Monday, April 30, 2012

Pirate Birthday Cake DIY

Well every year this time I get out my baking hat…not I do not have a baking hat, but I might look into it, anyway I get out my baking hat to make my dear ‘nephew’ Grant Andrew his birthday cake. Not for sure how this got started, but I know my friend Mary now knows the ropes…have Grant call me and ask me for the cake. This year when he called me and said he wanted a pirate cake my mind went back to the pirate cake we saw in the case at Hy-Vee last year and thought oh no, he isn’t serious…but oh yes he was. Grant was wanting a pirate SHIP cake, 3-D. Now for those of you who have followed the blog you know I have made a 3-D cake before, it was no surprise for Grant and it was about the death of me [see Handy Manny cake] so I took to my new inspiration Pinterest and found a lot of pirate ship cakes that even I could recreate without major pain.

Here is how it went down…

I started by baking off two 9x13 chocolate cakes. I put waxed paper in the bottom so they came out easy and let them cool thoroughly. If I had my choice I would have made them the day before and let the set overnight but I didn’t have that luxury.

I wrapped a cutting board in aluminum foil and placed one cake face down in the middle of the board, the other cake I had on a cutting board nearby so I could cut tiers out of them for the front and back of the ship. Using some of the canned frosting I made small layers of frosting to keep the cake together and cut slivers for the front and back of the ship.

After stacking I started carving using a serrated knife. Then starting with the tops of the front and back and the inside or hull of the ship frost using the canned frosting in a finished layer.

Once the tops and hull were frosted I unwrapped all the fun sized Twix bars so they were easy to access and put on the sides of the cake. Frost in a thin layer one side at a time and add the Twix bars up the side, cutting in the ends when needed. I then frosted the front and back smooth.

On top of the cake I used pretzel rods and made a rail around the perimeter of the ship. Then I created a treasure chest by cutting approximately quarter inch off the Rice Krispy Treat and Ho-Ho. I frosted the entire Rice Krispy treat and the cut end of the Ho-Ho and wrapped a piece of the pull and peel Twizzler around the Ho-Ho and secured with frosting and placed them in the hull of the ship. I used the gold M&M’s and sprinkled them around the treasure chest to show the gold spilling out.

Using the fudge strip cookies and a pretzel rod I created a cannon (yes I realize that my cannon is shooting back over the ship) and stacked gob stoppers up as cannon balls. I then took additional pretzel rods and reduced one down and adhered it with frosting and then wrapped them with a Twizzler piece and secure again with some frosting.

A couple finishing touches are the gummie lifesavers in the front and back of the cake, my cross looking mast (at least it was close to Easter), tying knots in the Twizzlers and hanging them over the edge of the ship, added some pirate men that I bought at Toy’s R Us and putting blue cotton candy around the edge of the ship. Warning if you do this the night before and it is humid the moisture will be sucked out of the cotton candy and it will look a little lifeless. Still pretty neat looking but just not as cool as the full-fledged waves I had in mind.

I will say this wasn’t super easy to cut, you will have to disassemble it to some degree by removing the pretzel rods but get a big knife and start slicing away.

I'll make the same statement I made last year...cupcakes from here on out, but we'll see what kind of pushover I will be come next year.

Happy 4th Birthday Captain Grant Andrew!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer Wear

So I am not a fashion and beauty person...I like fashion and I like trends in hair and make-up but lets be honest in the world of fertilizer it really doesn't resonate like it would in many other industries. I also feel I can't pull off most of the 'trends' because well the clothes don't fit me to my liking and the make-up and hair seem overdone for my style. BUT...this week for some reason I am going to have 2, count them TWO posts about fashion and beauty and the only reason is that I am so stinking excited about these two items this week.

Summer for me is usually about being at a tradeshow, roping or the farm so let's just say my legs don't get a lot of tan on them and I'm usually covered in sweat and dirt, or worse. But when I am in the the office or do have the opportunity to do something in the city I do love a sun dress. There is something so summery and comforting about a soft cotton sundress. They are perfect to roll up and pack into a suitcase or overnight bag and can be very versatile...dressed up or dressed down. Yesterday when I was at Target over my lunch break I saw hundreds of cute dresses so I pulled a few and low and behold they fit, were comfortable and looked cute so well I bought them. The best part is they were all under $30 each and came in a variety of colors and sizes.

From left to right: Pink draw string waist dress with sequin across the top $27.00; black simple cotton dress on sale for $15 this week and yes I have the same one in grey; black chiffon overlay with tie $29.00 (I think the tag is missing from it)

I also grabbed a cute short sleeved white sweater also for $15 to put over the pink dress or a number of other dresses in my closet!
The sale is in this week's circular so I wouldn't wait too long, I'm guessing colors and sizes will be limited on most sale items come Sunday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In love with the Sock Bun

There are both good things and bad about my hair getting longer, or should I say longer than it has ever been, good is I can do so much more with it including what I am going to tell you about today, bad is the tangles...holy cow tangles! Anyway on Pinterest (where else does anyone find anything these days) I found a post about a Sock curiosity caught me and I learned what it was...basically taking a sock, cutting the toe out of it, rolling it into a doughnut and wrapping you hair around it to make a beautiful and simple bun.

I tried it and it worked and I love it! It is so easy and with a couple bobby pins I can keep it in for quite a while as long as I don't hit my head on something which surprisingly happens quite often I have determined. I used a knee sock that the dryer at it's match, but will probably go buy a pair of brown socks and cut them at different lengths so I have two and they match my hair better than the purple zebra striped sock I am using now!

Sorry for the sideways shot of my unmade bed and gym bag.

Here is a link to a sock bun tutorial and even how you can make sock bun curls with wet hair overnight. I've not tried it yet but it might be next on my list of things to try.

DIY Sock Bun Tutorial

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Favorite Snack

Hello I'm back for a while at least, I hope to get a couple posts up a week for the next month or so...a lot will be recaps of the past few months, but hey it is still new to you all! :)

Here is a photo of my new favorite snack. I've become very fond of Greek Yogurt and since I prefer my veggies of the raw variety I also like dip to go with them and we know how healthy dips can be. I saw in a magazine during my last couple months of travel that you can use Greek Yogurt like sour cream (which I do a lot anyway) but if you add ranch or dill powdered dip mix to it you have made a great veggie dip that not only has protein in it but is low in fat and preservatives.

I have been purchasing the large containers of plain Greek Yogurt because it is cheaper and just mixing up the dip in a small container each day to take along with my Ziplock baggie full of raw veggies. But if you can find the small containers of Greek Yogurt with a lid then you can use the same container to mix up your dip and take it on the go with you.