If You’re Happy and You Know It

In an effort to live creatively but not chaotically, I recently signed up for a cake decorating class at a local school! I love baking cakes, but their presentation never quite does them justice. I’ve tried using books and online tutorials to learn how to decorate cakes, but it makes such a difference to have someone who knows what they’re doing help you out.

Last week we learned how to level, fill and ice the cake, and how to smooth the icing out (I struggle with this). We also practiced with star tips and round tips to fill in pictures on cakes. This week, we worked on a shell border, reverse shell border and rope border. Then we learned how to use piping gel to transfer an outline to a cake to be decorated. Next week: basket weave!

If there’s an activity or craft you’re interested in learning, or you just want to see if maybe it’s something you’d like to pursue, see if your county or local churches offer any public classes for it. The community colleges here offer short courses on everything from cake decorating to grant writing to basic auto repair.

Because I am irreverent and insensitive to the plight of the T-Rex, here is my first decorated cake!




Grab a Cheap Seat and Settle In

I think I just one of my own DIY wedding projects left to post, and better late than never, right? Of course right.

I already showed you my invitations and head table sign. My last big DIY contribution for the wedding (well, the last one I have any photos of to share a how-to with you) was the display for our place cards.

The initial inspiration for this project came from two simple thoughts: “I have vintage suitcases!”, and “I want people to see these vintage suitcases!”

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The Ol’ Labor Dabor

I appreciate any holiday that celebrates the American working by letting us not work for a day.

I’m going to keep the chat short in this post, because I’ve got to get ready for my holiday weekend, but in case you a) haven’t decided what to throw on the grill for your weekend picnic or b) don’t even have a grill, I strongly suggest you rush out to whatever grocery store is open and get the necessary items for these:

Broiler Sirloin Kabobs!

Broiler Sirloin Kabobs (adapted from Sensational Sirloin Kabobs)

For the Marinade (This marinade was a great find. I’ve used it on whole steaks and chicken breasts)

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
  • 4 fluid ounces lemon-lime soda

For the kabob fixin’s:

  • 2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces*
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms*
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes*
  • 1 fresh pineapple, or canned pineapple slices or cubes*

*Or whatever you like. If you’re the carnivorous type, have just the steak!

Prepare the marinade:

In a bowl or measuring cup (I lined a 2-cup glass measuring cup with a gallon size plastic storage bag) mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, garlic pepper and lemon lime soda.

Reserve some of the marinade for basting. Mix the meat and the rest of the marinade together in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Prepare the kabobs:

If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to cook your kabobs. I can’t guarantee they won’t burn at all, but they won’t burn as badly as dry skewers.

Preheat your broiler. Thread the steak, pineapple, mushrooms and peppers (or whatever you chose) onto the skewers.

You can lay the kabobs right on your broiler pan (spray it first, if it’s not a non-stick type). I needed a bit more space so I made a makeshift grilling surface with a large cookie sheet and two cheap cookie cooling racks.

Cook the kabobs for 10 to 15 minutes, basting and turning often, until done. You know your broiler better than I do (I think), so just keep an eye on them!  (Obviously you can cook these on a grill, too).

We had them with rice and a little of the reserved marinade.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!  Wear something white, but don’t drop any food on it!


Btw- the post’s title is a reference to this: