Friday, January 22, 2016

Go to our new website!

Hi Everyone,
We want to thank you for visiting our blogspot!  We are so happy to be able to send you to our new website,!  Our wonderful friends at Big Idea Interactive Media Group donated this website to us and the new organization we have founded!  Definitely check out the new project we are working on!  We are raising money for a water project through Samaritan's Purse...join in on our Number 1 Team by doing your 1%!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Going to see the hospital in REAL LIFE!

Here we go!  It looks like it is going to be a long flight!
It has been about a month since we posted anything because life has been pretty busy!  We are so thankful that we got to go to Nyankunde in the Democratic Republic of Congo with Samaritan's Purse for the dedication of the new maternity ward!  Even now, it almost seems like a dream!  The whole time Livvy & I were raising the money for the hospital, we would talk about what we thought it would look like or we would talk about it as though it was already helping people.  Little did we know, it was already helping people!  The problem is that it was in really bad shape and there were many things that were needed.  There was only one sink in the whole maternity ward and it didn't even work that great.  The roof was in terrible shape and in some places the ceiling was caving in.  There had been a lot of damage from the war.  But this is all they have in the DRC.  Even now, some of the remaining wards are still in pretty rough shape! 
The tiny brick building to the left is the old outhouse
They had to take the roof off and then redo all the walls
With some of the money we raised, they were able to add on to the hospital!
The old maternity ward had only one sink that wasn't in great shape so they dug up the floor and added plumbing
The old walls were in rough shape
When they took off the roof and gutted the building, you could see from one end to the other
This is the outside wall of the old maternity ward in Nyankunde

Dr. Cooper started to send us some pictures of the hospital being worked on in late June of this year, (2015).  It was so exciting to see that there was a real building and that it was starting to change!  At that time, we thought the pictures were all we would ever see of the hospital and we were very happy with that.  In fact, it was really hard to look at the pictures and not share them with everyone because we were so excited to just see it!  It was so amazing seeing a building getting worked on!  When we got the email from Samaritan's Purse telling us that the building was going to be finished in October and asking if we would like to go for the dedication ceremony we were so excited!  It seemed like Christmas and your birthday and every other wonderful day all rolled into one moment!

We immediately started getting things like passports, (which actually became a huge trial for getting mine!  It came right at the very last possible moment, but God did get it to us on time!)  We got a million shots to be able to travel out of the country and we started to get ready for a huge adventure!

I will write another blog post about going to the Samaritan's Purse organization in Boone, NC before we flew out to Nyankunde, but right now, let's keep going on talking about the Congo!  We took four planes to get to the DRC.  When I write about Boone, I will also try to write a little bit about Uganda.  That was also a stop on our way to the DRC.

When we landed in Nyankunde we were so excited to go see the new maternity ward!  We stopped in a missionary house to eat some food, but Livvy & I were very anxious to just go see the maternity ward!  It really was beautiful!  Compared to the other buildings, it is stunning because it is freshly painted and has a bright blue roof with solar panels on it.  There are now some private rooms, as well as 30 beds for moms who have just had babies.  There is electricity in the whole building at night now.  The doctors used to have to do deliveries by the light of their cell phone! There is a new outhouse and it has showers that work!  The old one was really run down and dilapidated because of the war and the showers in it didn't work.  There is a new operating room and the delivery room has been updated.  There are now sinks in every patient care area, which will make an enormous difference for how the doctors can care for the moms and babies because it is much easier to wash their hands between each patient!

This is the sign at the bottom of the hill that leads up to the hospital complex
This is part of the new addition to the maternity ward.  There are two private rooms for moms now
This is the new delivery room.  They can do two deliveries in here at the same time
This is the new operating room in the maternity ward!  The very first baby born in the new ward was born by emergency C-section in this room!

This is the back of the maternity ward.  There are 4 new washing sinks in the back for caregivers to wash clothes.
There are extra large sidewalks so the caregivers have a place to sit.This is me and Livvy in front of it!
Here is a better view of the hospital with the new outhouse to the left.
This is the new outhouse and shower building at the Nyankunde hospital.

That is a new sink in a little room that was renovated to become a medication room.
This is a new sink in the room where the doctors take care of the new moms.
This is one of the moms in labor

This was one of the new babies that was born while we were there.  We prayed with his mom.
We gave out cupcakes to all the new moms
This little baby was named after me.  Her name is Gabriella
Meet Gabriella.  She was the first baby born in the new maternity ward!
I am holding Gabriella and Livvy is holding a little boy named Micheli. 
This was the very best part of going to the Congo!  Livvy and I LOVED holding the new babies!  Every time we went to the ward we would hold as many of the babies as the moms would let us hold!  As we look at these pictures now, it is almost like we are a little bit homesick or something.  To think that God is saving the lives of moms and babies every day now, and that these babies will grow up to become people who could also make a difference in the world is a very exciting thought!  We love it that the missionary doctors in the DRC get to talk to the new moms about Jesus every day!  We are just very, very thankful!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


One of the hardest secrets we have ever had to keep  was that we were going to get to go to the Congo to see the hospital!  We found out about this two months ago, and we had to go get a gazillion shots to get ready for it.  This was on the day before we go to school, so we had to secretly tell a couple of teachers since we didn't get everything finished in time for classes.  When we got our shots we had to go to FOUR PLACES to get them because each clinic didn't have something on hand!  In the end, we made it, but apparently, if you don't get all the shots on the same day as you get the Yellow Fever shot, you have to wait 30 days!  So it was 8:16 pm by the time we got finished with that and we had left the house at 11am thinking it would all take an hour.  Then the passport drama started.  The weird thing was that everyone else's passport came right away, but mine had to be prayed over for several weeks!  I guess there were just a lot of details that had to be worked out so it was better if no one else knew about all that, but it was SO HARD not to tell my friends that we are going to get to see the hospital, especially when they kept asking me stuff like, "Why are you getting all these immunizations," or "Why are you so busy right now?"

The night I got to tell everyone, I sent out a group text and my phone practically blew up with everyone telling me how happy they were for me!  I am super happy too!  Livvy and I never thought we would get to see it in real life.  We have seen a few pictures as it has been being worked on, but it is going to be so amazing to walk through the halls and see what God really made happen!

Livvy has been praying a baby will be born while we are there and that the mom will let her hold it.  I  have been praying for that too.  I just don't want to have to watch it get born!  That stuff is not my thing!  I will stick to cakes!

Another really cool thing is that we will get to make cupcakes in the Congo!  That seems a little stressful because I don't know if the ingredients will be available or if it will come out the same as here.  But in the end, I keep telling myself that just doing it is going to be something I will remember forever!

Another CRAZY thing that has happened is that Livvy and I were on tv again!  We thought our days of doing that were over when we raised the money, but here we are...getting another chance to give God the glory for everything He helped us do!  We are really hoping other children and adults will see that they can do big things for God too.

Here is a link to the Great Day Live show we were on.  We made our most requested cake, which is the Kahlua Mousse Chocolate cake from the Cake Boss cookbook that we always make.  We also made lemon-blueberry cupcakes, goat cupcakes that were actually spice with cinnamon frosting and chick cupcakes, since our project actually started with the chicks and goats.

Here is a link to the WHAS11 news story they put on the news yesterday about our project and about us going to the Congo.

And another super fun thing that is happening is that Livvy and I are going to get to see the whole Samaritan's Purse organization! They are the ones that are taking us to the hospital and we are going to get to make cupcakes in their kitchen!  It always makes me wish we could have a commercial kitchen whenever we get to cook in one.  We are on their website to tell about our story and to hopefully inspire others to try something that takes a lot of faith too.  I can't wait to read my own blogpost next time...because there are some adventures coming up and it will mean that I have been having them!  This is just so amazing!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Scarlet's Bakery Project and an Update

WOW!  It has been a long time since we wrote anything!  Sorry!  I think we got so busy over the summer that we didn't think about it much.  You can always go to our page on Facebook to see what we are up to.  Go to Gabe The Cake Man and we usually put something up every week or two.

So here is a quick update.  The hospital project is going GREAT!  In fact, we have seen two sets of pictures and it is pretty exciting to see things happening in a country so far away, yet the internet makes it seem like it is next door!  Samaritan's Purse sent a photographer to our house to take pictures of us making some cakes and cupcakes about two weeks ago, because I guess the story of the hospital is going to be in their catalog!  We are super happy about that because we love it when God is getting more glory for letting us be part of this project!  Each time we think He is done, it seems that He is not!
Some of the cupcakes and a cake we made during the photoshoot

We delivered the cake to a family that has donated to both of our projects

Samaritan's Purse photoshoot
We had been praying about what God wanted us to do next, ever since we finished raising the money for the hospital.  I started to think it would be so cool if someone would donate a bakery to us.  I still think that, actually.  My idea was that we would try to have expert bakers and chefs come and teach  homeless people, or people that needed a job, how to cook.  We would let people buy things as "donation only" and that way if someone came in and was hungry, but couldn't pay for their food, we would just give it to them.  Maybe someone else would have paid a little bit more, and it would all even out.

One day my mom and I were talking about that idea to someone at church and the lady told me about what Scarlet's Hope is trying to do.  They are trying to open Scarlet's Bakery. It is a non-profit organization to help women that are coming out of the adult entertainment industry get some new job skills and make some money to get on their feet.  When I heard about this, it sounded so close to the idea I had been thinking about, I just knew this was the next thing God wanted us to do!  So Livvy and I prayed about it.  We went to visit the site of where it is going to be and talked to the people that will run it, and we decided to do our 1%.  Remember how when we were doing our project we would ask people to just do 1%?  In our case, we wanted to have a team of 100 people that would each raise $350.  But how it actually worked out was we had about 160 people donate and some were able to do 1% and some could only do a little bit.  But as you know, God raised all the money!

Scarlet's Bakery is trying to raise $100,000!  So Livvy and I pledged to raise $1,000.  We were able to raise it pretty quickly, and we've been making cakes for the people that donated!  (Thank you, if you are one of them!)  But we still feel like we should help.  So now we have been encouraging others to do their 1%.  Remember, 1% is the least whole number you can contribute.  Many times people say, "It's the least I could do," when they do something nice.  But is it really?  Sometimes it is not even 1% because  the person could have done more.  They just didn't want to!  Yes, it is the least, but was it the least whole effort?  We saw children who were only 3 & 4 step up and do a whole lot for the hospital project.  Campers at elementary camp gave up snack tokens and middle school students shoveled snow or went without birthday presents or Christmas presents so the money could be donated instead.  When we at least do the 1%, we make a difference!
Livvy making a cake for her Sunday School teacher who donated to the bakery project
Doing the free-hand Snoopy on the tie for the cake for Mr. Tom

Livvy doing the piping around the cake

Mr. Tom and Livvy when she presented the cake to him

We made a video about one of our cakes to explain why we think the Bakery is important.  If you'd like to see it, click the video above.  We are really hoping that others will see that they can help the Scarlet's Hope women make a new life through the power of Jesus and the help of those of us who love Him.

Thanks for reading our latest post!  We will update soon when we have more news of the hospital!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nursing Home Visits with Our Pets; Even our pets are doing their 1%!

 Livvy and I have been having a lot of fun by taking our new puppy, Teddy, and our adopted dog, Kayla to the nursing home for pet visits.  Since Teddy is only about 7 months old, he really doesn't know how to do this very well yet.  But as long as Kayla is around, he will stay close by.

 The first time we went to the nursing home, Kayla put her head on a lady's lap and pushed her nose under the lady's hand so the lady would pet her.  When the lady started petting her, the woman also started telling us all about the dogs her dad used to have and how much she loves dogs.  Later, when we were signing out of the nursing home, the activity director told us that this is super unusual for this woman because she has Alzheimer's disease and doesn't usually tell about her memories!

 The next time we took the pets, we met a woman named Tessa and her mom, Barbara.  They really loved the dogs!  They begged us to stop and see Barbara again when we came back.
 The third time we went with the pets, we looked for Barbara but we couldn't find her.  She was in a wheelchair the first time we met her and was recovering from something.  We were pretty sad at first and then we thought she might have already gone home.  Just before we were about to leave the nursing home, she came around the corner WALKING with her walker!  She is doing so much better just in the two weeks between visits!  She was so happy to see us!  She kept saying, "I know you!  I know these sweet dogs!  Let me pet these sweet dogs!"
 If any of you that are reading this are thinking you don't have any talents to use to do your 1% and help others, consider going and just visiting the residents!  They really get lonely and bored.  So far everyone we have visited has been so happy to see us and has even let us pray with them!  We love doing this!  We really hope you will try it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Here's a little update

Livvy and I would like to say, "Thank You" to everyone for helping us last year!  As we think about everything that happened last year it is so amazing it almost feels like a dream!  At this time last year, we had raised 16% of the money to build the hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
My sister Abbey when she got engaged to Taylor Mason
My sister got engaged on January 4, 2014 and it was such a busy time for us!  Her wedding lead to us being on tv when we made her wedding cake; which lead to the Muhammad Ali Center finding out about our project.  That lead to us being part of their Congo14 celebration and their Humanitarian Awards.
Livvy and I both gave a speech at the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards

Livvy did a great job at giving a speech in front of the 750 guests!
When we gave a speech at the 2014 September Humanitarian awards about our project, we had raised $22,048 by then and someone in the audience heard our story and was so moved by our project, they donated the remaining $12,827!

So what has been going on since then?  We have been on tv a couple of times again.  Here is a link to one of the shows.  This one is called, The Local Traveler.  Click on The Local Traveler to watch it.  It is only 14 minutes long.  :)

Well, we have now given two classes in cup cake decorating and cookie decorating.  We raised some money to make Shoe Boxes for Operation Christmas Child and we are getting ready to make a birthday cake - well actually, 7 full size sheet cakes for Muhammad Ali.  We are super excited because we are going to get to go back to the Bakery at Sullivan and use their big oven to make the cakes!  We love going there!  I hope to work there someday.  In fact, I would actually volunteer there if they would let me!

We taught how to make Fairy Drop Cookies and decorate them

Livvy helped teach too!

Livvy has just gotten a kitten for Christmas and I am writing a dog-training manual because I hope to get a Corgi puppy in the spring.  We are also working together with our mom to write the book about our project.  We have been investigating starting our own non-profit organization because we have more projects we would like to work on to help others.

Livvy is so happy to be a kitty-momma again!
We hope you all had a great year last year too.  Make sure you stop by our page on facebook to see what else is new.  It is Gabe The Cake Man.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lessons Learned on our FUNdraising Journey

Livvy and I learned several things about fundraising as we did our project this past year, and we thought that some of you who are doing a fundraising project might like to see what we feel like we learned.  We owe a special THANK YOU to our wonderful Cousin, Jessica because she is our "Great Idea Girl" and to Sarah Edmundson for answering our post when we were feeling pretty discouraged back when we started and everyone was saying they "Loved what we were doing" but no one was really supporting what we were doing.  These are in no particular order.

1.  Sit down and brainstorm the different ways you can earn money or inspire donations.  (for us, we came up with making cakes for people that donated, making youtube videos to explain the project, making flyers and speaking at churches and schools.  We also wrote letters to people that we thought might be able to help us).

2.  Involve your friends.  (This is a good idea because they have great ideas, and it makes it way more fun.  Plus, they can talk to people that you don't know, but that they know).

3.  Break your project into smaller pieces.  This was how we came up with the Number 1 Team idea.  We realized that if we could get a team of 100 people to each raise just 1% of our project, which was $350 - and that would just be asking 35 friends to raise $10 each or 10 friends to raise $35 each, we would have our hospital in no time at all.  This is not exactly how it worked out because some of the children that helped us were super young so their 1% was maybe $150 or $170 but that was huge for them and they did really creative things!  This actually worked out super well for us!

4.  Talk to EVERYONE about what you are trying to do.  (This one is pretty hard because sometimes you get tired of always talking about your project, but we did find that many people told us they found it inspiring.) 

5.  PRAY.  This one was huge for us.  In fact, this was pretty much the whole point of why we did what we did.  We wanted a project that was so big, we couldn't do it without God's help.  We really believe He did help us!

6.  Ask other people for help to do things you might not know how to do.  For example, I had never made a wedding cake before; so I asked my mom to see if Chef Dodd would give me helpful hints.  What we found out was a lot of times people gave you even more help than you asked for, and that went a long way!

7.  Do things even when they are hard!  This was another really big one for us!  We did NOT like to speak in front of people when we started this project!  But we knew that people needed to hear about it, so we went outside our comfort zone and did it anyway.  This really worked!  We were not too excited to speak in front of 750 people when we went to the Humanitarian Awards, so we practiced a lot!  This helped a lot because we had our parents listen to us and give us advice about the speech.  It was because of this speech that we got the really huge anonymous donation that finished our project!  

8.  Celebrate when something good happens!  We had a party when we hit 15% and that made it super fun!  We would have dance parties in the kitchen when a really hard cake was done!  We would ask our friends to be in our videos to celebrate what was going on.  This is super important, because sometimes you can get discouraged otherwise, and when you keep having a party, even if it is just eating ice cream to celebrate, it helps a lot.

9.  Always be super grateful to everyone that helps you.  Sometimes the help they give you is not exactly what you needed, but even if it isn't, be grateful that they even wanted to help!  For example, sometimes people would donate random stuff to our project that had nothing to do with our project, but we would take it and just say, "Thank You" because we saw that they were trying to do their best.  Or another example is when my best friend would help decorate cupcakes even though we both wanted to do something else.  I was always super grateful, because he could have been doing a bunch of other stuff instead of helping me!

10.  Ignore the haters.  There weren't many, but some people would tell us they didn't think it was going to happen.  Most of the time people were super encouraging, but if you find someone that is a hater, just ignore them and keep going.  You know why you are doing what you are doing and don't let anyone discourage you.  Even if you don't make your goal, at least you tried and that is what matters!

Another thing is that we had to learn to not be perfectionists.  One time when we were making a wedding cake for a teacher, we didn't put in the dowel supports so it started to cave in.  This was so discouraging because we had been working on the cake for the whole day and had worked on it for about 5 hours the day before.  My mom went to get more cake mix because we thought we were going to have to cut the bottom layer off the cake and start over.  We had prayed over that cake about 4 times, and it seemed so discouraging.  While my mom was gone to get the strawberry cake mix, she called her friend that used to make cakes for a living.  Her friend told us how to save the cake and fix it!  When my mom got back we did every step her friend had told us to do, and it did work!  When we were putting the top two layers back onto the bottom layer though, one of us stuck their thumb into the middle layer so the cake now had a belly-button!  We couldn't fix it because we had already put the lace stenciling on the cake.  By that time we were so done we just didn't want to start over, plus my mom was determined that we could not spend more money to make it perfect so we had to just own up to the mistake and we sent a picture of it to the teacher we were making the cake for.  She was super nice and she put the flowers right in that spot so no one knew about the belly-button but we learned a lot from that cake!