Drowning in Cake Batter – Mini Individual Sized Naked Cakes

This June, we are heading to La Paz, Mexico for a missions trip. We will be serving alongside of a church there and loving on the community. With great missions opportunity comes much fundraising responsibility! So, for our annual Easter egg hunt at Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm in Snohomish, WA, I helped host a bake sale. Baking is not my strongest suit. I can hold my own in a kitchen, for sure, but the science to baking has sometimes bit me in the behind.

I decided to opt in for something easy, yet cute and fun to sell – Mini Individual Naked Cakes!

Frosting on cake, for me, is often a downfall. There’s too much of it to eat, and it’s really hard to get the sides to look pretty and even. But with naked cakes, I only had to frost the middle! Yay!

Ten boxes of cake mix and eight cans of frosting later – I capped the event off selling 32 naked cakes alongside, DOZENS (if not over a hundred) other baked goods. With the entire event hosting around 4,000 people – we sold out of every last treat!

Check out some pictures from the event and the details on how to duplicate these super easy naked cakes!

 

IMG_5349 (1)

Excuse the mess – but making 10+ cakes in four hours DESTROYED my kitchen! I started off with boxed cake mix. When baking for a fundraiser you want to keep your cost low, so that profit is high! This box mix only needed eggs and veggie oil and cost $1.00 per box. Each box of cake makes approximately three mini naked cakes.

Tricks of the trade when baking these: don’t fill the pan like you would with a normal cake. You want thinner layers, not super thick. It will cook faster, cut easier, and stack better. I learned this towards the end of the process and it would have saved me a lot of hassle had I figured it out sooner.

IMG_5356

After you’ve baked your cakes and let them cool a bit, use a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to get these mini round layers.

IMG_5357

I was going for consistency in height, which means that some cakes got three layers, and others got two, depending on the thickness of the cake pieces. I piped the frosting in the middle layer instead of spreading it –  this is MUCH easier! An easy frosting “piping” trick is to use a plastic sandwich bag and cut off a small piece of the bottom corner. This allows you to fill it with frosting and have a small tip for frosting the cake.

IMG_5355

TADA! All the layers are done – time to let them refrigerate overnight. This helped the frosting to set so that the cakes were stable when decorating the tops!

I did four different flavors of cake and three different frosting flavor combos. These ones were my “party” cakes! Funfetti cake, vanilla frosting, sprinkles and a topper for decoration!

img_5358-1.jpg

I used the “Funfetti” cake as a bit of inspiration for the bake sale theme! Bright whites with pops of color made this confetti theme a success. Presentation matters – when people walk by they notice how something looks and hit will help you sell better.

I designed the banners and signs to go with the theme courtesy of a confetti graphic by freepik.com. You can snag these to use for your event too:

BAKE*SALE Banner (print each letter and cut!)

BAKE*SALE Banner (2nd option, print each pennant and cut!)

Bake Sale Sign 11×14

IMG_5394

I am entirely obsessed with these confetti balloons! Great at attention drawing and super fun to play with. We snagged these from Target for about $6.00 a piece.

IMG_0323 (1)

IMG_5402IMG_5400IMG_5401IMG_5402

Here’s the finished product of two more flavors of cake! Vanilla with peony toppers and chocolate with confetti colored hydrangeas!

IMG_5403IMG_5404

 

It wouldn’t be a bake sale without incredible volunteers! Our students are raising money to head out on this missions trip and they’re doing it with joy and hardworking attitudes! Can’t wait to head to Mexico with all of you! IMG_5409

IMG_5450

 

xoxo -A

Finding and Becoming the Best Roommate

School is winding down, wedding season is upon us, Summer is on its way (not nearly soon enough!) What do all these things have in common? Housing changes. Whether its new roommates for the Fall quarter, moving in with your new spouse, or buying your first home and needing to get a roommate to help pay the mortgage – house/room sharing can be a little tricky to navigate. 

So what makes a good roommate? How do you choose one and how do you be one? Here are some tips from my experiences that hopefully you can use to get the best from your living situation!

PICKING THE PLACE

Where you live is important! Are you looking for somewhere close to work, school, family? In between all three? Do you want your own room or a room-share? Would you rather live with people your age or a family unit? These answers determine the roommates you get to choose from and where you should find them! For instance – if the best radius for you to live falls in a sketchy town don’t try finding a roommate off of Craigslist. If you want to be completely independent – consider moving in with people your age instead of an established family.

OBSERVING THE OPTIONS

Like I alluded to before – where you find your roommate matters! Sure, there are a lot of people looking for roommates or house sharing options through sites like Craigslist, but that doesn’t make it your best bet. Try asking around. Use social media to your advantage. This ensures that the person you’re getting is either someone you know, or has a trusted reference. Also check out community pages through your church, a school club, or your work.

CONSIDER THE CANDIDATES

Now that you have a few good options – vet them out. Don’t be afraid to check out some references and ask hard questions. These are way easier conversations to have up front than later. Take a look at this roommate selection guide we have for you on some things to ask a roommate candidate. Use these questions to create an outline for yourself of what living with this person would be like, and if you can tolerate those behaviors.

BUILDING THE BOUNDARIES

Now that you’ve decided on who your roommate is, set up some good standards for living. This is important for those of you that are going to be getting a place with your spouse! I have found that sitting down and discussing details and expectations from the get-go is vital to a healthy living situation. Use this boundaries worksheet to go over some of the potential issues that will come up when living with a roommate. Get into the specifics! Boundaries in a roommate relationship are really important because it sets a guideline for house rules. 

COMMUNICATING THE CONFLICTS

Issues will arise when you’re living together. Proximity can cause tension. It is important to address issues quickly and gently. Going off on your roommate about the dishes in the sink, is a lot less effective than having a kind conversation about everyone pitching in and doing their part.

STICKING WITH THE STANDARD

If you want to have a good roommate – be one! That’s the golden rule anyways right? Treat your roommate how you want to be treated. Do your part and stick to your side of the boundaries that you set. Communicate often and well. If you feel like something about your current living situation needs a change, talk about it!

SOME LAST NOTES:

  • Your best friend isn’t always your best option for a roommate. Living together can cause tension in your friendship – so be wary of moving in with someone who you’re extremely close to!
  • Compromises are healthy, but know what your “non-negotiables” are when it comes to your living situation. It’s okay to stick to your guns on some things, as long as you communicate it clearly up-front.
  • Not everything is forever. If you’re feeling not 100% confident in your roommate situation, give it a trial period. If it doesn’t work out, agree to respectfully part ways.
  • To reiterate: communicate, communicate, communicate. It is the absolute key to getting the most out of your living situation.

 

xoxo – A

The Engagement Season

Since I can remember I have heard;

“You should have a short engagement or else you’ll end up killing each other”

Or

“Yay, you’re getting married! But good luck being engaged..”

Everyone I’ve encountered HATES the season of being engaged. For my fiancé and I, we did not want this to be the reality of our engagement season. Although I wanted to be engaged extremely bad, I was super nervous that being engaged would make us on edge and argumentative. Right after we got engaged, we sat down and talked about not wanting our engagement to be like the typical ones we had heard about. One of the greatest choices we’ve made. With his help on this one (because I think it’s important to get the male and female side), we’ve put together some thoughts and tips on how to conquer this fun season!

Listen to Both Sides

We decided that even if one of us had an idea that the other thought was terrible, we would listen to it anyways. We didn’t want to tear each other down by making the other feel insignificant. You never want to make your other half think that they have bad suggestions, so don’t just act interested, be interested.

Guys Don’t Always Care

When we first got engaged, I told my fiancé, Ryan, every little detail about the wedding. I thought he would want to know everything. I was wrong. He wanted to be involved, but only to a certain extent. Guys typically aren’t as excited about the types of flowers you want, or the color of your bridesmaids dresses. Involve him in things he will care about! Which is not everything.. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about your special day! No way. But it’s important to remember that guys and girls tend to be very different in the area of planning a wedding.

Keep Dating

Don’t get caught up in all of the wedding planning. Yes, there is a TON to do to plan your special day, but remember to spend time with each other without talking about wedding planning. When I first got engaged, this was advice that I got from a close friend of mine, and it was SO helpful. When we went on dates, we decided beforehand that we wouldn’t talk wedding. We would just simply be us and spend time with each other. I think this is also really important for when you’re married. Pick a day of the week, and spend that whole day just loving and encouraging one another. No wedding talk!

Your Choices Are No Longer Just Your Choices

You’re not married yet, BUT being engaged means making decisions together. This was hard for both of us to completely wrap our minds around, because it takes time. When you are single or just dating, most decisions you make on your own. Finances is a huge factor in this. Wedding’s are not cheap. You both need to figure out how much you are going to put aside for the wedding. Finances can cause big arguments.. So you need to discuss how much you both should/should not be spending on the wedding, and other things. You no longer have the luxury of making decisions for yourself. It’s now both of your decisions.

Just Pause

There can be things that you both just completely disagree on when it comes to planning the wedding. For Ryan and me, whenever one of us started to get worked up, stressed, or overwhelmed with a wedding situation, we would just pause. We would take a break, (which usually meant getting food because we both can get hangry). This stopped a lot of our disagreements and stress over the wedding. We would, of course, come back to the issue later, but just taking a break to get food, watch a show, or whatever, gave us time to cool down and no longer be overwhelmed.

 

Now, by no means were we the “perfect engaged couple”, nor did we succeed all the time in these areas, but these were definitely things we found very helpful to make this season a fun one and so much less stressful.

 

How To: The Natural Makeup Look

I have seen so many YouTube videos of “natural makeup” looks.. Yeah, right… I don’t know about all of you, but I don’t have an hour to spend on my face, just to end up looking “natural”. Some days we just don’t have enough time to do a full face of makeup, or we just want to look casual. For me, it’s just that I prefer sleep.. There are a lot of different casual makeup looks to do! Here are some things things that I do;

  • Brows. Always do your eyebrows! They don’t need to be perfect,  very dark, and/or thick, but if you don’t do anything to them, your face won’t look finished.
  • Liquid foundation. It doesn’t need to be all over your face. Just use it as cover-up for your blemishes!
  • Powder. Powder that matches the color of the liquid foundation. Use it all over your face to give it a very finished look.
  • Contour & Highlight. Nope, not needed. If you’re going for a natural look, it’s not “natural” to have a shiny streak on your cheekbone. If you do decide to contour and highlight, do so very lightly.
  • Eyeshadow. Neutral colors! I always go with sparkly neutral, because I don’t like matte colors on my eyes. Completely a  personal preference. Don’t go too dark either because then it won’t be the casual look you’re going for.
  • Eyeliner. You can go with or without. Personally, I always wear eyeliner even on my casual days. My eyes are very round, so I wear it in a way that makes my eyes look more elongated. Typically a slight winged liner does the trick for my eyes. If you prefer pencil eyeliner, a little liner at the end corner of your eye is the best to look natural, but still like you tried.
  • Mascara. Yes. Always. No matter what.

I have mastered this look. Some days look better than others, of course, but I can usually get this look done within 15 mins. Sometimes less, depending on how my skin decides to look that day. Learning all of this, was a lifesaver for my sleep schedule.

Sleep is important, people. 

More important than makeup. So do a little less, save time, and still look awesome.

-Xoxo, B

Learning to Love the Journey

“Life is a journey, not a destination” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have all heard it quoted, and probably have been encouraged to enjoy the journey of life. But what do you do when the part of the journey that you’re on just totally sucks? I don’t think I’m alone in saying, sometimes the journey is NOT fun. There are definitely times where I wish life was just about the destination, but that is just not how God designed it.

I am a huge fan of stories – movies, TV Shows, books, music! God has designed our lives to play out like a beautiful story, and he is the best storyteller. Every story has its parts: Exposition (the beginning,) Rising Action (a series of conflicts), Climax (the exciting part,) Falling Action (events leading to the end,) and Resolution (THE END!)  Can you tell that my favorite subject was English?

Life is a series of “ups” and “downs.”

If our story begins at birth (Exposition) and ends at death (Resolution,) then our life is just a series of Rising and Falling actions. It’s a series of ups and downs.

Usually when we talk about the “ups and downs” of life, the “Ups” are when we are feeling up, and the “downs” are when we feel down. Maybe we were thinking of it wrong, and it has less to do with feelings and more to do with our actions.

The Ups

The rising action of a story is where the most conflict happens. Imagine it as climbing a mountain, scaling a wall, etc. It’s hard. There are obstacles at every turn. The odds are against you. It’s in the “Ups” that we develop character, determination, and strength.

The Peak 

The climax is the most exciting part of the story. These are the moments in our life where we experience our biggest victories. Our favorite memories are planted here. Its our graduation days, the weddings, children being born, trips across the world, etc. Each of our peak moments, though, required hard work and struggle to get there. That’s what makes the peak so worth it, and so memorable!

The Downs

 This is the Falling Action – when things settle down. Its that part of the story where we have the time to pause and reflect on how things have come together. This part is easy to miss, but also extremely important. Our thankfulness and reflection in “the downs,” is what fuels us for the next battle of “ups.”

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV)

God is always in control. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV) When the road seems impeccably difficult, God is working something together for good. When there are terrible obstacles that you didn’t expect, God’s purpose still remains.

A journey with intention is what creates the greatest destinations

In my own experience, I have found that the “Ups” are a lot more bearable – and dare I say, even enjoyable – when they are given a purpose. In the tough times, it’s important to ask God what his purpose is for this season, because He always has one!  A journey with intention is what creates the greatest destinations. A journey can be something that you enjoy when you choose to love Jesus first, and follow His purpose. And then He will make “all things work together for good.”

xoxo -A