Desserts, Desserts…Who doesn’t love dessert!?

Hello!  Happy Monday to you all!  So this weekend was a busy one.  We celebrated K’s 5th birthday with family and his classmates on Friday after school.  Eighteen little kids, Darth Vader, A Nut Allergy, A Few Exhausted Moms, and DESSERT!  Ok so as I re-read this I think none of this sounds fun.  I instantly think of the saying “Not my monkey, Not my circus!” Then I realize no this was my circus and I loved almost every second of it.  All but one of these kids had never been to my house but every parent had no concern they were in any danger.  I say this as they were practically running back to their cars once we said our hellos!  I can promise you I don’t shame them for these actions I applaud them.  All parents need a break from time to time even if only two hours.  Those of you that stayed with me for the party I thank you.  Next time wear your gym shoes and run!! LOL! So the best part of K’s party was of course Darth Vader coming and playing games, doing Jedi training and going on a hunt for Darth Mal; which freaked the heck out of a few little girls!  The second best part for the kids was dessert.  I think the adults would have been happy with just dessert.  Anyway, I made a Darth Vader cake or I should say I attempted.  I’ve had cake orders weekly lately and K’s cake was one of three for this weekend.  I won’t lie this was the most challenging cake for me thus far.  It turned out OK I definitely know what I would do next time.  Live and learn and as S says “mom it doesn’t matter how it looks.  It just has to taste good!”  You know what S I wish I could take that spirit with everything in life.  I’m working towards that (see previous post for more on that.)

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For K’s cake I did a chocolate and yellow cake with buttercream frosting.  The requests for frosted as to fondant covered cakes has definitely increased lately which is much harder for me but I’m grateful to those that challenge me.  As practice makes perfect; right?!  So some things that challenged me in doing Darth…I should have colored my fondant when I made it but didn’t so getting it to the shade of black I wanted was a task!  Then when I built the cake I didn’t follow too many directions and found out later I should have done a bowl cake for my top.  So this challenged me as I was layering very tiny pieces of cake.  Last, I ran out of buttercream in order to get a nice crumb frosted base below the fondant.  I decided to do chocolate over which was very silly.  Your saying why didn’t you make more buttercream?  Well it was Friday; day of the party and I had no time so I thought I would compromise a bit I mean I knew the taste would be great.  It just was NOT smooth what so ever.  Again, haven’t worked with this method enough to have mastered.  Silly, Silly, Amanda and a bit stubborn.  We all know there’s a youtube how to video for this!  But no!  I always have had to learn the hard way!  Now I was ready to roll out the fondant and starting with the face it was laying great then I went to press the eyes and nose/mouth area to the frosting.  Well remember the non smooth surface the chocolate created?  Ya well it came through my fondant like razor blades.  This is typically when I take a deep breath and say “Amanda if it looks like doo-doo, there are always cupcakes at the store.”  So I used small strips to reinforce the areas I knew were sure to push thru.  Then went back over with a large piece of fondant and this worked!  K at this point said this does not look like Darth Vader it looks like a dog!  I said well doubt all you want you will see Darth in some way or another when I’m done!  The rest went ok the helmet I struggled at getting it just the right length’s on the sides but doing much longer I would have needed to set on a different surface for presenting.  So here is the final result and guess what.  One of my friends who hadn’t had one of my cakes before said “Amanda this is really good!” I instantly thought “DAMN S is such a smart kid.”  It’s about the taste so if you ever get the urge to try your hand at your kids cake I say go for it!  If not give me a call I’m happy to give it a whirl!

Next cake up was for a family that their little boy is in kindergarten at the same school as S & K!  They had me do their daughters Anna/Elsa cake a few weeks ago.  Her husband requested my yellow cake with buttercream frosting for his 40th birthday last weekend and then for their sons birthday they asked me to do a construction cake very simple using buttercream.  I requested the use of Oreo pieces and the little guy said yes that would work! This cake was a breeze compared to K’s Friday challenge but I think it turned out great and just like his sister he was appreciative.  His sister provided potentially the best reaction I’ve ever had to one of my cakes.  She went absolutely bananas over her cake!  Huge eyes, and a lot of cheering.  Three year olds innocence is something that needs to be bottled up.  I will also provide that the other side of a three year old you know the tantrums, NO’s, leave me alone’s that well… that can stay as far away as possible!  Anyway, this cake was fun to do and I’m glad this family has trusted the desserts for their celebrations in me.

Last I had received an interesting text or not really interesting as to unexpected!  It started “Hi Amanda!  This is Ricki’s dad and I wanted to see if you could do a cheesecake for my birthday this Monday?” Now I say this was unexpected as this family I did their daughter’s birthday cake last weekend and his wife text me after.  She said her son called this cake “definitely a wedding cake.” So four tiers can be more than we expect.  Yes I could have brought them two tiers but then I had two others that would be thrown out.  We all know you don’t throw away dessert!  So I said what the heck their getting all the cake!  For their daughter I did chocolate and yellow cake, cream cheese frosting, fondant, sixlets for beads and buttercream flowers.  Back to dad I say yes I would love to.  So I gave him options of what I do best.  He went with the turtle cheesecake which is always a good choice I mean who doesn’t love a turtle then you add some cream cheese and pretty much your result is dessert heaven!  Cheesecakes don’t typically give me any challenges its more in watching it in those last ten minutes as it’s all in the jiggle.  All cheesecakes have a different jiggle when looking for the perfect doneness!

So with all this said I completely understand why my grandfather a very wise man used to say “you always start with dessert, as you don’t know when your going to go!” On that note have a great rest of your Monday and until next time!  Cheers🍻

Buttercream Frosting Recipe: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2015/10/perfect-buttercream-frosting/

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe:http://thecakeblog.com/2014/04/marshmallow-fondant-recipe.html

Turtle Cheesecake Recipe: Turtle Cheesecake-WoodenSpoon

It’s all about the Sign!

Hello Friends!  So I’ve been back at getting creative over the past few weeks from birthday cakes to wood signs!  I know that’s quite the spectrum!  But that’s me, I have a hard time sticking to just one creative link so working with creating a special cake for a celebration to roughing up some new letters to team them up with my old pallet piece let’s me cover all ground!  Heck now that I’m thinking of it this is quite honestly besides the kids being out of school what has had me away from you all for the past week.  Not a great excuse but its the truth!  Let’s start with my kitchen creations!

It’s been a frenzy of cakes over here.  Ok maybe not to a bakery but to just little old me it has been!  As I’m still learning and challenging myself at dimensional cakes.  I had a request for an owl cake as well as a butterflies and flower cake.  The Owl cake I was particularly excited about as I LOVE owls.  And pigs specifically flying and miniature but I’m not sure I will get a cake request for this.  So I was really excited to do an owl cake.  I wasn’t given much direction except the girl it was for loves owls of all colors so do as I wanted.  This for me is good and bad as I am a perfectionist as well as a bit indecisive.  So when told to do as I want it becomes a struggle within.  I ran with it and decided to go bright as Spring was in the air and she was a teenager.  I again made this one with half chocolate cake as well as white cake.  Vanilla frosting was what I crumbed and layered the cake with.  I made homemade marshmallow fondant for all parts covering the cake.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

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I then had a friend’s little one turning 2 this past weekend!  I asked if I could do her little cuties cake.  She was thrilled with the offer and has provided many thanks.  For me it was a pleasure as it again gave me an opportunity to perfect my craft and do a different cake.  I don’t know what I will do when someone asks me to do a second of one I’ve already done!! Anyway, her party was butterflies and flowers.  We shared a few ideas via pinterest but ultimately her and her husband said to use my creativeness and do as I wanted.  I decided to go with softer colors due to her age and the vibe of their family!  Don’t get me wrong bright colors totally suit them but I was feeling soft, cool colors for this particular event.  Cake and fondant the same which now that I’m saying it next cake I’m going to do a change up if it’s my choice!  I think I do a combo as then there’s something for everyone.  This one for me came out simply and pretty and felt just right for Ms. Elle’s 2nd birthday celebration!

Now let’s chat about some wood things!  Ya that was a jump so stay with me as mentioned earlier I can’t stay focused on one activity too long I get bored!!!  So mom came over last week with a great sign for my kitchen.  Having a husband in the stone business we have access to many pallets.  Like I have two still needing to be taken apart on my back deck and 9 boards drying out on my back deck table and I’m looking at my burn pit where he just unloaded oh six more pallets!  He tells me he is getting some heavy duty wide pallets next week which he will save for mom and I!  Can’t wait!! Anyway, I had dad cut some of the boards down as they were splitting in sections but majority of them were still totally useable.  Mom white washed them and picked up some wood letters.   She created these GROCERY signs for her and I!  I during my closet clean out found SIDNEE in wood letters which I bought before she was born but never did anything with so I painted them and created a sign for her room!  Now we are on a sign spree we have created a few different ones.  ENJOY, EAT, LAUNDRY and we are planning to sell them on our Etsy store (SidsShoppe)!  We will offer custom colors and words/names as well!  Let us know what you think and please if interested place an order via our Etsy shop.  We should have all signs added in the next day!

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Now wood blocks are up for discussion!  Before sharing I have to briefly mention how much I adore patriotic decorations.  First because they are a way to thank our current and past soldiers for all they do and also how proud I am to live in America.  But on a decorators love level its purely because I can show my love from May until September!  I mean how many decorations do you have that go up for a month and then you are rushing to put them back in storage and pull out another tote for the next month!  So Americana decorations are all around a win-win in my book!  OK on to the project!  Mom and I wanted to create something we, her, me, you, I could put out and wouldn’t take over any space but was a pop of Americana that fit any room.  So mom found a similar project as we did and had dad running to the hardware store for 2×4’s!  Dad cut them to our desired size and mom got to painting.  I can’t take any credit for these except for the mere fact that I agreed they were perfect for the occasion and was there working on another project when she was painting the blocks!  So kuddos to mom on these they turned out fantastic!  We are selling these via our Etsy Shop as well (SidsShoppe)!

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Last is a sweet little wood rocking chair I did for a friend’s daughter.  The little one I did her birthday cake was over a few weeks back and loved the kids rocking chair.  It happened to be mine when I was little!  Her mom mentioned I will need to keep a look out for one as she sat in it quite a bit during their visit.  Well I was out resale shopping and found this chair and new I had to get it and rehab it for a birthday gift.  I ended up sanding it not a ton and had to remove a thin wood piece that was in bad shape off the seat.  With weather all over the board lately I had a couple nice days so decided I would use my spray chalk paint on it.  I sealed it with clear chalk paint spray sealer as well.  For the flowers and name I did the same method I did on a previous wood sign using chalk and a pencil to trace and then painted.  Her bedroom is violet and with the birthday theme butterflies and flowers I thought the flower touch would be cute!  Mom helped me whip up a pocket pillow as we know things can get messy and wanted her mom to be able to wash it.  So here you have my completed rocker.

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Well I am off to do another project with mom…herb containers for our kitchens!  Look forward to sharing the project in the next few days!  Cheers

Lisenby Week In Review

Hello Friends!

I hope you are all having a great week!  It’s like once the kids got healthy it’s been a game of catch up on EVERYTHING!  Guess what I am still not caught up!  My house for starters needs a permanent housekeeper.  Joe called Monday letting me know a client would be coming to see the house at 2pm…this gave me two hours to have the main floor spotless or show ready as he says!  My dishwasher always seems to be blinking saying please empty me!  My office is a war zone; if you know me this is a struggle.  I have a slight 😉 case of OCD.  So this is a struggle but sometimes you just have to close the door and say filing, bills, and all other paperwork we will talk VERY soon!  Then there is the “L” word no I’m not talking about the warm and cozy word LOVE!  I have no love for the chore of doing laundry!  The first of the year I committed myself to doing a load a day to avoid the Sunday 15 load day.  Well I make my own detergent and last Wednesday I ran out!!!! So it sat and sat some more than I was able to make more on Sunday so today I’m ALMOST caught up!  Did I mention I’m trying to squeeze working out in to my daily routine?  Yes, I have been sticking to it; I’m shocked too!  Oh yeah and there are two little crazy children running around demanding just about anything and everything from me!  You know feed me, let’s make valentines, help me in the bathroom, MOM, MOM, MOM!  Where did they come from!LOL Then there are the crafts that need to be finished so I can get them to the shop mom and I have stuff at to make some moola!  So guess what this is bumped to the top!  Don’t worry the kids were fed and bathed!  And here I am blabbing to you about this. You are probably laughing but thinking isn’t this every mothers life!  It is I just needed to share!!

So our adorable bunny projects have been brought to the shop in time for Spring/Easter sales!  I love the fact that the shop Simply Marvelous here in Wisconsin has allowed us to expand what we bring in as we started with our furniture and now the owner has our seasonal items.  These particular seasonal items are really the only ones she will have for guests to choose from!  Which is great for us plus if you ask me they turned out so cute they are all any home needs.  Ok maybe a great wreath on your door too!

Last week I didn’t share details about our little princesses birthday!  Yes, the one of two above that is constantly needing things:) Ms. S turned 5 and as I shared we ended up having her birthday at an indoor amusement center.  We had 17 kids of varying ages so this location did seem to be very appropriate even though I was hesitant.  I will also say having no mess to clean up was FABULOUS!  The one thing I did do for her day was make her cake.  Since we were at a location we really did away with a theme except for this and her goodie bags.  She loves Littlest Pet Shop so she wanted that as her cake theme.  I ended up doing red velvet cake for one level, chocolate/white for the second and third with buttercream frosting and marshmallow frosting!  For goodies bags I struggled as I hate to just say here is a bag of sugar go drive your parents up the wall!  Again, not being able to do too much else as we were not at home I wanted to make them special.  So we for the girls we did puzzles, the surprise package with a pet shop pet, 3 pieces of candy.  For the boys we ended up doing teenage mutant ninja turtles as LPS doesn’t really offer a boy per-say surprise package.  We did TMNT puzzles, TMNT mini lego’s and 3 pieces of candy.  The older boys we gave them WWE playing cards and also gave them tickets to do bumper cars!  Overall, I think everyone had a great time!

Ok so as promised we need to discuss some good eats over this past week!  There have been a few but the best and HIGHLY recommended one is going to be a pulled pork recipe! I did get this via Pinterest and I am so glad I did because it was amazing.  A few little side notes!  This is a plan ahead dinner as it is a slow roasting one which means prepping dry rubs and brining for at least 24 hours.  It is so worth it!  Also, she recommends using a disposable roasting pan.  I used mine and if you remember from above my dishwasher issues and catching up…well yeah this soaked for two days after as it was caked!  So do yourself the favor and grab a roasting pan they sell them at the dollar tree!  Or foil line your roasting pan.  Lastly, this recipe does not need any sauce but I know that some people have to have a sauce for EVERYTHING!  This was good with a honey bbq but again no sauce is needed.  There is a little kick to it!  The kids did not enjoy this but I’m sure if less spice they would have.  With these I also made baked french fries which yes the kids ate and asked for seconds!  Again, not planning well I had to juggle cooking these at a high temp while the pork was at very low temp but it all worked out.  So next time I will start my pork first thing in the morning as it takes all day this way I can take it out to rest while I make the fries!  So here you are, enjoy!!  Thank you to those that posted for us to enjoy as well.

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/perfect-pulled-pork-slow-roasted-seasoned-savory.html

http://www.layersofhappiness.com/extra-crispy-oven-baked-french-fries/

Well, I’m off to empty the dishwasher and fold my 368th load of laundry for the week! Lol!  Have a great rest of your evening.  Cheers!

Lisenby Week In Review

Hello Everyone!
Holy Cannoli its been a week here at the Lisenby Residence!  A viral infection has taken over our house.  I know wasn’t I just saying that we had the flu and we were not going to be sick the rest of 2016!  Darn I spoke too soon! It started with K at the beginning of last week and Friday we were at the doctors with both as S woke up Friday morning with the same crazy cough/bark!  Only to be told it’s viral and our doctors cough lasted eight weeks!  YES, you read that right eight weeks!  WHAT THE!?!? Sunday K seemed over it with a cough here and there but Sunday night it hit S like a ton of bricks! She started with a temperature of 100 and all night fluctuated between that and 104.  Many rounds of cool clothes and cold bath but I was not able to get below 100.  We were back at the doctors as her cough was still bad at we were back to 102.  We discovered she needed a breathing treatment and if that didn’t work we would go do a chest x-ray for pneumonia.  This wasn’t what I expected I actually thought we might have escalated from viral to strep.  Well here we are three days later and she is still home from school.  We have been doing albuterol treatments every four hours.  She still has a terrible cough but doesn’t seem as much.  Tomorrow we will likely be back in just to confirm her chest is 100% clear.  As Saturday is her 5th birthday!  Sunday is her party!  So we need to get her back and running!  Amongst the zarbee’s cough syrup, Motrin and breathing treatments I have actually been doing other things!

Last week a good friend of ours who owns a excavation company had his birthday!  I’m sure you can guess I challenged myself to a special cake for him!  Last time I did a construction cake was for K on his 2nd birthday.  That was also the first time I did a 3D cake so it was…to say the least STRESSFUL!  Well here we are two years later and I have done a couple cakes since but not a construction cake and let me tell you…it was just as STRESSFUL!  The bucket, arm and boom which I waited to do until the rest of the cake was done and I was quite pleased with it.  Now I had a small window of time to complete the cake and we had these main components to complete!  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Let’s just say I did it three different times even bringing Joe in for assistance on the second go at it!  We started using Twix bars…WAY too heavy.  Next we tried bananas; better but still pulled!  Last I decided not all cakes can be 100% edible and this was going to have to be my first cake that was not.  So I went and watched videos and went to the CAT website to review details.  Then I grabbed a cardboard box and got cutting.  I covered it in fondant which I will say adhered great with just water.  Lastly I added a few details to show the screws/nuts that held each section together.  The cake itself was chocolate and one was white.  The fondant was marshmallow.  The frosting was buttercream; side note I am not a buttercream fan so I almost always do cream cheese frosting but this was the third cake in three months I had done for this family it was time to change it up!  I actually really like the buttercream recipe I used.  See below for the link!

My siblings and my mom made our way to a painting class on Friday night.  Yes after completing the first time the excavator cake!  Just what I needed to do is go from one stressful art project to another!! LOL!  We went in celebration of my little sisters birthday she is finally OLD!  She’s 31…She loves elephants so there happen to be event doing an elephant at The Studio by my parents so we all went and enjoyed drinks and paint!  It’s always fun to do even if you think your painting good be done better by a toddler:)  These events are great for just about any occasion and with one friend or twenty!  Check your local listing for a location near you!

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I have also been working on a few other projects with Mom of course as we are a team when it comes to products we are selling at a local shop!  Our holiday ornaments, snowmen out of birch and stuffed snowmen were a hit so we have decided besides having furniture pieces at the shop we are going to provide seasonal items for the home here too! As long of course as she will accept!  So for spring we are going to go with a bunny theme which I think is perfect for spring! If your yard is like mine those cute little ones are going to be all over our yards very soon!  I will mention they don’t step foot in to my back yard since Nala has arrived…we had a devastating experience last summer and word must have gotten out on the street.  But, they do love our property as I just saw one in the front yard a few days ago!  Anyway, back to it…We are doing some floppy eared bunnies out of two shades of burlap and garden flags!  One side note on the flags which I’m super excited to share is sealing the edges of the burlap.  I was super annoyed with how quickly mine started to fray after cutting.  So of course I started google searching for how to and of course it was like 9pm and I didn’t have fabric stiffener on the shelf of magic that they were suggesting but I did have modge podge!  Heck I have about 20 bottles of modge podge laying around as every time they are in the dollar section at Target or I see them at the Dollar Tree I grab a bottle or two!  So I simply used my small tip brush and painted it along the edge.  It dries quick as by the time I was back where I started that area was dry!  The more you use the stiffer it gets just an FYI!  A note on the floppy bunnies is to use beans over rice to weigh their bottoms down!  We used a bit of muslin fabric so our pinto beans didn’t show through on the lighter burlap.  So here are a few pictures of the cute stuff!  I think we may do a few other items but haven’t decided 100% yet!  Happy Spring decorating!

Well I have another cake to get finished up for a special little girls 5th birthday party tomorrow!  Look forward to sharing all the fun we have next week!  Until then enjoy your evening.  Cheers

 

It’s a Deere Party!

We recently celebrated K turning the treacherous three! With a little boy in love with anything that does work but at the top of his list is always DOZERS! We had to branch out a little this birthday as we had a construction party last year which was a blast. So in keeping with trucks per say I suggested we have a John Deere Party! He was all about it…All I need is the go ahead and its off to the races or in this case off to the local tractor supply store!
Invites were my first task and I am a huge fan of Etsy for all my party printing needs! Well and gifts, and well pretty much its a great site for just about anything! Anyway, I love to include a picture of the year prior in my invites so I went with the following!

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Now it’s on to decorations, clothes, favors, food, entertainment! Last year I made a hard hat piñata and the kids loved it! Being March and still chilly I asked K if he wanted to have another. I couldn’t just do a piñata but again due to theme and weather its a bit hard to do something fun as last year it was colder for his birthday so we had a digger brought over for the kids to get rides and dig up all the snow around and do pictures. This year my same great friend who is a collector of CAT and John Deere anything suggested I used some of his kids riding Deere’s! I loved it as K could participate and the kids were all going to be in the range of eleven and under! So we borrowed three riders! For food I did fried chicken (free range chicken), deviled eggs (fresh laid eggs), chex mix (chicken feed), chips (farm fresh potatoes), vegetable tray (farm fresh veggies), I attempted to make a John Deere cake (2nd fondant cake) and I surrounded the cake with mini chocolate cupcakes as mud! For our favors I reached out to the internet; what did we do before?! I ordered plastic John Deere cups, John Deere popcorn, John Deere gum, John Deere suckers, I put all of the goodies in a John Deere bag! I loved how these came together! John Deere has seriously so much cute stuff out there for parties! Since we didn’t splurge on entertainment I thought everyone in John Deere gear was a must! The site I found them on had a huge clearance event going on-SCORE!!  For decorations I’m kind of believe less is more I mean why spend a fortune on decorations?  Kids come to the party for the fun and parents and family come for the food and company; right?!  So I always keep it pretty simple.  My friend again who is a collector borrowed me three large signs to place around the house, he also borrowed me a collectors little trailer which I used for the favors.  I purchased John Deere balloons, plates, napkins.  I simple made my place cards by saving images off the net and typing up my own.  I love burlap and we have a ton of it around the house in all forms sacks, large pieces from fabric store, on a reel…you name I probable have it!  This is the perfect table covering for this theme I thought!  So again nothing crazy heck barely anything now that I am saying it! LOL!  Yes, I do count my tableware as decorations as it had John Deere all over it!  You should too!

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It’s time to say “Thank you!”  For this I too went to the internet and found a great site with free printable!  They had a blank John Deere invite but being blank it worked perfect for my thank you cards!

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Since we were in Disney for S’s fourth birthday we wanted to something of a WOW factor for K!  So with help from friends and family we were able to get a CAT dozer for him!  A friend drove two hours to pick it up then my dad picked it up from them and charged it overnight so it was all set for the big day!  I truly appreciate those that help me on these days or to make these days happen as they are so important!  I can honestly say this party was the one I didn’t find myself feeling like crazy town the day of.  I think I could have done a bit more but you know what my three-year old had a great day with friends and family and that is all that mattered!


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I hope your next little ones party is a blast and remember it’s not about how much you spend its about how much fun your kids have!  Have a great day!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/JennasPhotoCreations  (invites)

http://www.familyshoppingbag.com ( FREE thank you cards)

http://www.wegotgreen.com (favors, tableware, clothing)

https://www.greenfunstore.com (favors, tableware, clothing, candle)