Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rainbow Cake

For R.'s birthday, I decided to redeem myself from his first birthday cake disaster. When he was little, he was allergic to eggs, milk, wheat and nuts. Try making a delicious cake without flour and eggs. Needless to say, although it looked like a cake, it didn't taste very good. I've been wanting to make a rainbow cake for a long time and it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

I started with some white cake mixes and food coloring.

I followed the directions on the cake mix and then separated the batter into 7 bowls.

I started adding food coloring to each bowl (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple).

Each bowl was about a 1 1/4 cup of batter.

I baked the cake and let it cool.

At first, I decided to bake the layers individually.

To save time, I then started to bake two colors at a time. If I had to do it again, I would have definitely baked each color individually so that you can see a definite color change.

I added cream cheese filling to each layer and made a quick crumb coat around the cake.

I set the cake in the fridge before adding my final coat.

R.'s Thomas the train cake.

He was super happy with the way it turned out.

Now for the surprise. When I cut it opened everyone loved the rainbow!

My family who doesn't really like cake, loved the cake.

I will definitely make this cake again.

What do you think?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photo Cards or Tags

Each year, I like to make photo tags to attach to my kids' teachers gifts they hand out for Christmas. It adds a personal touch that everyone loves to see. I've been doing these tags for four years now and teachers love them. Here is E.'s Christmas tag to his teachers this year.

A. was so tiny a few years ago when I created this tag in 2008.

Now for the instructions: It all starts out with a fabulous kid-bribed photo shoot. This year it was as simple as pie or M&M's I should say. For my kids, if you get one kid to do something, you will get the rest to do the same because they always want to follow suit.

E. was the first to get in front of the camera. No bribery necessary. Just a hug from Mom was all he needed to cooperate.

Ryan wanted to copy E. so also no bribery was needed for his smiles behind the lens.

A. didn't need to be bribed for the first 5 shots, but after that, I had to fork up an M&M for each additional shot. That is, if I wanted a smile, that was the payment that was needed.

Good thing we only needed sibling shots.

Total price tag for my portraits, 5 M&M's for each kid. Despite the fact that E. and R. didn't ask for any, I felt compelled to compensate them for their time.

When the little ones were done, J. got behind the lens. At 13, this took a matter of minutes to get a great shot.

Voila! Total time when everyone is cooperating, 25 minutes, about 5 minutes per kid and another 5 minutes for the group shot.

After rummaging through the hundreds of shots, you need a template. I go here for my templates. These are photo greeting card templates that I have used as Christmas tags. Basically, you download the template, import your image, type in your text, and then you have yourself a wonderful card or tag you can hand out. For the tags that I have used, you need to download the additional templates they provide here. Download them to your computer, then once you open up the software, import the file you downloaded.

Go to your local photo place to get them developed and attach them to your gift and you are done.

I love the personal touch it adds to the gift. Can't wait to watch my kids hand them out!


I love bread. It's that simple. I probably could live off of of a baguette and some french butter for every meal. I attempted to make some french bread in middle school after learning about it in my home economics class. The loaf of bread was as hard as a baseball bat so needless to say it wasn't edible. It did look pretty though.

A few days ago, Amazon's deal of the day was a bread maker. I was tempted to go ahead and purchase it because it was a really good deal, but the reviews weren't that great. My hubby surprised me later that day with a new bread maker to cheer me up from my bad day. I was so excited to make my first loaf of bread.

I decided to make a Cinnamon Swirl Raisin loaf. I'll have to admit that I was a bit nervous when I first took it out of the machine.

However, after I sliced it open, I fell in love with my bread machine. It was so yummy.

I can't wait to make something different.

Sugar Cookies

The kiddos wanted to make some cookies so we decided to make some sugar cookies so that we could decorate them. They absolutely loved decorating and loved eating them.

E made a star cookie.

Ryan made a Christmas tree, but it was so big, he only ate the top.

Aidan wanted to make a Super Mario character so I ended up using the gingerbread person as a template.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

R.'s Birthday

Today is R.'s 5th Birthday. I cannot believe that he is five today. It just seems like yesterday I gave birth to this little boy. He is definitely my free-spirit. Right from birth, he was my easiest delivery. I was only in labor for four hours and when it was time for him to enter the world, he was out in less than 2 minutes. The doctor had to literally catch him as he flew out of me, keeping her on her toes. That aspect of him hasn't changed. He definitely keeps me on my toes. I am so grateful to have R. in my life. Thank you for always making me smile. Thank you for saying to me every morning that you will miss me all day long and reminding me of how much you love me every evening. You wear your heart on your sleeve and that is what I love about you. Happy Birthday my dear son!

Every year, I make photostamps for my Christmas cards.

This year, it is a picture of R. Isn't he just absolutely adorable?

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