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#66: Make Fondue for Dinner


Fondue is one of those meals that seems really simple fun…and yet, I never seem to put it on our menu. I’ve owned a fondue pot since college, but I can count on one hand the number of times I have used it. When I pulled it out, my kids didn’t even know what it was or where I’d been keeping it all these years.

My 3-year-old has been really interested in cooking lately. She mostly loves dumping ingredients into a bowl, but, hey, we all gotta start somewhere! She helped make the cheese sauce and then moved on to passing out the fondue forks and plates.

It was a fun break from routine for us. I mean, who doesn’t love bite-sized food on a tiny spear?! Now if only we had a second fondue pot for chocolate. ;)

#85-Buy A Kallax Shelf from IKEA

I’m on an adventure to intentionally add more fun to my life. Follow my progress here, or make a 101 Things list of your own!

For several years, I have wanted a Kallax shelf from IKEA. So long, in fact, it used to be known by a different name and has since been redesigned. Now that we are nearing completion on our house, it was time to make a trip! Our nearest IKEA is 3.5 hours away in Dallas, so I invited my sister Sonny along for the adventure. Beau-boy stayed behind at a friend’s house so we could fold down the third row in our van, and the girls came with Sonny and me. Could NOT have done it without my sister’s help!

We arrived at lunchtime so, naturally, our IKEA experience began in the Café!



Finley was juuuuust tall enough to get to go in the children’s play area…but they only keep kids for an hour. So, she played while we browsed, and then we picked her up before heading to the warehouse to load up our items.

I wanted the 5×5 Kallax, which comes in four different (heavy) boxes. I also had enough cash in my “Ikea Trip” envelope to get two 4×2 Kallax units for the kids’ rooms! Needless to say, we filled a dolly in mere moments.


Very excited to *finally* have my shelf! It’s currently in our new garage, awaiting assembly. The concrete floor crew comes Monday, so I’ll be able to assemble it anytime after that. YAY!!

101 Things in 1001 Days

FullSizeRenderEver since this (unknown-to-me) gal named Kendra launched The Lazy Genius Collective last year, I have been reading [and loving] her blog. It has made me laugh, made me think, and made me evaluate my life and why I do the things I do…or don’t do.

So when 2016 kicked off and she wrote about “Resolutions That Aren’t Stupid,” I knew she was on to something, well, genius. Despite my natural tendency to want to cross “tasks” off a list, I especially liked that to-do list items weren’t allowed, only fun stuff that you’d actually WANT to do. :)

She shared her own list of 101 Things she hoped/planned to do in 1001 days, and a common theme started to emerge…there were several things she listed, followed by “I love doing this, but hardly ever make time for it…” and I was hit square between the eyes! That’s ME. So many creative, fun, simple things I love doing…and I just don’t make time for them.

So here’s my list. Things I’ve done in the past and gotten out of the habit of doing, things I’ve been wanting to try, things that breathe life into me, things that are just FUN for the sake of being fun. I began crossing stuff off the list on January 17, so that gives me until Sunday, October 14, 2018 to accomplish as many of these as possible. I’ll elaborate on them as I work towards completing them. You can follow my progress here.

You can start a 101 Things challenge at any time. And if you do, I’d love for you to link back here and share your list!

101 Things in 1001 Days

(Sunday January 17, 2016 to Sunday, October 14, 2018)

1. Give 5 “just because” gifts

2. Do a fun themed 5k

3. Take a weekend trip to Wichita with the Stewarts

4. Go on a beach vacation

5. Ride a Segway

6. Reread Sweet Potato Queens book

7. Take kids to Leonardo’s

8. Go on a girls’ weekend retreat

9. Do at least 6 fun sewing projects

10. Complete an entire adult coloring book

11. Buy B- and F-shaped copper cookie cutters

12. Take a welding lesson

13. Pay for the person’s order behind me (3 times)

14. Make homemade ice cream

15. Keep a Bullet Journal for a year

16. Take a 2nd trapeze lesson

17. Order a favorite photo as a wrapped canvas

18. Create a book of our wedding photos

19. Go on a sisters’ trip with Arica and Sonny

20. Attend another James Taylor concert

21. Attend a JJ Heller Concert

22. Buy an expensive but perfectly-flattering pair of jeans

23. Go stand-up paddle boarding

24. Try 10 new cookie recipes

25. Take a train

26. Go indoor rock-climbing at Rock Town

27. Try 6 new local restaurants

28. Try a beer tasting/sampler

29. Watch the Steve Jobs movie

30. Go Christmas caroling

31. Attend a workshop or seminar

32. Write to three companies whose products I love

33. Try gnocchi

34. Make Arnold Palmers from scratch

35. Get at least 3 pedicures

36. See a play or musical at the Civic Center

37. See a Thunder game

38. Eat dinner from a food truck

39. Go to music/theatre in the park

40. Complete the Cozy Minimalist course

41. Visit a makeup counter

42. Buy a cute trucker hat

43. Create a fun shadow box wall hanging

44. Try 30 new dinner recipes

45. Go bowling at least twice

46. Go to the driving range

47. Go on a date to Top Golf

48. Take the kids to White Water Bay

49. Host a “favorite things” party

50. Host a Sweet Treats pop-up shop

51. Order one thing for myself from Etsy

52. Attend a symphony or vocal music concert

53. Play Bingo

54. Have someone over for dinner each quarter

55. Make soft pretzels

56. Do 10 pull-ups in a row

57. Visit a farmer’s market

58. Make a front-door wreath twice

59. Host a dinner party for couple-friends

60. Plant daffodils

61. Buy a pair of cowboy boots

62. Host another swap meet

63. Ride bikes at Lake Hefner at least once every spring

64. Watch every season of Call the Midwife

65. Write Pastor Furtick a thank you note

66. Make fondue for dinner

67. Upcycle a piece of furniture

68. Go visit the Elephant Trunk

69. Find the perfect chai tea latte recipe

70. Watch 3 Tom Hanks movies I’ve never seen

71. Complete an entire book of Mad Libs with the kids

72. Date night at Bison Witches

73. Make cake pops again

74. Learn how to hand-stamp a bracelet

75. Learn to sew a zipper

76. Try three new hairdos from tutorials (braiding, up dos, etc)

77. Borrow hand-lettering books from the library

78. Make magnets of our family

79. Go out dancing

80. Write a Z As In Zebra post each month

81. Shop hop at Classen Curve

82. Read a Jim Croce biography

83. Test drive a Jeep

84. Get a reflexology treatment

85. Buy a Kallax shelf from IKEA

86. Take flowers to Grandma & Grandpa Z’s gravesite

87. Attend Homeschool Winter Summit

88. Go to a stand-up comedy club

89. Make a summer bucket list with the kids

90. Make a YouTube video

91. Leave a 100% tip for great service

92. Do 5 “unplugged” weekends: no phone, iPad, computer

93. Fill a doodle book

94. Write each kid a love letter to be opened on their 18th birthdays

95. Host a housewarming party

96. Try a 3-month food sampler subscription

97. See a movie at a drive-in

98. Make Blair’s Birth-to-One book

99. Keep a Sentence-a-Day journal for a year

100. Shoot pool

101. Go miniature golfing

Day 18 AEDM: Photo Prints

Remember how I said I was putting together a collage frame for my MIL?

Yesterday’s “art” was to get the prints ordered. Just wanted to show a screen shot to prove that I’ve done it!

Picture 4

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last summer, I turned 25 on the 25th of July. My “Golden Birthday”. To celebrate, I invited dozens of friends to a “Quarter-Life Crisis” party that would last the entire weekend. Naturally, no party would be complete without a CAKE!

Since it was for my own party, I used this opportunity to try my hand at making a two-tiered cake! I had never done one before, but my mom gave me plenty of tips and tricks to get started. I had also never experimented with fondant, so I did a little research and gave it a whirl.

I created a two-tier “funfetti” cake with classic white buttercream icing. I created green, orange, and pink fondant polka dots and a pink fondant bow.

Here I am piping the bottom border on the cake.

Here is the final product:

And here we are, celebrating!

(Until I saw this picture, I had no idea I blew air out the side of my mouth like that…weird!) :)

Oh, Boy!

My sweet friend Cindy Beall asked me to make a baby shower cake for her sweet friend Kyndal who was (and still is!) expecting her first child. I was told the colors of the baby’s soon-to-be bedroom, and I decided to make a two-tier chocolate cake with classic white buttercream and orange and blue decorations.

I offset the two tiers to give the cake a little flair and stuck to a stripes and polka dots theme. The final result:

I outlined each circle and filled in the shape with stars. I then piped a row of beads around the bottoms and tops of each tier.

I used a star tip to jazz up the writing. Yay! It’s a Boy!

I used the same star tip to pipe vertical stripes in blue, and then added orange stripes using a classic straight tip.

Okay, Baby Boy Braly. Your mommy got her cake and a fun shower. It’s time for you to make your big appearance!!! ;)

In Search of Cake Eaters (Part Two)

Roger found me through my future MIL, Robin’s, blog. His youngest son was having a Kung Fu Panda party and they were in need of a cake. I jumped at the opportunity (I haven’t done many cakes for kids), and started scheming.

I wanted it to be quite different from the cakes you see in a store’s bakery case. Otherwise, what’s the point in having a custom-made cake?!

While I began sketching out design ideas, Roger and his wife Shelly set out to find the perfect Kung Fu Panda cake topper/action figure. Surprisingly, THAT was the most difficult part of the whole process! In the end, Shelly triumphed and found the most perfect Panda!

I wanted to experiment with Candy Melts, as I had read they are quite versatile (and taste good, too!). I got the idea to make ‘bamboo’ out of pretzel rods and Candy Melts and then add fondant leaves. Whenever I make a cake, I do everything I can to make sure that it’s nearly 100% edible.

The near-final result:

I used the candy-covered pretzels to make different lengths of “bamboo”, piped some jungle grass around the bottom perimeter and added fondant leaves here and there.

Their son loved his cake (I have seen him once since his birthday, and he greeted me with, “Hey, you made my birthday cake!!”) and Shelly snapped the following three photos (Thanks, Shelly!)

Doesn’t the Kung Fu Panda figurine just make the cake?!

Shelly and Roger, thanks again for the opportunity! Your son’s cake is one of the most fun cakes I have made this year! :)

Clownin’ Around

In my first cake decorating class, we learned how to do ‘figure piping’. This is a technique you can use to make all sorts of 3-D things out of frosting: animals, fruits, flowers, and (shown below): clowns!

For our second class cake, we were shown how to build up icing to make figures. We all purchased plastic clown toppers and then used icing to make their bodies. While it wasn’t something I normally would’ve thought to do, the cake did turn out pretty cute.

I made a 6″ two layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. Because the cake was a smaller size than usual, it seemed “cuter” than it might have if the clowns had been on a big cake.

As was the case with many of my cakes, I gave this one away to friends. (I can only eat so much cake myself!) :)

A Tisket, A Tasket

Last fall I took a cake decorating course to spruce up my skills and learn some new skills. One of my favorite new piping techniques was the “basket weave”. For our final class, we created a two-layer oval cake. We then used classic white buttercream to cover the cake in basket weaving and ‘rope’ borders.

After the base was frosted, we decorated our cakes with royal icing flowers we had made the week prior. I used a combination of gerbera daisies and apple blossoms (my favorite flower to make out of icing).

The cake was then delivered to my friend Mikie’s wedding shower. Gerbera daisies are her favorite flower, and I thought the cake would be a nice way to celebrate her upcoming wedding. Even though it was a ‘classroom cake’ (and therefore my first attempt at many of the techniques), it impressed Mikie as well as the guests at her shower.