Rouse children bake up big dreams

Family tradition - Abbey Rouse applies frosting to some cupcakes with the help of her little brother, Tanner.

By Randi Sargent

Abbey Rouse, age 10, adjusts a gallon-sized bag of blue frosting in her hands as she decorates two trays of cupcakes. Her parents, Darwin and Katherine Rouse, owners of Thee Abbey Kitchen, are not the only entrepreneurs in the bakery business, and Abbey isn’t the only kid in the kitchen. Along with her brothers Porter (11) and Tanner (7), she is preparing baked goods for the small bakery stand they set up outside of Thee Abbey Kitchen. Their goal is to raise money for a pony, a pony cart, and a saddle.

The Rouse kids plan to offer rides and pictures with the pony in order to benefit Thee Abbey. Porter describes the family’s business as a “team effort.”

Every Saturday the bustle in the back bakery and the sprinkle-covered floor are evidence of the hard work it takes for the kids to achieve their vision. They bake about four batches of homemade goodies: a variety of cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. The prices for individual or packaged desserts range between 25 cents to one dollar. Despite these low costs, the kids raised an astounding $360 their first day at the stand.

With their first paycheck they made their biggest and cutest investment, a tan and white show pony named Dallas. Abbey said they are glad the pony was already named Dallas before the kids bought him because “he would have been named something weird, like our dog Pip.” Despite this, Tanner coined the nickname “Dally-Wally” for the new member of the family.

Dallas lives on the family farm down the road from Thee Abbey where their parents own horses as well. The kids feed, ride, and keep fleas out of Dallas’ mane, or as Tanner calls them “Mohawk bugs.” The trio is determined to learn how to train their pony, a job that is very new to them. “I don’t know much about horses,” Abbey commented as she led the pony around the yard with Tanner riding bareback. “I don’t even know how to put the saddle on him!”

The Rouse children’s next goal is to purchase the saddle and cart. However, Tanner usually stays out of the kitchen. His niche lies in sales. One Saturday morning when the goodies had sold out, he began to sell seeds that he had collected from the restaurant grounds. Abbey chimed in, “He actually sold some seeds, too.”

The children take their entrepreneurship very seriously. In fact, Porter says one day he will take over the family business. Abbey, however, disagrees with her brother. She claims she will run Thee Abbey Kitchen someday because Porter and Tanner have secret plans to run off to an island.

Porter, Abbey, and Tanner invite everyone to visit their bakery stand on Saturday mornings. They are eager to fully fund their project so they can introduce Dallas to their visitors.