Goals

Like most people at the beginning of the year I was all about a life planner.  I made a planner (that I never used) and for the first time created goals for myself.  I have never been a goal setter.  I always would have liked to set goals, but never did.  I would say I didn’t know what kind of goals to set for fitness, or couldn’t make up my mind etc.

While I was knee-deep in the life planner I created a list of goals for myself for 2017.  I wrote down 3 goals on 01-05-17.  I don’t know if I printed it off and put somewhere.  I don’t think I have looked at it since maybe 01-10-17.  This is one reason I am not good at goal setting.  I forgot all about my goals for the year shortly after making them.

I came across the list today and realized I crushed all three goals!!

  1. Donate cookies to church – At the beginning of the month I gave our pastor a set of Halloween cookies for Pastor appreciation month.FB_IMG_1506889822402
    1. Look into bake sale for No Kid Hungry – I had a Facebook bake sale during Easter and raised $90 for No Kid Hungry.IMG_0039
  2. Practice cookie decorating, would like to be able to go to Cookie Con 2019 **this goes hand in hand with donating to church.  Can donate my practice cookies – I have been decorating more throughout the year and want to continue to get better.  I have tried some new techniques and I keep Cookie Con Sept 2018 in the back of my mind.IMG_0162

What a great feeling it is to know I was working towards my goals even if I didn’t remember.  I guess cookie decorating is becoming more and more of who I am and what I love to do.

There are two spots left on the sheet.  I wonder if I can think of two more goals for 2017 and complete them before the year is done.

Make it a great day,

Jen

Advertisements

Tipless decorating bags

I have recently come across the tipless bags by Truly Mad Plastics.  I feel like I am a little late to the game on this one.  I thought I would give them a try since I use the same consistency for outlining and flooding.

IMAG1409

Saturday was not my night for decorating.  Many things that normally don’t cause an issue, were a problem.  I normally don’t have many craters, but every ghost had one.  My flooding was off and not smooth.  My consistencies were bad.  But I continued to power through.  I also feel like I stepped back several years with my skill level.  I think I was expecting too much from the bags and was not giving it my full attention.

I have used tips for almost 10 years starting with buttercream.  I want to continue to use the new bags, but I need to rely on my skill level more and take the time the cookie needs.

FB_IMG_1506889822402

Semi Sweet Mike has a great tutorial on the ghost cookies.

October is National Pastor month.  I decided to pack up some cookies and have Paul deliver them to our church.  I love these boxes from BRP Box Shop.  They make giving cookies look so much better.

IMAG1423

Make it a great day,

Jen

DIY Glitter Ornaments

Christmas is coming!!  I thought I would give the glitter ornaments a try.

I use polycrylic instead of pledge.  I have read that the floor cleaner will run when stored in a warm place.  I want the ornaments to last as long as possible, so I went with poly.

IMAG1299.jpg

I bought the flat ornaments from Hobby Lobby.

IMAG1305

First, pour the poly into a cup.  This makes pouring into the glass ornament a lot easier.  You can also use a funnel to pour.

IMAG1298.jpg

Then, start to turn the ornament so the poly covers everywhere.  Slowly work your way to the opening, making sure you get the opening covered as well.

IMAG1300

Pour the remaining poly into the cup.

IMAG1301

I have a second cup on standby.  At this point place the ornament upside down over the new cup.  I let it continue to drip for 8 minutes.

IMAG1302

Get your glitter ready while you are waiting.  I found it easiest for me to pour the glitter into the cup.

IMAG1303

Then I made a funnel out of a sheet of paper.

IMAG1304.jpg

When your 8 minutes are up, pour the glitter into the ornament using the funnel.  Do the same with the glitter as you did with the poly, slowly turning so everything is coated.  Pour the excess glitter back into the cup.

IMAG1307.jpg

You are done!  I let mine air out and fully dry before putting the top back on.

IMAG1309

If you have stickers or vinyl you can attach it.  I like to put my vinyl on after I glitter.

IMAG1296

Make it a great day,

Jen

Don’t let anything hold you back

I used to bake for other people.  I would make cakes, cupcakes, cake pops etc. for family and friends for their special occasions.  I did it for a few years.  I stopped around the time of our wedding.  I started back up for a while, but it was not for long.

It has been a few years since I have baked for other people now.  For a while I was taking a break.  I needed to enjoy decorating instead of having to do it.

Then came Alex.  It was too hard to bake with a new baby who was nursing.  I have baked some in the past year, but most of it has been before he wakes up or after I put him to bed.

I have been thinking of starting to take orders again for a while.  I have been thinking of starting with cupcakes.  It is the easiest to do with a toddler at your feet.  I made my decision a week ago to start again, but could not bring myself to post it to make it official. IMG_0131

I listened to Bearfoot Baker’s podcast today when she spoke with Callye from Sweet Sugarbelle.  Callye talked about not letting something negative stop you.  It really made me think.

As decorators we put our heart and soul into our creations for people.  That is what makes it so rewarding when we give our baked goods to someone.  But, it is also hard as we strive to put a smile on someone’s face.  I am my biggest critic and see every little flaw when someone else sees an adorable cupcake.  Also, every time I worry what if someone won’t like what I have made for them.  Rejection stings like a bee.

I think this is what has made me pause.  What if I don’t get one order for cupcakes.  What if they don’t like my cupcakes.   How do I deliver cupcakes with Alex in tow?  It is all these what ifs and unknowns that has stopped me in my tracks.  Wouldn’t it be easier not to bake for anyone.  I wouldn’t have to go down this road.

17626661_10155164991584878_4868432334249849949_n

But: What if they love my cupcakes and keep ordering from me.  What if every time I deliver, I see the smiles of happy customers.  What if I can help a little boy or girl have a wonderful cupcake for their birthday.

IMG_0081p

I cannot let the negative or unknown freeze me in time.  I will miss out on all the good life has to offer.   Many people have stated all the good comes from what they were afraid of the most.  If I don’t try, I will never know.  I will never be able to brighten someone’s day with a cupcake and sprinkles.

IMG_0147-1 (1)

It’s time to give it to God and try again.  I have done this before, I can do it again.  And knowing I can make people smile with my cupcakes will be all the reward I need.

Make it a great day,

Jen

Ice Cream Cone Cookies

I have been following Sweet Sugarbelle for several years now.  She has come out with a kit that includes cutters, instructions and templates.  I picked up the kit and made one of the designs this weekend.

IMAG1174.jpg

I started at the bottom of the cookie.  I flooded the bottom for the cone.

IMAG1178

Once I was done with all the cones, I went back and added the lines.

IMAG1179

Next, I flooded the brown icing for the chocolate on top.

IMAG1180

After that I flooded the middle of the cookie white for the ice cream.

The last step was adding the sprinkles on the top.  Alex woke up at this time, so I had to rush to get the sprinkles added so I could be done.

IMAG1182.jpg

I bought sample boxes from BRP Box Shop a month ago.  I wanted to give some cookies to the neighbors, so I thought the box would be perfect.  It fit two cookies very nicely.

IMAG1187

I did not use the template for this design, but I imagine I will use it with some of the other cookie designs that I make.

IMG_0162

Make it a great day,

Jen

 

Back to our budget

We made our last hospital bill payment a couple of months ago.  It was a long 18 month journey and we are very grateful to be done.  We fell off the budget wagon after that and spent some money.  It was time for us to start shopping for a new vehicle this summer so I knew we would have to get back on track with our budget.

We found a truck for Paul and were able to purchase it two weeks ago.  We have not had a car payment in 1.5 years.  It was time to get back on track with our finances.

We use the cash system by Dave Ramsey.  We tried the multiple envelopes, but that didn’t work for us.  What did work best was to have one envelope for everything for the two weeks.  This will include groceries, Target, gas etc.  Our monthly bills are not included in this.

In the past we didn’t really stick to it fully.  The second weekend would come and there would be no more cash in the envelope for groceries.  We still had to eat, so I would end up using my card.  This defeats the purpose of the system.  So, this time around I set aside a little money for the 2nd weekend’s groceries.  It did help so much to have that already set aside!  We used our card just a few times:  date night, oil change etc.  For the first week being back on track I think we did well all things considered.

The pay period before we were just using our check cards and did not come close to our budget.  This last pay period we did so much better!  I also did try to stick with just one trip a week for groceries.  That way we wouldn’t be over spending.

You can see the two different pay periods listed below.  The left side is the one with our check cards.  Look at all those transactions.  The right side is using cash.  You can see we didn’t go nearly as often and we spent $358 less paying with cash.

IMAG1153

The cash system really does work.  It helps you see the cash as it dwindles in the envelope.  I am hoping to pay off the truck in less time than the loan.  And if we can stay on track and put that extra money towards the loan vs frivolous spending we could shave off 2 years.  How wonderful that would be.

Make it a great day,

Jen

Oreo Cupcake

My neighbor’s birthday is today.  I thought I would make her some cupcakes to help celebrate her special day.

I haven’t made Oreo cupcakes in a long time, so I thought I would make a batch.  I used my go to chocolate cupcake recipe.

I broke some cookies into pieces and placed them in the baking cups before pouring in the batter.

IMG_0148-1

I finely crushed some additional cookies with a rolling pin in a bag.  I mixed them into my buttercream and piped on the frosting.

IMG_0139

Add a piece of cookie, and voila!  Sweet deliciousness.

IMG_0145

Make it a great day,

Jen