The Cake the Children Made

or at least designed. from start to finish.

Jonathan was a bit put out after the last cake went to celebrate someone else’s birthday, and he didn’t get one. teeny. tiny. taste.

I told him this week’s cake was to be specially made with the children in mind. So he requested lemon. And because Abigail is not a huge fan of the frosting (no, James she is not related to you or me!) I made lemon pudding to fill the center with. It was really easy, really yummy, and kept the cake very moist.

I kept my word to both Moms!! and made a buttercream icing with real butter this week. And of course, with some lemon juice and lemon zest, because we are after all talking about the lemony-est cake ever made in Texas! Josiah thought the frosting was very tasty, and after locating his sister’s bath towel, laid down to enjoy licking the beater clean


At class this week we practiced many things: flowers, shell borders, ROSES, oh yes, and clowns. I failed the clowns part (just ask Sandra), so none of those appear on my cake. Plus, I think my children are all afraid of them!

After I’d practiced in class, I brought my cake home still blank except for its lemon icing. The children and I stood around the peninsula in the kitchen while the four kids picked out frosting colors, watched me mix them, and then requested what types of flowers I make with each color (Josiah said we must have blue flowers!).  They were amazingly cute and sweet about my very novice decorations. When I plopped the first rose down on top of the cake they all whooped and shouted and insisted it was really, really awesome!!!

Well, I’d say my little designers did well….I think the final creation is quite stunning:


Here is most of my design team:


One last pic of this colorful cake:


Update on the “Office Remodel”

Thank you, faithful readers, for your patience with us as we bring you semi-weekly installments of the progress on the little office Jay is slowly creating in the corner of our bedroom.  Our first Horne Improvement episode of this particular series can be read here. And last week I shared the second episode with you.  Admittedly, this office remodel does seem to be dragging on.

Yesterday I decided that we’d waited long enough for the whole thing to get finished, so we brought in some professionals.


Pretty cool gig for them in these economic times especially!! That short one doesn’t even feel the need to spring for work clothes, apparently!

I’m here to vouch for the fact that expertise in painting directly correlates with the amount of clothing worn. In other words, if your painter shows up half naked, you’d be well advised to find yourself another guy for the job!

Well, after painting over the not so attractive streaks created by the littlest member of the crew, I think the wall is looking pretty great!


It’s ready for the carpenter to go to work and build the desk!

Let Them Eat Cake!

For my 27th birthday this year, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a free ride to a Wilton Cake Decorating Class. Which was really swell of them, considering I’ve always longed to be able to make the cakes which I bake for family birthdays look more appealing than they usually do! Of course, Sandra wasn’t going to send me on to class without a buddy, so all through the month of May, we have the fun of “going to school” together! Which is sorta neat b/c she was five years behind me in regular school, so we didn’t often run in the same circles. Or even really in the same schools, come to think of it.

This week we brought home our first cakes. Certain of us in the class worked SO long on smoothing our icing that we were stuck with “homework” to finish the decorations!!  I don’t have pics of Sandra’s cake, but it was really pretty. I was especially impressed with her creative use of color.

Here is my little creation (note: the pink appears a tad bit more florescent than it actually was in real life!). The cake is pink and brown, not black.


I don’t have photos of the insides, because we used it to help a friend celebrate her birthday, and then sent it on home with her.  But I can vouch for the fact that it was tasty!!  It is a Hershey’s Chocolate Cake Recipe, and I brushed the layers with Bailey’s Irish Cream, and filled the middle with Chocolate Buttercream (real buttercream, not that Crisco stuff we had to use for the icing this first week).


Those in the know inform me that using shortening in your icing helps achieve a smooth finish, and makes the stuff easier to pipe and work with. Maybe so, but I still don’t love the taste, never mind that it grosses me out just a little to think about eating spoonful after spoonful of shortening piped atop my dessert!! I did put some actual cocoa powder in the icing I used for the brown centers of the flowers, etc. Gave it a fun little kick!!


This next week I hope to frost the cake in buttercream made with real butter, and use the Crisco recipe for the decorative parts only. We’ll see how that works out.

Of course, they tell me we’ll be learning how to make clowns next week…when my kids heard this, the six-year-old asked, “Hey Mom, couldn’t you maybe make a Darth Vader and a Luke Skywalker instead? And you could have them fighting with light sabers on top of the cake. Now THAT would be cool!”

Yes, my boy, that would be cool. Very cool.  And a heck of a lot less scary than those freaky-looking little clowns!

When It’s Time to Change…

Anyone else remember that song from the Brady Bunch way back when?? Loved those singin’ Brady Kids!

Almost a year ago and Abigail and I talked about the possibility of participating in the Locks of Love program. If you’ve not heard of it you can read about it here. Basically, it is a non-profit organization that exists for the sole purpose of helping disadvantaged children who have permanent hair loss due to medical issues. The organization makes beautiful wigs from hair that is donated by individuals all over the US and Canada.  Prostheses of this nature are expensive to purchase, but Locks of Love makes it possible for children who would not normally be able to afford them to enjoy the sense of “normalcy” that comes with having hair again.

Which makes me consider: how many times have I complained about my hair for whatever reason? The idea of not having any is shocking, but many of us, if asked could probably list off several things about our hair that bugs us.

Well, one thing the women in the Horne household are blessed with is LOTS of hair!! And thinking about all those children who don’t have any at all made Abigail and I want to help, so after a few months of growing our hair out to longer than we’d normally wear it, we called a local salon and made appointments to each take off a long ponytail for donating to LOL.  We knew we’d each be losing 10-11 inches of hair so yes, we were a little nervous about the whole thing, but also very excited!!

Awhile back, we took some before shots to chronicle this momentous event:



Well… was the day!! You gotta have the shot with her holding up her 11 inch ponytails!!


Abigail was kind enough to take a shot of me preparing to lose about ten pounds, er inches of hair:


And then another:


She really had fun with the camera!! Here she is getting her “shampoo”:


The salon we used made it easy to send our donated ponytails in to Locks of Love: they provided the paperwork, and packaged and mailed everything in for us.

And….when we were all finished….


Isn’t she cute with her new ‘do??


WOW!! I cannot remember when i have EVER had my hair this short!


Note: if you are in the Dallas area, and interested in participating in Locks of Love, the Artistik Edge Salon in Lake Highlands partners with this organization, and will cut and style your hair free of charge if you are a donator. I am happy to tell you their services are not only free, but excellent!! Both Abigail and I received beautiful cuts from a lovely young lady today.

More importantly, it makes us really happy to think about a child somewhere, someday in the not-too-distant future getting their new hair, and knowing we got to have a little part in making that happen for them.



It’s been a busy couple weeks since we last posted about Jay’s little “Horne” Improvement project. There has been about a week of various illnesses scattered through most of the members of the family. We’ve finished up two soccer seasons with the middle boys, begun baseball season with the Kindergartener, and have continued with volleyball for Abigail.  We planned for and executed on a sweet garage sale, which not only reaped financial reward, but also the benefit of some major clean out and organization in much-needed areas of the home. Yay! We have even babysat a couple of chickens (yes, CHICKENS!) for some sweet friends who were out of town on a long weekend.

And yet, despite the busy schedule that the end of the year brings with it, I think it likely Jay might be finished adding his little home office were it not for the added excitement yours truly has brought to the household.  Last week I took ill with a weird virus whose main symptom was severe vertigo/nausea anytime I was vertical.  It got bad enough that a trip to the doctor seemed warranted.  Before I made it to the doctor’s office, I caught my left pinky toe on the living room ottoman and broke the poor little booger again. After looking me over, the doctor gave a diagnosis of Vestibular Neuritis/Labyrinthitis and also confirmed that aforementioned pinkie toe was snapped clean through.


Anyway, my being laid-up with dizziness and broken toes has necessitated that Jay kick it into even higher gear than he usually runs at.  So, there’s been no time left for making his office area pretty…till the past couple days.  He’s made wonderful progress, and finished what is arguably the hardest part of the whole job. While I missed getting shots of the mudded walls, I did enjoy watching and photographing the process of his learning to texture. And then him learning to texture some more.  And some more.

It turns out texturing is not an easy task, especially when it is your goal to match pre-existing texture already on the wall which you are updating. In praise of his work, I will say that Jay did finally achieve what I think will be a really great match once the wall is painted to match the rest of the room. Here’s the area, all prepped for painting.


Of course, he’s asked me (Dizzy, Broken-Toed Girl) if I wouldn’t mind doing the painting part. Not at all Jay, anything for you. But here’s hoping I don’t find myself in the middle of a dizzy spell while waving a wet paint brush around our bedroom. I wouldn’t want to spill any of that sticky paint on my pretty boot, ya’ know.