The Accidental Baker

Well, here I am.  A stay at home mom with an amazing husband and three pretty wonderful kiddos looking for a creative outlet that led to a new career.  Going from special needs educator to cake decorator seems a little strange, I realize, but here I am.  See, that’s the funny thing about life.  We make plans and God laughs, as they say.  By the way, I owe my parents a Purdue tuition…

Last year was my first year as a parent that all my kids were in school full time.  That, for me, was TOUGH.  I MISS them when they are in school.  All I ever wanted to do my whole life was be a mom.  I babysat several times a week as soon as I was old enough.  I then nannied every summer when I was at Purdue.  I studied special education and then taught at a private learning clinic.  That may seem noble, but it was selfish I assure you.  Special needs kids are people at their best.  They are innocence in its purest form.  Now THAT’s the kind of person I wanted to spend my days with.  Each bit of progress was a celebration.  Best.Job.Ever.  Then in 2001, we had our first daughter.  This was what I had been training for.  I had my own child!  She was a dream come true.  19 months later, another daughter!  We were so blessed.  I had been able to quit teaching and stay home with my two precious girls.  Then…preschool.  That’s right, I had to give up a few precious hours a week with my little sweeties so they can grow up and be normal people.  If I had it my way, the four of us would have lived on a remote island somewhere so I wouldn’t have to share my time with them.  Since that’s all kinds of crazy,  I sent them to preschool and found myself a part time job to fill the time.   Teaching part time isn’t usually an option, so I looked for something that was.  I had been doing cakes for family and close friends for a couple years.  I went to the shop that had done my wedding cake, Classic Cakes of Carmel.  The owner and I hit it off.  She had been a teacher for years and started her cake business when her boys were pre-teens.  So for the next 8 years, I got to work for Ilene McHone.  This, my friends, is a talented lady.  Every skill I have for this field is because I worked there.   That was the 2nd best job ever.

Now, I forgot to mention that somewhere in those 8 years God decided to give us a son.  I never thought I would have a boy.  I honestly didn’t think I could raise one.  My nails are always painted and I like my furniture and walls to be clean and without damage.  Well, remember that whole “we make plans” thing I mentioned earlier?  Yeah, God surely did that ugly snort kind of laughing on this one.  Fortunately, we like him…a lot.  He’s pretty awesome, actually.  His sense of humor and timing saves his life on a daily basis.  We have decided to keep him.  Sure he’s not quite 7 and has had two concussions, but what’s life without some excitement?  Ugh.

Now here’s a big twist in our story.  You know how I studied education and intervention?  And you know how I taught kids with things like Downs and Autism?  Guess what?  God was training me for my own child.  When my oldest was four, she was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum.  You know how I said kids with special needs are the best people ever?  Yeah, she’s one of them.  I want to be her when I grow up.  She’s crazy smart, unconditionally kind, tender, and inciteful.   She sees the good in every person, and creature, on earth.  Then, in 2012, my middle daughter was diagnosed with ADHD.  She is pretty awesome too.  She is creative, bubbly, loves fiercely, and funny.  So guess what doesn’t go well with two special need daughters?  A part time job.  Yeah, when you only work two days a week, calling in or leaving early for half  the time starts to look bad.  Fortunately, I worked with people that never said a word and respected my family’s needs.  But when staff numbers are low and the shop’s needs increase, you feel like more of a burden than an asset.  So, my husband and I decided I could stay at home full time again and focus on our kids’ needs.

Here’s the flaw in that plan: My friends had been spoiled.  For years, I had been providing cakes for my friends (and family).  Those cake needs didn’t magically go away when I quit Classic.  To top it off, my friends insisted on paying for what I made for them now that I wasn’t at the shop.  Call it pity or generosity, but suddenly I was making cakes semi regularly at home and getting paid.  Some would call this a business.  My husband certainly thought so.  I am married to a man that is good at everything he does.  He has a great job he loves, a side business, a blog, and a really fun hobby of home brewing.  He does all of these things well and still makes family time his priority.  To him, my making a business out of this seemed the next logical step.  I, on the other hand, didn’t feel I could do it.   I had to let go and let God.  More people were finding out about me, more cakes were getting ordered, happy people were reporting back to me, and I conceded.  I can do this.  I love doing this.  I can do it while my kids go to school but can drop it at a second’s notice to go to the school if needed.  I can play a fun part in the special occasions of people in my community.  I can use this money to bless other people through my church and other charities.  Hey!  While I’m at it, I’ll write a blog where I share cake decorating tips so other people can learn this fun art!

So, that’s the point of this blog.  I feel this new business is a gift and I want to share it.  Each week, I will post pictures of the cakes I have done that week.  I will highlight one each week and show tips on how you can do it yourself!  I may mix in an anecdote here or there to keep things interesting.  Rumor is I have the gift of gab.  Hopefully I can translate that to type.  So, come on back each week.  I’d love to hear from you.  What you liked, what you hated, etc.   This will be fun!

Here we go!!


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