Doctor Who

My Doctor Who Cake

Last July, my husband convinced me to watch Doctor Who. He had already seen all of the episodes of the recent seasons (Christopher Eccleston and on), and was hoping to get me hooked and caught up before season 8 started up. Being the nerd that I am, I of course became an instant fan. But the new season started a month from when I started watching, and I had a little over 100 episodes to watch if I was going to catch up in time. We only had 2 kids at the time, but I still didn’t have much TV time. Somehow, I managed to do it, which you could either see as impressive or embarrassing, your pick.

I love Doctor Who.

Now I want to get my hands on the original seasons from back in the day so I can be a true Whovian.

So when I was thinking of ideas for my birthday cake, I immediately went to the Doctor. I wanted to do a Tardis cake. Since my birthday is January 6th, I decided to go with a Christmas Tardis theme. We had the flu over Christmas, so I still wanted to hold on to Christmas because I had kind of felt cheated.

My conception art

My conception art

My mom found an awesome video tutorial on YouTube of how to make a Tardis cake.

I was only having a small gathering of friends and their kids over to celebrate, so I was sure the Tardis cake alone would be enough.

I am not very good at sculpted cakes. I have yet to find a cake recipe that holds up well to being sculpted. So I took a risk and tried a recipe that I had never tried before: vanilla pound cake. Since I was going to need 5 squares for my Tardis, I needed 2 square cakes. I only had 1 square pan though, so I had to do them one at a time, which took forever because the bake time for this recipe is an hour and fifteen minutes! My first cake burned on the bottom and along the edges. I was able to cut it away, but it made my squares smaller than the ones in the tutorial video. For the second batch, I reduced the oven temperature to 325°, and that cake came out perfectly. So if you try this recipe, I would suggest lowering the temperature. (It was a very tasty cake.)

It took to sculpting ok. But since my squares were smaller, I ended up doing 4 instead of 5. I was unsuccessful in leveling, so it wasn’t the sturdiest of structures. Despite me using a ruler, I still managed to cut each square a little differently, so they weren’t all the exact same size when I stacked them. Which left me to cut down my already small cake in an attempt to make it even on all the sides. My husband ended up helping me shape it down because it was not looking pretty.

I now did not have enough cake to feed the people I was expecting, so I changed the plan and made two 9″ chocolate rounds for my tardis to sit on, using my moist dairy free chocolate cake recipe. Instead of going with a Christmas Tardis, I decided to ice the rounds to look like Van Gough’s Starry Night with the Tardis sitting on top, recreating the iconic painting from the Van Gough episode. I was sad to have to scrap my Christmas theme, but excited about the new direction.

I focused first on decorating the Tardis, following the instructions from the YouTube video. The blue icing that I had on hand was not Tardis blue, unfortunately. Lesson learned: always buy a few different shades when you need such a specific color so you can mix up your own. But painting the fondant panels really helped with the color. In the video she used a paint powder, but I didn’t have access to that. So I just mixed a drop of water into gel icing colors inside a painter’s palette to get a more “paint like” consistency, and it worked really well.

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How many panels does it take to cover a Tardis?

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The panels post painting

 

I mixed white & black gel icing colors to make grey, and used that around the edges of the window pieces to dirty them up a bit. The Tardis has been around the block a few thousand times after all; she should look worn in.

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I wish that I would have painted the sign grey before writing the words on, but hind sight is 20/20.

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Obviously, I ran out of space for all the words. I had to make this panel slightly larger than the others just to get these to fit. But the important ones are on there.

I almost forgot about the door handle & key hole, but remembered with enough time to whip them up.

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The Police Box panels

 

My mom got me a fondant rolling mat system, conveniently called The Mat, for Christmas. If you are serious about cake decorating, you need this mat! The fondant didn’t stick to it at all.

I mean, look at that!
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Absolutely incredible.

Once all the pieces were cut and painted, it was just a matter of putting them on. I let my 4 year old help with this part. She was so careful & methodical while placing each panel. I saw a piece of myself in her in that moment, which was so beautiful to witness.

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We got the Tardis done 2 hours before people were set to arrive. That may have been enough time to frost the Van Gough design on the rounds if we were already dressed, the house was already cleaned, and if the baby would sleep the entire time. But none of those things had happened, of course. Time got the best of me yet again. It is not easy getting these cakes done when I’ve got 3 girls 4 years old and under to take care of.

But I couldn’t bring myself to slap plain white frosting on it; it had to have some kind of design to it. My new plan: pipe swirls to make it look like the time vortex. Since I was completely out of time (pun intended), I chose 3 colors: blue, purple, and white.

I stuck the blue and purple icings in their own piping bags and then shoved them side by side into another piping bag, so that they would come out at the same time.

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Too bad I ran out of frosting before the whole cake was covered.

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I only had blue leftover, so the colors were off balanced. Then I ran out of the blue!

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It was not looking like what I was going for. Out of pure panic I decided to add white dashes, partly to hide the spots of crumb coat that were peeking through, and partly to try to add a…wibbly wobbly timey wimey effect… Again, I was panicking.

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I stuck my leaning tower of Tardis on top and called it a day, because I had about 10 minutes to get myself dressed before people showed up.

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Let’s just say that it was meant to look off kilter because it was bumping around the time vortex…

Is it the worst thing ever? No. Did it look anything like what I set out to create? Not in any way. Did the perfectionist in me want to throw it on the street and run it over with my car? Absolutely.

But my main goal in life lately has been to not stress out. Especially on days that are supposed to be fun like my birthday. Despite everything that went wrong with this cake, I had a lot of fun making it. I mean, it’s a Tardis cake! Plus, my girls helped me bake and make frosting, on top of watching me work on all the Tardis pieces. I was actually surprised at how interested they were to just watch me work.

Of course having them in the kitchen with me meant extra messes…

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But the extra clean up was worth it, because it meant I got to spend my birthday with the 3 greatest kids on earth.

Good thing I took pictures of my cake right away, because while I was upstairs getting dressed…

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The Doctor crashed the Tardis on my stove.

At this point, I just had to laugh.

We ate the tie dye swirl cake at my dinner party and then the girls and I devoured the Tardis for breakfast the next morning (eating leftover birthday cake for breakfast the day after a birthday is my favorite birthday tradition).

Death of the Tardis

Death of the Tardis

Structural integrity has never been a strength of mine in cake decorating. But I’m working on it. I’ve decided to make a Tardis cake for my birthday every year until I get it right. I’m only 27; I’ve got plenty of time.

I’ll take the long way, Doctor; you meet me on the year I nail it.

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How I Made Girly Dalek Costumes

When asked what they wanted to be for Halloween, our 3 and 2 year old girls said to our great delight, “Daleks!” To make sure they weren’t going to change their minds, I waited 2 weeks to start making the costumes (no one sells Dalek costumes for kids). They never wavered, but continued insisting on Dalek costumes.

I know what you’re thinking–our kids are awesome. Be jealous as you shank each other over the last Elsa costume in Target. In case someone else creates an awesome little girl who wants a girly Dalek costume, here’s how I did it.

The Dalek

The Dalek

First, I scoured the internet for ideas. My girls may be young, but they know what they want. So I presented them with two different options: this realistic, but cumbersome to walk in Dalek, and this girly interpretation of a Dalek. It was no surprise to me that they wanted the tutu version. Now the first problem with this design was that I can’t sew, and it’s obvious that whoever made our inspiration Dalek dress could sew. No problem some ribbon and hot glue couldn’t solve (I hoped). I wasn’t exactly sure how I would get it to stay together, but I decided to figure it out later.

Off to Michael’s we went, aimlessly wandering the aisles trying to figure out how we were going to create these things. I made sure to pick out strong ribbon so that it wouldn’t crumble under the weight of the tulle and Dalek balls. The 3 year old wanted to be a purple Dalek, and the 2 year old wanted to be a pink one, and of course they gravitated towards the glitter ribbon and tulle. Even though I knew the house and all it’s inhabitants would be covered in glitter for the next year if I brought that home, I decided to be a cool mom and said “Yes” to the glitter.

While wandering, I came across sheets of felt and decided that they would be the best option for the Dalek ball panels, because it would be strong enough to hold the balls, but not require hems to be sewn like fabric would (read: I can’t even sew a button on a coat).

For the Dalek balls, I had two options: styrofoam balls or plastic Christmas ornaments. I went with the ornaments because I didn’t want to worry about painting styrofoam. The ornaments that I found were made to open so you could put pictures inside, which saved me the step of cutting them; I already had a perfect flat bottom. Since spray paint is expensive, I made the executive decision to paint the Dalek balls the same color for both of the dresses. I was going to do silver, but then I found a glitter spray. I had already committed to the glitter thing–go big or go home, I say.

This whole thing was a learning experience because I went into it with a very vague plan that pretty much got thrown out the window immediately. I was making it up as I went along, so I’m sure there are things that I did that could have been done better. I’m not writing this trying to say that my way of doing things is superior. The whole time I was gluing these babies together I was praying they wouldn’t fall apart! I’m just sharing my process so that if anyone likes the finished product, you can take what I’ve done and put your own spin on it to make it even better. On that note, if anyone does make their own interpretation of my Dalek dress, please share it with me! I would love to see how someone else does it.

Once I brought all my supplies home, I tied the ribbon around the bust line of each kid and cut it. I tied a bow in the back so it would stay in place, allowing a fair amount of extra ribbon to hang so I could adjust the tightness if I needed to.

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Next, I wrapped another piece of ribbon around this base ribbon right in the middle of the chest. I wrapped it three times for security.

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wpid-wp-1414769788896.jpegI figured it would be stupid to hot glue the ribbons together while the 3 year old was wearing it, so I pinned the ribbon in place with safety pins so I would know where to glue it later.

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I then laced either ends of the second piece of ribbon over her shoulders, and through the back of the base ribbon. Again, I pinned them in place.

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Then I carefully took it off my wonderful model and hot glued my ribbon together, creating a halter.

Next, I measured for the length of the dress. This part is entirely up to the person making it. For the sake of not using more than one spool of tulle per dress because I’m cheap, I opted to make them hit just above the knee (although the 2 year old’s dress came out too short; wiggly subjects are difficult to measure). Then I cut a piece of cardboard to that length (I used the flaps of a diaper box). Next, I wrapped the tulle around the cardboard and secured it with rubber bands. I then carefully cut the layers of tulle on either side of the cardboard piece. I was left with pieces of tulle that were all exactly the same size, but I only had to measure once and cut twice.

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Then I folded each piece of tulle in half lengthwise twice, and hot glued it onto my ribbon halter one by one. To glue it, I folded each piece over the ribbon, gluing it on the back and front of the ribbon. I layered the tulle pieces on top of each other to create a pleat effect.

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The felt pieces needed to be 3 1/2 inches wide in order for the ornaments to fit. I only needed 3 felt panels for each dress, which I was able to get from one sheet of felt. This was my first time working with felt and I learned the hard way that it is extremely hard to cut. Do yourself a favor and buy sharp fabric scissors, because it took forever using my cheap-o paper scissors. Then I hot glued the panels on: one in the middle and the other two on either sides. I wrapped the felt around the ribbon like I did with the tulle, gluing it on the back and the front of the ribbon.

Next, I sprayed the glitter on the ornaments; they needed two coats to get full coverage. Then I sprayed them with spray Modge Podge to make sure the glitter wouldn’t budge. Unfortunately, it dulled the sparkle and dried in weird splotches. Don’t spray with Modge Podge if you try this. Once they were dry, I hot glued them onto the felt panels (which were already glued onto the dresses). The panels for the 3 year old’s dress required 5 balls each (15 total), and the 2 year old’s dress required 3 per panel (9 total). The ornaments were sold individually, so I ended up using 12 (because I used them as halfs).

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Then there was the issue of the Dalek’s head.

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Although I started working on these costumes at the beginning of October, I did also just have baby number 3 on October 20th. I was already biting off more than I could chew by choosing to make costumes this year, but there was no way I was going to steer them towards being princesses when it was THEIR idea to be Daleks. I knew that it would take shopping around to find a construction helmet like the one in our inspiration picture, plus I would have to paint them, which would mean buying two different colors of spray paint. Remember–I’m cheap. I chose to make the Dalek light ear thingys using a headband, electric tea lights, and Dixie cups. I knew that by doing this I wouldn’t be able to incorporate the Dalek eye, but we’re going for a cutesy interpretation, not a realistic copy.

These were super simple. I took my Walmart headbands and hot glued the tea lights on, making sure that the switch was accessible. Then I hot glued the Dixie cups to fit around the tea lights. Voila! Dalek ear thingys. Why blue Dixie cups instead of clear, you ask? Because Target only had blue and I just had a baby. You couldn’t even tell what color the cups were in the dark anyways. These headbands acted fantastically as flashlights so the kids didn’t get run over while trick-or-treating. Mom for the win!

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Of course the 3 year old decided to add her own touch:

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The last part to sort out were the Dalek arms:

dalek_series7_figure1-001Most people on the internet opted to send their kids out with a toilet plunger in one hand and a wire whisk in the other. I knew that my kids were not going to want to carry them all night though, and that for the time that they did carry them would be using them to hit each other with. But I really wanted to incorporate them in some way. Then I got the brilliant idea to make custom candy bags. I found a purple cloth one at the Dollar Store and a purple felt one at Walmart for $3. Then I spray painted halved styrofoam balls black that I got at Walmart for $.97 each. The spray paint did not cover the styrofoam very well at all. I gave up after the billionth coat and just hot glued them on.

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I couldn’t think of a clever way to attach the whisks, so I decided to just let them hold them and throw them in the bags once they were sick of them.

To complete the look, I put the girls in solid long sleeved shirts and pants (that they already had), color coordinating to match the purple and pink. It was the coldest Halloween in a decade, but luckily enough the girls had pink and purple jackets/scarves/mittens to match.

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The total cost for the supplies for each Dalek getup was $30. Although I didn’t save any money by making it myself, I didn’t really have a choice because no one sells Dalek costumes for kids. Honestly, I really enjoyed making my kids’ Halloween costumes. The girls were so happy with their costumes, which made all the work worth it.

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And there you have it! Girly Dalek costumes. Happy Exterminating!

My Eggo is Prego: 29 Weeks

29 Weeks

29 Weeks

How did this pregnancy go by so fast? I can’t believe that in one short week I’ll be entering my 8th month (all of these posts run a week behind remember, so today I am actually 30 weeks pregnant). The baby could very realistically be here in 2 months. And we don’t even have a dresser for the poor kid yet! Where the heck are all the baby’s clothes going to go?? Eowyn suggested that Ary could share her drawer with the baby, since she’s a baby too. But Ary’s drawer is already full, I remind her. Well just put the clothes in the living room, she says. What, in a pile on the floor of the living room? Yes, Mom–what’s the problem?

Ah good old toddler logic. Never faulty or full of holes.

Anyways, so now I’m scouring garage sales, Goodwill, and Craig’s List for a dresser that I can rehab into something fitting for our newest addition. Hopefully before he/she gets here. Seriously, what have I been doing with my life? Obviously not preparing for the baby.

Speaking of Doctor Who, I just finished up David Tennant’s run and I’m really upset that he’s gone. I do not like Matt Smith one bit. Tyler says I’m going through the normal phases of a fan acclimating to a new Doctor, and that I’ll warm up to Smith soon. Even if I do warm up to him (which, 5 episodes in, hasn’t happened yet), I doubt he will ever take the place of David Tennant for me. David Tennant, you are my Doctor.

Tyler & I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary on Thursday. 5 years married sounds so adult. Yet again, so does having 3 kids. When did we grow up exactly? I must have missed it.

The 3 people who we know well enough and who live nearby were all out of town this week, so we literally had no one to watch the kids for us. Except for 2 poor unsuspecting teenagers who left a babysitting flyer in our mailbox last month. But neither of us had the heart to leave them with Baby Ary. They’re still just kids themselves afterall; Ary would have eaten them for breakfast. Although it would have been excellent birth control for them. Anyways, we decided to just accept our fate and make the most of celebrating our anniversary as a family. I had planned on recreating a tier of our wedding cake as a surprise for Tyler, but while the crumb coat was setting in the fridge, I made the mistake of popping to the loo for 2 minutes (told you–WAY too much British telly). While I was still in the bathroom, I hear Tyler come up from his office and exclaim, “ARYA! Oh no! Arya–no baby! What did you—” Pure terror filled my soul, because my initial thought was that she had pooped everywhere again. Ary started crying and ran into the bathroom to find me, (have I mentioned that becoming a parent also means forfeiting all rights to privacy?) She was covered in chocolate cake crumbs. I was so relieved that it wasn’t poop that I started laughing hysterically to the point of crying. The cake design hadn’t been cooperating anyways, so I threw in the towel. Instead of stressing myself out trying to save it, the girls and I had cake for lunch. Sometimes you have to know when to call it quits.

Ary the Demolisher Strikes Again

Ary the Demolisher Strikes Again

The day of our anniversary we laid low and played outside with the kids. I refused to make dinner, so even though eating out with the kids is hectic and stressful, we took a chance and dined at Applebee’s. I know that God was intervening because they were little angels the whole time. I daresay that was the smoothest dining experience we’ve ever had with them. After dinner we headed over to the grocery store and all picked out our own candy. There was nothing good at Redbox, so we opted to watch Doctor Who together. I spread a blanket on the floor, we made popcorn, and had a picnic of treats in front of the TV. Was it the evening that I had been hoping for our 5 year anniversary? Not by a long shot. But I’ve learned awhile ago that life never goes the way we want it to. We have to make our plans with no expectations other than them getting completely scraped for something out of left field. And if our anniversary had to be crashed by anybody, there’s no one else I’d rather pick than our awesome kids.

The card I made for Tyler for our anniversary using the front of one of the many wedding programs we have left over

The card I made for Tyler for our anniversary using the front of one of the many wedding programs we have left over

My Braxton-Hicks have calmed down significantly this week, which I am very grateful for. I’ve been extraordinarily tired though, and nauseous almost every day. Thank God for Zofran!

 

Baby Stats:

-Baby is about 2 1/2 pounds and just over 15 inches, about the size of a butternut squash

-Muscles and lungs continue to mature

-The brain is still growing and is busy developing billions of neurons

-About 200 milligrams of calcium are being deposited into baby’s skeleton every day, helping the bones to harden

-Baby’s nutritional needs reach a peak during this trimester (bring it on, baby weight)