Silly Cake for all occasions!

I am not a professional baker, I can follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box. But its not fun enough for the birthday surprise I had in mind. Watch the transformation, and find out how I like some of the baking ideas I have read about on the internet and all those fun baking shows. The Rickabaugh reviews are in!

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I have a cake pan, but it is the usual large rectangle. Not too much fun. I would eventually like to get myself some more different sized cake pans. But for now with my beautiful multiuse cake plate that is round, I wanted a round cake. So I used the two pie plates I have, given to me by my gramma. One is much smaller than the other and I feel pretty sure its considered depression glass. It still works!

Snack Pack Pudding, Chocolate, 4 Count – 3.25 oz Cups (Pack of 12)

I wanted a layered cake and realizing that I did not have enough store bought frosting and I wasnt sure if I had the ingredients to make some ftom scratch, searched the cabinets-found chocolate pudding snacks! I have chocolate cake.  We will see if with chocolate pudding in between the layers will be good.

IT WAS AMAZING!!

I ended up trimming the tops of the two small cakes “pies” so that they would stack nice. The trimmed off portions went into a bowl and then I crumbled them up real small and added two pudding snacks. Mixed well, using a knife spread it on thick hoping my baking experiment would work. It was sticky and held the two cakes together perfect. I highly recommend this super yummy invention. Also I trimmed the tops but I did not trim the sides to be perfectly straight. It wasn’t a huge mistake but when putting the icing on it was incredibly difficult. It looked cool and weird and different and that was great. But once is enough.

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Pillsbury Moist Supreme Premium Cake Mix, Devil’s Food, 15.25 oz

It might not be the most expensive or fancy but it hit the chocolate cake fix for all who had some! I highly recommended this brand.

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Most of the supplies are in order. I had a bunch of mixing of icing colors and so I did that while the cake was cooking. Next time I will do it while the cake is cooling. My icing was hardening up while the cake was cooling.

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Pretty cake plate! And my round pie plates. I also recommend remembering to grease and flour your glass plates before putting in the batter. I forgot and had to only do a small patch job.

If part of your cake gets stuck in the pan-don’t fret about it! Scoop it out shove it in the cake hole and slap some icing on it. Everyone will rave how good it tastes.

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Got my food coloring! The back of the boxes have great suggestions on how much of which colors you can combine to make color schemes that match your style. I personally do not have a color mixing wheel in my head.

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This is a very basic Icing bag set. The basic set such as this is not for fancy cakes, if you make your own very thick and heavy icing you can get adequate function from the tips but if the icing is too thick it just bends the plastic projections which are there to give you a specific design, so unfortunately I have found plastic tips for icing bags sets to be slightly counterproductive. Plastic icing bags, yes easy to wash but difficult to get a good amount of use out of all of the icing you have. I have a bit of arthritis in my hands and wrists and the plastic is difficult to use and hold and tires out my hands quickly. There may be a day when I pull out all my pennies and get a good set but considering I make one crazy cake every other year, I will not get good use out of it. I can figure out cheats until I need to start making a cake a week.

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I saw this totally cool trick to use cling wrap and line up two to three colors of icing then put it in your icing bag to make super cool multicolored flowers. I was being stingy on icing so I used just orange and purple. The concept is excellent and is so cool. It did not work well for this project because the icing I had was not stiff enough and I ran out of icing. Next cake I think I just might make my own icing, then I can double the mix amount and not worry about running out.

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Separating out the icing. Realized to make the most of the icing and wash one less bowl and one less fork, put the food coloring right in the icing container.

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Colors turned out excellent. I used very few drops of food coloring (between 2 to 6) to try to reduce the amount of stains that might happen with 5 small kids eating cake. Bolder, brighter colors need more food coloring. More food coloring means you might not get it out of their new birthday dress, also some kids have sensitivities to food coloring.

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This is how I watched the multicolored flowers started on a baking how to.  I suggest have someone help you with holding down the cling wrap-if cling wrap has always been your enemy. A good trick might be to chilling all the icing to make it less runny and easier to manipulate. Also if you have any burrito wrapping skills, now is the time to show them off.

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A trick I have never tried before that a friend who makes a lot of cakes suggested to me once, wax paper on a piece of cardboard.

Works Amazing!

Make sure you use two or more pieces that over lap just slightly in the middle of the cake. I was able to get away with just two because it was a small, not super heavy cake.

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Centered the bottom pie plate cake layer in the middle of the wax paper and card board. As you can see I trimmed the top of the cake to make it flat to easily layer on the pudding mix and then the top pie plate layer. It was flat but not level, which in the end product will make your cake look even less level. If you are a perfectionist get a ruler to help you out. I am a bit go with the flow, it doesn’t have to be perfect-it will be delicious straight or crooked.

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The “FUN” part of icing was next. It was difficult and so messy and looked crazy bad! I was texting updates to my husband who was off site and he had strong doubts about the outcome.

Tie dyed looks crazy bad before it looks good, every time, but it will turn out awesome!

Best term for how you put the icing on would be “glob” but you need to glob on the colors starting in the center of the top of the cake. Change colors going in a spiral from the center the whole way around the top and down the sides.

You can see that I left spaces in between the colors so as to not mix them all up on the spoons I was using to place it on the cake. I used a toothpick to smear the icing colors together to leave no showing chocolate cake. And it helped to level out the icing globs.

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Touching globs! 😂

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By the time I got to the bottom of the cake I was tired and ran out of different colors. Its still rough looking at this point, don’t get discouraged! The next step is the fun transformation-will pick you up-step!

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Clean toothpick! Start in the top center every single time. If you are really concerned about perfect mixing with drawing the tookpick through the cake, clean off the toothpick every time you start at the top middle and draw out to the edge and then down the side.

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Instant Tie Dye!! You can stop here and everyone will ooohhhh and aaahhhh! But I thought sprinkles will take it to the next level. They didn’t stick too well so they were everywhere in the kitchen.

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Now is when the cardboard and wax paper come into play.  Use two hands and put the cake and wax paper and cardboard on top of your nice clean cake stand. If it is a large cake get a helper. Its not as fun to eat cake off of the floor.

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In this photo you can see how I gently and slowly slid out the cardboard. At this point you can see very easily where your cake is on the plate through the wax paper. If you have to move the cake to center it on the plate use the wax paper and tug just a bit, slow and steady.

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When your cake is where you want it on the plate, take one side of wax paper out at a time. If you pull with two hands and slow and steady  the wax paper shouldn’t tear and stick under the cake.

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Cake on a plate! Just a bit more decorating I think!

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Remember that little bit of icing I put aside? This is where it comes in.

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Icing tip I used.

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I snipped off the end of the cling wrap and just slid icing and cling wrap into the plastic decorating bag, which greatly added in clean up-wasn’t too messy.

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Sqwished the icing to the end. A great tip I received from a baker friend was once the icing is in the bag( this is for right handed people) have the small icing tip in your left hand. Take the large open end in your right hand twist the end sealing the bag shut and creating a stable holding situation as well as controlling the pressure in your dominant hand, wrist, and arm. That useless left hand, wrist and arm hold the small delicate tip steady as I decorate. When I lose pressure in the bag, more pressure needs to be made. This is done by twisting the big end, that was twisted shut and held twisted between my right thumb and right pointer finger, twisting the plastic bag naturally pushes extra icing down to the decorating tip, descreasing the amount of space in the bag and increasing the amount of pressure in the bag. Once again giving you the adequate amount of icing and flow.

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I desired to have a purple and orange flower trim around the bottom of the cake. The cake was plenty busy so this small detail was lost on the overall look, but it was a great learning experience. The icing I choose for this cake was delicious but not thick and firm so the flowers were runny, so I ended up making less of a flower trim and more of a funky ribbon of color at the bottom.

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Sprinkles are fun looking. Very messy and bounce off of cakes sides when you toss them at cakes. Thus sprinkles everywhere. And if there is a drop of water anywhere near a rogue sprinkle you have streaks of color all over the counter and the floor, and if you get them on the bottom of your socks they get transferred to carpeting. Then the dog licks the found spinkles and next thing you know there is a strange green spot on the brand new carpeting.

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Add the candles when birthday subject is near! Until then keep it safe from harm with the lid.

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Ready to PARTY!!!

Kid tested, Miller Family and Rickabaugh’s approve!

How I Save Money on Groceries

You have to eat to live. Prices of groceries continue to climb but our pay checks do not. Here is a few tips to help the grocery bill go down but still fill up your tummy.

1. Cut coupons-I cut out all the coupons, what I don’t need or use I give to friends and family.

2. Take advantage of your local grocery store rewards club.  Our membership comes with gas rewards points and we are able to load free items to our card.

3. Ibotta-it is a free app that you can load to your cell phone. It is not instantaneous, but you can cash out as soon as $20.00. Which you can get in gift cards or they can transfer it directly to your pay pal account.

4. Checkout 51- another free app that you can load to your phone. Similar to Ibotta they have tons of different locations to shop from. It is as simple as snapping a photo of your receipt. We always make our selections in the app right before we leave for the store and submit our receipts directly after we get home from the store. Different coupons have different expiration dates and times.

Garden Stepping Stones

5747FD88-7FB8-4288-9B8A-DDCFD2ED130D67B95B52-FE7D-4F69-9D71-385708B23572 In the first photo you can see the first leaf casting that I attempted. I used the back side of a hosta leaf the veins on the back sides of leaves are usually thicker which gives good grooves or definition to the concrete. Advised cure time of concrete depending on the type of concrete differs. My bag stated at least 30 days before waterproofing or staining. So my hosta leaf sat in the shed for 30 days to cure. It has been painted in the second photo. The waterproof label states that the waterproof material added to the concrete should be allowed to cure for 48 hours before submitting to natural weather. Tonight I will waterproof the back and reveal my banana leaf steps.

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This is the concrete waterproofing product that I am using.  About a week ago I water proofed the top of the painted concrete leaf, but I did not photograph the process, I was wearing gloves and had never done it before and was not sure how it was going to turn out.  Today I finally carved out 10 minutes of my evening and waterproofed the back of the leaf, and got photos of the process.

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I shook the gallon container a few times to make sure its mixed well and to make sure there was still liquid in the container.  I poured it directly onto the leaf back, the liquid is very thin and has a milky look to it.  It soaks into the concrete quickly, it is not very easy to spread.  I ended up pouring the liquid on in several different places on the leaf back to make sure I got all the back and sides completely covered. Within minutes the leaf back looked exactly as before. But suggested cure time for waterproofing with this product is 48 hours.  So once again, we play the waiting game.

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This photo was taken about 3 minutes after I had applied the water proofing material to the entire back side of the hosta concrete leaf.

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Stepping stone was put in the ground this weekend! So cute! So little!

My husband and I finished painting our grape leaves tonight.

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My husbands’ leaf is on the left and mine is on the right.  We figured out this evening that all of the super cool shiney leaf castings we have seen have probably been using metallic paints. Which is what I have used this evening.

 

Side Hustles!

It has only been a few years that I have known about the facebook market place but it is definitely one of my favorite side hustles. We have been working on living a more simple and frugal life style, which means cleaning out of what we dont need, want, or never even use.   Post a photo and give details-people find you! Its an all day every day garage sale but you’re not sitting in the middle of all your unwanted items in the heat smiling at everyone or no one that stops by when you have 5 loads of laundry and dinner to cook. They message you if they are interested in the item and you set up a time and place for the exchange. SIMPLE! I have slowly but surely been able to cut down on all the extras or spares or 8 back up pots and pans we have stacked in the basement and attic.

Banana Leaf stepping stones.

 

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Big storm today took our Banana tree down to the ground. I have been working on making stepping stones to make a more permanent pathway through the woods, down the very steep hill to the beautiful creek. I have been putting off using the banana leaves because they are so big and a bit intimidating. But today’s storm said to me “Buckle up buttercup!!” It is a good thing I stopped at the local home improvement store to pick up a second bag of concrete made by Quikrete.  It took more than one 60 pound bag. I wasn’t able to use all of the leaves because my two tables are smaller than I remember sometimes. 890D92EF-563B-460B-B82A-B578BA2BFC0C

I noticed I had a few small open spaces so I popped into the yard and cut off 3 nice hosta leaves to make the most of the table space.  It is a bit of back breaking work and slightly time consuming. I am very lucky and my husband helps me out and it makes the process go so much quicker. With help about 2 hours later, set up and clean up included. C8F52DB4-41CF-4882-8D5A-701D470A6C65.jpeg

And the waiting for the concrete to harden begins. These leaves are pretty large so I plan on waiting 2 days instead of 1 before I flip them over and pull off the leaves.  I made several other stepping stones about a month ago. 30 days for proper cure time of concrete is advised before painting or waterproofing.

 

UPDATE UPDATE!!

I let the concrete dry for two days! Big leaf castings, which I will use as stepping stones are below. I am so happy with how well they turned out. Details of some things I learned this  time are below.

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I was afraid that if I added too much water the concrete would just run everywhere, off the leaf, off the table, onto the garage floor. Big mess!! (Storms like crazy-working indoors), but what I have noticed is the concrete mix needs to be just slightly runny because when its drier it tends to be chunkier or a bit rocky looking. Which leads to air bubbles that stay in the castings. When I was doing stepping stones in boxes I was able to gently jostle the boxes to work out the air bubbles. You can see where the casting looks rockier with permanent air bubbles in the close up photo below. Then following is a close up photo of the same leaf but you can see how much smoother and better defined details are presented with just a bit more water in the concrete mix. D720255D-1C88-4CA5-86A4-A0D3801685D6AF3FC2B5-22AB-44C2-857C-93BCAB86E3C4

Lawn Killing Dog Urine

My husband and I have a 5 year old German Shepherd/Collie mix puppers whose urine kills the grass.

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Belle is 75 pounds, she is big and her urine is lethal to everything she urinates on. If she pees on it today, dead tomorrow. We have tried pills from the pet stores, no difference. We have also tried watering directly after she goes, helps a little. We thought when we had a smaller yard it was because she did not have enough room to spread out her lethal urine.  We now have an acre, nope, Belle is still the best grass killer around. We did a bit of research on WHY her urine kills all the grass. Her urine is acidic. Baking soda is a base and when we have mixed about 1/2 of a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water, it has been effective. But only after directly applying it to the urine on the grass seconds after she pees. When the grass is dead, it is dead, no bringing it back to life, you will have to start over, replant grass. We are still using the urine pills from the local pet store in conjunction with our water mix. We have the jug right outside of the door that leads to the back yard.  If my husband uses the last in the jug, he fills it up, if I use the last in the jug, I fill it up. This way there is always grass saving water available and never an excuse to not use it.  We love our green grass. Hope this helps you to prevent dead spots in your yard too!

Belle is such a big dog and we use baking soda in with our laundry as well.  This is the kind we get-the big bag.

ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda, 13.5 Pound