August 30, 2011

Have We Graduated Yet??

Where did summer go????  My kids have already finished their first week of the 2011-2012 school year,
 and I have yet to post pictures from the 2011 graduation season.  Wow....time sure flies!

Better late than never, I guess. 

So, here they are.....a collection of cakes from the graduation weekend 2011.

...for one of my bff's daughter.  The cap is all edible; the diploma is not edible, but it can be unrolled and filled out for a keepsake.

The stars and diploma are made of fondant.

A cupcake tower for our pastor's daughter, Cheyenne.
The top cake is dusted with red edible glitter and the diploma is made of fondant.  I also did some catering for their of that are included later in this post.

Another cupcake tower.  Go Big Red!

This customer graduated from Wellington (hence the red cap on top), but wanted something a little wild with bright pink, animal print, and she also said she wanted it "blingy"!  All of the black animal print is brushed with hologram glitter and the cap on top is also covered in red and hologram glitter.  Blingy!!

One of this graduates interest was band so we focused on the instrument that she played in band.  I made this saxaphone from fondant and hand-painted the detailing.  

Here is a close-up view of the saxaphone. 

I carved this Crusader head from a 1/2 sheet of red velvet cake.  I had a smaller printout to look at so that I could draw the shape out on the cake and then carve it.  It is the same one that is on our water tower here in town.  GO BIG RED!

These pom-pom and tennis ball cupcakes went with the Crusader head cake.

Congratulations Megan on your K-State graduation!  If you look closely, you can see that the glitter sprinkles are little tiny stars.

This cake was for a nursing school graduation and the cupcakes below went with this order.  I made the nursing hat from cake and fondant.

Nursing cupcakes.

Master of Divinity graduation....I believe that was a faith-based degree and had nothing whatsoever to do with fluffy white candy. hehe heh

Soooo....that pretty much does it for the graduation cakes.  But, I made several other cakes that weekend as well.  Including:

 A birthday cake that was loosely inspired by the "Wonky" Scentsy warmer.  Her mom is a Scentsy Rep. :)

A baby shower cake with a little fondant mother-to-be, handbag, and flowers.

A first birthday cupcake tower with a giant cupcake on top.
The middle tier features a mid-sized cupcake with the toddler's name on it to be used as a smash cake.

A cupcake tower with a giant fondant bow for a friend who's little girl was turning 10. 

 A three-tiered wedding cake....did I mention graduation weekend was a busy weekend???

Sheetcake that coordinates with the wedding cake pictured above...

 ...and, the Groom's Cake!

Here it is all set up together. :)

I also made 140 cinnamon rolls for that Sunday morning.  This is an order that I've made for the past 3 years now.  The local Methodist Church has a breakfast/reception to honor the seniors in their congregation.

 Below are some pictures of the catering that I did that weekend for the graduation reception that our pastor's family held for his daughter.
 Deviled Eggs
Kinda funny that the pastor's wife ordered "Deviled" eggs! lol

Tea Bun Sandwiches
Tuna Salad and Turkey

Giant Fruit Bowl

 Wow....I am worn out just reflecting on that weekend!  Hope you enjoyed all the pictures.  I still have several more cakes from the Spring/Summer months to post in the next few weeks.  Hopefully, I can get all caught up soon. :)


I'll leave you this time with a tid-bit that I recently discovered and, being a baker, found of particular interest.  Maybe you will too.

Did you know that on January 18, 1943 SLICED BREAD WAS BANNED IN THE U.S. during WWII?

Sliced bread went stale faster, and therefor Americans used more wheat, needed to feed soldiers. Bread slicing machines also needed metal parts for repairs - metal that was needed for manufacturing ships, tanks, guns etc.


July 27, 2011

Busy Times!

Who knew spring would be so busy for me?  I've been trying to make time to finish this post for about a month and a half now!  So, some of the content is a bit dated and, of course, I have enough content to fill up about 3 more posts.  Hopefully, I'll get them finished in a bit more timely fashion!

In the mean time, enjoy!

The months of April and May kept me busy this year.  I ended April with a catering job for a family that I go to church with.  They were celebrating the homecoming of their daughter who had been overseas in the military.  It was also her daughter's birthday.  They had intended to have me make salads, breadsticks, and appetizers and then order pizza from Pizza Hut.  But, after seeing a picture that I posted here on my blog of a pizza that I had made for my family, she asked if that was something I could do.  Ummmm....sure, let me do a cost analysis on it to determine what to charge.  So, we had to eat pizza for supper so that I could buy the stuff for it and figure the cost.  That's some tough research, but we made it through it. lol  So, I figured it up, sent her a quote, and just like that.....I was in the pizza-making business.

I ended up making ten 14 inch pizzas along with some salads, dips, breadsticks and a cupcake tower for the birthday girl.

Here's the pictures of the pizza crusts as the dough was rising:

Here they are ready to go into the oven:

....and here's the finished product:

I also made breadsticks, pasta salad, tortilla wraps, a couple of layered dips to go with it.  Layered chip dip is a favorite in my family and super easy to make.  The steps to that are as follows:

1. Spread a layer of bean dip (or refried beans with taco seasoning) on a tray.

2. Cover with a 2 to 1 mixture of sour cream and
Miracle Whip. 

3. Genlty spread a layer of salsa over that.

4. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. 
(I like to use a Mexican Blend)

5. Top with any or all of the following:  chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, green onion, and jalepenos.
Serve it up with your favorite tortilla chips.
I've recently discovered a new flavor that I adore: Black Bean and Garlic Tostitos.  YUMMMM! 

The main attraction for this gathering however was the cupcake tower.  What 7-year old girl wouldn't want a tower of chocolate cupcakes with a big bow on top? So fun!

More to come soon......hopefully!  ;)

May 16, 2011

So many little time!

March and April have come and gone....and so quickly too!  Looking at my calendar, May and June promise to be the same way.  So many cakes (and cookies, and cinnamon rolls, and then camp and VBS, and on it goes....).  With each passing day, time seems to pass even more quickly than it did the day before.  I have to constantly remind myself to enjoy the small moments.  I have a pretty awesome life.  I am very blessed with healthy children (though they do seem to have a stronger gravitational field encircling them....this seems to land us in the ER frequently and also keeps the Band-aid company in business--in fact, I believe Band-aid will be reporting record profits this year because of us).  I have a nice home and an amazing husband that will do just about anything to make my life fabulous.  He has been working for nearly four (yes, 4, that's F-O-U-R) years on a kitchen add-on for me. 

Here's a picture of Mr. Amazing, himself.  Isn't he great? 
 In the background you can see the cabinets in my kitchen that he built.  He has spent hours upon hours handcrafting everything for this room, from the cabinets to the windowsills.  He installed the tile backsplash behind the cook top and even built the aluminum range hood starting with a flat piece ofaluminum and braking it to the custom shape that he designed...

He also installed the carpet in the dining room area himself.  I'm not sure that there's anything that man can't do.  I even made him help me ice cookies once. :)

March was especially momentous in that renovation project as he finished the butcher-block top for the island.  Hooray!  It is AMAZING! He is going to build cabinets to fit under it, but the legs and top are in the house it came.  But not without some assistance.  That thing is HUGE...and by huge, I mean enormous, gargantuan, gigandamundo, massive....oh, did I mention it was really heavy?  The top alone weighs about 460 pounds and is 5'6" x 6'.  So when Mark said he'd have it ready to bring in one evening, I called some friends and family to come help.  Kevin, my brother, and his son, Elliot came out to help.  I also called a friend of ours, Jon, to come out.  I asked Mark if he wanted me to call a couple more people, but he thought that 4 would be enough....that's only 115 pound apiece, right? No problem.  HA!  We nearly killed Jon.....that thing would have squished him like a bug!  I thought we may be paying for some chiropractic bills the following week, but everyone did make it through without any major injuries! (which is unusual for our family...I mean, have you seen our children?...they always have a bruise, or bump, or scrape! We seem to be a bit accident prone.)
And here's what it looks like in the kitchen:

The top is Oak and the trim around the edge is Walnut.  The Walnut trim actually came from a tree in Mark's Grandmother's back yard.  A storm blew it over several years ago and my dad and Mark hauled it out of her yard with the tractor.  They let it sit and dry for a couple of years and then took it and had it milled.
The chandelier over my dining room table and the fixture hanging over the island was purchased with money from my Grandmother's estate. So, it's really cool to have a little piece of them both incorporated into our kitchen.

....and here's a picture as Mark was finishing the top with oil......looking good...
...and the island looks awesome too! ;)

My first project on the new island:

Sugar Cookies!
I cannot even put into words how much nicer it was to have an island instead of a table to roll cookies on.  Those few inches of hight made my back much happier at the end of the day!


Now, on to what I've been making on that new island.
First up, another Jayhawk cake....

a very popular design.

While we're on the sports theme, here's another college team cake that I made recently:

The next cake is one that I made for a Sorority.  Their flower is the Marguerite Daisy.  I made these from fondant.

The following cake is a Strawberry Chantilly.  It is white cake iced with a vanilla whipped cream frosting and filled with whipped cream and chopped strawberries.  It is topped of with fresh strawberry halves.  One of my and refreshing. Yummmm.

Here's a picture of a "Paint Splatter" birthday cake that I made for a girl who was turning 12.  I like her name [of course, since my oldest son's name is Brent, I may be biased ;) ]

That weekend, I also made another "Hello Kitty" cake.

Cupcake towers continue to be a hugely popular item and can be customized in so many ways.  The following pictures are from a tower that I made for a bridal shower.  The wedding colors are eggplant purple and orange.  It sounded like a strange combination to me....until I got them together.  I really like the way the purple and orange flowers look.  The two colors really compliment each other well!  The top tier was designed to look like a wedding gown with the flower-topped cupcakes on the lower tiers.

Here's a shot of the detailing on the back of the gown...
It is coated with a thin layer of buttercream and covered with fondant.  The back of the gown is gathered up to look like a bustle.  The bow is fondant and I piped buttercream lace and button details onto the back and bottom edge of the gown.

...and here are the cupcakes
topped with purple and orange flowers

And here's a photo of the lovely bride:
oh....oopps....maybe not. 
But I did make this cake the following week. 
Cinderella - always a choice with good taste. 

A friend of mine helps train service dogs and recently ordered a cake for the teacher of doggy training school who was retiring after several years of teaching. 
She asked for a cake with paw prints all over it:

My final cake for this post was made for one of my best friends.  Her birthday was last month (fitting, given her name).  It is chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and Gerbera Daisies made from fondant.  I think it really made a fun, springy design. 

Happy Birthday April! Love you, girl!

Easter also was near the end of the month of April this year.  I had about 50 dozen sugar cookies ordered (along with my other baking orders).  With the Eisenhower track meet landing during that week also, I knew that I would be unable to get all of it done by myself.  So, I hired Elizabeth to ice cookies for me....her hand is still numb.  lol  She did a great job....but may have decided never to eat another sugar cookie.
Here's some pictures that I took as I was making them:

Look how much room I have on the new island!  I rolled out an area just bigger than 1/4 of the surface and got about 13 dozen...awesome!

This is what they looked like after she got them all iced. 
So cute!

....and look what came to live with us on Easter:

Aren't they so cute?!  The yellow one is Brent's;  it's name is Sunny.  It is a Peking and will turn white as it gets older.  The brown one is Mikey's; he named it Brownie.  I believe it is a Khaki Campbell.  Zackary's duck is the black one.  I asked him what it's name was and he said, "ummmmmm........Chocolate!"  What a great name for an Easter duckling!  I think it is a Black Runner.  They are soooo adorable and more than doubled in size in the first week.  They quickly outgrew the galvanized tub that they were in and now live out in a fenced area near the chicken house and have a kiddie pool to play in.  Eventually we'll get a septic pond dug and they'll move out there.  Brent is going to use them for his 4-H poultry project.  They will be at the Spring Show on May 28th and if they win, he'll be able to take them to the state fair.

As I mentioned before, Eisenhower Elementary School's track meet was April 20th.  It turned out to be a cloudy, COLD day...they didn't seem to mind too much, though.  Here are some pictures of the boys.  They had lots of fun and brought home several ribbons. :)

Brent doing the Softball Throw

Mikey at the Softball Throw:

Mikey with his Partner for the 3-legged race
He made me eat my words over this one.....Mikey is my "Bull in the China Closet".  He is clumsy and bumbly (this leads to a lot of messes to clean up after).  I've tried really hard to help him become more self-aware, but have come to realize that it's just part of who he is!  Anyway, when I found out that he had signed up for the 3-legged race, I thought, "oh my, this ought to be interesting....they are going to be falling all over the place!"  Boy was I wrong!  He looked like they had done this a million times.  He and Joshua just walked along at a steady pace working together and leaving everyone else in their dust. 

Here's the video (sorry about the shaky ending....I think I was in such shock that I dropped the camera!):

A.mazing! Who was that kid? lol

Mikey's team also got first place in the shuttle relay.  Here he is getting the baton from one of his teammates.

Brent's team did good at the shuttle relay, too, bringing home a second place ribbon.

It kept me really busy trying to run back and forth between the two classes so that I could catch most of their events. 

 Zack also kept me busy.  Don't turn your head for a moment when that boy is around!  He'll be looking all sweet like this:

...and the next thing you know....he's got his pants around his knees getting ready to pee....over near the Accuracy Throw.  Ahhhhhh!
Gotta love potty training....

The good news is that he is finally potty more diapers at the Atkerson house.  Hallelujah!  We've traded the pull-ups in for monster truck/race car underwear. 

Well, that just about does it for this post.  It took me far longer to finish than I expected (what a surprise).  I told you time was flying around here. 
Graduation is over with now....which means I have a ton more pictures to post! 

Did you know that May 16,1866 Charles Elmer Hires invented root beer?
I think I'll celebrate by taking my kids out for a root beer float after school today....well, I will drink a Pepsi float (Root Beer is yucky, but my kids seem to love it!)