So, I fully intended to post something the Monday after my last post... and here it is, the end of January already. Oh, well. Maybe someday I'll be able to stay on top of keeping up my home and my blog. For now, though, I'm trying to keep the home my first priority, so I don't regret the time I've been spending on all sorts of things... and speaking of firsts, there have been a ton around here. Like...

1.) Last week, I made my first cheesecake from scratch. It was fantastic! Some friends from church had invited us over for dinner after Sunday service, so I was nervous about its debut. The cheesecake did crack, but since there was a decorative drizzle over the top, I think that helped to camouflage it a bit, LOL! Besides, when there are 3 layers of cheesecake-y goodness, who cares how the top looks, right?! ;o)

2.) I was asked to make the cake for a baby shower a few weeks ago. It was my first try at actually baking and decorating a cake from start to finish. (Well, take that back; I have baked a cake from scratch before. But, this was my first one to be decorated. Like, with colored icing in a pastry bag with a tip and everything!)

I used this recipe for the cake, and this one for the frosting. It was "oooh"ed and "aaah"ed over, and then it was devoured! I've never had any classes, so taking that into consideration, it turned out pretty decently -- if I do say so myself! :o)
Click here to see the tutorial I used.

I asked my honey if maybe sometime I could take the cake classes that Wilton offers at Michael's, and he agreed; I'm really excited about that! I do hope I can take them soon...

I have it in my head that, if we decide to re-enlist (which is the direction we are leaning), and go overseas again (another thing we are seriously considering), I could try a small home-business of making/decorating cakes...



We'll see.

Even if I don't, it was still fun making that cake for the baby shower, and I do hope to get better at it. I'm trying to decide now what to make for the little man's birthday... just a few weeks, can you believe it?! Where does the time go?

3.) My Airman has finished the first half of his ALS (Airman Leadership School) classes. His graduation ceremony/dinner is on Valentine's Day of all things! I guess that's 2 date nights rolled into one, huh? Saves my honey some money, I guess! :o)

It's going well so far, but it does take a lot of time and effort -- on both our parts! My honey is doing a lot of work on his speeches and uniform(s) and I'm doing what I can to help make things easier on him... a lot of laundry, too, as he only has one set of blues! Thankfully, they wear the blues only twice a week, so there is a break in between for me!

I have been keeping his classmates supplied with a steady stream of sweets. First, I baked some chewy Molasses Cookies; last night, I packed him some Peanut Butter Blossoms to bring in; and, last week, I made these delicious berry bars (the recipe calls for cranberries, but I used some frozen mixed berries instead).

4.) I've been making our own bread for almost a year now, and have been looking for ways to incorporate more whole wheat into other baked goods. On a whim, I decided to take my pizza dough recipe and substitute half the white flour with wheat flour. Thankfully, it worked wonderfully! I had even splurged and bought some whole-milk mozzarella cheese on our last commissary trip and that made the pizza even tastier!

In case you're wondering, the pizza has ground beef, onion, garlic, mushroom, cheddar, and mozzarella. It's my honey's favorite. Yeah, I know; the picture is making me hungry, too! LOL!

Anyway, those are just a few of the recent happenings around our home. It's been a busy month, for sure! I'm hoping to be able to keep things a bit more updated in the coming months, but I'm just trying to take things as they come.


Mrs. C said...

You certainly have been a very busy lady! :) I've always wanted to take a Wilton class, too, but we live 60 miles from the nearest Michaels.

P.S.- Your template looks great! :)

Mrs.B said...

It sounds like you've been busy living life and taking care of your family! That's how it should be. (o:

And thanks for the mention--It blessed my heart to read what you said. (o:


Arlene said...

Mrs C, maybe you could take a class at a local pastry school instead? I know I was so jealous while I was in Japan and reading the blogs of all these ladies who were taking the decorating class; now I'm finally close enough to a Michael's but it's not quite in the budget... yet... soon, I'm hoping!

I always admire your templates, too, Mrs. C; thanks! I've been meaning to change it, though... maybe sometime this weekend. Maybe. :)

Mrs. B, you're always so encouraging to me, it's only fair and good that I am finally a blessing to you :~)

Anonymous said...

hey lady!! Calen is growing uh! and your cake looked great! Did you get my email I sent you? TTYl Jenny

Adele said...

Congratulations on all the firsts -especially to Caleb on standing up! It's a good thing I don't live with you or I would be fat with all your yummy recipes! :)

Samantha said...

That cake is so cute, and it doesn't look too terribly difficult. Who got to eat the little baby booties? A cake decorating class would be so much fun. I've thought about it too, but had no idea that Micheals offered them...that's exciting!

You've been doing alot of cooking and baking.....I'm so jealous! I love to cook and bake for people. It seems like we haven't been able to do as much of that lately...for good reason though:)

It sounds like Caleb is getting ready for his next big milestone....walking!:) It won't be long now! Do you and Nathan give Caleb anything to soothe his teething pains? I'm just wondering if you've found anything to help with that...it won't be long before our little one is going through the same thing:)

Vicky said...

Hi Arlene!

Great post :) I love news-y posts! And the recipes look SOOO good! I love new pizza crust recipes, for some reason. I think I collect them. Or maybe I am just in search of "The One" and when I find it, I'll stop. :o) I'll give this (and the sauce) a try! I dislike buying premade sauce as I think it must be cheaper to make your own.

And the cake looks adorable!! I've seen people make the booties out of Twinkies and piping frosing all over them. So cute! My friend is taking the Wilton class right now and has just passed the Fondant stage. She is really enjoying it, I bet you would, too!

So glad you're enjoying staying home - and yay, Caleb on his first tooth! Mikaylah must be a freak or something :) (just kidding!) - she is 14 months and has 12+ teeth. She was gnawing on her fingers today so I think she's getting more. Yikes, more long nights! :)

Anonymous said...

Awww! One year old already! The time really flies. Are you having a get together to celebrate?

I'm sure Nathan's co-workers are so thankful for your yummy treats! :o) They all look good!


Happymama said...

Arlene, I enjoyed reading all the firsts you shared. But my favorite part of your post was the last few paragraphs. They were a blessing to read. I love being a wife and mom too. It is a sacred job bestowed on women and I just wish more ladies could see the positive aspects of God's will. Which, by the way, there are NO negative aspects in God's will.

Kelli said...

It sounds like you have been having a wonderful time with your family, Arlene! All the recipes you shared look delicious and you did a fantastic job on the cake, it's too cute!
I saw your question about the flower pedal wreath. I bought it at Tuesday Morning but after taking a closer look at it, it's a foam wreath and individual flower pedals have been hot glued all over it and then a simple satin ribbon for hanging. I think it would be easy to make! Thank you for entering my giveaway and your sweet comment!

Tori said...

Wow, you've been so productive. All the food looks delish and the cake is so cute, you did a good job.

Oh yea Congrats to Nathan and that's a nice way to spend Valentines.

I love your spirit about being a homemaker and wife, I'm sure God does too. :o)

Arlene said...

Jenny, I replied to your email, but I think by now you must know that, lol. :)
Sam, I remember well those days of just barely getting the basics done... there will come a day when you will finally be able to accomplish more around the house. Naptimes are my best shot at getting chores done around the house, LOL!

We haven't really given Caleb anything for his teething. I'm not really sure what to do; so far, though, his tooth hasn't really seemed to bother him much, so I haven't been too concerned about it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he began teething so much later than "normal"? Sorry, I really can't help you with Grace, lol.

Too bad we don't live nearer to each other; we could take a class together! :)

Oh, and the booties were kind of cut up and split around to everyone. So, they weren't pretty anymore, lol, but oh, well. They tasted yummy! :P

Vicky, I can't believe Mikaylah has so many teeth; has she had an issue of biting you while nursing? I was just wondering; I hear about it a lot, and get asked often if Caleb has bitten me, but he hasn't... at least, not yet. Granted, he only has one tooth. But, just curious.

Let me know how the pizza turns out after you try it; my one tip to you is to let it rest for longer than 5 minutes if you can; sometimes, I make the dough up in the morning and let it rise all afternoon until it's time to get dinner started. Oh, and make sure you really knead it for at least 5 minutes. Those two things have made such a huge difference in my pizza making endeavors. At least, that's what my husband tells me. And, he is the connoisseur around here, LOL :)

Kristi, Thanks for your sweet words; you always have something encouraging to say, and it's always just when I need it! And, I agree; there are NO negative aspects of being in God's will! :)

Rebecca, I am planning to do a little party for Caleb, but it won't be actually on his birthday (even though it is on a Saturday!) due to some scheduling conflicts. We're probably going to do something that first Saturday in March... but I'm not 100% sure yet. *sigh* We'll see, lol.

Kelli, thank you; I was really pleased with how the cake turned out as well, considering it was my first try. Thank you so much for stopping by to tell me about the wreath! It does sound easy, so I might have to give it a try... of course, you will probably make it before I do, and you can give all of us SD readers the ins and outs of making it ourselves. :)

Tori, thank you; we are pretty excited about the recent happenings in Nathan's career field. The Lord has really been blessing us lately :)

I really appreciate your sweet words for me, as well. If I've learned anything about being a wife and homemaker, it's partly because of all you the wonderful blogging ladies I've "met" around here! :o)

Arlene said...

Adele, oops, I wrote all that out and realized I forgot your comment! I can't believe he's standing, and don't know how I'm going to handle having him running around everywhere. He's hard enough to keep up with while just crawling! LOL

The secret to not getting fat from all the goodies is to give them to Nathan to bring in to work/class! Otherwise, I would be gaining weight right along with you... and I'm not even pregnant! At least you have an excuse! ;)