(L-R) SPC Perez, SPC Beck, SPC Rider, SPC Scala Abu Ghraib Prison February 2004
Lillie on her first day of school
Me and Lillie at Boulder Crest Wellness Retreat
Meet the Owner
As a personnel specialist, I proudly served with the 320th Military Police Battalion in Iraq from February 2003 to April 2004. Today I struggle with PTSD and depression but have found that baking brings quiet to my mind and soul. To carry on my mother's tradition of baking her kids' birthday cakes, I began baking all the birthday cakes for my daughter, Lillie. I found that I truly enjoyed the process and the creativity of it all.
Lillie Pad Creations creates custom desserts convenient for busy men and women through consultation and design in order to cultivate long term relationships. It is my mission to bring smiles to people's faces just as my daughter has brought me joy since she was born. I hope one day she will realize just how special she is to me. This is the reason I named the bakery after her.
I made a promise to myself when I started this journey that I would extend the values gained in the Army to my bakery. I promise my customers that I will be honest about what I can and can not do. I promise that you can trust me to complete your design to the best of my ability. I will have the integrity to charge fairly and to tell you when I cannot create your design and help you to find someone who can. I have a duty to my customers to treat them like the special people they are.
I hope that I can help you make your event great.
In April 2016 during a horsemanship clinic in Mississippi, I was asked what I would do if I could do anything. My immediate response was "bake". The more I learned about the Semper Fi Fund's Entrepreneurial and Apprenticeship Program, the more intrigued I became. I wanted to know more. I wanted to do more.
By May 2016, Lillie Pad Creations was born. I knew that I wanted a name that would honor my biggest supporter and my reason for living. My daughter, Lillie, is named after my Grandma Rider. She was a wonderful woman with a quiet strength. On the day Lillie was born my sister gave her a stuffed frog. When she placed it in the hospital bassinet, she proclaimed it was "Lillie's Pad" and a tradition was born. Every room Lillie has had was referred to as "Lillie's Pad" and that stuffed frog has been a part of it somehow. It was only appropriate that my business which brings joy be named after someone who brings me so much joy.
I'm an English teacher by training and a soldier by choice. I bake from my heart and I have great business people supporting me. The Semper Fi Fund program managers, John and Mo, are great along with Brooke and Casey with the Semper Fi Fund Apprenticeship Program. My mom and the rest of my family have been great moral support. I've called on some of my military friends also, and they've answered that call in whatever way they could. They have all helped me so I can focus on creating for my clients. I've taken classes online and in person to become a better decorator, but my baking talent all comes from my mom. She's the one person who I would say started me on this path. I have big shoes to fill but am up to the challenge.
By June 2016, I decided that I wanted to take a natural approach to my cakes and desserts. More and more people are gluten intolerant, want no sugar, or want all natural, fresh ingredients. I wanted to fill that void I found in this area. I decided that I wanted to fix desserts that used the freshest and most local ingredients possible found in my area from local businesses. I got eggs from the local farmer's markets. I got my fruits from the local orchards and farms. I buy whole kernel wheat from a local Amish-style store and grind it myself for each dessert I make. I try to use the best milk and dairy products I can find. I am starting to create more desserts with gluten free flours.
This doesn't mean all my desserts are this way. It costs more to create with the freshest, most local ingredients. I know that there are people who don't care if I use a cake mix as a base or milk from a box store. My goal is to offer all the options for everyone. I want to be the baker you come to when your child who's allergic to gluten wants a cake for his or her birthday, but you don't want to sacrifice taste or design. I want to be the baker you call to create your all natural wedding cake. I want to be the baker that works with you to get the best value for your money. I won't be the baker who can beat out Walmart prices. But I will be the baker who creates a dessert that probably will be gone at the end of your event.
Lillie Pad Creations is a “cottage kitchen” at this time as designated by the Virginia Department of Agriculture, but I am in the process of obtaining my license thru them. The Semper Fi Fund and the Home Depot Foundation both contributed to a total kitchen remodel that will allow me to become an inspected kitchen and begin retail sales. Without these two wonderfully supportive organizations, I would be so much further from my dreams. I owe them a great deal of gratitude. It is for this reason that 10 percent of all my sales goes to the Semper Fi Fund to support the Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program and the Apprenticeship Program.