The busy life of a full time employee, student, mom and wife

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anthony's birthday

I have so much to write about. But true to the name of my blog, life has just been getting in the way and I really haven't had time. I have to write about my first time ever hosting Thanksgiving, I have to write about Anthony needing ear surgery, I have to write about Christmas, I have plenty I need to dump on you guys, because I know you just love reading about it.

I'll start with Anthony's birthday. My little, tiny, newborn baby turned four years old last Monday!! Can you believe that?! As you know, I decided I'd be Martha Stewart and make everything. For some reason. Shockingly, (even I was surprised) I managed to get everything done. Every single thing I told myself I would make, I did. The week leading up to his birthday party held quite a few late night crafting sessions but it got done. So I win.

Her beer is in a wine glass so she could feel fancy.
I had actual wine, because I AM fancy.
It started with the happy birthday banner. I downloaded this font called Batfont and used that for the letters of the banner. I bought some black poster board, some grey card stock and some yellow scrap book paper that had small yellow dots, sort of resembling comic book dots. I cut out the letters, glued them to the grey paper then cut the grey paper to the same shape as the letter. Then glued the letter onto a piece of the yellow paper that had been cut into round edged squares. Then glued all of that onto the black card stock, which was then cut into squares with pointy "bat ear" type edges. So each letter meant four pieces of paper that had to be cut, shaped and glued together. There are 13 letters in the phrase "happy birthday" and 4 pieces of paper per letter meant 52 pieces of paper that had to be cut, shaped and glued, plus two more for the center bat signal, giving a grand total of 54. Then they had to be tied together with ribbon, that had to be cut. Thankfully I had help. I bribed a friend with promises of beer to come help me cut out letters and my mom cut the ribbon and tied it all together.

We started essentially the same way on the center pieces. I went and got pictures of Batman in action off the internet. Got a few bat signals, got a logo, and printed the number 4 in the batfont and we got to cutting and pasting and more cutting and pasting. In my inspiration for the centerpieces, the lady used small plant pots that she had painted black. I didn't care much for that idea so I got some glass bowls from the dollar tree and painted them black. Then I shaped some of that awful green foam stuff that made a giant mess and stuffed that into the glass bowls. I glued the characters onto skewers and stuck the skewers into the foam. Ta-da! Centerpieces.

The cake was my biggest fear. I decided, similar to how I did with making the skirt, that even though I had never in my life worked with fondant, that I was going to make Anthony's cake. I wanted to lay yellow fondant over the
cake, have a black bat signal in the middle, and have a city along the side. I planned on using pound cake, because fondant is heavy and can make a normal cake sink. But for some reason when I cooked the pound cake it didn't rise enough and it came out hard, so it went into the trash. THANK GOODNESS I had a box of chocolate cake mix in my cupboard. Yep. I cheated and used cake mix but there was no way in hell I was going to have enough time to make ANOTHER cake (because cake #1 was now in the trash)  if I made it from scratch. I mentioned that I was more afraid of laying the yellow fondant than I was of making the bat signal, remember? I was wrong. Laying the yellow was SO easy. All I did was roll it out and kept rolling until it was smooth and mostly even then layed it on the cake. Smoothed it out, cut off the excess and BAM. Done. My plan for the bat signal went wrong though when I forgot to print out a template, so I was trying to form the batsignal by hand. When its 1am and you've been baking and forming fondant since 6pm concentration isn't really your strong suit. I fought it trying to form a batsignal for about an hour until I gave up. I had one mediocre one that I would use in the event that I couldn't get one done in the morning. First thing in the morning I asked Brandon to try his hand at it. I was ridiculously tired (remember that whole 1am thing??) and was really in no mood to fight with it again and somehow he got it done on like his second try. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't clean, it was missing two dip thingys on the bottom, but it looked like a bat signal and that was good enough for me. My city on the side also didn't have windows because I ran out of time and wasn't going to stay up until 2am just so I could cut little tiny yellow squares. My Gotham City doesn't have windows, deal with it.

The cupcakes were far easier than the cake was. I bought a bat signal shaped cookie cutter online, and used that to cut little tiny bat signals out of the black fondant. Then I frosted the cupcakes with plain cream cheese frosting mixed with yellow food coloring, then plopped those little black fondant bat signals on there. Those were probably the easiest thing I made.

I'm one of those really annoying people that likes to incorporate the theme into EVERYTHING. Can you tell? Well I had to have my food themed too. I used my bat signal cookie cutter to cut cheese into bat cheeses, which were layed out with crackers. We had a block of gouda that was named "Ra's Al Gouda" after the bad guy Ra's Al Goul. We had some jokers laughing gas juice, which was just some green kiwi strawberry juice. We had "Two Face's Coins" which was these Oreos that are chocolate cookie on one side and white cookie on the other. I didn't even know that Oreo made such a product, but it was totally perfect for what I needed. I had some goldfish that were "Penguin's fishy friends" that one was totally a stretch, I just needed some more bad guy themed food! I really wanted to have out some bugles and call them cat woman claws but apparently those hard to come by. Until you don't need them anymore, then you see them everywhere.

All in all the party made me seriously sleep deprived but it was awesome. It was definitely a success. Anthony loved it, everyone had fun. Everyone ate. Everyone was happy. I couldn't bring myself to throw away the banner or the centerpieces. Anyone want them??

Let me finish by saying happy birthday to my favorite Anthony on earth. I was only 21 when I found out he was coming but he couldn't have come at a better time. My life has changed so much and I don't know where I would be without him. He taught me what it really is to live and love, and how valuable life is. Thank you so much little man, for making me grow up and for giving my life meaning.

I found out I have a laminating machine at work and MAY have gone overboard laminating the food labels.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Taking a leap?

Photography has been something I have always really enjoyed and appreciated. A few years ago I bought a DSLR camera and for years I simply used the camera on auto and was confused as to why the pictures weren't awesome like other people's photos were. Hesitantly I will admit I gave up. I basically stopped using my camera and it sat in my hall closet like a really expensive paper weight. Until about a year ago, I decided I wanted to dust it off and make an effort to actually learn how to use it. How novel, right?

I am no where near a professional photographer, and really, I'm not sure I ever really need to reach that level. I really have no desire to shoot in manual. But I like to think that I can take some decent pictures of my kids. Over the last year my skills have come leaps and bounds from where they were.

While I've always loved and appreciated photography I don't think there was ever a time in my life when I wanted to be a photographer. I've always wanted to be able to take amazing photos, just not necessarily as my career.

Now that being said, let me contradict myself. I'm thinking of offering up some family/kids photos to some of the families at work. Why? I don't know. To make a little extra money? (I mean a little. I would be charging next to nothing, since I'm not actually a photographer) To prove that I can? To see IF I can? To take photos of someone other than my kids? Or maybe deep down in there some part of me does want to do this and wants to see if I can. Who knows.

Now, Please be honest. Post your comments anonymously if you feel you must, but please look at some of these photos and tell me if they're something you would pay for.

<edited to add> I noticed some snarky comments on facebook after posting this and even though I don't know this person, it was still upsetting. It's hard for someone to completely open themselves up like this. So if you have some criticism at least make it constructive.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I made a skirt!

I am not Martha Stewart. I know, you're all shocked. I like to pretend like I am for some reason, but I'm not. I love to craft. I'm not very good at it, but I really like to do it! Many times, and I mean many times, my crafts are a lot better in my head than they are in real life. My ideas are way better than my skills. Despite my less than stellar results, I just keep on craftin away! As evidenced by the task list I gave myself for Ant's birthday party this weekend. As if making the happy birthday banner, centerpieces, as well as putting the entire party together wasn't enough, I decided I needed to make a batman skirt to wear.

Aside from going old school needle and thread to fix a torn seam here and there, I have never sewn anything in my life. I've never made an article of clothing, until now. Despite my complete lack of skill and experience I decided I could, and should, make this skirt. I have no idea why. I used this tutorial, which made it look so incredibly easy.

All pinned together, ready to be sewn
I went to JoAnnes and got the fabric I needed, got the elastic waist band and got some stitch witchery, to cheat a little on the seam.  Putting the skirt together to prepare for sewing was actually pretty easy. Just cut the fabric to the length you want, use some stitch witchery for the bottom seam, use some for the top (so the fabric is thicker and will stay with the elastic better, put your folds (or ruffles) in the skirt so the fabric fits along the elastic band and pin it all in place. TA-DA! After I got that all done I thought damn, maybe this wont be so hard! That was pretty easy! I was in for a rude awakening.

After I had my brother in law set up the sewing machine for me, (apparently his grandma taught him how to sew) I looked in the manual for a "stretch stitch" the instructions told me which stitch and which setting to use to allow for some stretching in the stitches, it said "for use with elastic" Well perfect! I thought. I was so proud of myself for thinking to look for a stitch that would stretch with the elastic. The problem was, that I somehow messed it up and the stitch does not stretch, at all. I have no idea how I managed to mess it up after just reading how to do it, but considering that was my first ever stitch done on a sewing machine its not all that surprising. Not only is my stitch not stretchy, its also not very straight or clean looking. After sewing the skirt of fabric onto the elastic I decided it was time to sew the side seam. I decided to use a cross stitch so it would be more secure. The problem was, those cross stitches are crazy. Somehow the bottom thread that comes from the bobbin (is that the right spelling for that??) got tangled. I tried to take it out and untangle it but I just made it worse. The more I tried the worse it got. After about an hour of fighting it I gave up. I hand stitched the side seam of the elastic and then stitch witchery'd the side seam of the fabric.

Finished product! Not the cleanest of jobs, but works.
So overall, it works. It's a skirt. As long as I put it on over my head because that not stretchy seam wont fit over my fat butt, I can wear it and still look cute for the party. Just please, don't look closely at it, because up close its not pretty haha.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cake Bossery and other craftyness

Have you ever watched a show so much that you think you can now do whatever it is you've seen on the show? Like if you watch a marathon of CSI you think you could go out and solve a few crimes? Watch some Deadliest Catch and you think you can go out and crab fish? Well I used to watch a lot of Cake Boss. Don't ask me why, but I did. They make that shiz look easy. Fondant people? No problem. Buttercream roses? Childs play.  I don't know why, but I seem to think that I have magically become a pastry chef via Cake Boss.

This is the cake I will be attempting. Attempting.
This coming up week, I'll put my cake bossery to the test. Anthony's birthday party is next weekend and I have given myself the task of making his cake. Really, in the world of fondant and cake making it's easy. Easy...relatively speaking. You see, no matter how much I've watched Sir Cake Boss work with fondant, I myself have never done it. Looks easy enough, right? Mix it, kneed it, flatten it, lay it out right??? Sure.....

We'll see if next week I post a picture of a pile of fondant on the floor, wet from my tears. The bat signal and city are the least scary parts. Its the laying of the yellow across the cake that scares me the most. I need to spend some time on google, finding some tips, pointers and tricks to try to ease the process. Who knows, maybe i'll do this and find out I have some hidden cake making talent. Yeah, that's totally what's going to happen.

The listing can be found here
Because I have so much time on my hands, I also took on the task of making the "Happy Birthday" banner, the center pieces and cupcakes for those who don't get to enjoy the batcake. I got my inspiration for these from Etsy, so as to not be disrespectful towards this person who is trying to make a living, I'll post the link to the listing with the picture.  My center pieces will be similar, but with no blue. We're doing black, grey, and yellow.  The banner will be pretty much the same colors/theme.

We'll see how it all turns out! It's going to be a lot of time that I don't really have, and a lot of work but I'm excited to try it all out. Stay tuned to see how it goes, my crafts are usually way better in theory than they are in reality so it will be interesting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Halloween is my favorite holiday. Hands down. I love Christmas, I love Thanksgiving (really, who doesn't??) But there's just something about Halloween that I LOVE. I love the spooky, creepy, scarys. Its my thing. I was beyond excited when we moved into our new house earlier this month and were told by multiple neightbors that Halloween was a big deal around there. We found out on Halloween...they weren't kidding.

Brandon and I left work at noon and after a quick stop at the dentist (I got to have a root canal on Halloween, lucky me!) we were home getting everything ready for the night! My mom, my sister and her kids came over to join in the festivities. We set up the driveway with some chairs, the fire pit, and a cauldron full of dry ice. My brother in law stayed behind and passed out candy while we took the kids out to trick or treat.

Seriously it's been a dream of mine to live in a neighborhood like that. I enjoyed every second of not having to drive anywhere and of being able to host my family for my favorite holiday. Unfortunately all I took was a few pictures on my phone, but you can see how cute my boys are!

Noah was Hulk baby!
Anthony was a super studly superman!
He decided that Superman needed a mask, I dont know why. He INSISTED.

My trick or treating babies!
Brandon and I were the bad wolf and dead red riding hood. See? Im dead cause the wolf got me....get it???
Red riding hood needs to invest in an iron.
Our set up in the driveway

All that candy and we still ran out. We started handing out Noahs trick or treating candy haha