Year a few years ago. Yep...we're proud!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hanging Dish Towel

Cut a piece of fabric 10" by 13" (this does not need to be exact).
Cut a dish towel in half.
Fold it length wise with right sides facing together.
Using a straight stitch, sew with a 1/2" seam, one short end and then the long raw edge,
leaving the remaining short end open.
Turn it right side out and tuck one corner up into the opposite corner.
You will have a triangle pocket.
Be sure that your long seam is facing up as shown above.
When you are completely finished,
you will want this seam to be folded on the inside.
With the open (raw edge), short end, turn it up inside the sleeve about an inch.
Press it.
Using a basting stitch (by hand or machine),
gather your towel's raw edge to the width that
would just fit inside your sleeve, knot it off.

Tuck the raw, gathered edge into the opening of the sleeve and stitch.
It would be good to use a denim needle for this,
because with all these gathers it is hard on the needle.
Be careful not to force it and break the needle (like I did).
I also had to lift my presser foot some.
Make a button hole just below the triangle pocket
(which is pointing upward).
(Yes, this button hole looks AWFUL!)

Stitch a straight seam on the 2 sides of the triangle pocket.
Sew your button just below where the towel meets the sleeve.

I tried a few different sizes of sleeves, until I found one that I liked.
I also tried tri-folding the towel (the green one to the right),
rather than gathering it, that worked nicely too.