Dear Holly: The $2.99 Chocolate Puppy Cake from Kroger

1 year, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week, our family managed to make it through all of the 1st season of Nailed It! on Netflix. I had suggested your brother check out the show, after I had spent the week before watching both seasons of Master of None, where the main character who is an aspiring actor, has to settle for being the host of a show called Clash of the Cupcakes.

And yes, Nailed It! was every bit as silly as I imagined it to be, based on the fictional concept of Clash of the Cupcakes and the Internet meme. And yes, your brother genuinely loved the cake competition show as much as I knew he would.

Last weekend, your brother announced to me in the car, as I was taking him hiking while you were home with Mommy:

“Hey Daddy… Mommy said we could look at cakes at Kroger and maybe get one.”

So after our hike, I let Jack look at cakes. To my amazement, there was a chocolate puppy cake for only $2.99. I had no issues paying so little money for a cake so cool; a cake I knew that both you and your brother would enjoy.

As we walked in the door, Jack and I both announced to you,

“Holly, we brought home a puppy cake!”

Your response: “Puppy? Puppy. Puppy!

So after we ate our veggie soup that Mommy had cooking on the crock pot, Mommy cut the puppy cake for dessert for you and your brother.

Jack immediately dived in, as if it were his birthday. (In reality, it’s your birthday and mine that are coming up.)

To my surprise though, you didn’t really care about eating the cake. You just wanted to play with the plastic cover the cake came in.

You had a great time walking around the kitchen and living room with it on your face like a mask. Then you enjoyed stomping on it in the likeness of Justin Timberlake smashing the disco ball on one of his album covers.

Your brother loved the cake. You loved the container it came in. Classic.



I Invented the Vegan Frosted Chocolate Coffee Cake at the Whole Foods in Franklin, Tennessee

I Invented the Vegan Frosted Chocolate Coffee Cake at the Whole Foods in Franklin, Tennesse

If you ever visit the Whole Foods in Cool Springs (Franklin, Tennessee), just turn to the right as soon as you walk in, and go all the way to the back of the store, where you’ll discover their bakery department; which is where I ordered my son’s vegan birthday cake a year ago when he turned 4.

Once you are standing there in front of their bakery display, you’ll notice a few containers of chocolate coffee cake, marked “VEGAN”.

That’s because of me. You’re welcome.

I invented the vegan frosted chocolate coffee cake about a year ago.

After we had bought my son’s birthday cake last year, I then specifically looked in the Whole Foods bakery to see if they already make some kind of vegan cake on a daily basis for my wife and I to casually enjoy.

Turns out, they did: For about 2 bucks, I could get a small vegan chocolate coffee cake; which serves about 4 people.

But there was no icing.

So I asked the baker if they had any vegan icing they could put on there for me, being familiar with the fact they indeed make vegan icing because of my son’s birthday cake.

The baker went to the back, and returned with my piece of vegan chocolate coffee cake; this time with icing.

To get the icing, it does cost around a dollar more, since they charge you by weight; but it’s worth it.

I made a habit of having them frost it for me and it wasn’t before long that they just began including the icing on those cakes anyway; keeping them in stock not only for me, but for the general public.

Therefore, I take credit for making it possible for vegans in to walk in to the Cool Springs Whole Foods and pick up a vegan treat.

My name shall go down in history.

Dear Jack: You Won 2nd Place in the Williamson County Lego Competition!

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: You Won 2nd Place in the County Lego Competition!

Mommy and I are so proud of you! You had been confidently telling us, “Mommy… Daddy… I’m going to win.”

You were right.

Dear Jack: You Won 2nd Place in the County Lego Competition!

This past weekend as soon as we got in the doors of the Williamson County Fair, we headed straight over to the Lego tables to see how your entry did in the competition.

Right away, I blurted out to you and Mommy, “Jack, you won 2nd place!”

That means out of all the 4 to 8 year-olds in Williamson County who entered the competition, the judges thought your entry was the 2nd best. Seriously, that’s a huge deal!

I love the fact that you competed with kids who were nearly twice your age and still won.

One of the main things the judges were looking for was originality. I can solemnly testify the 3 “space vehicles” you created were completely your own.

Mommy and I had no part in helping you at all.

Building Legos is what you do. You’re constantly building new creations every day; only to tear them apart and come up with new ones by the end of the week.

I’ve actually seen you make more complicated Lego inventions than the ones you entered. The winning entry just happened to be the collection of the ones you made that particular week.

Mommy and I have been saying it for a while now… and your teacher Ms. Aimee has been saying it too…


“We have a future engineer on our hands. What else would Jack possibly be?”

You love to make your own Lego inventions- and they always have to be symmetrical. No one taught you that stipulation, but it’s an unbreakable law in your code to building Legos.

With all that being said, you’re just as talented at building actual Lego sets with instructions. You recently spent some of your own money on a new set that was targeted for ages 8 to 14.

I barely helped you at all. Actually, I was relieved you pretty much took care of building it because I might have gotten too frustrated to finish it.

You and I made an unboxing video for the set: Legend of Chima: Eris’ Fire Eagle Flyer.

Your 2nd place Lego award is your first ever real award! Mommy and I just couldn’t be prouder of you!


Oh yeah, and while we were at the fair, you also won your very first game prize. You popped balloons with darts and got to pick out an animal: You named her Libby the Lizard.

You’re a natural!


We also had a lot of fun this week because we celebrated Mommy’s 34th birthday at Whole Foods, with vegan pizza and cake!



And you even drew these really cool pictures for her!





Destructive Thoughts Vs. Actual Actions

Last summer as my wife and I were strolling down the streets of Stonington, Connecticut, we walked by this telephone pole that oddly had a fire alarm attached to it.  I had never seen one outside before.  It made me think how easy it would be for any punk kid to pull it as a prank, being that this particular street didn’t have heavy traffic or security video cameras.   But I am also fully aware that I at one time was a punk kid who threw stink bombs in the locker areas during break in Junior High and never got caught.  That punk kid from 1994 still tries to give me sneaky/bad ideas sometimes.  Fortunately, I usually don’t listen.

Like today when I was at Starbucks I saw an untouched, colorful cake with the words “Good luck Jared” on it, sitting on a table with napkins, plates, and a knife.  I stepped towards the table in order to cut the first piece, then realized, “Wait, you don’t know that cake is for you to enjoy and even if it is you can’t assume that they’re cool with you taking the inaugural slice.”  Moments later, one of the workers came by, picked up the cake and utensils, and took it to the “employees only” area.  Good thing I didn’t follow my first instinct.


People who ride bicycles on the road alongside cars annoy me.  They have way too much confidence, assuming that most drivers truly are treating them with caution and will cater to them.  I support their love of physical exercise, but they just rub me the wrong way.  Every time I’m driving my car alongside a cyclist, I have to consciously stop myself from wanting to veer over near him.  Not to actually hit him.  Just scare him and shake things up for him.  Then I remember, “Wait, you can’t do that!  That’s mean.  Funny, but mean.”

But these surreal temptations don’t always involve me hurting other people, sometimes they involve me hurting myself.  When I was about 12 years old, I was pouring gasoline through a funnel into the lawn mower.  The heavy fumes hit me.  I remember thinking, “What would happen if I drank some of this?”  I was in a daze for a few minutes.  When I snapped out of hit, I was convinced I really did drink gasoline.  After 30 minutes, I realized I probably didn’t actually drink it because I didn’t feel sick.


I always have the same dangerous thought when I am at the mall walking next to the 4 foot tall glass balcony on the 2nd floor.  When I look down and see those annoying middle-of-the-isle tent booths selling sunglasses, cell phone jackets, and jewelry cleaners down on the floor below, I am tempted to jump on top of the tent, knowing that surely I can’t be hurt too badly from the semi-cushioned fall.  And knowing I would be doing the general public a favor by eliminating one more potentially obnoxious vendor.


There is a thick line between thinking a destructive thought and actually doing it.

What if our secret, private thoughts constantly popped up on everyone’s computers like the “live feed” on facebook?  We often have such evil, corrupt ideas going through our heads.  But they are kept safe from leaking out into the world, depending on how much common sense we have.