Archive | May 2016

We Don’t Know Them, Yet We Owe Them

It is Memorial Day weekend, and many people are travelling to visit family or jump-starting summer by spending time at the lake or the beach. My husband and I weren’t able to get away because of our work schedules but we did decide to spend some time out on the deck do some grilling. I must admit, I do love the smell of the grill  heating up. The smoky scent blends so well with the smell of freshly cut grass and citronella. Once the heat of the day has worn off, I really enjoy sitting outside watching the plumes of smoke from the grill curl around the shrubs that surround  our deck before they finally ascend and fade into the sky. In central Texas, it is pretty customary to use the grill three to four times per week about ten months out of the year. However, this year has been a bit unusual for us because we have had record amounts of rainfall. I do have the grill strategically placed on the deck so I can use it without getting wet, I just haven’t been motivated to use it until now.

So this afternoon,  I reluctantly left the comfort of my air conditioned house in order to do some grilling. After spraying myself with additional insect repellent, I decided to take some pictures in honor of Memorial Day.


‘Red’ is for valor and the blood that was shed for our freedom.



‘White’ is for purity – those that fight for our freedom struggle to keep our homeland pure                                                                                                                        Blue‘Blue’ signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice 

Sitting out back on the deck, fighting off the mosquitoes and the humidity, I was once again reminded that I have nothing to complain about. I am so blessed to be free!

bandana flag

Bandana Flag Wreath

Happy Memorial Day 2016!

With Love,



80’s Music and Achieving Goals

Bryan Adams, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Foreigner, Chicago, Phil Collins…..and I could go on and on! When cleaning house, doing laundry, and washing dishes seem overwhelming to me (because I have let things go too long), I can put my 80’s music on Pandora and move to the groove. It is amazing what I can conquer when I am listening to that stuff, and with my headphones in, I have perfect pitch!images

I have been wanting to do a shiplap project in my house and after a lot of whining, begging, and singing 80’s music aloud, my husband finally gave in! Sometimes you just have to  be the visionary and sacrifice your dignity to get things done.

We did compromise and started with a small space. This is a hallway just outside our master bedroom.


It was so dark before and it didn’t have any personality at all….Now even though it is a very small space, it makes a statement. It makes me happy every time I walk by it (or dance by it, if Phil Collins is singing to me.)

With Love,


It’s Measurement and Celebration Time

Ahhh, Fractional Parts and Conversions- a couple of important skills you really need  to have a true understanding of when baking. I can’t say that math has always been a strength of mine – I can remember my dad working with me on my math homework in junior high and high school. I still struggle with really grasping the concept of when the denominator gets bigger, the amount is actually less. It just goes against all common sense for me. After all, when the number on my scale gets bigger, I am not getting skinnier!  Aren’t the words ‘bigger’ and ‘larger’ synonyms? Okay…..back to why I am talking about this and my baking.

At the end of the school year, I am always extremely busy wrapping up things at work and I tend to get bombarded with cake orders for special events: graduations, bridal showers, baby showers, and retirement parties.  For the sake of time, it is really important in May and June for me to stay organized. It is a bother to look up conversions when I am baking  because I have reached the age where I can no longer store all of that information in my memory (Actually, I can’t even remember what day of the week it is anymore).IMG_0206

When I was painting my kitchen cabinets, I decided to make myself a cheat board on the inside of my spice and seasonings’ cabinet. It has really come in handy and it was extremely easy to do. A little chalkboard paint, a paint pen, and painter’s tape were all I needed for this DIY project!                                                                                                                                           011ec957fb293f80f436d459392e6c3bd8b3bb0a45_00001

These cupcakes were for a very special retirement celebration. It was a picnic theme and the hostesses did a beautiful job with the decorations! It was a special treat for me to make this soon-to-be-retired-lady’s cupcakes because she just happened to have both of my sons in kindergarten a few year back – they are now 23 and 25 years old!

This shower was for a teacher who is a bride-to-be. Unfortunately, she won’t be teaching next year. I don’t know why when people get married they have to go off and live with their spouses. But, I guess these two were ‘Mint To Be Together’.


Okay, this is not a cake – but another one of my dear friends had a retirement celebration this week after working for 31 years in education. Amazingly enough, I had to use a bit of math on this project too!

Happy Celebrations!

With Love,




It’s All About That Cake (’bout that cake)

If you were to look up the definition of  ‘Nervous Wreck’ in the dictionary, I am quite certain that you would see my picture as a visual representation and it would probably even have an unflattering caption underneath about my physical responses to stress. I  really can’t explain why – I grew up surrounded by a loving and supportive family. I did well in school and got along fine with my peers. But, in spite of it all, I can remember as far back as third grade and attempting to hide my anxiousness that was so extreme, it made me sick to my stomach. I have tried every remedy known to man to relieve my stress to no avail; so for me, it continues to be a daily struggle.


beck cake

Go figure – instead of avoiding situations that cause anxiety, I seem to select hobbies that have the word ‘stressful’ written all over them; for example, cake decorating. The challenge of taking on new cake designs is like an obsession for me. This past weekend, I had multiple cake orders  and each one had a special meaning to me!


I  managed to survive and get all of the cakes completed and delivered to their correct locations with time to spare, but going back to ‘work’ on Monday was a killer.


I really did feel like I had just played in a ballgame that had gone into extra innings! Then Tuesday rolled around, my kitchen was clean, and I had already started thinking about the orders that I have for the upcoming weekend.

clean kitchen

 Welcome back, stress! Good-bye clean kitchen!

With Love,


Storms and Showers


Creatively Blue

‘Tis the season for showers – showers other than rain showers. I am talking about baby and bridal showers. If you happen to decorate cakes as another source of income like me, shower season is a busy, busy time.











When there is busyness, no time can be wasted on the inconveniences of Mother Nature. So, what’s a gal living in central Texas to do when there are cakes in the oven baking and it is storming outside, but she desperately wants to  re-paint some much neglected wooden frames? Just sitting around waiting for the oven timer to go off is not an efficient use of time; therefore, it makes perfect sense to set up a painting station right on the living room floor. It would be ridiculous to do it at the kitchen table because of all of the cake items in the way. Besides, it is easier to watch episodes of Fixer Upper in the living room.













Life is about seizing the moments, not waiting for storms to subside and oven timers to ding!


Let’s Talk Weddings


Hmmmm….what is the definition of micromanaging? I have come to the conclusion that I must have a micromanagement disorder (otherwise known as M.D.). Actually, I am thinking that I might have the disorder with additional issues – the one that is labeled M.D.H.D (Micromanagement Disorder with Household Duties).The definition of M.D.H.D is as follows: an obsession with spending an overabundance of time cleaning and staging a small section of one’s home while purposely remaining oblivious to the rest of the household which looks like tornado alley.

I have seriously thought about medication for this but when I have seen the commercials on television for the prescription, the actual side effects sound a whole lot scarier than the disorder. After all, watching an hour long television show without an advertisement for some sort of medication with serious side effects is impossible these days. Disclaimer – I don’t think that M.D.H.D. is an actual medical diagnosis yet, but I am living proof that it could be one! 

It is a beautiful Saturday here in central Texas, so let’s look at the advantages of having Micromanagement Disorder instead of the side effects shall we?

One of the advantages to being a micro-manager of a wedding reception is the feeling of control you have, even if it is just a false sense of security. When we celebrated at the reception in March, we had been planning it for almost a year and we were in charge of the decorations, the food, the cakes, and the order of events.


I am pretty sure that the wrinkles were out of the tablecloth before the reception began. Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong, when it is down to the wire on wedding day and we are trying to manage the timing of everything, the idea of having someone else bring in the food or the cakes, or even just to have a separate clean-up crew is tempting.Not to mention that prior to the event, anticipation often invades my sleep for several nights  as I continue to go over and over checklists of every little detail in my mind. IMG_1582

But, eventually the moment arrives at the end of the evening when everything is packed up and we are feeling achy- muscle fatigue achy- as we wearily head home. It is then, that reflecting on the events of the day makes everything worth the work/the planning/the anticipation/the sleepless nights/ the aches and pains.


Sweetheart Table


Photo Booth Scrapbook Table

Reflection does seem to dull one’s memory (for example – the experience of giving birth doesn’t seem that bad following the fact). Reflecting on the expression of the bride and groom’s faces throughout the evening, witnessing the re-connections between family and friends in a time of celebration dulls the memory of all of the hard work leading up the event. Even reflecting on the memories of the stress points is a joy. Spending time in a panicked state with special friends who enjoy this work as much as I do is priceless.IMG_1591

And then, just like childbirth, I can’t help but smile to myself as I relive the memories and I am ready to take on another big challenge all over again…….A wedding, not childbirth!

Taylor and Kori's Wedding Pictures 045

Happy, Happy Mother’s Day!

With Love,


May the Fourth be with You

I am not quite sure why I posted that title on today’s blog. I just know that I heard it on different media sources several times this morning, May 4, 2016, and I thought it sounded pretty catchy.

Okay- I have a really funny story to share about my husband’s cleaning frenzy this past weekend. In our neighborhood, we were scheduled for ‘bulk pickup’ yesterday. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it is pretty simple – unless you are trying to decipher the map to know when you are zoned for ‘bulk pickup’. There are all of these colors on the pamphlet and numbers with very few street names or landmarks to offer assistance. Anyway, upon close examination of the map,  I found out that we can put unwanted treasures out on the curb on the first Tuesday of each month and somebody with the title of ‘Bulk Picker Upper’ will come by and collect it all. That happens after the ‘Curbside Shoppers’ pilfer through it all to see if there is anything that they need. If you take a lot of pride in preserving the privacy of how you live behind the four walls of your household, you might want to think very carefully about what you put out for the ‘Curbside Shoppers’ because it could very well end up on Facebook for the whole world to see. And, that is just what happened to us. A couple of the treasures that I was reluctant to part with, ended up in the hands of some ‘Curbside Shoppers’ that I happen to be friends with on Facebook. Hmmmm…normal person by day and ‘Curbside Shopper’ by night….Ahhh! The irony! Needless to say, we will be laying low for a while.

I do have some pictures to share with you of a wedding reception some good friends and I recently did for a young couple. The venue was beautiful and we were able to cut some corners on the cost, as we did a lot of the work ourselves.


Okay, you ‘Curbside Shoppers’, we took donated vases and spray painted them gold. I purchased blingy buttons at Walmart for the gems in the middle. Oh, and by the way, you might recognize this particular vase – it is a Ragu spaghetti jar!IMG_1597

All of the picture frames were purchased at the dollar store and they were also spray painted gold. We needed a lot of them because the bride and groom were spotlighted in a candid photo on each guest table. I am particularly proud of the table runners because each one of them was made, with love, by me (all 22 blush ones, and 10 gold ones). Let me just say that there was a lot of leisurely sewing going on in the middle of the night at my house through the winter months.


See what I mean about picture frames? They were everywhere and even though each one was a bit different in style, all of them were gold. Just look at the sheen on that table runner!

I will share more pictures of this big event on my next post!



It’s Time For This Old Desk


Happy Tuesday and welcome to the month of May! I am hoping that all of our April Showers bring May Flowers, because here in Texas, it has been a spring of showers. Meanwhile, I have really been enjoying working on some indoor projects. I purchased this desk at a local resale shop a little over a year ago. At the time, it was painted black and white so I just basically sanded it down back to the natural wood and left it to cure for a year (I usually let things cure when I am  distracted by another project).

….month after month passes and the desk is still curing…….these things take time….

As luck would have it, my daughter-in-law began applying for teaching jobs at elementary schools in the area once she completed her certification process and miraculously, the wood on the desk finally was ready to be refinished. Ha! The timelessness of certain works of art  are just fascinating to me! Seriously, I am really happy with the way that it turned out. I love the dark walnut stain and the  polycrylic finish in satin. Now, when Kori gets ready to begin her first year of teaching, she will have a special desk in her classroom for students to sit at while they are reading independently.

Timing is everything!


The Blessing of Youth

Each day, I have three tutoring groups with students ranging from third grade to fifth grade in preparation for the standardized testing that is looming over us. . I find my greatest  pleasure in teaching is when I am able to release myself from the stress of what the expectations are by standardized testing. I love getting to know the quirks of each and every one of the students, and really reliving what is important to them at this time period in their lives. Don’t get me wrong…getting to know the students and building that relationship with them is not about lowering the academic expectations. In order to grow our children to be all that they can be, we cannot and must not lower the academic standards, for they are far more capable of achieving goals than we give them credit for.  After all, our children are the ones that are in control of our future. 

“While I Still Can Dance…I will dare to open the vaults of my heart and mind and express my feelings for others. And I welcome others to share their hearts and minds with me.”

This weekend, as I took a step back from the world of education, I was anxious to complete a couple of projects around the house. The hubby did a great job of cleaning out the garage, so I really felt obligated to get some things organized myself.Attach0

Here is the thing about husbands though…they know that they can’t throw anything away as long as you are within a ten-mile radius of the house. So, while I was out delivering a cake for a Quinceanera, that stinker threw away some wood that I had gotten at Home Depot for a new project. Lately, it seems that one of our favorite games to play is “Trash-To-Treasure Tug-of-War”. I really need to put a tracking system on him when I leave the house, so I can monitor what he is getting into.