Graduations, a PhD and Cake Pops

May and June seem to wrap things up all in nice little completion packages called graduation.  With it comes celebrations for new and wonderful beginnings and it happened recently for our family as well.

When I first began blogging over six years ago, many of my posts were about my transitioning to empty nestdom and various sparkly things. My youngest son was going to the prom and getting ready to graduate from high school and my eldest was a junior at MIT.  Both boys are now college graduates devoted to scientific research and that hard-working MIT Beaver has earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering (Dr. Johnson!!!) and is preparing to make the east coast his home once again.  It all makes my head spin.  How can so much change happen in such little time? I’m so proud of both my boys!

Dr. Johnson.grad-9205

We had a great time celebrating in San Francisco at Suppenkuche, and in Berkeley and Oakland. 

suppenkuche

My joke of the weekend was this was my “boy of da ‘hood.”  I guess you had to be there.  :)

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Speaking of graduation, the Ritz Carlton Los Angeles contacted me and asked if I could bake and decorate USC cake pops for all their guests coming into town for the USC graduation.  Of course I had to say, “Yes” and “Fight On”!  It brought me back to my own USC graduation and how I walked over from “The Row” with my sorority sisters under the blooming lavender jacaranda trees and how I sat with my best friend, Greg, and at the big moment when my name was called, I was announced as “Marvin“.  Really?  Oh well. 

USC cake pops ritz carlton los angeles

So you can see I’ve been busy outside of blogging and I’ve been busy on the home front too reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  It’s helping me to organize and purge the “stuff”.  Graduations will make you do this and for me, it’s a very melancholy process.  I figured it was time the Splash Mountain poster came down for when my newly PhD son comes home to visit.  His room has been in a time warp since middle school where he never did care about the decor of his room, but it makes me sad in that empty nest kind of way to go in there when I need something from the craft supply closet.  That I had no trouble taking over as soon as he received his undergrad college acceptance letter. Go figure.

I would venture to say us moms put off changing over our children’s rooms as long as we can and save this job for a “later” time.  I find there’s a real grieving process to force oneself to move forward and pack up the memories of our children’s youth.  And when I say memories, it’s mostly ours and not theirs. Even putting that Power Ranger cake pan into the “to donate” bag is tough, you know?  But I’ll save this subject for a “later” time.  haha! 

Back to my happy place in the kitchen to bake where I’ve developed a cupcake recipe last week from scratch that will knock the socks off Dad for Father’s Day.  I’ll be posting it next week because someone liked them so much, since they’re so flavorful, the samples were all eaten without icing so now I have to make them again so there’s something to photograph.  For the record, I had one, okay, maybe two.  I am the baker, after all.

See you soon!

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Wilton Cake Decorating Sweet Up 2015 Recap

Wilton Sweet Up 2015.2129

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege and honor of being invited for an all-expense paid trip to Wilton Cake Decorating’s HQ near Chicago for their annual Sweet Up where new products are launched and trends are discussed. Guests were a mix of bloggers and vloggers. We felt very welcomed indeed! I’m a little late to the recap post party as I caught a bug on the flight home and I’ve been out of creative commission for almost two… [Read More]

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“The Best Ever – Blue Ribbon Winning – Chocolate Layer Cake – In All The Land”!

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Cake-9091IG.700.logo

Being a Child of the 60’s, not as in Woodstock, but more like Sally Draper but with non-smoking, non-drinking, loving, supportive parents that actually liked their kids, these were my earliest baking recollections with my mom: Dream Whip. Dolloped on top of a boxed gingerbread cake.  My feet tucked under my knees on the kitchen chair watching her transform dense, brown holiday loaves filled with yellow and green cubed sticky stuff into baked jewelry.  The candied cherry halves on top… [Read More]

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#WiltonSweetUp Giveaway!

Wilton Cake Decorating Giveaway

One of the most fun experiences I’ve had being a blogger, besides being a member of Wilton’s Sweet Treat Team, was attending the #WiltonSweetUp last year in Chicago. The Sweet Up at Wilton’s headquarters is host to what I would call a celebration as they reveal their new products and where decorating trends are announced. I loved being in the middle of all the excitement last year and I’m thrilled to be going again next week and in a way,… [Read More]

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Beverage Brunch Bunny Ice Cubes

Wilton Bunny Juice Ice Cubes

Are you inviting these cute bunnies to brunch this Easter?  You might put them on the invite list because they are so easy to make ahead of time out of any juice or drink mix.  I made the bunnies below out of regular lemonade, pink lemonade and OJ. I used the 24 Cavity Bunny Silicone Mold by Wilton Cake Decorating which would be also perfect to make cute little bunny petite fours for a sweet bite afterwards. How easy is… [Read More]

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New! Celebrity Peeps!

Brad Goreski Peeps

What’s new in candy couture this spring season? Celebrity Peeps! I’m loving the Brad Goreski collection with his signature dark-rimmed glasses and bow tie.  So Brad!    April’s Fool! Just having a little fun today with Peeps and Wilton Cake Decorating Icing Decorations.  Other accessories in the icing package include carrots and eggs, which it true – no foolin’.  So haute! You can find them where Wilton products are sold such as Michaels, JoAnn and Party City. What will your… [Read More]

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Peeps Among the Flowers (DIY Peeps Floral Arrangement)

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When you return from a vacation does it always take you awhile to acclimate again? I spent last weekend in Berkeley and Lake Tahoe with all my men and it was gorgeous! Did I even take one photo? No! I can’t believe it but it proves how much I drank in the moment without a thought about getting a shot to post on Instagram or Facebook.  In my zen state-of-mind I kind of forgot Easter is nearly here too!  Instead… [Read More]

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St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes with Fondant Decorations

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

The great thing about making cake decorations with fondant is making extra for cupcakes.  In this case, I made a St. Patrick’s Day checkerboard cake a few days ago so I made additional fondant decorations for a batch of cupcakes. Let’s start with making the cupcakes. In baking the checkerboard cake, I had some left over green and white batter so when I was ready to bake the cupcakes a few days later, I was able to use it and… [Read More]

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St. Patrick’s Day Cake with DIY Fondant Rainbow Ribbons

st. patrick's day cake

For weeks I’ve been daydreaming about creating a St. Patrick’s Day cake with bright, vivid colors and dimensional decorations.  Of course, rainbows, shamrocks and Leprechaun’s gold had to be included in the decorating theme of the cake.  And like any dreamer that follows the rainbow’s end, guests will find a surprise inside the cake!   I received some really nice emails from readers (thank you!) who enjoyed reading my thought process as I began this St. Patrick’s Day design that… [Read More]

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Sneak Peek for St. Patrick’s Day Cake Decorations

fondant rainbows

Happy March!  I’ve been busy making decorations out of fondant that will adorn a St. Patrick’s Day cake I’m envisioning. I say “envisioning” because I have ideas of certain decorating elements and then I have to figure out how I’m going to make them. This is why I love the creative challenge of decorating cakes, cupcakes and cookies and seeing if I can make those ideas come to fruition. I always ask myself, “Can I figure out a way to… [Read More]

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