My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

A [Gasp] GOOD CCC!?!

Well, obviously I don't mean a cupcake cake [patooie!]:

I still have a bone to pick with those.

No, I'm talking about the (drumroll, please)...

Christmas Charity Countdown!!

Or, if you don't like "Christmas," you could go with the...uh... Charitable Charity Countdown!!

Either way, it's a reason to smile...

...and pour a jar of sprinkles on your face.

Many of you remember this crazy thing I did last year, when John and I skipped gifts and decorations and instead donated to a different charity each day for two weeks. I asked you guys to recommend places to give, and invited you to join us by giving a single dollar each day to the featured charity.

But the really crazy thing is that a lot of you did.

Talk about the cherry on top!

Or the airbrushed pimple perched precariously on the perimeter, as the case may be.

The response was so great, in fact, that our little catch-the-spirit campaign helped hundreds and even thousands of people and animals in need. We were also flooded with e-mails & comments from you readers, telling us what a positive impact giving those dollars made on your lives, too.

I love it when a good plan comes together.

So this year, we're doing it again. Twelve days, twelve charities, and (hopefully) twelve of your hard-earned dollars.

This time each charity will be set up with either Paypal or First Giving, so you'll only have to enter all your information once, as opposed to twelve times. Most of you probably already have a Paypal account, and First Giving is a similar set-up (completely free to you to use) that only gives to charities.

Now, I know times are tough. I know many of you are out of work, or just scraping by. John and I lost our painting company because of the economy, and now rely on this blog to pay the bills. So, believe me, I know.

I also know that giving a dollar, and seeing that dollar combine with thousands of other people's dollars to feed the starving, heal the sick, rescue the needy, or just put a smile on a sick kid's face can be the key to a much more meaningful holiday this year.


It's a buck. Four quarters a day. Let's pool our pocket change and see what happens.

Only not in a "hey, why don't we smash these extra cinnamon buns together and make a big ol' green gaping maw of nastiness" kind of way:

The Bog of Eternal Stench gets "festive."

So, starting today, there will be a short addendum on each day's post listing the name of a charity, a one sentence summary of what they do, and a link to give. Give your dollar to those you like, and then spread the word! Talk to your kids about it. Maybe go volunteer somewhere. Bottom line: do whatever it takes to remind yourself that there's more to this season than shopping, annoying renditions of "Jingle Bells," and edible snowman crime scenes:

(Hawwwww PaTOOie!)

There must have been some magic to
that hundred gallon jug.
For when they dropped it on his head
he became an accent rug!

Many thanks to Victoria W., Holly G., Elizabeth S., Karen, Emily N., Claire G., & Amanda G., who prefer their door mats unfrosted.


Our kick-off charity is Give Kids the World, which provides children who have life-threatening conditions and their families absolutely *amazing*, dream-come-true vacations to the theme parks here in Orlando, Florida. (Check out the photo albums of the GKTW Village. It's awesome.)

Click here to give your dollar.

Clarification from john: Firstgiving doesn't work with PayPal. However, it is the only site that we found that allows people to give as little as a dollar and for us to track it. Plus, it's super easy to use. A couple of the charities will be set up with PayPal, though, and we will link to those pages when we have one. Thanks so much everyone. You guys are the best. -john

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Reader Comments (92)

Awesome! I'm So glad you guys are doing this again this year! I hope that you will consider Icing Smiles as one of your picks - they bring birthday cakes to critically ill children... definitely a worthwhile cause!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenniffer

If I may suggest another Charity,
Response of Suffolk County.
They're a 24/7 Crisis Hotline staffed by volunteers. This time of year can be a really busy time, and they man the phones every day, including hotlines. They're a part of the national Lifeline Suicide Hotline Network.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermetzdarling

FIRST COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ahem. i think it's really nice that you're doing this again, because I wasn't introduced to your blog then. (don't worry, I caught up)


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Holy cupcake MESS!
Sara from

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara Pierce

Wonderful idea. I'm not seeing how to donate though PayPal,

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Thank you for choosing this charity. Our family spent a week in Florida at Give Kids the World for my daughter's Make-a-Wish trip. It was amazing at how effortless they made the week for us. Not to mention unlimited ice cream from 7:30am - 10pm every day. One of her greatest memories of the trip is eating ice cream for breakfast.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterknittingnut02

GKTW is an amazing place. I've written about the work they do and the unswerving commitment of the staff and the dynamo that is Pam Landwirth, president of the organization. Your readers should feel no hesitation in donating to such a worthy place. Cheers!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Hayes

How do I do it with PayPal?

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren in Hammond

Seriously what IS #3? I've been looking at it from different directions, and I'm STILL not sure what it is.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

I am so glad that you are starting off with GIve Kids the World! My family spent a week there in 2007 during my daughter's Make-A-Wish trip, and we all had an amazing time! We give back to them regularly, and if you have a Perkins in your area, go there for lunch or dinner today- they support Give Kids the World by providing all of their wonderful food free to the families.
Thanks again! And many Holiday blessings to you all!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail

I've been looking forward to this all year!!!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I love how you do this, it fills my nerdy bitter heart with hope.

I do have a suggestion for a charity, too! The Dream Center in Los Angeles helps thousands of homeless and disadvantaged people in the city everyday. If you have the time, look into it! I have spent many hours volunteering there and it is utterly life changing.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie the Nerd

Hi Jen,

Thanks so much for doing this every year. Not everyone has an army of dedicated blog reader minions that they can activate to be able to donate thousands and thousands of dollars to be able to make a real difference, so thank you for activating yours and I'm proud to be part of that army. Hope you and John have a good holiday season.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKalani

So glad to see the good CCCs are back! If you're still looking for charities, I'd like to suggest Medshare International ( They take unused hospital equipment (everything from bandaids to surgery equipment and beds) and ship it to countries in need. I've volunteered with them before, and they do amazing work!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think this is a wonderful idea. I pledge to donate every day. I hope all your readers do the same.
Reading the GKTW website made me cry at the amazing things they are doing for these families.
I hope you don't mind if I share this info on my blog.
Happy Holidays!!!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreekmom

Congratulations, John and Jen. You have again "succeeded" at making me glad my co-workers aren't in the office yet today... Heheh.

WV - corys: These CCCs are nearly as huge a trainwreck as the "reality" series "The Two Corys"...

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma!

Love the Labyrinth reference! Me thinks some of those CCC pictures smellllll baaaadddd!

Awesome charitable project again this year! That's only like one Starbuck's a week we're giving up to help people and animals!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

That cake with "Success" on it looks like a side ways Stewie Griffin. WTH?

I love that you do this! So awesome :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Just donated $5:)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm so glad you're doing this again this year--it was amazing how $1 could make such a big difference when we all give together.

I'd like to suggest the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired ( They accept Paypal donations, and their mission "is to prepare children with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities, to reach their highest potential in the sighted world."

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhouka

What a great way to get people together and giving!

I recommend Heifer International as a charity. One cow can literally save an entire village.

My other favorite charity is the Austin Boxer Rescue. It's an entirely volunteer organization that saves boxer dogs from kill shelters and place each dog in a loving foster home until it can be permanently adopted. This year has been really hard for them due to vet bills and an increase in dogs needing homes due to foreclosure.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCara

Wow, excellent idea guys. If I may recommend a charity, how about wounded warrior project? They helped my husband so much after he was almost killed in Iraq, and they're doing the same for other families across the nation.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Whitten

We LOVE Give Kids the World! It's an absolutely amazing place that has been wonderful to our family.
Another charity to consider, is It helps families with children with mitochondrial disease, a progressive disease without a cure.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

long time reader, first time commenter. just wanted to say thanks for doing this has lost a lot of its shine for me in the last five or six years (right about the time i had to start acting like an adult) and things like this make me all warm and fuzzy again.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCristina

Donating now!
I love this blog, but never post.

If I may can I suggest an awesome charity I've had the fortune to help with before. The Joejoe Bear Foundation- They give kids with cancer and other life threatening diseases teddy bears to comfort them since thier parents can't always be there due to work or other reasons and can not go into the rooms during testing/ chemo.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAkuma

He became an ACCENT RUG???


Seriously, I'm laughing out loud and it's embarrassing because there are witnesses.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Connealy

This is awesome! I love that you do this and I promoting philanthropy is so important. If I may, I'd like to suggest a charity: WestSide Baby in Seattle, WA. They take gently used baby and children's clothing, toys, car seats, cribs, etc. and redistribute them to children who need them. They also provide diapers to families who need them. Their overhead is very low, but they serve over 400 childen every month. It's an amazing organization that is green and making a difference for families in need. Thanks for considering them.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachelle

Paypal is not worth it anyway for small amounts as they take too much in fees.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkristen

I'm not loving that FirstGiving has a 7.5% service fee. If we could donate through PayPal then all of our money would go to the charity. Any way to do that?

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon G.

You guys are wonderful!! I'd like to suggest another charity, too.

Angels Among Us

It's a pet rescue that takes animals out of high-kill shelters, usually just before they are to be euthanized. They spay or neuter, and chip the animals, then put them in foster homes until they are ready to be adopted. The group is extremely dedicated to these animals, but their funds are always a little short and they could really use a Christmas boost! Anyway, I hope you consider them for your Charitable Christmas Charity Countdown.

As always, your blog is exceptional!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You guys are awesome. Thanks for being such a good example of what humanity should be.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

If I can suggest a Charity, I'd like to call attention to Days End Farm Horse Rescue ( They care for and rehabilitate abused and neglected horses for a number of states. These horses come to them in appalling conditions - malnutrition, matted hair, rain rot, overgrown teeth and hooves and a number of other medical problems and these volunteers work incredibly hard to get them to the state where they are healthy, friendly and adoptable where possible.

If you go to their site, read up on the Berkeley County, WVa case (aka The West Virginia Seven). These are horses that had to be rescued from a so-called rescue where they were found in worse condition than when they were surrendered. The progress Days End has made on these animals is outstanding.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterspyderqueen

GKTW is the greatest place on earth!!!! I lead volunteer groups there from my school FGCU. It was so much fun, everyone loved just being there, especially helping such a great cause. I highly recommend volunteering there for anyone in the Central Florida area!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBridget

I actually HAVE seen a good cupcake cake. If they do it again, I'll have to take a picture. It was in the shape of a watermelon slice with a bite taken out of it. They made the shapes work together.

The above, however, are clearly not it, though.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I love the blog and have been an avid daily reader for a while now. Thanks for all the entertainment and for the good you are doing now.

If you are still taking charity suggestions. Not For Sale is very close to my heart. It is an organization established by my college ethics professor. They are dedicated to searching out and ending human trafficking and slavery in America and across the globe. The organization trains people to help in the efforts on a local and global basis. Anyone can help!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteromniscience

1. Yay! This is such a good idea. Thanks for doing this.
2. I am sorry. Really sorry for being a pedant here. But: the 12 days of Christmas start on December 25th and end on January 5th (Epiphany starts on Jan. 6th)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I've sent my donation and am happy to do so! Thank you for doing this again this year!!!

I would also like to suggest a charity... Every Little Bottom which is through Huggies and provides diapers for families who cannot afford them.


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryna

Hey guys,

Sorry I'm just now getting on the boards. Let me answer a couple of concerns.


Yeah well.

Kristen and Shannon G.,

Sadly, unless you send a check directly to a charity, there will always be fees. Credit card processing, website maintenance and so on. First Giving and Paypal work out to about the same for small donations. Even giving directly to a charity's website costs them money. The great thing is that after all the donations come in, First Giving sends a big check and the charity doesn't have to do anything.

Jen and I looked for a long time for alternatives but there really are no other sites that are set up as well as First Giving and take donations of only a dollar.

I hope this answers some questions. Thanks for being awesome.


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjohn (the hubby of JEN)

#1 I don't even know what to do with that -- with that red outline, it looks like an ASPCA investigation in progress. A giant bone with dog heads? Someone's seriously disturbed take on a throw (up) rug?? Now that's spooy!

#3 A scrambled-egg cone with a cherry on top -- now there's a cold-weather treat if ever there was!

#6 Cinnamon rolls should not be green. Ever. Green is the universal warning color which in nature means, 'do not put this in your mouth, lest your tongue, in an effort to get away, jumps down your throat and chokes you.' This is why many vegetables are green. Green beans are safe if combined with sufficient bacon to placate the tongue.

#7 Ok on the color of the icing, but the amount...? There is a fine line between 'enough' and 'too much', and these are just over the limit. ;-)

Love the charity idea -- hopefully I can contribute soon.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I work for the Weingart Center ( We're in Los Angeles, in Skid Row, providing housing, meals, employment preparation, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and whatever else is needed for people who are homeless. It's basically ground zero for homelessness in the United States... but we're committed to turning it around and working ourselves out of a job!

I already have $5 taken out of every paycheck to go back to the organization... about half of us do, and another 30% did one-time gifts, and we're on track to raise $4,000 just from our staff this year! A board member has pledged to match the first $5,000 of this It Starts With Me! campaign. Join in... we're doing awesome work!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIronica

Please consider Sanctuary for Families as one of your charities this year. We are the leading nonprofit agency in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children. Each year, we help thousands of victims and their children build safe lives through a range of high quality services including shelter, counseling, legal services, and economic empowerment.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnorejko

Yay! So glad to see you guys are doing this again this year!

If I might suggest a charity (again, actually), I'd suggest the one I volunteer with:" rel="nofollow">Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, located in Mt. Airy, MD and 100% volunteer-run. There are many horse rescues out there, but there are very few that are strictly devoted to rescuing draft horses (and drafts, due to their size, are in particular danger of being sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico). They are funded through a combination of adoption fees and donations (and can be found on Guidestar) and rescue horses from local low-end auctions where they bid against the "meat man", take owner surrenders, and assist various animal control agencies when horses are seized out of neglect and abuse situations. The horses are rehabilitated and retrained to be riding and companion horses and have competed in local shows, ridden in parades, gone on trail rides and camping trips, and performed in various meet-the-public events.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnalise

Awesome first charity. My family had a wonderful time there for my son's Make A Wish trip to Disney World.

May I suggest another Charity? Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD). My son has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It is a degenerative muscle disorder that will cause my son to slowly lose his ability to walk, then live. Most boys with Duchenne do not live past their early 20s. PPMD is a wonderful charity and has really helped our family and all boys with Duchenne. They are dedicated to saving the lives of this generation of boys.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie P

I love that you guys are doing this again!

I think one charity that definitely deserves some attention is the Trevor Project. It helps LGBTQ youth who have been kicked out of their homes to find places to stay, and discourages suicide among the community.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I've been waiting in anticipation for this year's CCC to start. I followed along and gave last year, and was very excited to see that you decided to do this again. I'm looking forward to the charities you spotlight this year and I love your first pick of GKTW. To anyone visiting or living in the Orlando area - you can volunteer at GKTW for as little as a few hours.
Now about those cakes, what even is the one that says "Success"? Is it a key...?

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNICOLE

Woo Hoo! I'm glad you're doing this again this year! GKTW is awesome. I'm on their mailing list from your charity tour last year. Makes me tear up every time I get a newsletter!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal Pistol

Are you going to have St Judes hospital on the list?

wv: imped - like impaled, only they aren't paled yet.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

If I may suggest a charity, how about the Sophie Lancaster Foundation?

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Glad you're doing this again--it brought a lot of cheer to me last year.

Only one comment: you might want to consider rephrasing the last paragraph, because the first thing one reads about the charity is:

"Give Kids the World, which provides children with life-threatening conditions..."

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCeci

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