February 21, 2015

I Survived

Every year my family and I visit New York City during our Thanksgiving Break. I love the splendor and beauty of the New York City lights during the holidays! Beyond the carriage rides at Central Park, stopping at FAO Schwarz, and eating NYC pizza, we make it a habit to visit Ground Zero, 9/11 Memorial.
I find it hard to explain to my children about what happened on 9/11. Bringing them to the memorial makes it real to them. They learn the truth by the names engraved around the twin memorial pools.
Every time I go I take a picture of a particular tree. This year, I noticed it was the only tree that looked different from the others. Rightfully so. It is a tree that survived 9/11.
I myself cannot fathom the pain of those who have lost their loved ones during this horrific day. My heart goes out to all of them. So, when I look at this tree I see strength. Strength in the people who overcame.
I see hope as well in this tree. A tree that may represent Jesus himself. When He went home, the angels rejoiced with Him because He survived. He is alive! There is hope for me when Jesus returns. I want to stand next to Him and say, “I survived!”
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Visit the site, and learn more about The Survivor Tree.

I am Baker

I am not a baker. Baking for me was grabbing a package of pre-made dough and plopping it on some metal sheet and pray that I didn't scorch them (it happened a couple of times).
I picked up my baking skills from my sweet friends. They taught me that there is a difference between butter and margarine. With margarine your "made from scratch" cookies will come out as flat as a sheet of paper. Today, my fridge carries only unsalted sweet cream butter. I'm pretty proud of myself.
I enjoy baking even though I am new to it. What I enjoy the most are the smiles that come from my children. I love to hear, "Mmmm, this is delicious" each time they took their first bite of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie or cupcake. Still, I felt very new to baking.  I cannot simply follow a recipe for that perfect batch. I learned techniques to make sure cupcakes were moist and cookies were chewy but not too leathery. I was a novice baker, and I hadn't baked a cake yet.
So, imagine my surprise when one of my coworkers, my friend, asked me to bake her a wedding cake (now, imagine the sound of a music record screeching to a halt). She wanted me to do what?!
I didn't give her an answer although I wanted to tell her no. I almost admired her faith in me that she thought I could pull this off.

My baking friends told me I can bake a cake. I can? And so I started to ask the Bride-to-be questions. What kind of cake? No frosting? Naked what? And with that I was on Pinterest searching naked cakes; cakes with no frosting. The Bride-to-be wanted a chocolate layer and coconut layer for her wedding cake. I experimented baking cakes for special occasions and birthdays like the one I did for my son. 
I didn't like the two tone colors for a naked wedding cake and neither did the Bride-to-be. I decided to bake two wedding cakes, one coconut and the other chocolate.  Talk about added pressure! I took a moment to remind myself to bake with love like I do for my own children. And so I did! I couldn't believe I did it! I based the cakes from Pinterest that linked me to Style Me Pretty The following pictures of my cakes were taken by Milli Mike Photography

She had a book theme wedding in a beautiful barn on Flora Corner Farm. I was treated as a vendor. I was able to capture pictures before the wedding with my cell phone. I loved every detail of her wedding decorations. I loved the simplicity of using wooden letters as wedding toppers.
Books were wedding favors for her guests.

Check out her dessert table! 

I loved her wedding bouquet!

These two pictures by Milli Mike Photography shows more of the beautiful details.

I love the pages of a book bouquet for her bridesmaids. 

All that hard work (and pressure) for love! 

I created my cakes based on Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond and on a Pinterest picture from Style Me Pretty.

It was a gorgeous wedding filled with love and joy! Now the Bride thanked me and with her smile I knew she loved her cakes! She made me a gift box full of the little things I like. Along with my very own wooden letter! Check out the title of the book she gave me. A good book always goes well with a yummy slice of cake. You know what? I am baker!