Thursday, June 19, 2014

Holiday Life Hacks

Each of these has some hits and misses on the "Hack" videos, but are fun to watch.

And for a Bonus, here's the "Summer Hack" edition.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grumpy Cat's Worse Christmas Ever....Really?

You know, you see these animal videos go viral and think....Why didn't I think of that?  Well, the owners of Grumpy Cat, have gone beyond marketing images and are now making a Christmas movie for Lifetime. The storyline reads as " Grumpy stars as a lonely kitty in a mall pet store, where she deters potential owners with her grouchy face deters. Her bad luck changes when a 12-year-old girl named Chyrstal falls head over paws for the sour puss." 

Let me say, as a Christmas Movie Junkie, my expectations aren't exactly high, but I'll keep an OPEN MIND and let you know, just how this masterpiece turns out. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Hello Kidney Cake... A Special Celebration!

This past week, my niece celebrated her 1 year anniversary of her kidney transplant. Although her health has been far from perfect this past year, we are blessed by the donation and the life saving changes because of it.
She chose to celebrate and honor the donor of her kidney by releasing balloons with her family.

 I wanted to honor her and celebrate her accomplishments by making her a special cake. I knew I wanted to make her a Kidney cake, but after doing a search for ideas, I was flooded with choices. Believe it or not, alot of people have made Kidney cakes. Some are silly, others more realistic and some just have a weird color and I wasn't sure I wanted to go there.

Since my niece is 12, I wanted to be more girl friendly. Once I crossed paths with this photo and the group online, I knew I wanted to use it as my inspiration.

If you are interested in purchasing any Hello Kidney products or connecting with the group, you can do so at these links... 

 Hello Kidney On Facebook  

Hello Kidney T-Shirts

Now, I'd like to say upfront.  I'm far from being a cake expert, but I've dabbled in cake decorating a bit. 17 years ago or more, my friend called me and said.."Hey, lets go sign up for a cake decorating class". She was trying to find a new hobby, so I volunteered to tag along. We bought all the necessary supplies, enjoyed the class, but once we were done she never used those tools again. Me on the other hand, had a 2 year old daughter and put my skills to use for birthday cakes and parties throughout her childhood. Some turned out great, others so, so.  This one, I happen to be pretty proud of and even happier at how simple it was to make. Here are a few photos from the process.

 I started with a 9x13 cake, a paper template and a frozen cake. Using a frozen cake, warmed just a tad, gives you stability to cut your cake into the shape you want.

 I used the template as a guide and just used a sharp knife to cut a guide on top of the cake. Once I had my guide, I went back with a longer knife and carved the cake out. If you are having difficulty carving it, because it's still to frozen, just let it sit a few minutes and try again.

One of the most important steps in making a decorative cake is putting 2 layers of frosting on. The first, is your "crumb layer". You frost the cake quickly, with a thin layer of frosting, pop it back in the fridge or freezer for a few and then come back to put your final and thicker layer on. This keeps all those crazy crumbs from your carving taking over your final frosting master piece. For more details on crumb coating your cake, check out Martha Stewart's video tutorial.

This cake only required two colors, but two of the hardest colors to mix. Black and Red. I just so happened to have Wilton's tubes of each, which made my task even easier. Easier on time, but these tubs can give your hands a workout. I always seem to find these tubes on clearance after holidays and pick them up for future use. Christmas Red, can be used for Valentines Day, Valentines Red, can be used around the Fourth of July...ect! Just think ahead and outside of the box.

Here is my final piece.....

My 19 year old daughter was pretty impressed, being a Hello Kitty junkie. When I told her "to bad I never made you a Hello Kitty cake as a kid". I was quickly told "I still can", so I'll have to keep that in mind.

Now, on to the most important part of the story, delivering it to my niece.  As you can see from the photos, her smile tells the story.

Now on to more important things. Let me take a moment to share Shae's story and tell you how you can find out more information or get support following a diagnosis. In a matter of months and less then a year, my niece Shaelyn went from being a healthy young runner, to a fragile young lady, needing a desperate kidney transplant. After multiple misdiagnoses, and lost previous time, she was diagnosed with  Wegener's Granulomatosis. 

The kidney loss was a result of lost time treating her disease. Before she could be put on the transplant list, her disease needed to be stabilized. This was accomplished and just 6 days after being put on the transplant list, she was called with the news. She had a donor!

Today, her life is getting back to a "new normal". She's been home-schooled this past year, but plans of returning to middle school in the Fall. They've also been working hard at supporting and bringing awareness to the treatment of Wegeners Granulomotosis and Vasculitis by organizing a non-profit called W.G. Warriors.  In support, many of her friends and family, wear Red on Wednesdays to support Shae and W.G. warriors all over the world.

To support or contact W.G. Warriors, you can locate them on the web and Facebook.

W.G. Warriors Web Site

W.G. Warriors Facebook Page