Sunday, May 18, 2008

Operation: I Love Mama - Complete

This Saturday was the baby shower event of the year. It has been many months of preparation leading up to a 2 hour event that was over in a flash. Nicole, the proud Mama-to-be, was delighted with the decorations, the food and all the work that the party planners put in for her party. We had perfect weather. It was sunny and warm, so all the guests were dolled up in beautiful Spring dresses. We played Baby Shower Mad Libs, a Baby Memory Game and Baby Shower Bingo, while Nicole opened her huge stack of gifts.

It was so nice to finally reveal my centerpiece. This project proved to be much more work than I had originally planned, but it turned out better than I expected. I will post more on the construction of my centerpiece later this week. (All the Moms have been dieing to see it, so I promised pictures this weekend.) The idea for the centerpiece came from the need to display my Cake Lolipops, inspired by Bakerella. All the guests got to take home a few as a shower favor.

I was really happy with how everything turned out. All the work was worth it to see how happy Nicole was to know how much her friends care about her and how excited we all are for her new baby.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Baby Shower Mad Libs

My good friend, Nicole’s, Baby shower is this weekend! I have been planning this event with two friends since March. We have had planning meetings, email correspondence and research tasks in preparation of what my boss calls, the event of the season. After all this planning it is nice to see things finally coming together and now focus 100% on execution. I’m and calling it, “Operation: I Love Mama”.

I am responsible for the decorations which are coming along slowly. I have made a small forest of Paper Trees and some other things that I have to keep secret until Saturday. I am making a second attempt at my Baking Experiment in hopes that these will work as favors. I am going to be up late on Friday night.

For Baby Shower games, there is nothing but cheesiness. We have gone back and forth on what games we will play. We are expecting a really big group, so we are struggling to find something that is not too interactive, but not too boring. I have suggested a Baby Shower Mad Libs. I combined two versions of Mad Libs that I found to come up with this one. I hope it will be amusing to more than just me.

"Toward the end of her pregnancy, Nicole was feeling like a(an) [ animal ]. Finally, on [ number ] month, she felt a sudden painful contraction in her [ body part ]. Of course, the first thing she did was go to the [ location ] and [ present tense verb ] to keep her mind off of the discomfort. When the contractions became more frequent, Tommy suggested that she [present tense verb ], till she knew for sure if she was in labor. She was sure it was time to go to the [ location ] and give birth to her [ adjective ] baby. Before leaving she called the [ professional ] and said she would be leaving right after she [ past tense verb ]. Within [ number ] minutes of hanging up the phone, she was to the point where she could not even [ present tense verb ] during a contraction. When Tommy walked into the [ room ] and saw her on her hands and knees [ verb ending in ‘ing’ ], he said “we are going NOW!” and quickly packed up the [ vehicle ] and got everything ready. She and Tommy rushed to the [ place ], where they were met by the [ occupation ]. Meanwhile, Nicole’s family and friends arrived by [ mode of transportation ] and gathered in the waiting room. Nicole hadn't been sure whether she would use a pain killer, but as soon as she felt the pain in her [ body part ], she asked for [ medicine ]. Tommy tried to help by counting as Nicole [ past tense verb ]. This went on for [ number ] hours. The family kept busy in the waiting room by playing [ game ]and takeout [ food ]. Finally, the doctor decided to use the [ tool ]. With a scream of [ emotion ], Nicole gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was so perfect, with a [ adjective ] [ body part ], and [ number ] fingers and toes. He weighed [ number ] pounds and [ number ] ounces and measured [ number ] inches in length. Nicole and Tommy named him [ boy’s name ] [ boy’s name ]. All the people in the waiting room agreed that he had Nicole's [ body part ] and Tommy’s [ body part ]. Nicole sang [ song title ] as she rocked the baby, and they all fell asleep dreaming about their new life together."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who are you calling Betty?

Please, excuse my silly blog title. Since I have been baking up a storm lately, my coworkers and friends have lovingly called me names such as Betty Rocker, Betty Bi**h and other versions of the classic homemaker variety. Baking, cooking and being domestic in general is a new thing for me in the past year. I think that it is funny how much it surprises my friends. They think of me as the hostess in heels not the slave of the stove. I still get skeptical looks from people when I tell them, "I made this cake!"

Even though I just posted a cake last week I had to share. I am so in love with my new torte pans, I can stop myself. I did this one with a devils food cake mix and a teaspoon of cinnamon to make it a Mexican chocolate cake. Our neighbors had a Mexican themed party this weekend, so I though this recipe perfect. I added the strawberries and whipped topping just like the yellow cake, but also added Evan’s homemade chocolate sauce and powdered sugar to top it off. The cinnamon added a spicy flavor to the cake, but I’m not sure it was a hit. The next time I do a Mexican chocolate cake, I will do it from scratch.

It is going to be a yummy week as I have a bunch of new recipes that I want to try. Here is my menu plan including dinner yesterday:

Monday – Taco salad (Evan loved it!)
Tuesday – Turkey sausage, broccoli and couscous
Wednesday – Lemon cakes and strawberry amaretto pastries
Thursday - Savory Vegetable Mini Quiches
Friday – No Dinner Plans, it will be baby shower planning freak-out time

Friday, May 9, 2008

Flowers and Sunshine

It is amazing to me what flowers can do to your mood. I had one of "those days" this week where everything went wrong. On my way out to door to work I dropped a glass bottle filled with water on the tile kitchen floor. It exploded everywhere and took me 20 minutes to clean it up. I had to lock my kitties in the spare room because I was afraid they would find all the little glass pieces I missed. I hate to lock them in a room for a few hours when we have people over. The idea of them locked up for a whole day made me panic, but I had to get to work. When I finally made it to work (15 minutes late) I discovered that my computer had a virus. A virus so bad that I had to transfer all my files to another computer so that I could wipe out the infected computer. That took me until 2pm. Not exactly a productive work day. On my lunch break I left a frustrated message on Evan's voicemail, ate some Chic-fil-A and dragged myself back to the office. A few hours later, as I sat slumped in my chair, flowers were delivered to my desk. They were from Evan and instantly I felt better. I could not keep the smile off of my face for the rest of my day. I was surprised by the drastic change in my mood, but I couldn't help but to feel good. This was a very wise move on Evan's part. He could have called me back and listened to me complain about all the things wrong with my day, but instead he sent flowers. Genius.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Strawberry Delight

I ordered a set of torte pans from Pampered Chef with the bonus that I earned for my first two months as a sales consultant. As soon as I took them out of the box, I had a million ideas of what I wanted to do with them. It is a little funny that I have been so excited to bake now that the weather is warmer. Most people don’t turn on their oven this time of year, but I have been filled with baking ideas. For this strawberry delight, I used a regular yellow cake mix and added orange rind. On top are strawberries and a whipped topping accent. That’s it! I was planning to do an orange glaze, but didn’t have time. I have recipe for a lemon glaze that is lemon juice, sugar and butter. I was hoping I could just switch out the lemon juice with orange juice, but maybe I should do some more research. I think this will be a staple dessert recipe for summer get-togethers. Throw some blueberries on there and it is perfect for July 4th.

Monday, May 5, 2008


My extended weekend in Maryland was beautiful. The weather was abnormally warm with a nice breeze down by the water. I got to catch up with all my girlfriends, get my hair cut, do a little shopping and spend some quality time with mom.

I got there Thursday afternoon and had a late lunch at the Mexican Café in Annapolis with my wonderful friend, Jen. The Mexican Café is less than a mile from my mother’s house. The place is tiny with less than 10 tables inside and about 8 tables outside on a deck built on top of the cement parking lot. It is an old building with faded pink, yellow and green paint. It is one of the only places with a patio in that part of Annapolis, so it is always packed. I have many memories of this place. In the summer, you can order your Margaritas while you wait for a table, literally, in the parking lot. From what I remember the Margaritas are horrible. Everyone knows they are horrible, but still the idea of waiting in the parking lot on the side of the road with Margaritas in hand, just sounds like a great idea on a hot summer evening. We did not have Margaritas at this particular lunch, but it was good to catch up with Jen and enjoy the view of 7-11 and traffic on Forrest Drive.

After the Mexican Café, Mom went home and I went downtown Annapolis to walk around and see what is new. It is a place that is ever changing, but the staples of my childhood are always there. The Hat Store where I had my first job still sits at the bottom of Main Street. There are still teenagers huddled around the cement benches outside the Market House where I was sitting when my mom caught me smoking a cigarette in 10th grade. I even recognized some of the people working in the shops from when I worked there 10 years ago. My favorite part of the Annapolis scenery were the May Baskets. I had almost forgotten how every shop on Main Street would hang them the first week of May. We would walk up and down the streets admiring and choosing our favorites. Here are some of my favorites:

Thursday night, Mom and I made mini pizzas using my Pampered Chef recipe and watched my little brother on Ugly Betty. My mom had friends calling at every commercial break and I got text messages from friends who were watching. It was fun to get to see it together.

Friday I went to get my hair done at Bubbles and my Mom tagged along to hang out in the salon. Everyone in the salon was asking how Christian was doing and I had to tell the same story about 15 times as more people would walk by and recognize me. I didn’t mind at all. It is great how excited they are for him. My stylist, Jamie, worked her magic to give me a new hot look. I kept my bangs and have some fun new reds mixed in.

Friday evening I got to spend some quality time with my girlies, Stephanie and Sarah. We met at Stephanie’s new house that I had not seen before. I got to meet her boyfriend’s baby, Angel, who is 2. I just had to take a photo of the baby monitor on Steph’s dresser. My friends are moving in to a new stage of life, which is a little scary, but fun. We ended up having a wonderful time, dancing the night away at Mosaic, a new club downtown Baltimore. It was a much needed girl’s night out for all of us who rarely get together.
Saturday, Mom and I spent the day together. We went to look at condos in Annapolis and had lunch at a new restaurant on West Street. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the restaraunt. It was so nice outside that they had the entire front open to the street.

Saturday night, mom and I went to see the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra at Maryland Hall. I spent most of my childhood taking ballet classes in the Maryland Hall building. The memories flooded back as soon as I walked in the front door. The smell of chalk envoked images of myslef and my friends running up and down the stairs from the vending machine to the classroom in between class and rehearsals. The building is almost exactly as I remember it. The paint is chipping off the banisters and the concrete floor is discolored in the exact way that I recall it. As we walked up the stairs to the third floor, there hung a picture of the Artistic Director of the Ballet Company for all the years I studied there. He passed away a few years ago, but the painting was exactly his likeness as I remember it. The orchestra was nice, but we left at intermission so that I could to visit my friend, Jill, who had recently bought a house. The house was beautiful and spacious. It was great to see her and my other friend, Candace who is her roommate. The three of us danced together all through highschool. Jill and I danced together since we were six. It was nice to catch up and reminisce.

I really appreciate Annapolis so much more now that I have moved away. There is no where like it that I have found. It was so nice to go home.