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How to Keep a Cake From Sticking

Have you ever baked a cake and greased the pan as best as possible, but your cake still stuck to the bottom? I know I have had the experience before. For many years I have greased my cake pans the way my mom taught me. Most of my cooking know how came from her, so you will find that I will reference her often in my stories. There a few things that she always told me to do in order to keep cakes from sticking. The method I’m about to show you is one of the ways she instructed me on how to grease round and square pans. This will not work for a fluted pan.

How to Best Grease a Round or Square Cake Pan

First, start by greasing the pan with what you normally use to grease a pan. A good option is to use crisco, lard, or margarine. Those are the standard things to use, but margarine is my top pick since I normally have it. I take a piece of paper towel and use it to rub the margarine around the pan.

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Once I am done wiping margarine all over the sides and bottom, I trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of wax paper. I cut the wax paper out and place it in the bottom of the pan. After I have put the paper in the bottom of the pan, I grease over the top one more time.

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After you put the paper in and have re-greased the paper, then it is time to fill the pan with batter. You can go here to see the chocolate cake recipe I typically use. I am not a fan of yellow cake, so basically I always make chocolate cake.

When the cake comes out of the oven, let it sit for about 10-20 minutes. Then use the dull end of a knife to loosen the ends of the cake before you dump it over.

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Now is the moment of truth, time to flip the pan over and the cake should easily fall out. You will have to peel the wax paper off the top of the cake for it to cool.

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Good luck on making your next cake. Hopefully you will not have any more cake disasters with them sticking.

 

 

Homemade Birthday Cake Traditions

All of my kid’s lives, my husband Austin, and I have made them birthday cakes from scratch. It is a family tradition that I carried into the marriage from when I was growing up. For me, there were five of us total, and my mom always made a birthday cake for us that we requested. We got a homemade cake and the dinner of our choice on our birthday. This has been something that was very special to me and I always looked forward to. I thought it was a great thing to do for my children as they have grown up. To my surprise, Austin has become a big part of making the cake. He took over the decorating aspect of the cakes, because surprisingly, I’m not very good at it. I say surprisingly, because I enjoy sketching and I’m good at crafting. However, I really stink at cake decorating. Maybe it is the patients thing, but Austin has certainly got me beat on the cake decorating.

 

Our Tradition

 

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When it gets close to a child’s birthday, we begin asking them what they want their cake to look like. It is like making a birthday gift wish list, but the difference is that we can normally do what they are asking. Almost every time we ask one of our boys what they want on the cake, the first suggestion is to stick some toy in the top as part of the decoration. Every time they suggest that, we tell them we aren’t putting their toys in our food. To this day, they can’t understand why we wouldn’t want to do that. For my oldest son, Corbin, and my youngest son, Braden, their birthdays are very close together, so we get to do a lot of cake decorating in June. My middle son, Tripp, celebrates his birthday in December. It is amazing to me how each year they throw out their newest favorite character and we are always able to pull it off. I also add to the cake decorating tips, food dyes, and accessories each year.

 

The Chocolate Cake Recipe

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You can go here to see the chocolate cake recipe and icing recipe that I use for my cakes. My mom has been using this recipe for many years. When my first son had his birthday, I called my mom for this recipe and have been using it ever since. It has always worked out well for our purposes. The recipe makes 2 9 inch round or square pans or a 9×13 pan. We typically just use two round or one round and one square. Depending on what our children decide for their design will determine what we choose for our cake pans.

 

This Year’s Design

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For my son, Braden, we made a red power ranger. Even though he is only 3, he watches power rangers with his brothers every morning. Red is his favorite color, but if you ask him what his favorite color is, he will say anything but red. Although, given the choice between something that is red and any other color, he always chooses the red one. It is funny how little kids can be about things like this.

 

How to Make Your Own Cake

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When our children decide on their design, my husband does a google search and looks up how other people have made the cake. We certainly are not brilliant in this aspect and rely heavily on the genius of others. Typically, we try to pick a simple looking design that I can sketch out on paper, or that Austin can attempt to freehand himself. Sometimes, he will print the instructions for a jack-o-lantern design and cuts out the parts of the design that would be the holes in the jack-o-lantern. Then he places those pieces on the iced cake and uses a toothpick to lightly press small dots around the outline. He will follow that outline with the icing tip of his choosing. Normally, we have good luck with making our own cakes. I have never seen a failed cake.


Good luck if you choose to tackle your own homemade birthday cake this year. It is quite rewarding to say the least.

Chocolate Cake Recipe and Buttercream Frosting Recipe

This is a chocolate cake recipe and buttercream frosting recipe that I have been using for my entire life. It was a recipe given to me by my mother. Don’t mistake what I am saying, there really isn’t anything special about the recipe. In fact, you could likely find something identical to it somewhere in a search. However, I find it to be special because it was used for all of the cakes my mom made for my brothers and myself growing up. It is now what I use to make my children’s birthday cakes. Each year, my husband and I work together to make a homemade cake for my children. It was a tradition for me as a child that I brought into my kid’s lives. You can read about that story here.

 

There is nothing out of the ordinary in the ingredients list for this chocolate cake. It is just a basic recipe that tastes just the way I think chocolate cake should taste. Use a toothpick to be sure that it is done in the center. I find that while it calls for it to be baked for 30 minutes, I typically have to bake it a little longer. Just keep an eye on it so that you don’t pull out a cake that is underdone or overdone.

You can go here to see how I grease my pan to make absolute certain that it does not stick. There is nothing more disappointing than to spend all of time it takes to bake a cake and then have it stick to the pan when you dump it out. That doesn’t make for very good decorating surfaces.

 

Without further ado, here is the chocolate cake recipe and buttercream frosting recipe.

 

Chocolate Cake Recipe

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Makes 2 9 inch pans or 1 13 inch pan

 

Cream in a large bowl:

 

¾ cup butter

1 ¾ cup sugar

 

Beat 1 egg at a time into the creamed butter and sugar and set bowl aside:

 

2 eggs

 

Mix together remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl:

 

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ⅓ cup milk

 

Mix together remaining dry ingredients in another separate bowl

 

2 cup flour

¾ cup cocoa

1 ¼  teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

 

Beat in ⅓ of the wet ingredients to the creamed butter, sugar, egg mixture.

Then add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat until combined.

Alternate wet and dry ingredients until all of them are mixed into the batter.

Bake cakes in 2 greased 9 inch pans or 1 greased 13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

 

Icing

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2 sticks of butter

4 cups of powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix using an electric mixer. Add more liquid or powdered sugar in small amounts until you reach the desired consistency.

3 Ways You Can Save Money on Your Grocery Budget

Over the last few years, I have learned new and creative ways for cutting down on my grocery budget. There are several ways you can do this. With the TLC show “Extreme Couponers” coupon users have kind of gotten a bad wrap. I have been labeled “that coupon lady”, but I’m not extreme like those on that show. That is a sickness. Here a few ways that you can save money on your groceries this week without couponing or spending your life hoarding.

 

1. Make a dinner menu

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I know what you are thinking, you don’t want to be bound by a menu. The point of a dinner menu is to just know what kind of meals you can make with the food you have. Decide what you can make from what you have. This is a great time to pull out your recipe book or recipe cards that you haven’t looked at in a while. Personally, I find that when I make a dinner menu, it keeps my spending down. I don’t buy a lot of excess food at the grocery store. Each item I buy has a purpose and I know exactly how I’m going to use it. I also have noticed that I don’t end up feeding my dinner ingredients to the kids for a snack. It really helps me keep control of eating all the good food and getting to the end of the month with just beans and rice. Believe me, it has happened to me plenty of times where we have eaten all of the best ingredients in the house in the first two weeks of the month, and then have little to know grocery budget to buy anything great the last two weeks of the month.

 

2. Price Match

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No one these days has time to run around to several grocery stores. So, just get the local ads to where you live and circle a few sale items you want to buy. You can price match any local ad to Walmart. When I price match, I usually group the items together that are found in the same ad. Then I lay the ad on the pile of groceries to remind myself which ad they were in. This helps me stay organized when I get to the cashier at checkout. If I have time in advance, I will write the sales items, the price, and the ad they are found in on my grocery list. This helps me stay organized when I am shopping. With kids in tow, it can get a little insane at times when I’m shopping. Whenever I have the chance, I try to leave them at home when I do grocery shopping for this very reason. Hopefully these few tips will keep you organized when you are price matching.

 

3. Eat From the Pantry

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Try to get by with what you already have on hand. That random can of beans or jar of gravy that has been sitting in there for who knows how long, commit to finding a way to eat it this week. If you aren’t very good in the kitchen creating dishes from scratch, you can do a simple google search. Just type in two or three ingredients that you have on hand into the search bar and add recipe to the end. Likely, you will come up with some great recipes using those ingredients. I have discovered many great recipes this way.

 

1022782_62072963This won’t save you the kind of money that extreme couponers save, but you will save more than what you generally spend. Making a few adjustments in your daily habits will certainly add up to savings you see. Often times, when you start seeing the rewards of your hard work, it can make you feel even more motivated to do more. These few tips could certainly be the start of your savings and over time it can grow. The one thing to remember when saving money on groceries or just about anything is that you can usually get by with less then you think.

4 DIY Gifts For a Son or Daughter

I’m all about homemade gifts for my family and friends. For me, I feel that my kids have been given so many toys by friends and family members, that it would mean more for me to do things that are homemade. DIY projects have hit many websites because people are finding value in crafting things for those they love. If you want to give gifts that stand out, making them yourself is a great way to do that. Here are a few great gift ideas for love you can make for your child to show them how much you care for them.

 

1. Super Hero Sucker

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Choose your child’s favorite suckers and turn them into superheroes that he can fly around the house. Use different colored construction paper to make capes to attach to the suckers. Use a marker to draw faces on the sucker wrappers. You can use construction paper to make a mask to wrap around the sucker instead of drawing eyes. Follow the link below for more great super hero sucker ideas.

 

Source: http://www.parentmap.com/article/20-valentines-day-cards-for-kids?page=2

 

 

2. Smartie Pants

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Let your child know how smart you think they are with these paper pants stuffed with smarties candy. Cut two identical pants forms out of his favorite color. Glue the outer edges of the pants together, leaving the top of the pants open. Draw pants features such as a zipper, pockets, and patches. Place one stick of smarties candy in each pant leg. For better detail on these valentines pants, follow the link below.

 

Source: http://www.beneathmyheart.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/image28.png

 

3. Heart Puzzle

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Create a heart puzzle to show your love for your son or daughter. Gather 16 wooden tiles that are 1 inch by 1 inch. Tape the tiles into a square and paint a heart on the front of the tiles. Add your child’s initial and a plus sign next to your own initial. Take the tape off the back of the wooden tiles and place them in a plastic bag. Attach a note on the outside of the bag with a special message. Click the link below to see pictured instructions of the project.

 

Source: http://theknottybride.com/34466

 

4. Lego Heart

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Take some of lego pieces and turn them into a permanent heart that your child can hold on to. You can choose their favorite colors or pick all red or pink legos. Use a little super glue to adhere each piece to the others. You will find the exact pieces you need for the project by clicking the link below.

Source: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Lego-Heart/

 

Hopefully you have a few ideas that will become a memorable project for your child. Some of these ideas, you could do with your son or daughter for quality time togetherher. They are also simple DIY projects that you can do with them for their friends. They could also be great homemade gifts for men from kids. It can be hard to come up with fun ideas to do for dad from the kiddos.

 

 

Blessings in the Piles of Laundry

It seems like everyday I have to do so much laundry. It piles high from the floor to the ceiling when I’m not looking. When I tell the kids to come down with all of their clothes, our laundry room is so full I can barely walk in and out of there. My kids tend to fuss about the amount of clothing they have to fold once it all starts getting set on the couch after being cleaned. It is true, there are a lot clothes in our home. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming to see piles of clothes in the baskets…on the floor…on the couch….on the beds…hanging from ceiling fans (well maybe not that bad).

 

What Does All This Laundry Mean

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While I wash and fold loads of laundry, I try to remember to count my blessings, and their names are Corbin, Tripp, Braden, and Austin. These special people in my life are the “Reasons” that I do everything I do in a day. (For those of you who don’t know, my last name is Reason, herein lies the pun.) Truly, my family gives me many reasons to rejoice in God the Father.

 

Thankfulness for Laundry

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While doing laundry for hours can be overwhelming, the right attitude to have is of thankfulness. Thankfulness of the people in your life who’s laundry you are doing. Also, thankfulness for the means in which to do the laundry. If you have ever gone a day without a washing machine or dryer, you can know how hard it is to keep the piles to a minimum.

 

Memories in the Laundry

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For me personally, I look at each of the pieces of clothing I fold and am reminded where they came from. We have been so blessed with hand-me-downs from people that we have never met along with some of our most precious friends. Some of the clothing I fold was worn by all three of my boys. Memories tend to flood my mind when I fold, because I think of the people, places, and events that surround the wearing of these clothes.


Even in the mundane tasks of the day, we can find a way to rejoice in our circumstances.

A Date Night at Home

When you have been married for years, sometimes the things you used to do when you were dating falls by the wayside. The daily grind just gets in the way of being romantic and flirting with the one you love. I know that for myself, I’m three kids down the road and have been married for 11 years.

By the end of the night, I just want to sit on the couch in exhaustion and watch something on tv. My husband feels the same way after putting in a hard day of work, and then coming home to help out around the house and spend time with our children.

That is why I thought that a snuggling date night idea was really a fun. It gives my husband and I a chance to connect, but relax at the same time.

How to Have a Successful Date Night at Home

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I think the key to having a successful date night at home is to put some effort into it so that it seems special. One of the biggest challenges to at-home date nights is making the event different than normal. I have a very hard time unplugging from all the work I have to do, since I work from home in every aspect.

I’m always mom, which brings a wealth of responsibilities. Then you add in that I make a paycheck while I sit on my couch and write. For me to feel like we are having a date night in our home, I have to make a conscious effort to do something special and out of the ordinary.

What You Need to Build a Snuggling Date Night

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This is where you can be creative for your own personal dating relationship. Whatever kinds of things you enjoy having to snuggle can be placed in a basket. If you don’t have a basket, then you can use something else to hold the items.

For me, I really like having a blanket and pillows. Throwing in a hot drink for the winter or something cold for the summer is another essential. Lighting candles and bringing down the lights in the room allow me to relax.

When you build your date night basket, add in the things that make snuggling fun for you. A movie that you both would enjoy might be a nice idea. If you would rather talk while cuddling, I suggest bringing out some old photos of you and your loved one.

The thing that can ruin an at home date night the fastest is to talk about work, kids, or responsibilities. If you want to be successful dating in relationship with your spouse, you have to figure out other things to talk about that will put you in the mood. It gets your brain fired up to talk about responsibilities and you have a hard time unwinding from it.

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Why is Dating Your Significant Other Important

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Dating in relationship with your spouse, or a significant other shouldn’t go away once you get married or build a home together. My mom always told me that one day all of her kids would be out of the house and it would be just her and dad. For that reason, she and my dad have continued to date each other.

She told me the saddest thing that could happen is that after building a life with someone for many years would be to get to the golden years of life and realize you didn’t do what it took to still  like each other. She is certainly correct in that.

 

Hopefully you are able to find some inspiration for a date night at home. Even if you don’t like cuddling, then you can build a different idea that will meet your needs. Relationships and dating can both be a challenge.

Homemade Gifts Are the Best

I love making homemade crafts and gifts to give people. For me, making something to give someone else is like giving them part of your creativity. Not many people craft or make things from scratch anymore, so I think I’m a bit of a dying breed. My children have seen me make crafts and gifts to no end for years. They honestly believe I can make anything, including motorized toys.

A New Perspective on Homemade Gifts

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This year, I asked my oldest child, Corbin what he wanted to do to buy Christmas presents for his family. He told me he thought about making some things since, “Homemade gifts are the best.”

I was actually a little choked up that gifts homemade made him feel that way. Sometimes I feel really burdened that I am always making thank you gifts homemade, romantic gifts homemade, and any gift homemade. I do this because I can’t afford to buy anything nice for anyone.

Without my ideas and creative gift projects, I wouldn’t be able to bless people with anything during Christmas or special events.

Homemade Gifts From the One I Love

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In the spirit of crafting, my darling husband, Austin, made me this beautiful necklace for Christmas. I am showcasing it in my picture. Let’s just be clear, Austin is NOT a crafter.

This necklace means the world to me, because my husband spent the time it took to buy multiple bags of beads and figure out how to turn them into a presentable DIY necklace.

I was very blessed this past year by my husband making a gift for me with his hands. Not only that, my children have shown me that all of my passions are not in vain. They do understand what makes me tick and they appreciate it as well.