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    Seven Quick Takes: Survey Stuff, Bullet Journal, Cake, and More!

    January 9, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes


    :: 1 ::

    Today is the last day to take my survey, if you haven’t already. Please do! Not only are you entered to win an out-of-print AO title, but you are helping me out.


    :: 2 ::

    Speaking of the survey, some of you are begging me to bring back the old format of full posts on the main page. I explained this on Facebook, and thought I’d paste that explanation here, for those of you who missed it:



    :: 3 ::

    Exhibit A

    I’m starting a bullet journal to manage this blog. During this crazy move to WordPress, I was doing what I always do in a major project: writing lists all over the place and promptly losing them.

    I don’t think I would want to use a bullet journal for my whole life. I have a simple daily planner that I love, and this year I made sure I bought one big enough to keep all my daily task lists right inside the spot for the day I need do them on. This means I’m losing fewer lists while still enjoying the pre-printed nature of the calendar.

    But my blog’s organization has been unwieldy before, and this is how I’m reigning it back in. I’m hemorrhaging time through my disorganization and we’re supposed to be back at lessons next week, meaning I won’t have the time if I lose it all in mismanagement.

    Anyhow, my real purpose was to brag about the pretty Moleskin journal {see Exhibit A} I bought for this purpose. I’m in love.


    :: 4 ::

    Announcing a major announcement on Tuesday! How’s that for a teaser? I’m announcing an announcement!


    I’ve got a new project in the works and I plan to be ready to tell you all about it next week on Tuesday.

    As long as I don’t lose my list. 😉


    :: 5 ::

    How was your Christmas? My husband’s twin brought his whole family {wife + 4 daughters ages 7 all the way down to 9 months} as planned, and it was glorious. Truly. I was convinced beforehand that it would be fun, and it totally met my expectations. We even threw in an unplanned trip to Pismo Beach to see the wintering monarch butterflies and eat the best fish and chips in the world.

    Five of our girls {all but the baby} enjoyed sharing a room for a week. A-Age-Nine {a born introvert, if there ever was one} informed me that this was not as bad as she thought it would be. O-Age-Six showed that it really is damaging to be the family baby. Apparently, he’s never really had to share with someone younger than him. But other than that, the children got along swimmingly.

    We were sad to see them go.


    :: 6 ::

    Q-Age-Seven became Q-Age-Eight on New Year’s Eve. I’m trying not to write one of my weepy, sentimental birthday posts, but seriously, how is my littlest girl eight? It’s a bit hard to fathom. All these children growing up all over the place. It’s enough to overwhelm, if I think about it too much.

    Anyhow, Daughter Q. and I did our traditional Pinterest hunt for cake ideas. As usual, I had to explain that I don’t know how to work with fondant. It’s a Thing right now, I’ve noticed. Anyhow, she fell in loved with a christening cake. I tried to explain what the cake was really for, but she didn’t care. She wanted a beautiful Cross on her cake, yes she did.

    And so she had one:


    Cross Cake


    To make the white space, I simply made a cross in Microsoft Word that was the size I wanted, printed it on cardstock, and cut it out. I put it gently on the frosting and did all the sprinkles around it and then tried my best to take it off without messing anything up. I’ve never done a negative-space style before, so the fact that only a few sprinkles got into the space is something I consider a victory.


    :: 7 ::

    In my gift guide, I mentioned that sometimes, it is good to give a classical, CM mom an experienceI called it Mother Play. My husband took me at my word. He had talked about getting me a gift that was more expensive than usual, and even explained that if he bought it, it’d be my only gift.

    Except for the obligatory socks-in-my-stocking, of course.

    I encouraged him out of curiosity. Now, all I can say is WOW. I’m going to see Shen Yun!!

    Here’s a preview:



    5000 years of Chinese history and culture in one night? Yes, please.


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  • Reply Herbwifemama March 12, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Look on Pinterest for moldable (or sculptable? I can’t remember) buttercream. IME, it works/looks like fondant, but is easier to work with.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 12, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Oooh! Thanks! I have never heard of that before. 🙂

  • Reply Kortney January 10, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Thanks so much, Brandy!

  • Reply Celeste January 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Oh, by the way, I used to be subscribed to your comments feed on the old blog, but I’m not getting updates on that feed anymore, and I don’t see any link for it on the new blog…is that not possible anymore?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      I am sorry to say that I don’t think WP has a comments feed. At least, I don’t see one. 🙁 The only thing is to subscribe to each post’s comments when you comment, which I know is not at all the same thing. I’m sorry!

      • Reply Celeste January 10, 2015 at 9:14 am

        No problem, I figured as much! I suppose I will have to (gasp) click over! Oh, first world problems. 😉

  • Reply Celeste January 9, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Okay, now you have me dying to know what your big project is!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      He he he. When I wrote that, I only had one big thing for Tuesday, but now I have another big thing on Thursday, and I’m going to link it to your Keeping series. How is that for mysterious? It’s pretty exciting. 🙂

      • Reply Dawn Duran January 10, 2015 at 1:46 am

        Slowly. Dying. Here…

      • Reply Celeste January 10, 2015 at 9:17 am

        Are you seriously mentioning this on Saturday, three whole days from Tuesday?! Dying here too…

      • Reply Brandy Vencel January 10, 2015 at 11:25 am

        :::evil laugh:::

  • Reply Kortney January 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I’d love to see + hear more of the planning journal…right up my alley! And I might need to talk blog designers with you. I’m getting a new theme, and I think I’ll be facing the same problem with truncated posts on the front page. I am not a fan!

    Peace keep you.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      I would love to give you the name of the gal who tweaked my theme for me if you end up needing it! 🙂

      I’ll try to share a photo of my planning journal eventually, when it has a little more content in it.

  • Reply becky January 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    When you are ready to fool with fondant, google how to make marshmallow fondant. It’s lovely to work with, and if it gets to stiff, pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds. But buttercream still tastes better, IMO.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Ooh! Thank you for the tip!

  • Reply Kelly January 9, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Also this is sort of off-topic, but it’s related to your blog move. I’m still getting your blog through Feedly, but I’m wondering whether that’s a temporary redirect, or something, and whether I ought to re-subscribe using your new address. Do you happen to know how that works?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      I believe that, technically, there is a new one. I think if you search in Feedly, you can see if anything other than the one you currently have is out there. That is something I have to figure out!

      • Reply Kelly January 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm

        You can subscribe by using your new address and it’s definitely a different feed — the old feed had 200+ readers, the new one 40+, and whenever you post I get two posts at once — one from the old and one from the new. I’m trying to decide which one I should eliminate.

        *stopping to check something*

        Aha! I had assumed that the new feed wouldn’t have as much history as the old one does, but they both go back about 2 years, so now I know I can delete the old one and I won’t be [potentially] missing anything.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 6:58 pm

          I’m glad to hear they are both working! At one point, NEITHER were working. This is an improvement. 🙂

  • Reply Kelly January 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

    That gift — WOW is right! Or maybe, That’s FANTASTIC! Can’t wait to hear your report on it.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      I wish they would allow photos so I could share, but he was specifically told no photography. I’ll still report back. 🙂

      • Reply Kelly January 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        Yes, definitely no photos! Last month my violin daughter was playing in the pit orchestra for a local performance of Annie and the ushers had to tell someone to stop recording it — they could lose their contract with the copyright owners at best, be sued and lose their company and property at worst.

  • Reply Dawn Duran January 9, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Sigh. (re:take 4). Really, Brandy? You know what this does to me, right? Sigh.

    I’ve been meaning to write that I used your link to buy myself an SBOOM mini for Christmas and it. Is. AWESOME. My husband was quite envious and eyed it for days. I just may have to get him one…or two…he’s kind of fascinated with the idea that they can be connected and used more than one at a time….

    And – that Ultimate Guide looks much more glamorous than the last time I visited!! I have a birthday in December, so I think I’ll be visiting it again soon…..(yes. I buy for myself. Unapologetically).

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      He he. You know I like to torture you, right?

      I am so glad you are enjoying the speaker! I’ve had mine for 9 months now and still use it almost every day. It is still great. 🙂

      • Reply Dawn Duran January 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm

        I figured as much. In fact, I have noticed a pattern of you making these announcements when I have been scarce on the comments here at Afterthoughts. I see it as a plea for me to post, and I happily oblige.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

          It WORKS, Dawn. That’s all I’m saying. 😉

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