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!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

So FUN to be DONE! Party with the Chick fil a Cow at Gabe The Cake Man & Livvy's Bazaar

We are actually now OVER our goal!
Selfies with a chick fil a cow are a lot harder to get than you would think!
Our sweet friend, Robin, planned and put on a fundraising Bazaar for us.  This was planned way before we had all the donations.  In fact, we were only at about $20,000 when she started to plan it!  Once we were given the anonymous donation which completed our fundraising, we decided to make it a PARTY and a Bazaar!  In all, the Bazaar brought us to about $546 over our goal!  There were some really fun aspects of this bazaar!  First of all, the Chick fil a Cow came and was even more fun than we imagined he would be!
The organ was a huge hit with Livvy and everyone that heard it

Livvy and the cow had a lot of fun sneaking around the church together

that cow was so photogenic!

Livvy Finally Met Phil Wickham!

Does anyone remember how Livvy really felt like God wanted her to talk to Phil Wickham about our project back when we started it?  Well if you don't, here is her letter that she had written him and if you remember, we tried EVERYTHING we could think of to get it to him!
We started praying about how to get it to him around Christmas of last year.  We didn't pray about that every day, but every little while we would ask the Lord how could we figure out how to get it to him?  Well, our friend, Denise Witt, who owns Big Idea Media Group knows someone at WJIE radio station.  Denise wrote them an email to ask if they knew how we could get it to Phil, and guess what?  They were actually at that time, planning to have him come here for a concert!  The concert was October 17, 2014 and they gave us FRONT ROW TICKETS!!  Livvy has known about this since August and has been so excited!  In fact, she could hardly go to sleep the night before the concert!  We didn't know if she would get to meet him until the day of the concert and when she found out she was going to get to meet him, she could hardly contain herself!  Here she is meeting him...
When Livvy saw Phil Wickham coming toward her she kept saying, "oh my goodness, OH MY GOODNESS"!  She was so happy!

Us with Phil Wickham
It was actually a great feeling for her to be able to give him her letter and to say, "Our project is ALL DONE!!"  He was super nice and he said this was an encouraging story to him.  He seems to have had a hard year last year.  We learned that he had to have surgery on his vocal cords so that took a lot of faith to believe God was going to heal him!  He sounded GREAT during the concert!  We think this was a blessing just for Livvy from God! Here are videos of Livvy's two favorite songs.  It was pretty cool...he played both of them back to back at the end of the concert.  Liv couldn't stop smiling!  The first one is of him singing Beautiful.  That is what she talked about in her letter.  The Second one is her other favorite...The is Amazing Grace.


Press Conference at the Muhammad Ali Center To Announce That Gabe The Cake Man and Livvy Have Raised The Money To Build or Upgrade The Hospital

Livvy & I were the main speakers at the press conference.  We thanked everyone that helped us!
October 16, 2014 was a super fun day!  The Muhammad Ali Center invited us to have a press conference at the Ali Center to announce that we had hit our goal to raise the money we needed to build or upgrade the hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since it happened because of the generous donation from someone that heard us speak at the Humanitarian Awards at the Ali Center on September 27, 2014, they wanted to help us announce it - which was so super kind of them! We got to invite anyone we wanted to so of course, we invited the children that had helped us!
Chef Dodd from Sullivan came and spoke at the Press Conference

The Ali Center helped us to invite people like Chef Dodd from Sullivan and Denise Witt from Big Idea Media Group.  The amazing thing is that four tv news channels came!  I am going to include two of the channels here so you can see what they said about the conference.  Here is the one that WHAS 11 put up.   WDRB also put up the story on their webpage. 
Livvy did a great job speaking!  This is something neither of us loves but God sure has given us a lot of it to do for Him!

We made cake to eat to celebrate after the press conference

What we loved the most is that we got to invite the children that helped us.  Some of them couldn't make it but Efrata, Katie, Blaise and his sisters Lyric and Kayia, Mia and Dr. Stucker's little girl were all there with us. My best friend, Isaac came and it felt like a party at the Ali Center!  We made cake (of course) to eat afterwards.  The Ali Center put it up on their webpage and we were so happy because not only are we done, we got to give God all the glory for this once again!  It is really such a great feeling when you have done the thing that you knew God wanted you to do and you actually saw that HE IS THE ONE THAT DID IT!  I can't really explain how happy this makes me and Livvy!
The quote says: "I always felt like I was born to do something for my people...some people have special resources inside, and when God blesses you to have more than others, you have a responsibility to use it right."  Livvy & I agree!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Woodland Baptist Craft Bazaar TODAY 10/18 from 9-1 809 Pope Lick

Livvy & I are are SO EXCITED to announce that we now have The Chick-fil-a cow coming to the Bazaar, Cheezy the Clown, several crafters - including our own Grandma, some great vendors and Livvy's American Heritage Girls group!  WE are selling concessions and now there are some AMAZING RAFFLE BASKETS!  The tickets are $1 each or 6 tickets for $5.  We have a basket from Mark's Feed Store, 4 certificates from Safari Versatile Services for pest control and termite inspections, a shopping cart cover from Gram (hers are super nice and so great for this time of year for a Christmas present for someone that just had a baby!) Avon gift basket of My Little Pony items and many other items that I haven't even seen yet but I am told are super nice!

If you still wish you had gotten a table to sell things or tell about your business we still have some great slots open!  The Woodland Baptist Church youth group students are going to do a car wash and have things to sell also.

We sure hope you will stop by to see us and give hugs because we are still so excited about having gone past our goal!  We are hoping that the sale of the concessions and raffle will help us get some medical equipment for the hospital now!

Here's the info:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gabe The Cake Man & Livvy Raised $35,000 to build a Hospital in the Congo Through Samaritan's Purse!!

Psalm 34: 3 says, "O Magnify the Lord with me; Let us PRAISE His name together!"
This is our silent auction cake.  A $500 donation was made to the Ali Center for it.
In our last post, we were dying to tell everyone the amazing thing that God did for us at the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards but we wanted to wait until you could all see it on our donations page!  A little while after Livvy and I gave our speech at the awards ceremony, Mr. Lessare, the CEO of the Ali Center came up to our dad and told us that there was a person in the audience that heard our speech who was so moved by our project and our words, they wanted to make a donation to our project.  They told Mr. Lessare that whatever we did not raise from the auction of our cake, they would donate to get us to $35,000!! (We had already raised $22,173 up to that point).  We were so excited we could hardly stand it! We didn't know whether to laugh, cry, scream, run around we did what we have done every other time something great happens (or bad happens for that matter).  We PRAYED!  My mom, dad, Livvy and I prayed and thanked the LORD for doing this great thing for us!  To some people, they might call this a coincidence.  Someone once said, "All I know is that when I pray, coincidences happen a lot more often"!  We KNOW this was no coincidence!  GOD let that person be in the audience, hear about our project and have a kind and caring heart to help us finish it!   We really wanted to meet this person but he wanted to remain anonymous so we have been praying for him to be richly blessed because of his generosity.  Yesterday he made the donation and it was SO MUCH FUN to be able to go to youth group last night and tell everyone all about it!  They had prayed for me and Livvy last week and they all wanted to hear how it went.  When we told them that we are now OVER 100% they clapped!

Livvy and I made 50 cupcakes in about an hour to bring to the youth group to celebrate with!
We are now over $35,000...and we are going to keep going because we still have our craft bazaar coming up on October 18 from 9-2 at the Woodland Baptist Church.  We are now going to have a PARTY!  We will be giving away (can you guess?)  FREE CUPCAKES!  So come join us and celebrate this wonderful thing that God has done for us!  We can't wait to see what will happen with this hospital, clinic or upgrades that can now go forward in the Democratic Republic of Congo!
This reminded us of doing camp cupcakes!  The students loved them!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Livvy & Gabe The Cake Man meet Muhammad Ali at the Ali Humanitarian Awards

Muhammad says, "I will float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!"
Wow!  Where do we start with this?  Back in June the Muhammad Ali Center had called us and asked us to be part of the Congo14 celebration.  If you remember, we spoke at their press conference when they announced that Bruno Mars was going to be the singer they were hosting.  The Ali Center asked us if we would come be a part of their annual Humanitarian Awards to be held on 10/27/14.  We said yes because we have never seen something like that and it sounded like fun to go to a banquet.  They also asked us to make a cake for their silent auction.  This would be raffled off and 1/2 of what they got for the cake would go to our project and the other half would go to the Ali Center.  We said yes for that too.  Well, this week was the week of the concert and then yesterday, was the second annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards.  Livvy and I found out that Kid President (Robbie Novak) was going to be there, so we asked if we could make him a special cake.  We also wanted to make a cake for Muhammad Ali so that when we met him, we would be able to give him a special treat.
We can't even describe how amazing it was to meet Muhammad Ali in person!

This is the cake we made to give to Muhammad Ali on September 27, 2014
They had a special table just for our cakes!

Kid President was so much fun!  He liked the cake!

As the week got closer and closer we got more nervous.  It started to seem like it was going to be hard.  My mom decided to see if we could go to Sullivan Bakery to decorate the cakes so that if we needed some help, Chef Richardson was there to help us. We were so glad we did this!  She was so helpful with smoothing the big cake and for helping us get the piping right and not turning it brown with the colors mixing too much!  Here are pictures of the cakes and the event.  It was like nothing we have ever ever ever done before!  If you click HERE you can watch our speech.  (if you watch all the way to the end you can see a really amazing video of the project the Humanitarian of the Year did).  Matt Lauer from the Today show was the MC for the evening.  It was fun to meet him.  He is the person that interviewed Dr. Brantley who lived to tell about having ebola!  Dr. Brantley is a missionary for Samaritan's Purse so that was fun to have as a common connection.
Livvy is putting on the first layer of frosting for our auction cake

Chef Richardson was giving advice about the number 1 cake for Muhammad WAVE3 was filming it

I had the edible image on the cake and was starting the piping around it

Finishing the piping.  I love the rainbow!  Chef Richardson approves!

Such a great feeling to be done!  I came up with the image and Big Idea Media Group helped make it on the computer!

We had a auction table for the silent auction and set up our display

When we got up to speak they had a picture of us up on the big screens
Here we are practicing in the afternoon before the banquet

Both Livvy and I spoke to about 750 people!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Livvy & Gabe The Cake Man Need Crafters & Vendors October 18, 2014 9-2


We could also use helpers to set up and clean up
Our friend, Robin Ernst is helping to organize a craft fair to benefit our project.  We will also ask each vendor/crafter to donate one item worth a retail value of $25 toward our raffles.  If you have a business and would like to donate an item or service to be raffled, we will start listing your company on our blog/facebook page and what will be raffled off.  THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!   We are doing this together!  When we started the project and realized we needed it to not be a "me" project, but instead to be a WE project, we never dreamed that so many of you would step up and do so many wonderful and creative things!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gabe The Cake Man Baby Shower Reveal Cake

We have some friends that have been friends for so long, they seem like family.  This past week we got to be a part of a really fun baby shower!  Our friend, Jimmy Monteith and his wife, Elizabeth are expecting their first child in a couple of months.  Their mom and a couple other friends were giving them a baby shower and they asked us if we would make the cake in the color of the gender of the baby.  We told them not to tell us until right before the shower because we didn't want to accidentally reveal what the baby was if someone asked us.  Even my mom didn't want to know because her Gap Sisters are all friends of this family too and everyone wanted to know ahead of time!

Livvy was at the enrichment program she goes to on the day the cake needed to be made so I had to do it all by myself.  I chose to make it out of pound cake because then the cake would weigh about as much as the baby!  ;)  I added blue food coloring and kept trying to think of something special to do to the cake so it wasn't just ordinary cake.  I finally decided to add blueberries to the cake mix so it would have a surprise in it when they cut it!  I didn't know it at the time that I did that, but the mom and dad of the baby had already been calling the baby, "Blueberry" because when they had seen him on the ultrasound he was only the size of a blueberry!

When Livvy got home from her "school", we got to work on the frosting of the cake.  Livvy mixed all the colors and she put the raspberry filling on the middle layer of the cake.  That proved to be a challenge to get the filling to stop dripping out of the dirty-coating of frosting.  (It really isn't dirty, that is just what it is called when you put on a crumb coat).  We frosted the crumb coat with white so that no one would get a glimpse of the color of the cake in case we had a tiny spot that didn't get covered by the swirls.  I decided to go with a half-and-half look and not complicate it with anything else.  Their invitation had said, "Rifles or Ruffles, which will it be, come to the party so you can all see..." or something like that.  I did write a little note and put it on a piece of paper that I had burned the edges of.  That way, we could just take it off but people could still see the design of the pattern.
raspberry filling between the layers

Filling in some gaps between the swirls
Close-up of the swirls
Everyone was so happy to see that the cake was blue except one person.  The baby's cousin, Coraline broke out in tears because she wanted the baby to be a girl!  She stopped crying when her mom explained that the baby would still be fun to play with, just because babies are fun no matter what!  Livvy and I are super excited about the baby too because these friends come for Thanksgiving and we want to hold him and play with him too!
Almost ready to cut the cake!

And it is a BOY!
Good to the last blueberry!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gabe The Cake Man Wedding Cake Drama That Had A Happy Ending

In July 2014 we had so many big things to do for our project!  We went to camp four times as missionaries (read the post below about that). 
July schedule.  In the end we made way more than 200 cupcakes per session of camp!
 In all, we made 939 cupcakes for camp!  Right as camp ended, we had an order for a wedding cake for a teacher.  She had asked us to make her cake several months ago and we said that we would do it.  We were pretty nervous about this and asked everyone to pray for us.  Little did we know, that cake would take a LOT of prayer!
We started the cake several days before it was due, which is always a good idea when you have a big and important project because it gives you time to fix something if anything goes wrong.  (There is your spoiler alert right there...keep reading.)
Livvy made all the cakes for this order.  We used 6 cake mixes!
For this wedding cake, the bride wanted a strawberry cutting cake.  First we made the cutting cake.   Then we made the serving cake.  We purposely did not frost those the same day we made them because sometimes baking the cakes makes it super humid in the kitchen.  Even though we had planned ahead like this, we still ended up with drama.  Keep reading. 
frosting the dummy cakes

The next day the thing we did first was that we frosted the "dummy cakes".  These are made out of styrofoam and are useful in a 3 tier cake because they don't weigh as much as a real cake.  (We did this with Abbey's cake too, you can read about hers here.)  You make the cutting cake (which is at the bottom) out of real cake and you make a serving cake to give the guests. 

rolling out the fondant...see our cool aprons that Eli & Mason's mom designed for us?
getting Livvy started on the frosting of the sheet cake

smoothing the fondant

Next, we frosted the cutting cake so we were ready to put fondant on all three cakes.  As I was doing that, Livvy started to frost the serving cake.  This is a big deal that she can do this now!  When we first started all this, she really had not done anything like this, so it is awesome that she is learning all these things too!
the roses go on frozen

serving sheet cake with white roses

After the fondant was on the cakes, we finished the serving cake.  Instead of doing a bunch of small rosebuds like we did on Abbey's cake, I made a design with white roses.  It is always a great feeling when a cake is finished!  
 Now we had to put the three layers together.  This is where the drama started.  We were all really worried about putting the dowel into the center of the cake to secure the layers and somehow, we were so worried about that part, we forgot the most important things that the chefs had taught us about putting in dowels to support the layers!  The whole time I was pounding in the dowel we were praying over the cake.  That was about the third time we had prayed over the cake at that point. The cake bounces when you pound in the dowel and I hate that part so much!  In fact, I had my mom pound it in for a little bit because I didn't even want to watch it bounce!  No sooner did we have the dowel in than we realized that we had forgotten something very important...the bottom cake layer was starting to have the wrinkles!  
driving in the dowel is my least favorite part

At that moment it felt like our world was melting down around us.  Suddenly, we realized that we had a big problem and that this cake would not last for three days without caving in!  Livvy and I were so discouraged!  We had worked on the cakes since 9 am and it was now 3pm!  My mom called Sullivan and they told us to start all over with the bottom cake.  The new plan was to cut the cake off the dowel and then redo the whole bottom cake!  The only good thing was that we still had a day before the cake had to be given to the teacher!  We prayed over the cake and my mom left to go get more strawberry cake mix. I put a message on my Facebook page asking people to pray we could fix it!  Then,  Livvy and I went to watch a movie and calm down before we made the two more bottom layers! (our good friend, Bev, who was praying for us all through this drama because I was constantly texting her about all of this, came over and prayed with us over the cake!)

  What we didn't know at that time, is that mom was calling our other good friend, Denise.  (She is the kind lady that has made our logo and our website!)  Denise used to make cakes for a living and she and my mom and Bev are best friends.  So mom called to pray with Denise but Denise also gave my mom advice.  She told mom how we could actually save the cake!  So my mom came home with the three cake mixes just in case something went wrong, but she also came home with a tall vase and some small stones that look like marbles.  We prayed over the cake and we started to work on fixing it.  Carefully, we all three lifted the two top dummy cakes off the bottom layer and placed the dowel down into the marble-stones and rested it on the vase.  Then, we put the pvc pipes that we cut to 4" pieces down into the cake layer really carefully. (This is the part that should have been done in the first place, before putting the dummy cakes on the real bottom cake layer).   Next, we re-smoothed the fondant and took out the wrinkles.  Then, we stenciled the bottom layer and finally we put the top back on.  
The wedding cake with a belly-button

dabbing a little frosting on to fix a little scratch

We had a little mishap while putting the top two layers back on, and one of us put our thumb up and it made a belly-button in the middle layer.  At that point, we were just so relieved not to have to do the whole cake all over we decided to just tell the teacher that her cake had character!  We did send her a picture of it so she knew what she was getting into and she said she would deal with it.  (see the carefully placed flower picture can't even see the belly-button!)  It was about 8:30 pm when we finally finished but it looked awesome when we were done!

When the teacher's fiancĂ© came to pick up the cake, we were wearing our new shirts that had just came from Franklin Graham!  (He is the one that started Samaritan's Purse and he had sent us a box with some things that all say Samaritan's Purse on them.  We got the box just before the cake was picked up the next day...which was really super fun!)  We all did a huge victory dance in the kitchen and prayed and thanked the LORD for helping us make the cakes as the groom drove away with the cake!  (We also vowed that it will be a long time until we make another wedding cake!  They are a lot of work and a lot of pressure, but it was a great feeling to know that the teacher and her husband liked it!)
The finished cake, all fixed and ready to go

The groom picking up the cakes

strategically placed flowers helped a lot!

The cake looked beautiful at the reception!