Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wowsa that's cold!

My sister Karolyn is serving a mission in Russia for our church. She is in Irkutsk right now, and claims that we shouldn't worry about how cold it is (she reassures us by saying, "Don't worry, I'm alive!").

She says it's "only" -23 degrees in the picture she sent us.

I'm a little worried! Can you see her frozen eyelashes?

(She also says that no, she is not chewing on her scarf)

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm a Copycat Blogger

It's so validating reading other moms' posts about how real their lives are. I read these blogs, and often think "I couldn't have said it better myself!" Their words resonate with me.

Jane is so clever in comparing motherhood to blogging (for her full post, click here) with her post, "Why Comments Matter."

And, you're all so lucky--I've pasted most of it below (brackets are my own words to personalize Jane's post to me, but feel I've kept the spirit of her post). Thanks Jane for doing all the work! (And I'm lucky to actually know Jane in person; I would have loved it if some of her brilliance had rubbed off on me when we were in AP Biology together in high school!)

Why Comments Matter

Because I already have one job that often lacks in external validation.

Blogging is similar to...motherhood in some...ways.
[M]otherhood, is, at times, unsatisfying because it doesn’t always seem like a real job. It’s the same with blogging. Which is why...bloggy friends to talk with...are important. (And why the lack [of comments] can be...discouraging)

How Stay-at-home Motherhood and Blogging are Similar

9. No paycheck....

[Not in money, anyway. See #3]

8. You’re never finished.

In motherhood, you might count successes like when your kid [shares instead of blames and tattles, or reads "Sign of the Beaver" and loves it. And then 10 minutes later you're shaking your head as he whines and throws a fit over doing his normal chores].... Setbacks and progress are hardly linear. When do you know you’re patient enough, creative enough, wise enough, loving enough, to be a real mother [or blogger]?....

7. There’s no promotion....

6. You can be as serious as a heart attack or as casual as a Facebook friendship.

You can dabble in your blog on weekends or you can set aside two hours every day of sacred writing time.... With motherhood, [the casual is as important as the moments of substance; and sometimes laughing over funny youtube videos with your kids is what they remember, rather than the detailed family night lesson on the importance of spending time together as a family. Plus, if your kids feel comfortable talking to you about trivial things, they will feel more comfortable opening up to you about true trials/triumphs/fears/hopes in their lives]....

[With motherhood, I also feel like when you have 'bad' days, repentence is a marvelous thing. You can always try again tomorrow to be better, and sometimes it's ok to take a day 'off' and read so that you can be a better mother the next day]

5. And worst (or best) of all, you can be purposeful one week, and a complete slacker the next.
4. You can do both in your pajamas.

3. ...[E]xternal validation is important.

[It doesn't have to be much]; one comment from a reader or one smile from a baby [is] enough....
2. [Y]ou ...don’t have total control over the outcome [scary!]. Your blog may be fantastic but just not fashionable [or just not what someone needed on a particular day]. Your mothering may be splendid, and your kids could still turn out to be like Eve’s [darn that agency!]....Doing a good job, a fantastic job, as a mother or a blogger is important, but in the end, it’s up to other people (your kids or your readers) to bring back a verdict.

[With motherhood, b]e purposeful; read and talk with other people about how to do your very best work.... Focus on what you love about the job, and arrange your life so there are more of those moments.... [I actually think this is where motherhood and blogging are different; #5 & 6 for me as a mom are guilt-ridden with goals to be better, but as a blogger I feel like it's a marvelous no-pressure freedom]

....[T]he give and take, the conversation, (and the writing) are what I like best about blogging.

And because there’s one other big way that motherhood and blogging aren’t your typical job:

1. You keep doing it no matter what, because you love it.

Box of chocolates--except it's really cake!

Remember the picture I posted of a cake that looks like a box of chocolates? As darling and perfect as the little miniature furniture that you play with when you are a barbie fan as a girl? So perfect and dainty and re-created to look like the real thing, you just want to eat it up? (I didn't even intend that pun, but it works!)

My sister Katie MADE the "box of chocolates" cake! I am so completely impressed, my eyes are still popping. In fact, she made FOUR of them. Yes, my words in all caps should show you all how wowed I am by her culinary talent. But mostly, that she was willing to go to all that work. I went and looked up how to make it, read through everything, and emailed the link to my best friend Stacy (from Houston; Tami is my best friend here in CA. just sayin'), and we both agreed it was way too much work. But Katie did it!

Here are her cakes:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

And....the Ugly

Update: After I realized I posted 38 cakes in one post, I've tried to condense and organize.
A little.
And I awarded prizes for the top "4" cake wrecks.

I can't help myself.

This post concludes all the great (and horrific) cakes that are my favorites from everything Jen (the author* of Cake Wrecks**) has posted. This is the third installment of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."

Yup, folks, this is the ugly. Jen verified that these were all cakes made by 'professionals' (hopefully a few people got full refunds on their cakes!). I can't help but make fun of these cakes; don't take it personally. It's because they were really made this wrong that they're so funny. And here they are:

This is the honorary FIRST Literal LOL cake. So funny that a Cake Wreck blog was started. Jen's exact (hilarious and witty) words:

"...And underneath that, write 'We will miss you'. Got it?"

Oh yeah, they got it.


A recycled happy face cake. As a mummy?

What I can't get over is that another 'wreckporter' (anyone who takes a pic of a cake wreck and submits it to the blog author, Jen) found another recycled happy face cake-turned-halloween-mummy, at a completely different store! More than one person had the bright idea to try and re-use a smiley-face cake as a seasonal cake. Too funny!

Sigh. This is embarrassing. I mean, really. "Counst"? On a good-looking (probably chocolate!) cake meant to inspire the average American to do his or her civic duty? I think my cousin Shelly's words are much more moving (she voted pretty much just before she had her twins)

Ironically, the gal who decorated this cake excitedly told the customer what a big Obama fan she is.

"Harry Hollday!" And we really mean that!

Religious confusion....

Stingy cake decorator. Only one season's greeting?

Runner up (4th place)-

I laughed SO hard at this one. "Oh oh oh, Merry Christmas!" Buaaaahaahaaa!! *Wipes tears from my eyes*

All the baker had to do was stick the little "Ho ho ho saying" into the cupcakes. That's ALL! Notice that the next box over on the right, was also incorrectly assembled.

Notice two different cakes spell "Cardinals" wrong (Cardnials), yet the cake on the bottom right is spelled correctly. Must have been a shift change between cakes. The misspeller has better handwriting, though.

I guess someone wanted to use up the decals from the last Superbowl, so this was their compromise.

Come on, really? The sad thing is, I'll bet you someone bought that when it was the last cake sitting in the bakery on Superbowl Sunday.

"Hello? Yes, I'd like a cake with the Olympic Rings on it."

So where are the actual rings? And why the parentheses?

How did that mistake even get made?

Customer: "Uhhh...."

Bakery employee: "You asked for Sweet Nothings on the cookie cake, did you not?"

"Valetenis" day? I mean, come on! The decorator didn't even try to spell it right!


A Literal Lol, where a customer describes what to write or how to write it, and the baker inscribes it all, word-for-word. Some of these are just so obvious!

Heh heh heh. *chuckle* "We'll missed you" (And not even an exclamation point to help express this lovely message!) This is like Brian Regan's "Take Luck!"-- bit from his comedy routine.

Ouch. I mean, really. Ouch! How tacky is a cake that says congrats to "Keith & Bride"?
"Hi. I just want a simple cake with balloons and sprinkles, that says 'Congratulations,' three times."
Um.... Yet another Literal LOL. The decorator writes exactly what the customer says, rather than using common sense or clarifying what are directions, and what are the actual words desired on the cakes.

I'm chuckling out loud at this Literal LOL.

How is it that decorators don't pay attention to the difference between phrases to put on cakes, and the description of how to execute the spoken instructions?
"I'd like the cake to say 'Happy Birthday Joanna & Ernie.' Or 'Ernie & Joanna.' Whichever way looks better."
How did the decorator miss that the customer wanted the cake done in green frosting???
There's another cake that says "Welcome Baby in Pink," and the cake is a bright yellow color.
There's a longer story behind this one, but essentially the customer tried to take it easy on the decorater, and instead of asking for a "Yellow brick road" birthday cake, asked for a cake that said "Somewhere over the rainbow."
Well, at least she got "Somewheres" over a rainbow, I guess.

This decorator really is clueless, and I highly doubt he/she has little children. Instead of reading "Blues Clues," (notice the strange "paws" drawn at the corners) the cake reads something like "Bules Clueless."

2nd place-

"It's my best friend's 30th birthday! Just put a 'black high heel' on it. This is going to be great!"....


How is it possible to fail at decorating a "Fail" cake?

3rd place-

One of my favorites! Yet another literal LOL. So sad, since I like the cake and the handwriting. The realistic little tassel end on the graduation cap is even a nice touch, and the cap is done well, as are the roses.

But where are the sprinkles I asked for???


Such a pretty cake, too! Too bad it says "It's a Gril."

Ouch. Hope the little 'sweetie' who got this cake didn't end up with the nickname 'Swetty'. Yikes!

Jen thinks this is the coolest cake ever because it takes Star Wars and meshes it with airbrushing and the cutest little baby ever. But I think it's highly amusing because I simply CANNOT picture Darth Vader holding this little precious, innocent baby, let alone not spontaneously combusting by being around all that feminine coloring and cuteness. It's just not him!


(CupCake Cakes, not to be confused with very cool cupcake mosaics, where cupcakes are creatively but individually decorated)

This is not a cake wreck. Though Jen claims to be utterly against CCCs because frosting is slathered across the top of multiple cupcakes to look like a cake, usually quite un-artistically, I think this is a pretty good CCC. Though the the artist in me especially loves the Van Gogh CCC below:

This is also not a cake wreck. It's CCC is quite artfully done. Placing it on a frame really adds a nice touch, doesn't it? Thought it would be nice to stick in these two good-looking pics to give your eyes a break from all the horror-cakes.

FIRST PLACE (My favorite!):

This one really takes the cake! *snicker*

You must visit the actual blog post about this to get the background on this true story, where the customer asked if they'd print picture of his boss on a cake, and brought in the jump drive for them so they could simply upload the picture and print it edible paper and slap it on the cake.
I really think this is the creme de la creme of all these cake decorating faux pas!

The WINNERS (my favorites):
4th-- The "Oh oh oh" christmas cupcakes
3rd-- The "I want sprinkles" graduation cake
2nd-- The "Black high hill" cake
1st--The 'jump drive' "congratulations boss" cake

*Jen, thanks for deciding to gather and post cake wrecks and provide witty commentary for us all, and thanks to your loyal wreckporters who keep sending in new pics of cake wrecks that are still being made all over the world!
**Katie, thank you for pointing out this website. I saved copies of all my favorites to post here. And I can't wait to see the finished product of your fondant valentine cake!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The good, the bad...

Ok. Think about it. I mean, really think about it. If you ordered one of these gorgeous cakes out of a cakebook, and paid top price for a "professional" baker to make your dream wedding cake, wouldn't you be a *little* put out?

These poor brides. I seriously cringed for them!
Isn't this gorgeous? Any bride or customer would kill for such a simple yet classy wedding or anniversary cake, right?
Well, "kill" might not be the term I should use....

Now, in Jen's favor (the gal who has the Cake Wreck blog), she only makes fun of people who are paid to make cakes, which is why I keep writing "professionals" with quotation marks. She would never make fun of someone who tried their own hand at it. She's merely pointing out the paid cake decorators out there who make the rest of good cake decorators look bad.

Simple yet tasteful (and tasty, too, I'm sure!), right?

Aye aye aye! Though I would give this "professional" decorator points for the pretty scrollies that they did put on the cake (even though they don't look like the scrollies ordered), the rest of it just looks very unprofessional.
And Jen on Cake Wrecks pointed out that since Hans Solo and Lea are cake toppers, it's only fitting that in the background of the photo, it looks like Chewy is standing there. Hee hee.

The well-to-do cake that was ordered...

The "professional" mess that was delivered. Why do cake decorators make their frosting too goopy? One only needs to add more powdered sugar to make any frosting keep its shape! And did anyone else noticed the delivered cake was done in rounds, while the ordered cake is in squares?

A simple mint green box cake, three layers....
...there are so many things wrong with this poor cake, I don't even know where to start. I guess having a round cake on the top of two squares would be the place to start.
If I remember correctly, this picture was posted by the decorator on her own blog, inferring that she was proud of it. And we're talking about a paid "professional," here. (Perhaps I don't have all the story. Maybe she posted it to show that everything that could go wrong, did)

Oh how I love this cake! This is what the bride ordered. She even brought in the brown ribbon and fresh blue hydrangeas for the cake decorator to put on her simple cake. I mean, all they had to really do is make three round cakes of three different sizes, put them on top of each other from biggest to smallest, and frost them white. The ribbon and hydrangeas would only take a moment to add on...

...sigh. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. They frosted on thick ribbon and bright blue flowers! My mom is not a "professional," (well, she is in my eyes) but she could have made the ordered cake with her eyes closed!
I love this bamboo cake. I could easily have picked this cake out of a book for a nice occasion, right?...
...I guess if you didn't have your heart set on the picture from the book, or you just showed up at this party without knowing what the cake was meant to look like, you wouldn't be too disappointed, right? Oh well.
Next up!--
We covered "The Good" and "The Bad."
Next will be "The Ugly" (cakes where the writing on them makes you cringe or laugh out loud, or both).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


There's a gal named Jen who once a week asks for pics of cakes that are fabulously made, rather than the "Cake Wreck"* pics she usually posts, of cakes gone wrong.

(This may look like a "cake wreck," but was intentionally made this way, along the theme of James Bond. Very, very well crafted)

Below are all real cakes, and are of the "fabulous" variety. Having grown up with a mom who made incredible cakes all my life, I can appreciate the beauty of a well-made cake.
And with the sliced bread of cake inventions we have now--fondant (which I discovered about a year ago), the cake-making options are endless. Fondant isn't yummy, but it is edible, and quite pliable, like clay. Just look at these real cakes for proof of the

Whimsical snow people. Happy sigh. (I like pretty things.)
This is my favorite, and 2nd is the pumpkin cake:
Can you even believe this is cake? I love the cobblestones and the mice peeking out all over.

Our family loves Nightmare Before Christmas.

Look at the details on that beautiful hill of a cake. So delicate and pretty, and based off of an even prettier, famous tapestry.

A purse? Really? For a cake? It makes sense, I guess; if someone's willing to pay $1500 for a purse, perhaps it's no big deal to pay $500 for a cake that looks like the purse...

What a cute little dragon, no? Maybe this was Teric as a baby.

All you muppet fans** out there (yes, including me), don't you think this cake deserves a blog post by itself? Amazing, huh. The title of the post would be "I brought the paper towels."

Oh, that cute penguin cake! (Gee, I like penguins!) Winking his eye and tipping his hat, all the while wearing those cute spats!

More dragon lore.

Bakerella even explains how this is a real cake, AND how to make it!

Next Post--Cakes that brides ordered, and what they actually got.
Viewer discretion advised--It may make you weep to see what some brides ended up with in the cake department, vs. what they pictured in the dream-up-your-fairytale-wedding-cake department!

*I can't vouch for all the material at Cake Wrecks, a site dedicated to cakes made by "professionals" (anyone who is paid to make/decorate a cake, such as employees at a grocer's bakery) that have gone horribly, and sometimes hilariously, wrong; occasionally I found a cake and/or comments about it that I thought was offensive. But it is where I gathered all these cake pictures, and if you want to find the sources of the cakes, you can browse through Jen's site and look them up. Her wit is usually charming and witty as can be.

**By muppet fans, and real muppet fan knows I am referring to the muppets before Jim Henson died. After that the creativity and originality of their skits diminished greatly, and is mostly dumb slapstick now.