Friday, April 27, 2012

Wiltons Courses 2 and 3

Here are my final cake projects from Wilton's courses 2 and 3. They are both lemon pound cake. The first is covered with basket weave in buttercream icing with fondant flowers on the top. The second is covered and decorated with fondant. We also learned to do a lot of royal icing flowers, so pictures of those are at the bottom. Hello new job! No, literally - I might start teaching these classes starting in August. How exciting!?!?!

Roses, rosebuds, primroses, daffodils, violets, and little white flowers. Royal icing is like sugar candy that sits up nice and hard. You know those "Happy Birthday" letters you can buy at the store and put on your cake? Those are made with royal icing. Mine are prettier though :)

I so enjoy baking and decorating! If you live in the Southwest Virginia area and need a cake for an event shoot me a line!

I linked this post to a party at
 Days of Chalk and Chocolate

Monday, April 9, 2012

What to Name It

So, I know I'm small-time. In fact, I'm practically no-time. I'm talking about cakes. I want to do cakes as a hobby - I'd love to be able to stop working 7 days a week and just do my own thing out of my home. I am starting small - Craigslist and word-of-mouth for now, inexpensive without making myself look cheap (because I do think I have some talent), and generally not expecting much yet.

With that said, I want to think of a name for this "cake business" that I am trying to have. I feel like if I have a name, then people would be more likely to reference me when talking to other people. Maybe I could even make business cards..."oooh"

I'm having trouble coming up with something. I want it to reflect the fact that I teach and I do cakes. It doesn't have to. Do you have any ideas for me?

So far we've thought of:

BCBCakes (brynn cody bakes cakes hahaha)
Cody's Cakes

What do you think?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Dinner

I hope everyone was able to enjoy Easter with some loved ones: family, friends, pets, or even a beloved TV show. I got a little bit of everything. Well, except pets - I don't have one of those right now.

Of course I had to work today. But before I left, I put the lamb in the crock pot. See, my family always had ham on Easter but L is not a real big fan. It's also fun to start our own traditions and you can't get much more traditional than lamb on Easter. (Notice I used the word 'than' because it was a comparative statement. I hate when people use 'then' when 'than' is called for.) So I assumed I would use garlic and rosemary on my crock pot lamb before I made it. I've never cooked lamb before, nor have I used rosemary, yet somehow I knew those would be my seasonings. When I got home from work last night to find a recipe, that of course was the first one I found.

Work was good today. I was there for almost 7 hours but I didn't really do 7 hours worth of work. That made it okay. I came home and finished cooking. I also showered because I was greasy from all of the icing I used. At work. Where I decorate cakes. Yes, I'm also a teacher. I know, I have too many hobbies but I love them all!

Okay so back to the food: I made mashed bourbon sweet potatoes, corn casserole, and a red wine reduction and lemon basmati rice to go with the lamb. I linked all the recipes separately, but I can't say I really followed them. I just used them all as a guide and went with it. I also made crescent rolls. I was going to make fresh biscuits but I've never made those before, either, and decided it was too much work to go through at that time. It was a good decision. L made the green beans. He soaked 'em, cut 'em and put 'em in the pot.

Delicioso. It's not really the most artistic picture, but believe me it tasted good. So good I had a (small) plate of seconds. Yumm!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Non-Linear Thinkers in a Linear World

I'm going to re-write the lyrics to Madonna's Material Girl: "We are living in a linear world - but I am not a linear girl!" It makes sense in my head. That's all that matters and is a perfect example of where this piece is coming from.

I was reading an article (and I really wish I could find it again to reference it - I promise to update this if I do find it) that was talking about assessments and classroom procedures for non-linear thinkers. In a day that it seems common sense is out the window, students can't think for themselves and we have an awful time figuring out what we are trying to say, it is just amazing to me that technology has advanced as far as it has.

Math itself is very linear. At least, the traditional notion of math makes it linear. Computers, codes, everything we have is built from that linear aspect. In fact, most of it involves LINEAR ALGEBRA, a class I took twice in college (as an intro course and an advanced course, not because I failed it). Matrices, patterns, kernals - I barely remember what those are. Maybe I should have passed. I knew what they were then so that counts for something. I also know it has something to do with an identity. But all of this is neither here nor there.

 I know how the NL thinkers work and I know how frustrating it is to not be able to share your thought process. I, Brynn Cody, am a non-linear thinker. I switch between conversations as if you could hear what I was saying in my head, so it would make sense for me to follow up out loud. Today L and I were in the car talking about the Micheal's cake course I'm taking, but we pulled up to the light near the gym as conversation lagged. I started thinking about how I am sad I didn't sign up for the last round of classes. He asked me when I was going to find out about the next classes and I told him I had a gym date later this week. He was still talking about the cake classes - he didn't switch just because I looked at the gym. And that doesn't totally make sense to me. Isn't it obvious that we should talk about the gym simply because we are in front of it?

So I wonder, how can we take our non-linear thinkers and prepare them for a linear world? I think the answer is tons of practicing and a handful of scaffolding. We need to practice circumventing the traditional processes to let our children discover algorithms on their own. We have to help them verbalize their thoughts so they can find patterns in what they're already doing.

THIS CAN HAPPEN IN ANY CLASSROOM. I'm not just talking about student-led activities and open discover classes where they create every math rule, or science definition, or whatever! Even during traditional lectures, you can be there to support the non-linear thinkers. I let a lot of students explain what they are thinking and find ways to connect it to where we are going. For example, take the problem I gave my students as a warm-up one day: You are saving up to buy a new flat screen. You have saved $35 so far and plan to save $10 a week until you have enough money. The TV you want is $456. How many weeks would you have to save before you can get the TV?

My clearly linear thinkers went to 10x+35=456 and solved for x. Okay, good, they get the concept of writing equations.

Some, let's say parabolic thinkers did 10(40)=400+35=435+10(2) so it was 42 weeks. Apparently they know some stores where $455 is enough to buy a TV that costs $456. Of course they also came up with answers like "you can borrow a dollar from a friend" or "you can get it on sale." Touche, you outsmarted me. Why didn't I think of that?

Of course, some students gave up because they started 35+10=45+10=55+10=65.... and decided it was going to take too long.

Then there's my non-linear thinkers. The ones who worked backwards and said they needed $456 but already had $35 so they only really needed $421. Then they saved $10 per week so they divided by 10 and came up with 42.1 weeks. Of course, they didn't say it so clearly because that is too linear. But they did DO it, I just had to pull the word-part out of them. So in this particular problem, I compared what they did to how the linear kids would solve their equation. Was it bad that they couldn't come up with a formula for it? Are the other kids smarter? Of course not! They just thought about it in a different way. We talked about this problem for a lot longer than I had meant to, but I was happy we could. We also got to compare the repeated addition of 10s to the multiplication some others did. All-in-all, it was a really valid conversation that all of the kids could benefit from.

We help the non-linear thinkers by encouraging them. Most teachers probably tell them they are wrong, they need to do better, or they need to do it 'this way.' We need to be the types of adults - not just as teachers but as leaders of this world - who are patient with kids, let them work through the frustrations and confusion, and watch for the final product to be created. Besides, there will always be linear thinkers out there. But without the dreamers, where would we be?

Wilton's Course 1, Final Class

I realized I never posted my final cake project on here. Remember, I already knew how to do a lot of the stuff we were learning so I tried to use my time wisely and practice additional skills. We were learning ribbon roses - well I already do the Wilton rose so it wasn't that hard. Instead I taught myself how to do a multicolored rose. Then I showed the instructor another way to do a bottom border, similar to what we do at the store. I know it's not Wednesday, and it's certainly not LAST Wednesday which is when I actually brought this cake to school, but I still thought I'd share.

So the end of the class came and we were talking about courses 2 and 3, which most people signed up for. I was only going to be able to afford one, but when I went to pay, they were having a BOGO sale! AND ( I know, you're thinking "this can get better?!) on top of that, the one course I wanted was already half off so I got both courses for the price of half of one!! I'm really excited about that. So this month I will be learning gumpaste, fondant, and new flowers. I'm excited!!