Happy Mother’s Day: My Motherhood

Hi Sweet Friends!

Today, I’m getting a little more personal and sharing with you my story of motherhood and who inspires me to be the best mom I can be. With Mother’s Day just around the corner and of course, my being “The Cake Mama”, I thought it was fitting! Of all of the many hats I wear, (and we ALL know there are many!) nothing can top the joy of being a mother.

Grab your coffee, this one’s a long one!

I became a mother when I was 24 years old, to my sweet girl Emma.


I was the first person in my entire group of friends, and, family for that matter, who had a baby. My husband and I didn’t quite have the most “conventional” marriage: we got pregnant before we were married, and only just a year after we started dating. Looking back, we were totally immature and unprepared for what parenthood would bring.

Many things faltered, many things failed but every moment was a learning experience. We grew up A LOT, my husband and I. I was excited to become a mother but boy, was it ever a REAL learning curve.

Still, the joys of becoming a mom far trumped the struggles. All the milestones our daughter would hit, all the memories we created and who I grew to become are things I treasure so much. We grew up, but in a good way: deciding who and what was important to us helped shape us as a family.

Fast forward 3 years later, we welcomed our second daughter, Olivia.


She was -and still is, such a character! When she was born we didn’t know what to expect as she was completely different than her older sister in terms of routines and demeanor. Maybe though, it was because I had a little more experience under my belt that things just seemed a bit easier.

Becoming a mother to 2 girls meant that life became busier than it already was. I started baking on the side when I was on maternity leave with Emma. I continued to do it here and there and before I knew it, I was baking a wedding cake for a client 2 months after I had Olivia. But despite the craziness, I loved watching Emma interact with her new sister; learning ways to entertain such a little person and longing for the day she became big enough to be a real playmate.

It was in those moments that I would stop and smile and my heart would feel like it was going to burst.

As our girls were growing up, we waffled on the idea of bringing another baby into our family. Would it disrupt the beautiful rhythm we were already in? Would life be that much more difficult “starting over” again now that our two girls were of school age? What would people say?! LOL. All of these questions were swirling in my head…but I guess you guys all know what we ended up doing!!

We welcomed a baby BOY (!) into our family at the end of 2015.

If I thought motherhood was difficult before, NOTHING would have prepared me for what was to come having a son. Everything was different. Everything I once knew as a mother went out the window. This guy had his own agenda and we were ALL struggling to keep up.

Now that he’s almost a year and a half, I still feel like I don’t have it all under wraps BUT what he has taught me about myself is that as a mother, you continuously have to grow, adapt and accept things that you may necessarily not want to. That motherhood will also always take you back to that place of joy, even when there are moments where everything feels like it’s falling apart. Everything that we do, we do for our children and in return, our children teach us what kind of person we want to be.


I want to take a moment and share who inspires me as a mother. The first, is my mama!


I think it’s safe to say that I get my need to keep busy from her. Keeping the house clean and organized, having a home-cooked meal done everyday all while working full time, -she was always the mom in the background hustling. While I can’t say that I have it all together like she does, she definitely inspires me to want to take the time to provide for my family the way that she did.

The next is my darling sister Anna.

Even though I became a mother before she did (LOL) and she’s my older sister, (sorry sis, I keep getting mixed up as the older one and I’m setting the record straight!!) she inspires me to keep moving even though my life is so busy. Maybe without her knowing it, she inspires me to be my best self. She taught me that you can still make time for yourself even when you’ve got kids and a million excuses to not put yourself first. I still struggle with that, but I’m definitely a lot better!

I could share a list more women, but the last person I want to highlight as someone who inspires me is my maternal grandmother.


She, like I, had 3 children: 2 girls and 1 boy. While her life may not have been the easiest and she was faced with many adversities, she -to me, has never faltered in her soft kindness and honesty. She fiercely loves her children and still worries like any mother would of their child and adores every last one of her grandchildren.  She is the grandmother I hope to become.

What an honor it is to be surround by so many amazing women in my life. I am sure all of you have a loving mother or grandmother deserving of so much this Mother’s Day!


As you may know I am offering a special gift box that is available for pre-order until tomorrow night only! It consists of a floral crown or bouquet with a half dozen “mama” sugar cookies. It is a wonderful way to celebrate those special ladies in your life AND help other mothers in need as a portion of the sales will go to the Cause We Care Foundation.  The link to the pre-order is here.

I wish all of you mama’s and mama’s-to-be a lovely Mother’s Day next week. While every day as a mom is worth celebrating, it’s always nice to have a day to be recognized for all the hard work we do.

Happy Mother’s Day!

xo, Izabela

The Cake Mama’s Top 5 Go-To Recipes for Everday Cooking & Baking

Ever wondered what I make when I’m NOT baking cakes? Maybe not, LOL, but I’m going to share with you my favorite cooking and baking recipes anyway!

Even when I don’t have an order, you’ll always find me right back in my kitchen either recipe testing or making something delicious for my family to enjoy.

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The first I’ll share is a family favorite: BANANA BREAD! I have tried many but this one always puts a smile on my kids (and hubby’s face!) I substitute the canola oil for coconut oil which adds a lovely flavor and I add a nice shake of cinnamon too! You can find my go-to recipe here!

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This next recipe is a wonderful and hearty meal that makes you want to put on the stretchy pants, but I promise its sooo worth it! It’s Ina Garten’s Chicken Stew with Biscuits. I love making homemade biscuits, but in a pinch, I’ll grab some Pilsbury cresents or dinner rolls and bake those up with it.

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As you might have read in one of my earlier blog posts about changing up our eating style and incorporating more plant-based recipes, those delicious Crispy Buffalo Tofu wraps by Jillian Harris is a big hit! My daughter Olivia absolutely loves the crispy panko crusted tofu and it’s a great way to incorporate a “meatless Monday” to your week!

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Some days it totally feels like a take-out night, but I’ve been *trying* to stay away from ordering out and creating dishes that we usually like to get. Our household LOVES food with an Asian flair so it’s no wonder a recipe like Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry gets gobbled up quick. I like to play around with ingredients so sometimes I omit the peanut butter and just do a “teriyaki” style sauce with a mix of soy sauce, brown sugar, a TON of garlic and a bit of oil. Its an AMAZING marinade for just about ANYTHING! I also find that stir-fry’s are the best way to get rid of veggies that may be seeing it’s last days soon so needless to say, we eat stir-fry A LOT. LOL!

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Finally, another dessert favorite in our home is an apple crumble. The crumblier, the better! I also like to shred my apples instead of cubing them so that all of the flavor just melts right into them. Pair that up with a delicious ice-cream and you just have to try and pry us away from the dish! Here’s a great recipe to try!

I hope you all take a moment to try some of these recipes! I would love to hear your recommendations as well as it’s common to get into a rut for meal ideas! Share your fave recipes in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

xo, Izabela

Photo Credit: Pinterest, JillianHarris.com, Taste of Home, Food Network

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter! – The Cake Mama Family Traditions

Happy Easter weekend everyone! I hope all of you are enjoying some time with you family and celebrating in whichever way that you do.

In the Cake Mama household we have a few traditions we like to take part in each year. Having two different cultures also makes it fun and interesting and best of all, it’s a chance to get to see all of our families throughout the weekend.


On Good Friday we always color our eggs. I wish I could say I was creative enough this year to dye them naturally à la Martha Stewart but this year we’re using the classic PAAS coloring kit!

Some years we join my husbands family for a traditional Guatemalan fish dish served at dinner. The kids (as always) don’t enjoy it and usually end up eating cheese pizza LOL but it’s a nice excuse to visit the extended family. 


My side of the family is Polish so on Saturday we visit the Church for Święconka to get our eggs, kielbasa, bread and just about anything else you’d typically have for brunch in a Polish household blessed.

On Easter Sunday.. the kids hunt for eggs around the house first thing in the morning. We try to make it to mass (with 3 kids now it seems to be even more challenging!) and then we head over to my parents house for lunch. 

Bring on the stretchy pants!! 

It’s one of my favourite traditional meals. Polish potato salad, kielbasa, fresh sweet bread, ham, deviled eggs AND galaretka – an aspic with chicken and beef with a squeeze of lemon. I swear it’s my FAVE Polish food to eat for Easter and Christmas and I think only the select few enjoy it. It’s sooo good! 


Then my kids and my sisters kids go out and hunt for eggs hidden by our parents and we exchange little gifts for all the kids. 

The party isn’t over yet! After lunch and a bit of rest, we head over to my husbands mom’s house and have a delicious dinner. Some years it’s turkey with all the fixings and others it’s traditional Guatemalan dishes like enchiladas. The kids have another egg hunt here while the adults sit and digest our big day of eating LOL.

On Easter Monday, we make bunny pancakes for breakfast and the girls and I always make sugar cookies for their classroom to celebrate the end of Lent and Easter. They always have a good time decorating cookies!

Phew! So much to look forward to and we’ve only just begun. Below is a shot of last year’s Easter weekend, I can’t wait to update it! Happy Easter everyone!

Photo Credits: Pinterest, Google, Style By Deanna

Top 5 Must-Have Tools for Sugar Cookie Making

Ever been curious to know what I use to create my fun sugar cookies that you see in featured posts and Instagram? I’ve learned a lot throughout the years and figured out which items are worth keeping in your tool box and what ones just aren’t worth the investment.

You might call me an old school cookie gal, as I keep things pretty simple around here. I free hand all of my work and have (so far) skipped on the airbrush kits and image projectors. Not to say that I don’t absolutely PRAISE the cookiers that do use these techniques; I’m just a busy gal with projects that don’t necessarily call for these tools. I like to refer those specialized projects to the pros!

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you my top 5 must-have tools for cookie making here. These are the items that I cannot live without and is the reason why I can create the kind of cookies I do!

Here we go!

1. Tipless Piping Bags.

These babies are a game changer for me! Tipless piping bags allow me to use different consistences of royal icing without the need of a piping tip & coupler. Simply snip the tip the desired size and pipe away! Icing squeezes out in a nice circular fashion and best of all, no cleaning of any tips! If you do need to use a tip for more detailed work, you can still use these bags and plop one right in.

2. Scribing Tool.

 

The scribing tool is perfect for pushing around those little gaps of icing when you flood your cookie. It’s also great for popping any air bubbles and cleaning out any dried up piping tips LOL! You can always use a toothpick, but I do find after a while that you need to continuously replace it because it can get gummed up with icing. You can also use it to achieve some wet on wet icing techniques like roses, hearts, leaves and swirls!

3. Edible Markers.


Edible markers are a great way to add those little finishing touches to a cookie. Whiskers, eyelashes and wording are just some of the ways you can use them! I also like to outline designs onto a cookie with the yellow marker. It’s noticeable enough for you to trace along with icing yet discreet so it doesn’t bleed through your icing.

4. Basic Cookie Cutters.

You can never go wrong with a set of circle, square and heart shaped cookie cutters. I don’t know how many times I’ve transformed a custom or themed cookie design into one that can be created with a circle, square or heart. There’s something to be said for thinking outside the box sometimes! (Have you seen the heart shaped ninja turtle cookies I recreated? So fun!)

5. Brush Set.

A multi-sized brush set is great for painting on watercolour style images onto royal icing, dusting some edible shimmer dust or painting on gold details. Channel your inner Bob Ross like I did here, and paint some happy trees!

Well there you have it! I hope I’ve inspired you to up your cookie decorating game!

If you are interested in learning more, there are only TWO spaces left for my cookie decorating class next month! Click here to snap them up!

‘Til next time!

Xo, Izabela

 

 

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Spring Sneak Peaks

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Hello my sweet dessert friends! 

I wanted to take a moment to give you the heads up on what’s coming up for The Cake Mama over the next couple of months.

While it may not quite feel like spring yet around here, it’s definitely the time to start thinking about special occasions surrounding the season: Easter and Mother’s Day! 

Leading up to these two special times of the year, I will be popping up at TWO markets! First up is Bloom Baby in Fort Langley this Friday and Saturday (March 31-April 1) and yours truly will be popping up on the Friday only. Starting at 5pm and ending at 9, it’s the perfect way to sneak away from fam, sip some wine and do some serious local shopping!

Find all the details about this market here.

Next week I’ll be a busy little bee preparing for the North Surrey Baker’s Market on Saturday April 8, 2017. Bring your sweet tooth (and your stretchy pants!) and indulge in an array of fresh and homemade baked goods by an amazing line up of local bakers! I don’t know how you’re going to decide on what you’ll take home but I promise it will all be delicious!!

Find all the details of this market here!

So apart from markets, I’ll be announcing a preorder for Easter treats AND a preorder for Mothers Day very soon. For Easter you can expect to see a lovely set of themed sugar cookies and *maybe* some macarons in the mix?! Stay tuned! 

(photo credit: Vanessa Marie Studios)

Finally I just wanted to express my gratitude for the incredible influx of messages and orders over the past few weeks, you guys, I whole heartedly want to take on every single one that comes through! But paired with a day job, (that falls on weekends no less) 3 children and a patient husband who deserve just a *teensy* bit of my time,  I have to draw the line somewhere. Oh! And perhaps a little self care too right? All these amazing orders I’ve booked already have got me up until 2-3am which I know will catch up with me sooner than later.


What I will promise, is that if there is a cancellation, I will announce that as soon as possible to give you the opportunity to place an order. I also will not be opening summer bookings until the end of May, so I will most definitely announce that as soon as I can!

I love meeting new dessert friends so I hope you’ll come visit me at either one of the two markets happening soon. Hope to see you there!

Xo, Izabela 

Ps. My cookie decorating class is 60% full! It’s happening on May 5 from 6-830 at the Highstreet Community Room in Abbotsford. Don’t miss out! Reserve your spot here.

The Cheeky Affair: Raising Funds for Colon Cancer Canada

In this day and age it’s not hard to look around and find out that you know someone who is battling cancer, recovering from cancer treatment, lost a loved one to cancer or in complete remission of cancer.


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It’s actually quite shocking.

For me, there’s a small list of the types of cancers that run in my side of the family, one of which unfortunately took the life of my dear aunt a couple of years ago.

One of my oldest and dearest friends lost her father to cancer. Another one, a mother. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around a loss that close to the heart. 


When I was invited to share The Cheeky Affair fundraiser with my friends and family, I didn’t give it another thought. I began doing my own research about colon cancer and my jaw fell to the floor when I read this:
“Colon cancer is Canada’s second deadliest cancer and yet 90% treatable if it’s detected early.”

I had no idea. I went on to read more about what Colon Cancer Canada does for those who have been diagnosed and for the families supporting those going through treatment. It’s truly an amazing organization.

I also didn’t know that March is Colon Cancer Awarness month and to wrap up the campaign The Cheeky Affair fundraiser was created.

Set at the stunning venue The Permanent, guests who attend can enjoy tasty cuisine by the Roaming Dragon, local libations, silent auction and fashion show -all included in your ticket! 


The fundraiser happens at the end of this month -Thursday March 30, 2017 beginning at 630pm. You can purchase your tickets here!

Hope to see you all there, XO.

New Year, New Goals

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Happy New Year!

It’s crazy to think that 2017 is already here and I already feel like I’m behind on life. LOL.

BUT, I definitely know what direction I’d like to go in this year and that has got me all kinds of excited. Business-wise, I’m working hard to allocate time to opening up an online shop that will stock items that I love to use for my baking as well as curated items made by local vendors that are relevant to baking, special occasions and gift giving. This, my friends, is no easy feat. I will get there though and I can’t wait to see it come to life.

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I also want to open myself up as much as possible to custom orders. This was a challenge last year but I hope to get myself into the swing of things with routine and balancing my day job with my family and my passion project!

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Personally, I have been really inspired by a lot of local influencers that are on the path to minimalism and enriching their lives with a vibrant and healthy diet. In a world obsessed with mass consumption of things and focus on want versus need, it’s so easy to feel incredibly overwhelmed and feel like you should be sucked into it without giving it a thought.

 

I started off this year by doing a 3 day juice cleanse by The Habit Project, a local juicery business in Chilliwack, BC. Not only were they a gem to work with but the juices were tasty to boot. The IVORY almond mylk is EVERYTHING you guys! Pretty sure I raved about it a lot. I documented most of it on my Instagram insta-stories over the course of the 3 days and it was a wonderfully eye-opening experience. 

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By the end of it, not only did my body -particularly my digestive system- feel great but my mind felt good too. Not going to lie, there were some points where I thought to myself, “a piece of toast with a blob of avocado would taste so good right now,” LOL but I managed to fight off the urge and stay on course. I am sure I had a few “hangry” tendencies too but my family was gracious enough to let them slide.

Now I am focused on incorporating some new positive habits, like eating nutrient rich plant-based dishes and being mindful of waste when it comes to food. I’m inspired to start recipe testing some vegan versions of my most popular desserts because I know how challenging it is to find alternatives and I truly believe everyone deserves something sweet no matter what your food choices are!

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pc: Erin Ireland

I’m also taking a look inside my home and trying to identify what items I can eliminate to give us a refreshed and open feel. In a world where “bigger is better” I’m digging my heels in a bit. We have a wonderful home and every corner of it is lovingly filled with things that remind us of what we love and how far we’ve come in life. But that being said, there are a lot of things being held on to that don’t need to be and so we’ll chip away at it one day at a time.

Finally, I aim to surround myself with people that inspire, do good things for others and foster connections with likeminded people. Life is too short to be around those who will take every last mile out of you with a sense of entitlement. We are the key to our own happiness! 

A Happy New Year Indeed. 

xo, Jzabela