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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hi, My Name is Brittany; and I Bake Crappy Cakes

      I don't know if you've seen it yet, but Netflix has a new series on called Nailed It. The moment I started watching it, it called out to my heart and I knew that the show was meant for me. You see, the show is about ordinary people who like to bake, but their skills aren't right where they should be in order for something pleasing to come out of the results.

     We've all been on Pinterest of Facebook and have seen what those cute little baked creations and think, "Hey, I think I can do that! It looks easy enough." So we try to make that cute little thing and it either comes out perfect or not so much. I fall into the not so much category.

      I have tried on multiple occasions- more now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, and have failed on many occasions. Just how many times? Well, you're about to see!


 1. The very first cake that I had ever tried to design was a train cake for my oldest son's first birthday. I found a 3D mold cake pan and bought it thinking that it was going to be so easy to make. I had actually tried to make several cake versions to see which cake batter worked best and settled for a Duncan Hines cake. I'm not a very artistic person, and it shows. The cake frosting started to slide almost as soon as I put it on and the cake leaned so much, I made aluminum foil platforms to keep the train upright.




2. I love Halloween and was delighted to see that a friend of the family had made this cake at a 31 party. This right here, is a Kitty Litter cake. I have made this for many Halloween potlucks and it only gets better each time I make it. For this cake, what you do is make a regular yellow or chocolate cake from a box. Then you can either crumble it up and add chocolate or butterscotch syrup to make it sticky, or you can frost it like a normal cake without crumbling it up. It depends on how gross you want to make it. After that, you crush some golden Oreos and split a small portion into a bag and add some green or blue food coloring to it. The Oreos are the kitty litter. Sprinkle Oreos over the cake. To make the poo, I first used Tootsie Rolls that were molded and shaped to look like poo, but I found that if you roll Little Debbie brownies, they look more like poo. Layer the "poo" in strategic spots and then sprinkle the blue or green "crystal" Oreos over the cake to finish it off. Extra grossness award goes to you if you make the cake in a clean, brand new and washed litter box. It has to just come from the store and a brand new litter scoop. This could be a fail, but I see this cake as a success. 


3. As I have mentioned earlier, I am not an artist. For one of my older son's birthdays, he said he wanted a Ninjago cake. At the time, no one had a Ninjago pattern, so I tried my best to make a cake for him. The cake says, "Happy Birthday" and then "Ninjago" as if writing it was going to make everyone understand what the cake is about. Green is his favorite color so I lined it with green frosting and made little kicking "Ninjas" with a darker color of green.


4. I really don't know what this cake was for. I think I tried to make a second cake, one that was chocolate. My younger son celebrates his birthday the same day as my parent's anniversary. I think that I was trying to be nice and include them in the second cake. It says Happy Birthday and Anniversary. I think it was supposed to go beside this "Soccer Ball" on the side. I made the "Soccer Ball" from a round cake pan and then added cupcakes to form a circle around it. Maybe it might have looked more like a soccer ball if I added some black lines to outline the different "squares".


5. My daughter has been the biggest dog lover. One year, she told me she wanted a puppy cake. So I tried. I used several different cake sizes and put them together. It actually didn't look that bad if you look at the first picture. It was when I tried to add color for it to look like a pink puppy that things got messy.


 6. Two of my children have birthdays close to Christmas. One is in December, the other in January. It shouldn't have been a surprise at the time, but my oldest wanted a snowman cake. So I tried. He might have been more of a success if I had a bigger platform to put him on. Instead, he's hunched back and his hat extends onto a plate next to the plateform.

7. One year, I decided to make a Barbie princess cake for my daughter. It didn't turn out too horrible except the top of the dress is made of fondant. It's not very smooth and the pink and purple coloring is really dull instead of bright. I have never made a pretty purple or pink frosting in my life. No matter how much coloring or fiddling around that I do, they always turn out this color. I do not suggest making a cake from a mold because I don't think it bakes correctly. Instead, I would suggest making several round cakes, stack them, and carve them to make the shape. You might waste some cake, but at least it will taste light and fluffy vs. dense.



 8.  This last year, I tried to make a cookie cake for my mother-in-law. I had never made one before, but decided to try it out. The recipe, actually wasn't too bad. I had some extra dough left over, so I made individual cookies. I thought I would wrap them around the cake, but I didn't have enough to go all the way around. Part of the cookie cake crumbled when I pulled it out of the pan, so I had to add a ton of frosting to make up for it. Like I said before, I'm not an artist, so decorating it could have been prettier.

9. My daughter has really gotten into flowers lately. I decided to take a chance and use my Wilton cake piping set and try my hand at making flowers. They weren't terrible when I started to make them, but I think the frosting should have been thicker or something. The flowers kind of melted and again, I'm not an artist, so the stems aren't great, either.



10.  My son told me he wanted a Pokémon cake for his birthday, last year. I tried, really, I did. It is really difficult to make red frosting without it turning pink. So this year, I bought the frosting from a can. The frosting tastes good, but I find that when I frost with premade frosting, that the cake kind of tears up with it and then the cake looks crumby. Instead of making my own black frosting, I bought some icing in a tube. I have found that with those, it either pours out too quickly, or it blasts air from time to time. The black icing came out quickly and unevenly so it made little swirls and waves and if it wasn't doing that, it would blast out air, causing the icing to splatter. Not fun. Maybe if I had a steady hand, it would have looked nicer, but he liked it anyways. 



      I have tried several other cakes throughout momhood, but this post would be super long if I posted them all. I hope that you enjoyed looking at these cakes and got a good laugh out of them. Don't be discouraged if you can't draw or if your baking skills could be better. I have found that NO matter what cakes I made, the only one who laughed at them was me... and maybe a few other adults who tried to tell me that they were wonderful, but I knew deep down inside, they wanted to laugh.

       It's really the thought that counts and I did something good for my kids that they can always remember and look back on. "Remember that time when mom made that cake that was supposed to look like a baby, but instead it looked like a demon?" "Oh yeah! That was the best!" *Insert laughter* 

      If you get the chance and you have Netflix, watch Nailed It. Deep down inside, we are all thinking, "Hey, I could be on this show. I think I might have a shot. How do I apply?" It's funny and I've actually learned a few things from watching. I actually applied to be on the show. There's no indication that they could be doing another season, ever, but if they did, I think that I "Nailed It" with all of these!

Watch this trailer and tell me what you think!

Do you have any cake fails? If you can comment them, I want to see!


Monday, February 19, 2018

New, On Amazon....

Hey everyone!

So.... I've been practicing my writing with this blog. Lately, I've been coming across ads on Facebook for writing contests and decided to try it out. Two weeks ago, I decided to enter the contest. I lost, unfortunately, but I liked my short story enough that I thought I would try to publish it.

If you would like to purchase it to read, you can click this link below. The story is a short story, so I have it priced for $0.99.

I really hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Comment below to tell me what you think!



https://www.amazon.com/All-Hail-Repairman-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B079VVSZWG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519091724&sr=8-1&keywords=Brittany+Vantrease

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Appetizers and Sweet Ideas for the Super Bowl or any Pot Luck


Sports are played all year round and many people like to get together to root for opposing teams in a friendly rivalry. If you are like me, you don't really care who wins so you root for the team opposite of those you care about just to get some competition in, or you mostly come for the appetizers.

If you've ever been to a potluck or have had to bring a dish to pass, chances are, you have a go-to snack that you like to bring that's easy to make. If you have hosted an event, you may go one step further and provide a meat dish. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Does Your Child Have ADHD? It Isn't the End of the World.


My oldest child and I are alike in so many ways. Often, being alike causes us frustration because we know how to get under each others skin. But because he's a lot like me, I am able to understand a little bit about how he's feeling, what can cause him to get angry, or how to handle a situation so it doesn't blow up in his face. I've been there, I've reacted the same way.



The Last Straw

         A couple of months ago, my son was having a difficult time in school. I was called into the office, one particular afternoon, and while I was there I asked to have a meeting with my son's teacher, the principle, and the social worker who works at the school. I threw down my gauntlet and demanded that things be changed.

The principle got called away for something and when she was gone, I asked the social worker, "Do you think that there is a chance that my son had ADHD or some version of it?" and he said, "I think there's a big possibility that he does." With help from the social worker, we were able to have the school psychologist come in and assess my son. She gave his present teacher, his teacher from last year, his case worker from this year and last, the social worker, and my husband and I a questionnaire to fill out.

From the questionnaire, we found out that he had traits of a child with ADHD and varying degrees of anxiety- probably because he wasn't able to learn the way that a focused child could learn.

Take Action!

Right after we reconvened, we all talked about the next steps. I changed my children's primary care physician to one who would be able to make appointments and specialized in ADHD in children. We met with the physician and she was impressed by how much the school did and our involvement with getting a diagnosis. She didn't have to do an assessment because we had one right there with us from many people who see him everyday. She told us that most children only get one done through their parents and because we did it the way we did with others involved, the questionnaire wasn't biased in anyway. She talked to us about options and recommended that we do medication. She spoke to us about the side effects and what each medicine would do for him.

          She also asked a question that surprised us. She asked, "Do either one of you lean towards ADHD tendencies?"
          My husband looked to me and I raised my hand. "I do."
         "It's very common that children who have ADHD have a parent who also carries that trait. Have you been diagnosed?"
         "No."
         "You should. I have ADHD, too and there is such a difference when I'm on the medication then when I'm off. I'm more focused and don't forget everything and can finish a sentence without getting distracted."
          "Maybe I can clean my house and it won't look like a hoarder moved in before it's clean because I can actually focus on one task."
          "Exactly!"

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Again

        So.... We started my son on medication. It has been an extreme ride between convincing my son to take it, trying the different dosages to find one that works, waiting for refill dates to approach, fights with the insurance company to approve a dose that works best, and so on and so forth. We think we've found it, though- the perfect dose. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions. One of our biggest fights with our son was trying to get him to take his pill. His gag reflex was in overdrive and the only way that we could get him to take it was to open the capsule and pour it into some applesauce. If we didn't ask her if it was ok, she wouldn't have known it was after researching and our fight for something better would have resumed.

The Results Are Outstanding!

        The teacher says that he's a model student when he takes it. He still participates in class and is still extremely creative. He is still him, but more focused. One of the things that we were afraid would happen is that he would take the medication and then disappear. The doctor and the social worker, who also has ADHD, assured us that medication is different from years ago. It is made now so children don't go bonkers or be plain and boring. It's designed to work with your child's brain so they can focus and that's it. They will still be creative and be themselves. It was a relief to see that it was true. In fact, I think it made my son even more creative because he could focus on the task at hand.




If You Could Make Yourself Better, Wouldn't You?

        Do you remember when I said that my son and I are alike in many ways? It's very true, but there is one thing that is different, besides the fact that I'm 30 and a girl while he's almost 8 and a boy. ADHD is more difficult to diagnose for girls. When I was younger and even in college, I had a tough time remembering to do my homework and also had anger/behavioral issues. I just looked like a bad kid, kind of like how my wonderful son was perceived, but really, those are just common issues with kids with ADHD. My son has a chance to be able to learn and get good grades. He's able to control his frustration with change and gets to be a model student. I didn't have that option because ADHD was still sort of a new concept and a question was never raised about me having it. I recognize it now as I'm older and I watch my son. I used to play house with my pencils and during math, my numbers were assigned genders and I daydreamed all of the time. I never remembered homework until the teacher asked us to turn it in. It took me longer to learn to read than other kids, but once it clicked, I loved to read and I love to write. I still jump around from point to point and when I clean my house, you can't tell because I don't focus on one room, I jump from one task to another. I have to make a point to get working and focus my energy on getting things done. Inviting people to my house is a big motivation.

        Having my child diagnosed with ADHD wasn't the end of the world. It was actually a relief. It gave me some answers and now I know that my child's poor behavior wasn't because I was raising him wrong, it was because of his biology and thankfully, there is something that we can do for him. He's going to be able to learn better and behave better because he's going to be able to focus. He's not going to get frustrated every time a subject is changed or something out of the norm or unexpected happens. He's going to be able to adjust to things and he's going to be able to succeed because he doesn't have the lack of focus holding him back.

       Don't be afraid to advocate for your child. If you suspect that your child has a mental block of any sort, don't be discouraged. Learn about it and start looking for ways to help. Medicating your child doesn't mean that you're a bad parent, and having your child on medication doesn't mean that they are broken or that you've done anything wrong. Biology happens and in my case, I am probably the parent who gave my child that gene, but with support, great things can happen now that we know.

Do you have a child or are you someone who has ADHD or ADD? Did you take medication for it? Did it change your life for the better?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Diagnosis of ADHD Isn't the End of the World.

         My oldest child and I are alike in so many ways. Being so alike, however causes us to butt heads because we know how to get under each other's skin. But because he's a lot like me, I am also able to understand a little bit about how he's feeling, what can cause him to get angry, or how to handle a situation so it doesn't blow up in his face. I've been there, I've reacted the same way.

Last year, my son was having a difficult time in school. I was called into the office almost every day because the school wasn't able to handle him. On one particular afternoon, I decided enough was enough and demanded to have a meeting with my son's teacher, the principal, and the social worker who works at the school. I threw down my gauntlet and told them that things needed to be changed. The principal (who had been a huge butt kisser) got called away for something and when she was gone, I asked the social worker, "Do you think that there is a chance that my son has ADHD or some version of it?" and he said, "I think there's a big possibility that he does." With help from the social worker, we were able to have the school psychologist come in and assess my son. She gave his present teacher, his teacher from last year, his case worker from this year and last, the social worker, and my husband and I a questionnaire to fill out. From the questionnaire, we found out that he had traits of a child with ADHD and varying degrees of anxiety- probably because he wasn't able to learn the way that a focused child could learn.

          Right after we reconvened, we all talked about the next steps. I changed my children's primary care physician to one who would be able to make appointments and specialized in ADHD in children. We met with the physician and she was impressed by the actions we took and our involvement with getting a diagnosis. She didn't have to do an assessment because we had one right there with us from the people who see him everyday. She told us that most children only get one done through their parents and because we did it the way we did with others involved, the questionnaire wasn't biased in anyway. She talked to us about options and recommended that we do medication. She spoke to us about the side effects and what each medicine would do for him.

          She also asked a question that surprised us. She asked, "Do either one of you lean towards ADHD tendencies?"
          My husband looked to me and I raised my hand. "I do."
         "It's very common that children who have ADHD have a parent who also carries that trait. Have you been diagnosed?"
         "No."
         "You should. I have ADHD, too and there is such a difference when I'm on the medication then when I'm off. I'm more focused and don't forget everything and can finish a sentence without getting distracted."
          "Maybe I can clean my house and it won't look like a hoarder moved in before it's clean because I can actually focus on one task."
          "Exactly!"

        So.... We started my son on medication. It was an extreme ride between convincing my son to take it, trying the different dosages to find one that works, waiting for refill dates to approach, fights with the insurance company to approve a dose that worked best, and so on and so forth. We eventually found it, the perfect dose. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions. One of our biggest fights with our son was trying to get him to take his pill. His gag reflex was in overdrive and the only way that we could get him to take it was to open the capsule and pour it into some applesauce. If we didn't ask her if it was ok, she wouldn't researched it to find out that it was and our fight for something better would have resumed.

       His teacher said that he's a model student when he takes it. He still participated in class and is still extremely creative. He is still him, but more focused. We had worried that when we gave him the medicine, he would disappear. The doctor and the social worker, who also has ADHD, assured us that medication is different from years ago. It is made now so children don't go bonkers or be plain and boring. It's designed to work with your child's brain so they can focus and that's it. They will still be creative and be themselves. It was a relief to see that it was true. In fact, I think it made my son even more creative because he could focus on the task at hand.

        Do you remember when I said that my son and I are alike in many ways? It's very true, but there is one thing that is different, besides the fact that I'm 30 and a girl while he's 8 and a boy; ADHD is more difficult to diagnose for girls. When I was younger and even in college, I had a tough time remembering to do my homework and also had anger/behavioral issues. I just looked like a lazy, bad kid, kind of like how my wonderful son was perceived, but really, those are just common issues with kids with ADHD. My son has gotten the chance to be able to learn and get good grades. He's able to control his frustration with change and gets to be a model student. I didn't have that option because ADHD was still sort of a new concept and a question was never raised about me having it. I recognize it now as I'm older and I watch my son. I used to play house with my pencils and during math, my numbers were assigned genders and I daydreamed all of the time. I never remembered homework until the teacher asked us to turn it in. It took me longer to learn to read than other kids, but once it clicked, I loved to read and I love to write. I still jump around from point to point and when I clean my house, you can't tell because I don't focus on one room, I jump from one task to another. I have to make a point to get working and focus my energy on getting things done. Inviting people to my house is a big motivation.

        Having my child diagnosed with ADHD wasn't the end of the world. It was actually a relief. It gave me some answers and now I know that my child's poor behavior wasn't because I was raising him wrong, it was because of his biology and thankfully, there is something that we can do for him. He's going to be able to learn better and behave better because he's going to be able to focus. He's not going to get frustrated every time a subject is changed or something out of the norm or unexpected happens. He's going to be able to adjust to things and he's going to be able to succeed because he doesn't have the lack of focus holding him back.

       Don't be afraid to advocate for your child. If you suspect that your child has a mental block of any sort, don't be discouraged. Learn about it and start looking for ways to help. Medicating your child doesn't mean that you're a bad parent, and having your child on medication doesn't mean that they are broken or that you've done anything wrong. Biology happens and in my case, I am probably the parent who gave my child that gene, but with support, great things can happen now that we know.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting Turned Away

     I knew that it could happen, but it has never happened to me before. My son had a dentist appointment today. They were going to put him under so they could fill a couple of his teeth (one hazard of nursing your child for over a year).  In order for them to do that, they wanted us there at 8:00 AM so he would be sleepy or sleeping by 8:30.

     I've driven to this office before. The first time that I drove there, I was an hour early for the appointment. This time, however, I arrived at 8:30, in time for the actual scheduled appointment, but they turned me away because they said it could take 30 minutes for him to fall asleep and it would put them behind schedule. It didn't matter that I had already driven an hour and a half to get there. It didn't matter to them that the appointment was scheduled at 8:30 and that there was no one at the desk when I first came in and had to wait an extra 5 minutes saying, "Hello?" They didn't care because it was going to put them behind.

      I try not to get angry for things like this, but boy did I get angry. My drive was only supposed to take 40 minutes at most. It did not. For some reason, my GPS thought it would take me away from the road construction that was happening and instead, I had to wait for trains to pass, lights to turn green, and average morning traffic. I have only used this GPS one other time and used it this time because my husband told me that it had never steered him wrong.... I could have screamed, and I definitely yelled in my car and thumped my head against the seat each time I got held up at another stop light. If it could have gone wrong, it did.

      If I was there early and had to wait because another person showed up late, I would be upset, but I would understand. If I was a business and I knew that someone was coming from way out of town, which they did, I might have tried to work something out in a way better than they did today. It took me an hour and a half to drive there and I made it back home in 40 minutes. The traffic was the same. It wasn't like I was unprepared. I left earlier than my gps and mapquest said to leave, but it didn't matter.

     You know, many, many years ago and man and his pregnant fiancé were travelling to get their taxes done. They were going at the pace that they were allowed to go in their condition and they were turned away several times. There wasn't any room in any of the inns and they actually had to find a place to stay in a stable with the horses and animals. This woman was very pregnant and ended up having her baby next to some cows or horses. The place was a cesspool for germs and probably smelled awful. Despite all that, they were grateful and they were used to fulfill a prophecy about a man who would die for our sins. When it's put that way, I guess that getting turned away isn't so terrible.

      Maybe we were supposed to get there late today. My whole household has been sick on and off. Maybe if he were to go through the procedure, he might have gotten an infection or became more sick. I don't know what could have happened, but hey, I guess, on the plus side, my son gets to go to school, today.

Monday, December 4, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love

   

Unprepared and Unqualified for Motherhood


I haven't made it a secret that I didn't want kids as I was growing up in other blog posts. Whenever I saw a baby or held one, I was one of those people whose eyes were huge and panicky. I never knew what to do with babies and couldn't wait to pass one off.

If I ever told you your baby was cute, in the past, I was probably only saying that to be nice and really didn't mean it. "Wow, Brittany, that was really harsh". Yeah, probably, but that was just who I was. Somewhere along the line, probably when my maturity started to set in, I was tolerant of babies and thought that maybe, just maybe, I would like to have some of my own.

About Me

My photo
Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- 50+ Women Share Their Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy is such a miraculous thing to go through. Not only are you going to be carrying a baby in your womb for idealy 40 weeks, your b...