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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Smarty Mom: Cassandra Hall


By Rachel H

Welcome to another Smarty Mom Saturday, where we will meet Cassandra Hall. Cassandra wears many hats, as she is a mom & wife, but also a coach, an entrepreneur, an employee, a volunteer, and best of all - an inspiration.
Cassandra and her husband, Curtis have two children, Curtis III (11) & Neyah (10). They thoroughly enjoy family time, but also make sure to schedule a date night each Thursday with each other.

Cassandra works part time at the after school program at Meadowlark Elementary School & recently co-coached the Girls on the Run program there as well. She is the owner/operator of Queen of Cakes & Baked Goods, LLC Home Bakery. She enjoys volunteering at the Salvation Army, Meadowlark Elementary and the Middle School PTA. Cassandra enjoys reading spiritual motivational and self improvement books and is on a constant quest to make life better for whomever she encounters. Her passion is helping disadvantaged populations, primarily older adults. She loves to sit and talk with older adults because their wisdom motivates her to be a better person.

Cassandra says, “I have learned to not take the simple things in life for granted and I guess that is my biggest accomplishment - it's truly helped me to relish every moment even the not so pleasant ones.”

Here is a little more about Cassandra …

What inspired you to open Queen of Cakes & Baked Goods, LLC Home Bakery?
Cooking has always been a hobby for me. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and creating recipes. One day a friend encouraged me to try selling my desserts. I was hesitant for a long time then one day thought …’what do you have to loose’ and gave it a shot. I started around Christmas, which I found is a good time to sell baked goods. I was really happy with the response. It was especially rewarding when people came back for second and third orders. I

Tell us more about how we can see your selection of baked goods and place an order?
My business is fairly new so I am in the process of finalizing my menu. I have been selling my baked goods at the Mostly Local Market and Ciccione’s Restaurant in Lewisville, NC. Word of mouth has sent a lot of business my way. I am a custom order bakery able to complete any special occasion cake: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, character cakes, breakfast breads/muffins, pies, cobblers and cookies. I can be reached at order@queenofcakes.com or call 336-602-2528. My website is under construction, but you can see it here at www.queenofcakesnc.com!

What was the most difficult part of starting your own business?
Deciding! It is one thing to talk about starting a business and totally different to actually put those words into action. I think once I decided to do it, the fear subsided, the planning started and everything else just fell into place. My business is small and for now that’s okay.

I love how you are so optimistic and seem to bring joy to those around you. What is the best piece of advice you can give to moms who may be at the end of their rope?
Motherhood is a gift that we should appreciate even when you feel like pulling your hair out. I believe that children really are a blessing from God and I once read a quote that I think put things into perspective for me. “It’s your decisions and not your conditions that determine your destiny”. No matter what the condition I have control and my decision can actually make the situation better. When my children are screaming … I can choose to scream, too or I can make a better choice perhaps separate for a moment to meditate, to gather myself so that I can turn a potentially bad situation into something positive. I think that frustrating moments are times when we are challenged to change for the better. I am always proud of myself when I make the better choice! My advice is to come up with a list of “better choices”, something you can pull from when you are having the end of the rope moments. This strategy has helped me to teach my children better ways of dealing with anger and frustration and that should make any mom proud!

What is your favorite way to spend family time?
I like to spend time discovering new things with my family. Sometimes we try a new food, take a new adventure or simply talk about a new perspective on issues. I think it makes us stronger as a family when we discover new things in life together. It also creates a lot of ‘do you remember… when’ moments!

Where is your favorite place to go on your Thursday dates?
We have our dates while the children are in school because my husband generally gets every Thursday off. We have become partial to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, especially on a cold winter days when we are charmed with the seat in front of the fire place. We like to sit and talk about our dreams and blessings…it helps us keep life in perspective. It may sound a bit cliché but it is truly the simple moments that I enjoy most. We choose not to complicate our date time. We could sit and sip on coffee anywhere as long as we are doing it together. We also like to make a routine stop to Barnes and Noble.

Where is your favorite place to eat out as a family?
I don’t know that we have a favorite place to dine. I think we are pretty spontaneous when we eat out. The children are partial to Chili’s, Olive Garden, Ciccione’s and Captain’s Galley. Of course for them it’s all about the children’s menu selection.

What is your favorite family tradition that you hope your children will carry on?
Every birthday I wake the honoree up with a camcorder in face to record the special day. This is something that we cherish and the children plot how they will react to the camcorder on their special day. It makes for a great family movie night. I enjoy seeing the progression through the years.

What is the best piece of advice your own parents gave you?
My parents taught me to live who you are and to never try to become someone else. They told me that God made me the way I am for a specific purpose and that imitating someone else would cause me to loose my unique value. Thank God I believed them!

What is the best way you save money on your children’s clothes?
I never taught my children to be name brand conscious and I hope this will save us in the long run. I like to shop around for a bargain so I try not to purchase on a whim. I also try to take advantage of change of season sales – it’s a great way to prepare for the upcoming year while saving a boat load of cash.

What is your favorite mom’s must have gadget for around the house?
I must admit I am a kitchen appliance junkie! If I must single out one item it would be my bread oven. I like that you can throw all these ingredients into a metal pan, never stir and get this amazing bread. My favorite is the raisin bread slightly warmed with honey butter … yummy!

Do you have a favorite child’s birthday party you have attended or thrown yourself?
I must say that my daughters 9th birthday was a lot of fun. She was born in December so I always make an extra effort to keep her birthday separate from Christmas. She wanted a Gingerbread House party. So what started out as fairly simple quickly became more complex. I had this genius idea to make all the gingerbread houses from scratch to include the icing. It took four days to complete this project. For birthday favors my mother-in-law and I made all the girls aprons – they turned out really cute. My daughter wanted to standout so she came up with her own apron design and we created it. This birthday party was a lot of fun what should have been a simple party turned into and event to remember. She had a purse cake to top it all off.

What has been your favorite or most helpful blog thus far on Triad Smarty Pants?
All the blogs I have read are great! I don’t know that I can single one out because I have found something helpful in most of the blogs. It’s also nice to view others perspectives and insights.

I wish someone had told me sooner about …
how the power of forgiveness will set you free from self-imposed bondage.

I could not live without my …
Bible. It is my inspiration through life’s journey.

Cassandra truly is a Smarty Mom, and we appreciate the time she took to answer these questions for us. If you know someone who you consider a "Smarty Mom," email us at triadsmartypants@gmail.com to nominate her!

6 comments:

Catherine said...

Wow ... you sound like someone I need to spend more time with so I can stop being such a negative nelly! Congratulations to you and all of your wonderful accomplishments and also your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

I have met Cassandra through our children's school and she truly is WONDERFUL! Great pick today!

Elizabeth M said...

I love the Mostly Local Market and have bought homemade muffins there before. If that was you, I say YUM! Can't wait to see your website when it is up and running. My family always makes a huge deal about our birthday cakes, so I will definitely keep you in mind.

Penny Zirk said...

Cassandra Hall is a wonderful person and a wonderful mom. I feel that God brought Cassandra into my life to teach me something and I truly learned a lot from her. We now live many miles apart but I think of Cassandra often and Thank God for my wonderful friend.

Nikki Francis said...

Again, you get it right TSP! Cassandra, you are so very loved and it is easy to do as you give freely and whole heartedly with your time, dedication, motivation, positive smiles and attitude! I'm blessed to know you and your sweet baby girl!

Bernarda Kwiatek said...

Wherever I have lived God always put a special Angel around me, and you are the one he put for me in NC. Cassandra.. you are a blessing and an inspiration to me. You are a great Mom, a dear friend, a smart woman, an excelent cook and most important of all a wonderful Christian. You have it all SMARTY MOM!!

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