Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Young Entrepreneur Fair

Gizmo and Spike recently had an opportunity to participate in a young entrepreneur fair held in our area. They had to choose what their "store" would sell, figure out the profit and pricing, produce the item, and then set up a stand to sell their wares at the gymnasium where the even took place. Me and Brady felt that it was very important that the kids paid for all their materials and ingredients, and subsequently keep all the money they might make,  so that they would better grasp the risks and benefits of starting a business.

Gizmo made a variety of cute soaps, and even some tub crayons, while Spike had some gluten and dairy free baked goods. We worked on figuring out how much each item cost them to produce, and then decided on what would be a good price to sell it for. Although I knew it was a great opportunity even if they didn't earn any money, I was pretty nervous that it would be a sad drive home. However, they both made a profit!They both learned a lot about what worked and what did not, and since the mom who organized the event would like to make it a bi-yearly thing, they will hopefully be able to test out those lessons sometime in the late fall.

To explain the method of figuring out how much the items cost them to make, I first started by just showing them the series of math problems needed on a piece of scratch paper. It quickly became apparent that it was not making clear sense to them. I think that having a very visual way of laying something out often makes things easier to understand, so I made a couple of worksheets for them.

The first is a graph used to find out cost of materials in the amounts used, such as how much is an ounce of flour or soap base.
Cost of Materials

The second is the process of adding up all the costs involved, dividing by the amount produced, and then figuring out how much profit will be made.
Cost per Item

Hopefully they can help someone else out as well. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cake Friday

I thought seriously about not making cake today. I mean, I just made a cake on Tuesday for Valentine's Day. A household can have too much cake after all. Add to that the fact that I am going a little bonkers trying to get the big kids ready for the Young Entrepreneur Fair that they will be participating in tomorrow. But then Spike asked me what kind I would be making, and when I hemmed and hawed about not making one at all, he said, "But, it's Cake Friday." "Yeah, Cake Friday," Princess piped in. So.....I gave in. I did make it easy though and just made some rum cakes. I made mini cakes so that the kid version did not have a rum glaze, but the parent version did. They were very well received and the first batch of 12 disappeared in a matter of minutes. I may put the recipe on here if there is any interest, but as for now I am stinkin' tired and just want to snuggle up next to my hubby and watch something on Netflix. Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Today has been not quite an ideal Valentine's Day. Squirt has been a raging maniac, the big kids have a case of the lazies, and I won't even see my sweetheart until it is dark outside. Since I consider the holiday to be mostly ridiculous though, I suppose I doesn't matter. I did make a cake, however, because for some reason I feel inclined to at least celebrate a little. After all, I have one big Valentine and four little ones. :)

Hope you are having a fantastic day with plenty of love in your life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Very Late Stuff

Blogging has taken a back burner for a while now, although that is bound to happen from time to time. I thought tonight would be a good night to catch up a little and post some pictures from Spike's birthday (which was all the way before Christmas, so therefore very late). It was pretty low-key, as per his instructions. We invited family over, ate pizza and cake, and just had fun.

He got plenty of awesome presents.

 See how cute his cake is? This was completely his idea. He helped me with the baking and icing, but the decorating was all his doing. The "coal" is fondant balls that he painted with black food coloring. They looked really neat.
 He blew them all out in one breath!
 It worked out really nice that my brother, his wife, and their three cute kiddos had just arrived in town to stay for the holidays. Spike was happy to have his cousin Lincoln there for his birthday. In case you are wondering about the pink leggings, that is Princess attempting a photobomb.
 Spike did not find her attempts as amusing as she did. Haha...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cake Friday

 Perhaps it is the yearning for warmer weather, but I have had coconut on the brain this week. Our cruise is quickly approaching, but for the time being, I will have to settle for pictures of tropical beaches and coconut cake. I guess that is alright.

I used this recipe from Gluten Free Goddess for this cake. It is a bit different than many cake recipes; there is no need to whip the (vegan or otherwise) butter and sugar first, and the batter is so thick that it requires you to pat it down into the pan to get it flat. But for all the weirdness of preparation, the cake turned out quite nicely. The only change I made was adding a small amount of coconut extract to the cake batter instead of vanilla. My kids kept telling me how good it smelled while it was baking. It does not have a strong coconut flavor, but Brady said that it was just perfect.

The frosting is pretty nice too. It is also from Gluten Free Goddess. My only change to that is that I would probably make 1 1/2 batches of it next time since there was just barely not enough to get the piping done around the bottom of the cake. 

I bought the pretty organic coconut flakes from the health food store, poured them into a glass pie pan, and popped them into the oven at 400 degrees to toast them. I believe it took about 13 minutes, but I could be off since I was not really paying attention. I did make sure to check them every four minutes or so, and give them a little stir. When you can smell them, they are probably done.