Tag Archives: Entertaining

Girlfriends Dinner 2012

Happy Holidays everyone,

Have you been as busy as I have? Children’s choir Christmas concert, shopping, entertaining, and working. Does it seem like there is not enough time to get it all done?

I just wanted to take a few moments to talk about my annual Girlfriends Christmas dinner. This made the eleventh year that I have had this event. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been going on this long. It was last weekend and let me tell ya, I love to see my girls; but I’m glad it’s over. I had spent a three weeks prepping for this one night. I had list on top of list, had purchased some table accessories, designed (if not sent out) invitations, and researched the perfect gifts for my girls. Let me give you a quick rundown of the week leading up to the event.

I decided back in August that I would be having the party on December 15th because I knew I would be hosting my families Christmas get together and I wanted to leave the weekend prior to Christmas open. Like I said the list with info for the party had begun the beginning of November. I mailed the invitations out the week before (yes, I still mail out invitations not send an e-vite.) and began making the edible gifts on Monday (my day off) and had the carpet cleaner come on Monday also. I went to work on Tuesday and came home to make some more chocolates. This year I decided to make molded chocolates along with Christmas cookies. I bought molds from JoAnn’s and made a caramel filled chocolate (looked like mini Reese cups until you took a bite) and then took some pretzel pieces and Rice Chex cereal and used a peanut butter flavored chocolate to make large round molds (I used to molds that are for covering cookies). I dipped pretzel rods with chocolate and covered peanut butter crackers in chocolate. I made sugar cookies and chocolate sable cookies. I did most of this work on Monday.

The babydoll had her choir concert on Thursday (it never fails this concert is on the same week of my dinner party every year…what’s up with that? Smile with tongue out) so we had a longer rehearsal at the venue on Wednesday. Thursday was a bust as far as party preparations went because the concert was on that day and we had to get her at the venue by 6pm and once we got home from school pick-up it is after 4. We needed to eat get dressed and run out the door. And we still were trying to make sure that she was ready for her test the next day. (She had a reading test – I have to write an entire post about reading and the babydoll – and a spelling test.).

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It’s not the best picture, but I really didn’t want to have someone else kids in the photo AND all of the photos I have of her pre-performance have her looking like she really wasn’t excited about performing and she really did.

Friday I had two clients and I wanted to get some prep work done for the next day. Stan and babydoll decided to leave for the weekend trip Friday evening instead of getting up Saturday morning which was fine by me because it would mean I would be free to really concentrate on the dinner party. I had made the dessert and the rice for my rice balls before I called it a night at 11:30pm.

Saturday, I awoke bright and early but had to wait a couple of hours for some of the stores to open. I still needed to go to Bed Bath & Beyond for a Crème Brule torch, I needed to go to Bath & Bodyworks for the smell good gift, I needed to go to JoAnn’s to look for fabric to use as a table covering and I needed something to put the sweet treats in, I wanted to get some more flowers for the vase that went in the middle of the table and finally there were a few things I still needed to get from the grocery store as well as some groceries for the following week. You may ask why did I wait until the day of to go get additional groceries. Because Meijer (my store of choice along with Kroger) was giving 5% off groceries to mPerks members and there were some other items that they were having a 2-day sale and Downy fabric softener (it was on sale for $3.99 and I had a $1 off coupon) was one of the items in this sale. Ya’ll know how I am about a bargain. My timing was still good, so I had time to shop that morning. I had gotten fabric, flowers, sweets packaging, smell goods, dog food, and torch all before 10:30 (I left the house at 9).

It wouldn’t be my life without a hiccup and this was mine…I had my china in our storage unit. I had asked my wonderful husband to pull them out for me earlier in the week, but he stated that he had pulled them to the front of the storage unit so that all I had to do was open the door to the unit and put them in the car. I looked in the door for my key to the storage unit and it wasn’t there. I called him (he was in Chi-town) and asked where’s my key and he said maybe it’s on the pass through in the kitchen. I drive back home and there’s no key. Surprised smile My mother became the calming voice in my ear because we Johnson/Lynch’s are very passionate people and a very negative passionate response was about to erupt. She said we could use my grandmother’s china and her chargers. I lost about 1 hour of my well laid out time table, but my mother was there to help me out and we got it done. The second hiccup occurred when the in house speakers would not connect to my iPod, but my sister-friend found the music channel on the television and we moved forward.  With the awesome help of my mother, I was able to get dinner prepared as much as I wanted, gift bags made, and a table set.  Mind you the table was set fifteen minutes before the guest arrived, but it was set.  I think it turned out pretty good considering I was using borrowed china and every piece of flatware I owned (my good set was also in storage, I’m so getting my stuff out of there.)

Table

I pulled a chair out of my office for the middle seat and didn’t really need to (my guest didn’t make it. Sad smile

Table2

I decided to have an Italian themed dinner with the exception of the dessert. I’ve realized that my girls will always get a specialty cheesecake every year – that will be my signature item each year. This year I made a Crème Brule cheesecake complete with an almond crust. Here was the rest of the menu…

Appetizers: Baked Fontina Cheese w/Italian bread for dipping along with Rice Balls we had Prosecco with this course

Soup: A version of Olive Gardens Tuscano Suppa

Salad: Panzanella

Main Course: Vegetable Lasagna, Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken with Creamy Herbed Polenta I served a Moscato with this because I knew they weren’t a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio group.

Dessert: Crème Brule Cheesecake

Cheesecake

Cheesecake top

This photo was taken the next day because we were having such a good time, I forgot to take photos of dinner.

Five of the eight ladies showed up…one had to miss out due to a family health emergency, another had another family holiday commitment and the other I’m not sure about yet. We ate, we drank, and we were very merry. We promised that we wouldn’t wait until next Christmas to do this again. Maybe I’ll have something this summer…I mean we have a great looking patio that I want to get some use out of.

What about you, are you doing any holiday entertaining?

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Books, Authors, and Mexican

This past weekend was my book club scheduled monthly meeting.  Because we were scheduled to do a phone interview with an author I volunteered to host because I had a speaker phone.  My good friend and fellow book club member asked what I planned to prepare for dinner.  She mentioned that she really loves my guacamole and Pico.  So Mexican it was.  I decided to make an enchilada casserole, black bean & corn salad, and yellow rice with cilantro, tres leches cake, guacamole and Pico de Gallo  with chips, and strawberry margaritas.

We talked to a new author, Casey Holloway, and talked about his book, Get’ N Hammered, which is the first of a series.  The meeting and interview went very well and you can check out our blog for more details.  

The food was fabulous (as usual).  Everyone always seems to get caught up eating the main courses and then is stuffed by the time dessert roles around.  I told everyone to stop eating and save room for dessert, I had a 13 x 9 pan of cake and I didn’t want to have it left after everyone went home. 

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As we were sitting discussing our next moves I heard something in the kitchen that sounded like my dogs tags jingling.  I call her into the room and guess what?…she has a beard full of cake crumbs.  Sad smile  My dog has never gotten up on the cabinets and tables….why did she decide to do it on this day?  I couldn’t be angry with her because I was the one who left the cake out on the table.  I didn’t get to try any of the cake because I never have an appetite after cooking.  Does this happen to anyone else?  So the next day I made myself a pan of peanut butter, caramel brownies. Smile 

I’m glad everyone enjoyed dinner (Stan and my baby doll included) and our book club has made another author friend.  Sugarbook Club is becoming a well recognized club within the Romance Writers world.  

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The busy season

I always knew the month of May was a busy one for me with the Babydoll’s birthday, ending of the school year, Babydoll’s choir Spring concert, Mother’s Day, etc.  This particular May I also had to add my annual Book Club trip to West Chester, OH for the Lori Foster Reader/Author Appreciation Event (check out sugarbookclub.wordpress.com for more about that) to the schedule as it is always the 1st weekend in June and that ended up including the last few days of May as well.  Oh yeah…did I mention my sister, her husband, and eldest daughter graduated this month.  My sister and her husband finished up Bachelor degrees and my niece from high school.

I was prepared to tackle this month.  I had my game plan ready.  One thing I could not, nor had I not, plan was the death of my grandmother.  My grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago when we had brought her up her from Louisiana for a visit.  She had doctors here because we just didn’t feel that she was getting adequate diagnosis where she was.  Not to say that the doctors where she was were not competent, just that here there was more thorough testing done.  Anyway, Mrs. Lady as I ended up calling her along with the formal Grandmother, lost her fight with the disease the same week of Babydoll’s choir concert and birthday (yes, there were in the same week – dress rehearsal and concert Wednesday & Thursday and party that Saturday. Surprised smile).  My family had to coordinate massive travel arrangements because we had to go back to Louisiana for the funeral and burial and we had quite a few of us coming from various locations.  It turned out we headed out the week in-between the birthday party and my trip that was already paid for.  But ended up missing Aleesha-Boo’s graduation (she’s going to get me for saying that – she Tweets that I always find a way to embarrass her; but I remember her as my beautiful niece who stole my stuffed bear when she visited before going to Italy.)

The funeral was very nicely done with a minimum amount of drama.  And I stress the word minimum – this could have been a colossal event that went down in the history books of drama.  Better than any episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I’m going to really miss Ms. Lady and her quick wit, sharp tongue, and abundance of love.  My dad used to call her the 4 foot general (I think she was around 4’10” or 4’11”, but she was a short one compared to my 5’10.5”)

My Babydoll’s spa party was another big success.  We had sent out 10 invitations, but I’m really glad only half of that showed up.  The girls had a good time getting facials,

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getting mani’s and pedi’s

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and drinking “champagne” from champagne flutes (plastic of course).  I spent three weeks making face mask and spa robes and they really didn’t wear them long.  You see, the control panel for the HVAC battery went out and so we were unable to adjust anything until we had a battery.  It had been cool enough throughout the week that we didn’t need to have anything on, but Saturday it got HOT.  By the time we found a battery it took a “minute” to get the house cool again.  The girls just didn’t want to wear the robes longer than what was needed for the facial.  I hired a wonderful young lady to do the mani’s & pedi’s and I did the facials.  It was loads of fun for everyone.   I can’t wait to hear what her thoughts of next years party will be.  She’ll probably coming to me soon with her thoughts on the matter.

Another big event was my Babydoll receiving a “Personal Best” award from the school Superintendent.  It was a surprise for her, and Stan and I had to act like it was school as usual that morning.  What made it super crazy was the fact that there was a lot of construction going on on the way to school that morning and I got her to school just in time to walk down with her classmates to the gymnasium.  I had to run back out to the car to get my purse and camera and find us a seat.  The only bummer was that I didn’t get a good picture of her getting her award.  The zoom lens that I’m currently using is not for my camera; it’s my husbands old lens and it was made for a Nikon that has the focus built into the camera and my camera requires the zoom to be in the lens.  I have to manually adjust the zoom and tight focus and sometimes my camera does not recognize the lens as being attached to the camera – usually at a crucial time like when I’m ready to take a shot.  Can you say birthday gift boys and girls?  This is what I did get (excuse her attire…it was PE day and I couldn’t dress her up without giving away the surprise)

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Memorial Day was spent relaxing and doing laundry (I had to go to work the next day and leaving for Ohio two days later.), but we did spend several hours in the French Quarter before we came home.  Can you say HOT?  I mean HOT!!

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I had every intention of sitting down to have Biegnets at Café du Monde and getting a Shrimp Po’Boy.  The line at Café du Monde was way too long.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the line that long.  I just kept walking on by.  We went to the shopping part of the market and I was able to find a few things (a gift for my Mommy’s birthday & a couple of souvenirs for Babydoll – she loves to bring home something for every trip we take.)

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My husband and daughter was able to get a crawfish Po’Boy, but we could not find a FRIED shrimp Po’Boy for me. Sad smile  I did get a icee – Tigersblood is the bomb, and found my Po’Boy once we got of the Quarter Smile man do I love those things.

With all of the traveling that I did, I’m glad I’m back home (for now) and I had a great time.  Even my grandmothers funeral trip was enjoyable because I had the opportunity to spend some time with family members that I had not seen in a while.  Aren’t we a handsome group (this wasn’t everyone either –  more like half)?

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My handsome brother in his suit (everyone wore a touch of purple because it was my grandmothers favorite color).

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The one I married 14 years ago…be still my heart.  He cleans up so nice.  He really isn’t a drinker…I think that was iced tea. Smile with tongue out

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My cousin from New York husband…all the men looked really good.

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The month of June promises to be just as busy (my Mothers birthday, my nieces baby shower, MY BIRTHDAY!!, MY ANNIVERSARY!!, family vacation) you know how my life is. Smile

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We finally did it

Happy New Year!!

The last time I wrote to everyone, I was discussing the “curses” “joys” of housetraining puppies and the relapses associated with them.  Well…I’m happy to announce that we are no longer having relapses.  In fact the puppy has learned to ring the bell (large jingle bells that we purchased from Garden Ridge a few months ago) when she needs to go out.  We did have a couple of accidents this past weekend, but that will be explained a little later.

I have some very exciting news to share…After almost a year of searching and disappointments and ‘I think we found it’ and ‘we’re going to build’ and ‘we’re in a bidding war’….we found and bought AND moved into a new home.  YEAH!!!! 🙂

OMG!!!  This has been the rollercoast ride of our lifes.  We had thought we had found “our” house a couple of times.  The first time, after we had looked at the house for over two hours only to find out of that an offer had been excepted on it the day before (our realtor was so not happy about that).  Our “second” house was lost after being in a bidding war for a week.  This one was perfect or so we thought…right around the corner from Kristian’s school, it had the rooms that we needed and it was move in ready with the need for a few minor repairs.  A month later we were still looking at houses and getting more depressed by what was out there.

One Saturday after we had looked at one two many houses (even going to look at a house that we had previously rejected) when my husband suggested we look  at a builder.  I had just told our realtor that I wanted to be in a new home by the end of the year.  I knew going to a builder would have us moved in after the new year, but my other options weren’t looking too good.  We checked out the builders and were ready to make a go of it.  We called our realtor to share the good news and she said and I quote, “don’t build there….I can find you a house in that same community for less than what you will pay for new construction and you can be in before the end of the year.”   Did I tell you that I LOVE MY REALTOR?  Within 2 hours she had emailed us listings for around five properties.  One rang a bell for my husband…DING! DING! DING! DING!  We arranged to go see it the next day.  I was so done from all of the previous looks, that I was in a ‘I don’t care’ phase.  When we went to look at the house, I didn’t even worry about how I looked.  I went in thinking I was going to hate it.  I LOVED IT!  It had the basement space for my husbands media room, his office space, a formal dining room, my office/craft room, a guest room…it was great!  My realtor checked to insure that there were no offers (didn’t want that to happen again) while we were looking.  It was all good.  We were like let’s get on it before someone else does.  Needless to say we had to get rid of the mortgage broker we were working with and we put in an offer by Wednesday and got our reply back (counter) by Saturday.

I would love to tell you that the whole process went by so fast that I can’t remember, but it didn’t happen that way.  It seemed to drag on forever.  Even with packing over 15 years of stuff it still seemed to drag on for ever.  Oh yeah and to add stuff onto my stress, I said we were going to host Christmas Eve dinner with our family.  That was two weeks after our move-in date.  YIKES!!  We moved in on the 10th of December and yes I did host Christmas Eve dinner.  It was great, and there was more than enough food.  Sasha seemed to be overwhelmed by all of the people in the house because she ended up having two accidents – one when she was trying to get to the door and someone was blocking it and the other time was discovered after she had hid under the table for the evening.  Yes…the little terror, my Sasha-bear, became overwhelmed and hid under the dining room table.

I have to say that I really am happy with my new home.  The kitchen is butt ugly, but I knew that going in.  It is a very nice size and I will get tons of joy decorating.  I will try my best to post as many pictures as possible.

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Filed under Entertaining, Family, Just Living

Surprise!!!

A few months ago my mother called me and told me that she would like us to have a 60th birthday party for her and she wanted all of her friends to come (she would give me the list) and she let me know what she wanted me to prepare for her meal.  I talked with my siblings and we agreed it could be done.  Later she retracted he wish and said that she was having a day and that it really wasn’t necessary.  I talked to my siblings again and my father and decided that we would do it anyway, it would just now be a surprise party.

The thing about this party was that it occurred two weeks after the babydolls party and one week after my trip to Cincinnati for the Lori Foster Get-Together.  I love my siblings dearly and it is what it is; so I will say that usually I plan and they execute my plans.  Not to say that they don’t help, they do…I just usually feel a lot of the pressure (unless my sister is hosting).  My sister helped picked up some of the decorations and my brother arranged a venue, for that I was very grateful. 

I called my mother on her birthday early and gave her my birthday wishes and told her that I will cook her dinner as my gift to her on Saturday at 7.  That was my decoy. 

I usually talk to my mother daily…and I knew that I would not be able to do so that week because I if I talked to her I would feel the urge to tell her about all of the things I needed to do during the week and since all of those things were for her, I couldn’t tell her.  Then when my mother would call me and comment about us not conversing I always felt a little guilty. 

Three weeks ago, my brother and I talked to my dad and asked him to get me the names of my mothers friends so that I could mail out the invitations.  I didn’t even need the addresses if he couldn’t find them, I thought I could find them from the phone books.  I learned from this event that my father is a BIG procrastinator (my mother has been saying this for years – I just didn’t believe her) and a week before the scheduled party he had not given my any names.  My oldest brother ended up getting a hold of her phone and texting me the numbers to her friends.  I sent out a mass text the next day (the Monday before the party) and SURPRISE my father calls me and said, “oh, I need to get you some names and numbers huh?” I had included him in the text to everyone.  🙂  I then spent the next couple of days making follow-up calls to everyone and contacting (or attempting to contact) all of the friends that I did not have a cell phone number for.

The menu requested was very simple: Baked Spaghetti, Spinach salad with mandarin oranges, candied walnuts and cranberries (served with Raspberry vinaigrette) and the finale was the Red Oven Creations Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Chocolate Mousse.  I also added a Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna with Alfredo Sauce for those who attending that do not eat beef or pork (my brother is one of those people).

I didn’t begin cooking until Friday, just because for me Italian is relatively easy to make.  I had to make pasta sauce (that takes maybe 30 minutes to put together and ~3 hours to simmer), and then put it all together.  The cake was another matter – I was making a three-layer 14″ round.  I measured all of the dry ingredients out Friday morning before heading out to work.  I went to the grocery store on Thursday during lunch (when you have a great list and concise plan you can do major shopping in less than 30 minutes :)) I roasted chicken breast and browned meat for the pasta entrees, baked two of the three cake layers, as well as made the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse on Friday.   I got up early Saturday finished up the errands I needed so that I could get home to finish it all up before heading out around four.  Did I mention we are also leaving this weekend for Florida?  This necessitated a trip to the stores so that we could purchase some summer gear for the babydoll (that childs legs are growing like weeds) and us. 

I finished putting the cake together by 11:30 am

and the pasta sauce had simmered for 2 hours by noon.  I then took some time out to sit on the porch and have a cup of tea with my babydoll.  My niece came over about 30 minutes later and then we put everything together my 2:30.  I took a break and went clothes shopping for my babydoll.  Packing up the car was a job within itself.

The problem arose when my parents arrived 15 minutes before we were supposed to.  My brother told my father 6:15, but the invites said she would arrive around 6:30.  You know how people typically wait until the last-minute to arrive and with a surprise party every minute counts.  We had my father make up a reason to detour and of course my mother was upset thinking my dad was not being efficient with their time and she was trying to get to my house by 7pm for the dinner I was making. 

She was soooo totally surprised when she came in the door.  My mother has never had a birthday party, let alone a surprise party, so she was very humbled by all who attended. 

My mother reading one of her cards.

The food was excellent (thank you very much) and the company was better.  I believe I said after the last surprise party that I would never do this again, and I did another party – so I will say that it’s ALOT of work and I think I’m getting better at it, so I know I can handle the next one that comes along.

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Reader Trip

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written a post and I’m so sorry folks.  It has been sooo busy in the Cork Household the last couple of months.  We had Babydolls birthday party in May and then the end of school (and I volunteered to chaperone the final field trip the last week of school).

I made cake balls for the Babydolls teacher that I were made from melted caramel and chocolate cake.  I then had my trip to the Lori Foster Author/Reader Get-Together to attend at the beginning of June followed by the surprise birthday party for my mother this past weekend.  I so wanted to post about the preparations for my mothers party but could not because she reads my blog and the surprise would be ruined.  I couldn’t put anything on Facebook or Twitter, because she would have found out about it.  It was a really weird week.  And to top it all off the Corks are off to sunny Fort Lauderdale this weekend so I might be slow in posting for another week. 😦  But boy do I need this vacation. 🙂

So let me tell you about the Lori Foster Weekend….

My book club mates and I left Thursday afternoon so that we could attend the Mystery Dinner hosted by author Duffy Brown that evening.  It was such a good time.  I don’t have pictures because I forgot to put the battery in my camera after charging it.  My character was Dee Dee Johnson (my maiden name is Johnson) who was a pick-pocketing waitress who might also be a little “slutty”.  I had on the shortest skirt ever (I hadn’t worn anything that short since I was 21) and it even helped us to an onion ring upgrade at Steak & Shake later that night. 🙂 

Friday we got up and spent some time at Jungle Jim’s. 

I was determined to purchase a few bottles of wine (five bottles of wine, one bottle of flavored vodka, three small bottles of Asti, and 5 small bottles of vodka and tea blends) and I had to buy some bar-b-que rubs/marinades for the hubby. 

The fire truck right above the hot sauce and barbeque section.

I also bought a few bottles of honey (need it for my hot tea). 

Aisle of Honey

 The store is such an adventure in itself, I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cincinnati or surrounding area.  

Giant Pez HeadsYes...that is a pigs head. Who buys it I don't know.There's all kinds of iconic stuff like this throughout the store.i've never seen a bigger produce section in a store.The restrooms...they're really not Port-O's

The conference started on Friday and by the time we returned from the store it was time to register and join the festivities.  Along with the opportunity to meet the authors there are a large number of raffles that happen throughout the weekend with all proceeds going to the charity for the year (this years proceeds went to One Way Farm – a home for abused, abandoned, and neglected children).  You purchase raffle tickets (2 for $1) and place them in the bags for the baskets that you would like to win.  This year I decided to not get carried away with the raffle tickets because I do not win. 

My $20 worth of tickets

I have never won and I go to a couple of these events a year for the past four years.  I limited myself to $20 worth of tickets and didn’t have any high hopes for winning (I actually read during the drawings because I knew I most likely wouldn’t win), I just took it as an opportunity to donate to a worthy charity.   

Our group submitted a basket and this year it was big enough to warrant a spot on the big stage along with all of the other big gifts. 

 The big gifts usually include Kindle’s or Nooks and this year there was even a Pandigital. 

It was a great event.  I got the chance to attend “An Intimate Chat” with Nalini Singh – the author of the Psy-Changling and Archangel series. 

Nalini Singh

 Another member of our Book Club attended the “chat” with Mary Burton- whom I just happened to talk to at the continental breakfast line.

Mary Burton

 

I talked with a publisher and got information for my sister (who is writing a book) while standing in a line to get Nalini’s autograph (I’ve decided to get the cover for my Nook signed by all of my favorite authors which I will reveal after the RomCon event in August).    I did not win any baskets, but a few of the members of my book club did win (one won the most coveted SyFy basket).

We headed home on Sunday after making a stop at IKEA which was right across the bridge from our hotel.  Can you really be this close to an IKEA and not go in?  I think not.

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Happy Birthday Babydoll!!

This past weekend we had my baby dolls birthday party.  It promised to be a day full of a lot of kids and the threat of rain.  I had spent the week planning all of the things that I needed to get done so that I would not feel overwhelmed.  In addition to the party on Saturday, there was a school field trip on Monday that I had volunteered for and a choir concert on Thursday; but I’m supermom so it was no problem. 

Here’s a quick background…a few years ago I paid (handsomely) for an awesome cake for Kristians birthday and I loved the convenience that came along with it.  I mean, you order a cake, you pick it – no stress – it was great.  Now I can make a mean cake and my daughter loves them, so as much as she liked how awesome the ordered cake looked, she now prefers me to make her cakes.  This year in January, Kristian informed me that she wanted a Strawberry/Chocolate Marble cake.  I started experimenting with the process months ago and perfected it a few months back..Yeah! 🙂

Thursday after the concert I started making the cakes.  I used my 14″ pan because we had sent out invitations to 20 kids and their parents, plus my family, godmother, and family friends – I needed a lot of cake.  The process of marbling the batters is intensive.  I make the batters then alternately spoon 3-4 tbsp of each batter at a time.  Here is what the batter looks like before baking.

The finished baked cake ends up looking like this.

I made three layers and filled with strawberry jam to keep and dirty iced it on Friday evening.

My babydoll chose the color scheme of pink and purple zebra print with polka dots and I decided the best way to do this was to use fondant.  I decided to color the white fondant to the colors that I needed.  I got up at 5am on the morning of the party to complete the decorating.  I got a small bucket of white fondant

and keeping my hands lubricated with Crisco, added a few drops of food color to the fondant and kneaded until I reached the color I desired.

I then had to roll out the fondant.  I used to have this handy-dandy plastic sheet that had marks indicating where to stop for certain size cakes.  Well this one time at band camp…no I’m joking. 🙂  One time when Stan was cleaning, he threw it away. 😦  After trying to roll out the fondant on the countertop and having it tear up a couple of times I REALLY needed to find a better way.  Desperation is the author of invention they say and I was desperate, luckily the light bulb came on – PLASTIC WRAP!  I put down three strips of plastic wrap to make a large area and began rolling it out.  OMG it was awesome!

When I got it rolled out to what I thought was a good size I was able to lift up the fondant with the plastic wrap and transfer onto the cake without a hitch.  Plastic wrap guys…use it!  I got the pink base on and then rolled out a thin layer of the purple fondant and cut it into various size strips.  I placed them on along the sides of the cake in a random pattern to make up the zebra pattern.  I then covered the top with polka dots.  The circle with Kristians name was made the night before so that it would have a chance to set.   Here is the finished cake.

I also made a smaller cake for a Grief and Loss class (my awesome mother, the life coach, was the main facilitator).

The party was a great success! 🙂  The bounce house arrived hours early which was a great thing because the kids had a chance to bounce a lot longer than expected (the neighborhood kids had a blast before, during and after the party).  It did start to rain, but it was right around the time that I wanted to get them in to eat, so mother nature helped me get everyone in the house.  My babydoll wanted to have some science “stuff” at her party this year because she really loves science (she wants to be a “science cop”, sounds like CSI to me); so I asked a coworker to come and play “Bill Nye Science Guy”.  The kids loved his experiments – Kristian came to me after the first experiment and asked if she could keep them – they were all done using common household items. 

 When it was all said and done, my babydoll had what she called it “the best party ever” and we didn’t break the bank doing it.  It was a great day.  Have you thrown any great parties lately.

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