If you want them to work with you…

kids work

Work hard. Play hard.

It’s such a difficult balance to find.  Most people err on one side or the other.

This is one area Jeff and I struggle hard with. We are not ‘natural players’, we are doers. We are pretty boring and low maintenance kind of people.  So making ourselves play usually takes a lot of effort! 😉  It’s just how it is.

If we want our children to rise up to the task of working hard, to be faithful in their callings, then we have to do the same.  Not to become workaholics or to find no joy in our work, but to help them see our, and their,  purpose in life and pursue it with rigger!

But what child enjoys self-discipline and hard work if there is no reward and hard play in their day also?

If you want to win the heart of your child, don’t buy them shiny gadgets or plop then in front of the TV;  give them what they need – YOU.

Play with them something THEY enjoy.

Read WITH them.

Talk WITH them not at them.

Pray WITH them.

They need to know you WANT to be with them, you WANT to enjoy them.

When they know you love them for who they are and not for what they could be or should be, you will start to win their heart.

Parenting is tricky and often grueling. There is no fail-proof formula. All we can do is invest our best and trust God with the outcome.

So while we WORK at parenting, play along the way, enjoy them and yourself, remembering more it caught than taught.


“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.? J. Baldwin

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.?
― Benjamin Franklin

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, You have to be in their lives today.?  ― Barbara Johnson

“…the love, respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy.?  ― Louisa May Alcott


Bob Schultz  uses every day simple stories to bring forth some long needed truths to the areas of work. The author dispels many of today’s common thinking patterns concerning work, such as laziness, slothfulness, greediness and half-heartedness. Instead he motivates us to reach for the greater good of a job well done.


“Recognizing that God has called you to function as his agent defines your task as a parent. Our culture has reduced parenting to providing care. Parents often see the task in these narrow terms. The child must have food, clothes, a bed, and some quality time.

In sharp contrast to such a weak view, God has called you to a more profound task than being only a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).?  ― Tedd Tripp,  Shepherding a Child’s Heart



Free Baking School


free baking school

If you read this blog often you know we are building a bakery and catering business.  30 years ago I took one, six week class from Wilton. THAT was my springboard! I’ve made hundreds of cakes (for profit) since then! I have no formal training other than years of trail and error. There may be better ways to learn, but this has been my path.

It is possible to be self taught and not go to a culinary school. It may take a little longer and cost you in other ways than tuition, but if you are motivated you can learn most anything. That combined with the age we live in makes it easier than ever, you just need to want it! You can literally hold a classroom in your hand! There are no excuses for not learning.

Not only do we want to build a bakery/catering business for the sake of making money, but we want something for our kids and grand-kids. Not all of them will want to be a part when they are grown, AND THAT IS OK! but they will learn a lot as they grow up in it! And our ultimate goal is to claim the culture for Christ through every area of our life, including occupation/business.

Most baked goods can be made and sold from your home under your state’s Cottage Law, every state varies on this. Even something as high priced as a wedding cake can be turned out from your home kitchen.

If you, or if you  have any children that are interested in the culinary arts let them start with videos and then turn them loose in the kitchen! Some (many) things will turn out badly, but as they build skills and confidence you’ll be glad you let them explore! It wouldn’t hurt to let them buy a few of the ingredients so that they understand the cost of “education”!

So the free baking school? It’s all around you! 

I LOVE, love, LOVE YouTube!!! and Pinterest! and Instagram! I love going into other bakeries and see what they are doing, see what is selling, study their marketing.

The Internet is a goldmine! 

Several years ago when I wanted to learn how to make fondant I spent about 4 hours watching YouTube videos about it. From each person’s video I learned something different. Even after making a couple of batches I went and watched more to learn some more tricks I had missed.

If you want to learn about baking, Joy of Baking should be your first stop! She is extremely detailed in explaining every step of every recipe. Not only are there detailed videos for most of her recipes there are detailed instructions on each page of her website!  Now she is not real entertaining and has more of a serious demeanor, but she knows her stuff! If I am trying something new I go to her site first and then explore others.  Sometimes if I am ironing or something like that I will turn her YouTube channel on and watch one after another.

I use Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and organizing recipes.  I don’t trust all the recipes on Pinterest, I usually compare them to others first.

I recently discovered Save My Bakery on YouTube. It is a reality show and pretty good. It’s good to see what mistakes real bakeries make, many of them are two and three generation bakeries that are now failing.

Other Baking/Decorating Sites I like:

Gretchen’s Bakery (use to be Woodland Bakery) -She does a good job of explaining the details too.

Julia M Usher – My favorite for cookie decorating!

Montreal Confections 


Paula Deen – Whether you like her or not, her recipes are good.  Her videos move real fast and she is not detailed in the why and how, but her recipes never fail.

Other things to do:

  • Keep a good physical notebook or binder of tried and true recipes.  Don’t depend on internet files that can be lost. They are a good back up, but you still want a hard copy of everything.
  • Ask people around you to show you what they are good at.

Due to the break down of the family, and kids being away from home for most of their childhood sitting in a classroom, we rarely learn from our parents or grandparents any more. Sadly there are few family businesses to pass on a trade or even more important a strong work ethic.

Building a Family Economy – Selling Sweet/Cottage Food Laws


Catching up…Christmas 2015

As you can tell by the lack of blogging that life here is FULL!  I’ve even considered shutting this site down… but I just can’t.

The building of our bakery is coming along. I can honestly say I work harder now than I ever have! And it is a good work!


Everyone chipping in…


even the dog Duke!



Inspector Javi!


I can’t wait to share the fully operational bakery with you!


It’s challenging for Jeff to still work and for us to pump out the cakes…


PIES and cookies while in the construction mode. It even got to the point he had to stop his work to come in and help me.  🙂




Christmas Cookies Pigs

Christmas Cookies Snowman

gingerbread trains christmas


I taught several cookie decorating classes in December…


which was so much fun…


and rewarding!

I made over 1000 cookies in December!

Then the holidays happened…and it was time for family.


Papa and his Baby-Girl at the live Nativity.

christmas 2015 9

Some of the kids and grand-kids!


It’s a family tradition to go to the Christmas parade each year…


and this year was the first time for the grand-kids!



We celebrated Christmas Eve with all of the children and grandchildren here for supper.  Olivia and Emma took all the younger kiddos out for the day which left me all alone to do what I enjoy most, *making home*. I set the table nice, cooked all the food, listened to music, and when they came in, I was ready for them! 🙂


The day after Christmas Emma, Josh and their little family moved from across the road to 28 minutes south of here.


It’s a bitter-sweet thing. I miss seeing them every day, but am so very thankful that it’s ONLY 28 MINUTES from door to door and not hours or days away.


The Lord was so very, VERY gracious to allow us a slow letting go of Emma.  The blessing of having her close by as she started her married life and welcoming two babies so quickly was a gift I do not take for granted.

So you see dear friends, it’s hard to find time or even words to sit down and blog.  It’s not that I don’t have topics I want to share, but it’s about keeping the heavy end of the balance towards my family and business.  I hope I can share more this year as I adjust to this new season.

I hope you all made time to draw closer to the Lord during the remembrance of His birth… and now to look towards His Resurrection!

3 Reasons You Should NOT Adopt

Reasons not to adopt

This is National Adoption Month.  The purpose is to raise awareness of the orphans in the world. This is a good thing. We need to be aware of the needs around us. Although I will say for the Christian there should not need to be an awareness month, we should always be looking for ways to care for the least of these around us, the orphan, the widow and the stranger.

We are coming up on 4 years as an adoptive family. We have learned so much about our ugly selves and God’s grace. We’ve also seen and talked with a lot of adoptive families.  By no means do I think everyone should adopt.  IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but I do think more people should consider it than do. American Christians are way too comfortable, and that is sad for them, the orphan and the Kingdom.

I can give you dozens of reason to adopt (I love adoption and would love to do it again!!!), but today I want to talk about why not to.  The following are a few observations from the last few years as to why not to adopt, and a few things we’ve learned first hand.

Why Many Do Adopt

  • Because we want a baby.

Most of us desire to have children, it is part of our design from our Creator. For whatever reason many of us can not bare children.  So we look at other options to make it happen, adoption being one of them.

  • Because we want to rescue a child.

The desire to do good in the world is also a part of our design from our Creator. We may see this as caring for the least of these as Scripture commands. Our “good works” can be that of rescuing a child.

  • Because other people doing it.

We may see families around us adopting and think we should too.  We may even see adoptive families on social media showing how wonderful their life is because of adoption and think that is for us too.

The same reasons to not adopt are the same

reasons not to birth children.

Children are not our accessory.

Why Not to Adopt


Notice the above reasons. They are good reasons, but they can also be very selfish reasons without us realizing it.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

1.Wanting a baby to complete our family is never a good reason to adopt a baby.  We are complete in Christ alone. Children or no children our family can be complete as long as we are doing what He has called us to.  Adopting or birthing a baby/child to make us complete is selfish.

I am 50 and the mother of 8 children (1 step, 4 birthed (1 who is in heaven) and 3 adopted), and I still have a desire for more children. I think that desire is just a part of me and may be fulfilled through grandchildren and spiritual children, all who are equally as important.

2. Rescuing a child is a noble thing to do, but we are not the One who rescues. When we approach adoption with the mindset that we are rescuing them it is easy to fall into the trap that they own us something, especially gratitude. Resentment can easily sneak in when we don’t start with pure motives. Most adoptive children will struggle, some more than others no matter what we do.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.  James 3:16

 3. Unspoken pressure to adopt  can happen when we see other families adopting and we begin to feel like we are not doing enough. Families that adopt often congregate together, which can make those that don’t adopt feel like they are slacking. Nothing can be further from the truth. There are many ways to care for the least of these – young and elderly. It can be a listening ear, occasional anonymous financial gifts, dental bills, music lessons, PRAYER , words of encouragement and so on.   We all fit into the commission of loving our neighbor in different ways.

If You are Going to Adopt

Pray and ask God to search your heart. Is it truly what God is calling YOU to?  And I hope it is!!! Are you willing to do this even if the child resents you and is ungrateful? Even birthed children fall into this.  Are you willing to give your last dollar and every spare moment without resentment?

Never, ever adopt unless you and your spouse are 100% on the same page.  Adoption can be very stressful on a marriage and if your spouse is going along with it just to make you happy you –  will have some major issues down the road. You BOTH have to want it with pure motives.

Educate yourself! Read books about attachment. Talk with people who have adopted. Get the raw truth so you will be equipped for the child’s sake but more so for your sake.  It’s a tough road but it can be a glorious one!

Surround yourself with support!  Be sure to have people close enough to you who will understand and be a sounding board for you. You WILL NEED advice and listening ears.

It is also helpful for your children to be around other children who were adopted. They NEED to know adoption is a gift of God and that they were not cast off and abandoned because they were not good enough.

God can and often grows our selfish motives into pure motives.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that God was not only using the adoption of our 3 youngest to make their life better but to SANCTIFY US! He is constantly purging selfishness from us. I tell people that God used these kids to rescue us, not us them!

Adopted for Life

The Connected Child 

24/7 In Your Face Stuff


It’s hard to remember life before they came.  The bonding continues as our love for them and their love and TRUST for us grows.  Olivia took this picture Sunday at church. It has to be one of my all time favorites!


Emma took her babies and my 3 shopping.


Then Olivia ad Emma took all the children to the beach for a few days! It was the first time Jeff and I were aloe for a weekend in 4-5 years!

When you have older children that also understand the gift and responsibility of raising a family it is a double blessing! We are our village! 😉



As for us, I can not imagine our family without our 3 youngest.


I can’t believe God chose US for them!

Cherish Needs Help!

There is something especially beautiful about a girl who was once orphaned wanting to reach out to other orphans. This is the grace of God.


Cherish, with Olivia’s guidance (and driver’s licence), have taken on a special Christmas project to help meet some needs of  some refugee children.

If you are local you can bring your items to us or the church by Nov.15th.

If you’d like to donate funds and we can pack a box for you, you can do it through Cherish’s website.

This is a tangible way to bring some help and hope to refugee Yazidi children displaced by ISIS who currently live in tents in very cramped conditions. Many have become orphans. Food is a constant worry in the camp. Our prayer is that these small gifts will bring joy and hope in the midst of their desperate situation.

Tell your friends and follow the progress on Facebook.




You can read details about these people and how to help them here.

Who are the Yazidis and why is Isis hunting them?

The Baker’s Daughter – Positively-Not-Shut

It’s about the time you see Interstate 65 through your positively-not-shut van hatch that you realize the plan is crazy.

Ill thought out.

Poorly conceived.

It’s the disturbing mix of imagination and the whoosh of passing traffic that confirms it all though.

I have a thing about Craigslist, I’m a little addicted, the rush of the negotiation, the high of the find. Sure, I could end up with a stalking psychopath who eventually kills me, but I could also get a chromed out toaster. Really, it could go either way. I try to keep it local but I almost always end up browsing the “view local results” which, might I point out are not local and should be listed as “potential road trip results”.

So, we’re at the phase  (bakery building wise) where I can start Craigslist-ing for cool appliances  I mean very important pieces of machinery with which to run our very professional bakery. So last weeks search was for a shower stall with a pan that can serve as a “mop sink” or a regular shower. Those run retail for between $300 & $600.

But whatever, I found a 6.5′ x 4.5′ x 4′ shower, with everything attached, for only $150.

$150 bucks. Clams. Smakers. Dollaaaaas. Green Backs.

Dad, who I usually enlist for my Craiglist adventures, was busy. Anderson (brother-in-law) my back up bodyguard, I mean armed escort,  I mean treasure hunter (well, that’s emasculation at it’s finest) was tied up.

Turns out the only  available buddy was Cherbug. The 10 year old. Awesome right? We took the swagger wagon because the Man insisted the shower would fit, he took out all the back seats except one because he was certain the shower would fit. We loaded our snacks, filled out water bottles and set out like pirates to find the loot.

I love a good road trip as much as the next guy. But I also love sight seeing. Turns out you can’t do both. We had to turn around. A lot. We drove about two hours and ended up in a shady-ish looking neighborhood- in the middle of nowhere, Fearless Cherish riding shotgun and mentally rewriting her will in her head.

When we finally found the house, which turned out to be not so shady, they were in the middle of a surprise birthday party. Awkward, right? “Oh happy birthday! I’m just gonna grab this shower over here… is that cake?!” Meanwhile your co pilot, your cohort, your back up… she locks the van doors! With you on the outside!

The real awkward part? It didn’t even kinda fit all the way in the van. We got a solid 2/3’s of it in and the man was like, nope, not gonna happen. He was tall. And looked Swedish. He used some rope and tied what looked like a legit knot, but I’m no boyscout. I’m a skeptic. An optimistic skeptic. That translates into “That looks shady and we’re probably gonna die, but maybe not.”

The first ten minutes of interstate were the worst. So bad we stopped for stress sundaes and hash browns. Because this is America and evidently you can have both of those things at the same time, no more waiting till the morning for heart attack inducing deliciousness. Win.

After a 3 hour ride home, (because you have to drive slow when there’s a 1/3 of a shower stall hanging out your swagger wagon) we made it. The Bakers Daughter(s) will live to Craigslist another day.



Everyone doing their part, even Baby-girl.



Three compartment sink, another Craig’s list find!



It’s a slow process, mainly because the Man has to work during the day to keep food on the table, but we’re getting there.

Meanwhile the Baker is knocking herself out. Last weekend’s weddings:

Naked Cake and Fire Truck Cake

Until next time, stay calm and eat cake,

The Bakers Daughter



Written by Olivia Brodock, author of No More Wasted Years, devoted daughter, sarcastic sister, crazy aunt, master chef and marketing consultant.




Fire Truck Groom’s Cake and Wedding Cakes

This past weekend I had 3 cakes to do, 2 bridal cakes and a groom’s cake.

naked cake

This is another ‘naked cake’ which is all the rage these days!

This was a vanilla cake with buttercream icing serving 300.


This was a chocolate and vanilla brides cake with buttercream icing decorated with in a rustic theme of laced burlap.


The groom who is a fireman with my husband, requested a fire truck cake.


It was a chocolate cake with fondant icing.

Don’t you just love the toppers she chose?

Pumpkins, Paninis and Pains

So with my first batch of kids we never did Halloween, (and we still don’t) but now that I have matured a little and have another batch of kids…


and GRANDCHILDREN, I realize some things are not worth stressing over.


I LOVED carving pumpkins as a kid so I thought I’d host a ‘fun’ evening for the kids, BIG and small, to carve pumpkins.


That’s when my 24 year old informed me how excited she was because she had never carved a pumpkin… hahahaaa… guess she’s right!


Anyway! The little kids all thought it was GROSS,



except for the 10 year old boy who loved the gooey-ness!


Daughter-in-law Jessica was there for the chili… which I didn’t make. 😉 But she was doing her Mommy Duty with the gooey-ness. She’s a good one!!!





The big kids loved it…


and son-in-law Josh cheated using power tools!


PaPa kept the two little pumpkins safe. 😉


Olivia won for creativity!


A jar with fireflies!

We followed with panini sandwiches and popcorn and the end of another weekend!

I hope they took away a couple good memories, because behind the scenes of the “happy family” there are struggles (many are mine), personality conflicts, child training issues at every age level, unmet expectations, misunderstandings, marriage struggles, pride, selfishness and just a general lack of love sometimeswhich are called growing pains. And the more people you have the more pains you can have. 😉  A little humor there!

Growing with the pains, in a spirit of love and unity, is what makes a family. No one has it all together. We are a fallen people who by God’s grace will be stronger as time passes on.  And through these growing pains I want to work hard at making opportunities for growth and good times.

It’s easy to run away, easy to avoid getting together, easy to be family in name only; but the struggles and the work of relationships are what binds the hearts.

The pictures are nice, but I am much more concerned about the relationships behind them. And the ONLY way to have peace with each other is to walk with the Prince of Peace!

The Lord is good, all the time.

A Peaceful Home – Free Instant Videos

peaceful home

The truth is a peaceful home is constant work. We need consistency, self-control, a solid sense of purpose and love. We also need many practical skills to accomplish what we were designed to do.

The home is the primary, most important and most active mission base in any culture.  It is a constant work to manage it well. We all need encouragement and instruction on a regular basis to help us keep our focus, because our family worth it.

I know I need to hear the same things over and over to remind me to stay the course.  I need to surround myself with teachings and people to help me keep my eyes on the finish line and not get overwhelmed with all the hurdles along the way.

This week I came across this teaching from Elizabeth Elliot and what an encouragement it has been. Although the video is  is ‘dated’ the truths are timeless.  I listened to it while I worked in the kitchen and it encouraged me to find more delight in my duties!


Christian Home


Close up on a Lamp and the Coush in a House

Smack Down with Martha – End of Summer 2015

smack down martha

At least 3 times a week I say to myself, “I really want to blog about this!” Not because I think I am an expert on anything, but because there are some things I think are important, or I just get excited about! 🙂

But by the end of the day, when my main priorities are done, you know, housework,


meals (This is actually Olivia cooking with the kids 🙂 ),


time with the grandchildren,

and then working on orders

and building the business (Trussville Bridal Show)

and building our commercial kitchen,

I will sit down to type out a post and my eyes get so heavy I have to go to bed. 😀

Yesterday, I awoke to a long list of to-dos. Then late morning Emma (married daughter with the two grand-babies) called and said she was heading to the splash pad and wanted us to meet her there.  I had to beat down the Martha in me to go and enjoy the blessings God has given me.

The splash pad was closed but they have a really cool (COLD) creek and the kids love that just as much!  There is also a really nice fishing pond that Javi (18 months now) and I took a nice, slow stroll around just the two of us, holding hands her chatting up a storm.

It was so peaceful and every time Martha whispered that to-do list in my ear I had to push her down and just enjoy the moment… and NOT feel guilty about it.  I won’t remember what  didn’t get done today, but I will never forget this quiet afternoon watching my hopes and dreams play before my eyes!

It’s been a very busy and HOT summer. Starting construction on our catering kitchen/bakery.

Aaron has expanded his rabbit farm by buying some more does and bucks. We should have 3 litters of kits next week.  He and Jeff harvested their first one this week.

Which means I made Rabbit Soup for my first time. I need to find some good recipes.

We did attend two Defund Planned Parenthood rallies.

This has to be one of the most important issues we face today.

And let us think about HOW we got here.

HOW the family has broken down

and it is acceptable for mothers to kill their own babies.

We have work to do.

And the biggest and HARDEST part of our work is to live faithfully.

To seek first His Kingdom, His way.

We need to redeem the family, multi-generationally, for the glory of God…

imperfectly, by God’s grace, begging for a heart of wisdom!

Personally, I need to remember to stop

and embrace the little things

that are really the BIG things,

proclaiming the mercy of God.

Making time for tea parties for two,

or slushies for three!

Be quiet Martha, I have some more important things to do today. I’ll meet you in the laundry-room later,

for now, I’ll count my blessings!