Monthly Archives: May 2008

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Three Things

One: Thanks for all of your roof sympathy. Among the great e-mails, I actually did get some advice for making a 15 year roof last 16 years and for those of you who may also soon be needing a new roof, I thought I’d share:

Just consulted with the TJBMOTH (TheJukeBoxManoftheHouse). I had him take a look at the curling roof picture on your blog. He said that the way to make 15 year shingles last for 16 years is to go to Home Depot and purchase one of those blue tarps. Also buy a tall ladder while you are there. … Have TheManoftheHouse help you place the ladder at the side of the house. Have him hold the ladder so you don’t fall off. Make sure he has the camera with him so he can take a picture of you nailing the blue tarp to the roof so you can place it on your blog. In one year (after tuition hell is over), you can hire a roofing contractor to replace your curled roof and then you can finally remove the blue tarp that your neighbors have complained about all year.

Thanks for the laugh TJBMOTH — you’re awesome and I heart you!

Two: After a wonderful honeymoon, the newlyweds came home late Sunday night. To welcome them home, we had a family get together yesterday and watched them open gifts. I included this pillow I made to go with the wedding quilt that didn’t make it in time for the wedding (it’s hard to tell how big it is — the pillow form is 12″ x 16″):

Happy Pillow

Three: Erin gave me a no-pressure tag which I thought looked fun.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago today? We were living in Minneapolis and spending most of our time re-doing a 60′s style house. It was lots of fun and a great learning experience. That house was butt-ugly, but boy they sure knew how to build houses then. All the walls had two layers of sheetrock (wonder what they were thinking) and we replaced the roof for the first time — it was 32 years old — which the roofer said was a testament to how solidly the house had been built.

2. What five items are on my “to do” list for the day? Well, the day is over, but here’s what was on my list:

1- Fly to NJ (again!)
2- Work on two socks on one circ while flying (yay!)
3- Call a certain someone and admit I was wrong in a discussion we had a few months ago (sorry!)
4- Catch up on blogs in hotel room (not even close!)
5- Figure out where I’ve misplaced my expense credit card (gulp!)

3. What are my favorite snacks? Holy Cow. Do we want to be here all night? How ’bout Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Cracker Jacks, Cupcakes, Cookies, Almonds, Fruit with fruit dip, M & M’s, ….. hey…I have fruit in there!

4. What would I do if I were a billionaire? Probably pretty much what I’m doing now. Well, except that I definitely wouldn’t have a job and I’d travel more. I’d just enjoy staying at home. Homemaking. And “Do Good Works.”

5. What are the places I have lived? Logan, UT; Ogden, UT; Lancaster, CA; Dayton, OH; Manti, UT; Orem, UT; Huntsville, AL; Lawton, OK; Hanau, Germany; Ft. Wayne, IN; Minneapolis, MN

6. Who are some people you would like to know more about? Nanette took the words right out of my mouth. My ancestors.

Ok, Four things: Shame on me for not posting yesterday, on Memorial Day in the US. I managed last year, but I didn’t touch the computer on Sunday or Monday. Thanks to several of you who did post.

XOXO,
Anna

One Fine Day

We’ve had an incredibly beautiful day here today, so I was finally able to get my annuals planted. Better late than never — it’s been so cold here this spring and combine that with the wedding last weekend, I’m pretty late planting this year. We have quite a few trees in our yard, so it’s hard to get very many flowers to grow. I still try every year anyway, and usually with the same ol’ thing.

In the front yard I always plant impatiens.

Cupcake2

Begonias in the back yard.

Cupcake2

Some pretty gerbera daisies in the pot on my patio table. I’ve never planted these before, but I love them, so I had to give them a try. I hope I don’t kill them, but they’re in a pot, so their chances probably aren’t great.

Cupcake2

Just outside the patio door, I have a small herb garden. The chives, tarragon, and thyme are perennials. Today I added sage, rosemary, oregano and two parsley plants (’cause one just isn’t enough!)

Cupcake2

And lest you think it’s all fun and flowers around here, here’s what you’ll see if you look up. A new and special treat just this spring on the south-facing roofs: curling shingles.

Cupcake2

Apparently, the roof didn’t get the house memo issued 5 years ago. We’re still in tuition hell for another year so nothing is allowed to “break” or find itself in need of replacement. The other day I told someone that this house is only 15 years old and how could it need a new roof already? They said, gee, those must be 15-year shingles. What??? Who knew there was such a thing? I thought roofs were supposed to last 20 to 25 years. You learn something new every day. And sometimes painfully. Any chance those icky shingles will last another year? Fifteen year shingles that last 16 years? Anyone? Junie-Lou???

XOXO,
Anna

P.S. I’ll bet you thought I said everything that could possibly be said about those wedding cupcakes on my last post. But noooo…I forgot a few things:

  • I know I sound like a Food Network cook getting a cut on vanilla sales, but be sure and use a good (translation: expensive) vanilla. I used to think this was a joke, but just smell a bottle of expensive vanilla next to the grocery store variety. BIG difference. I ask for good vanilla for gifts when someone needs a suggestion.
  • The kids got me an awesome cupcake pan for Christmas last year. It’s heavy, it holds 24 cupcakes, and it fills up my oven. It’s available at Williams Sonoma, but they don’t show a link for it on their website.
  • If you’re going to make paper picks for cupcakes you should think about laminating them. I was worried that the fat from the frosting would bleed onto the paper. That didn’t happen, but the moisture from the frosting did cause the ink in the pictures to bleed just a little bit.

The Cupcake Scoop

Boy.  All you sweet readers sure do make a girl feel good!  Thanks for all your wonderful wedding wishes.  As promised, and because several of you have asked, I thought I’d give you the low-down on the rehearsal dinner cupcakes.  (And before we begin, can I just say how awesome blogland is?  I had LOTS of wonderful tips and hints from many of you during the wedding planning process.  Miss Jean, Nanette, and several of you had invaluable advice for me, a first-time MOG.  And if it hadn’t been for an e-mail early on from Ms. Farmhouse detailing all the things she did for her son’s rehearsal dinner, it would have never occurred to me to have flowers and favors.  I thought you just arranged for a place to eat and you were done with it.  So, thanks to all of you who provided such great advice!)

For 6 or 8 months now, I’ve been using the Magnolia recipe for cupcakes.  But the last two times I made them they were terribly dry — and the last time, when the quilty peeps and I met Sharon and Carol in Chicago, I almost had to choke those dry ol’ cupcakes down (sorry girls!)  So, I decided that recipe would never do for TheFirstChild — everything must be perfect, right?  For three weeks, I experimented with different recipes.  I tried an old staple from my childhood, but it had 1/4 t. of lemon extract and the first thing SweetiePie said when she tasted it was “Does that have lemon in it?”  (How the heck could she tell with only 1/4 t.???)  The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum had a nice white cake recipe, but there just seemed to be a little something missing.

I was ready to try a white cake mix and call it good but then an awesome comment appeared from Brigitte Noblog.  I’d mentioned cupcakes in my post and she got all excited and spent a lot of time typing out the Magnolia Vanilla Cupcake recipe, not realizing that I’d used that recipe before.  So I e-mailed Brigitte and told her, yes, but they’re so dry.  And she replied, yes backatcha, but there’s no matching that Magnolia vanilla flavor.  Well, that got me thinking and I knew she was right (thank you Brigette!), so I decided to bite the bullet and use the Magnolia recipe anyway.  I watched those babies like a hawk and yanked them from the oven the minute they looked done.  Then I frosted them, packaged them and crossed my fingers all the way to Dayton that day.  Eureka!  They were moist and just right!  They were even decent the next day.  I must have baked them too long in my previous efforts.

Cupcake2

So — the details and why you’re here  (sorry for the recycled picture!):

The Cake:  Magnolia Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

The Icing:  Magnolia Vanilla Icing. I used a giant Wilton cake tip.  I’m not at home to look up the tip size, but The Happy Valley Quilter mentioned to me that she uses tip #1B.  It’s a similar tip and I think I like her tip even more than mine.

The Pick:  I printed a pictures of the newlyweds, ran them through my little xyron sticker machine and then punched them out with a 2″ punch.  I also punched 2″ circles out of the black and white paper that you see in the bottom of the cupcake box.  Then I stuck the picture circle to the black and white circle with a toothpick between them.

The Clear Plastic Box: A 4x4x4 acetate box purchased from Papermart.com. These come in packs of 50, which was just right for what I needed.

The Cupcake Insert:  I knew if I was going to transport those cupcakes, there must be something to hold them in place in those boxes.  Several people (I think maybe Kairle and Kim?) sent me a link to these inserts.  They come 100 to a box, in white.  I used a spray adhesive and attached SweetiePie’s chosen black and white paper to the inserts.  The down side of the inserts is that you can’t see the bottom of the cupcake, but it’s worth it for the frosting to not be smashed all over the side of your box when you reach your destination.

The Ties:  3/4″ wide black satin ribbon, which I ran out of and ended up using two strands of 1/8″ wide black satin ribbon on some of the boxes.  I also printed out the little wedding logos and punched them out with the 2″ punch and attached them with the ribbon.

Making cupcakes is addictive and these were SO fun.  They were a HUGE hit too — people just whipped out their forks and ate them straight out of the box.  I had a bunch of compliments (especially from those rowdy groomsmen) and I heard at least two people at the end of the night say, “Hey, someone took my cupcake”.  Now, that’s a compliment!

XOXO,
Anna

The Wedding Weekend

{Warning:  Long post ahead — if you’re not wedding inclined, you’ll want to skip it!}

We’re Back — Thanks for ALL your FABULOUS comments! You guys are THE BEST! I’ve read and loved them all. I hope you’ll give me a pass on responding to them all this time — I’m headed to New Jersey in the morning and I’m planning to spend my nights this week in my hotel room catching up with all of you.

The wedding was AWESOME! More than any of us could have hoped for — I think I’ll be using the word awesome too much in this post. Friday, rehearsal day, was just perfect (might be using perfect too much too.) I got up bright and early and made the cupcakes, posted a quick blog entry, picked up flowers and we hit the road — arriving in Dayton with just enough time to pick up tuxes and drop stuff off at the rehearsal dinner restaurant. The flowers were unbelievably beautiful (peek below) considering their price and the fact that they came from a grocery store florist (Fresh Market for you local peeps.) I had 5 centerpieces made and we sat with the tables in an “E” formation with the bridal party on the spine of the “E”, the groom’s family on the top leg, bride’s family on the bottom leg and parents and extra bridal party members on the middle leg. I placed a cupcake at each place setting and they were a HUGE hit (and for those of you who’ve asked, I’ll explain them later this week.) The rehearsal and dinner were lots of fun — I felt SO lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful family and friends!

Flowers

On Saturday morning TheManoftheHouse and I moseyed on over to the country club to help one of the bridesmaids put candles in the candelabras. We arrived to find a bit of a panic happening — the bridal bouquets (pink and white roses) had arrived with refrigerator burn on the edges and the strawberries (similar to these, but much cuter with some berry showing) weren’t ready to be picked up yet. The bridesmaid rushed out to the store and bought more roses and we re-made the bouquets. We left shortly after noon and the bridesmaid went to pick up the strawberries. She was an absolute peach and SweetiePie owes her bigtime! I thought all the tables looked so pretty in the pink and black — I snapped a quick picture, which was a good thing because when it came time for the real event, I decided to put the camera down and just enjoy myself. There were two photographers there and I know it was the right decision — it all went by so fast and I can’t imagine how much I would have missed if I’d been trying to take pictures.

TableSetting

In the end, all the problems were pretty insignificant and everything worked out. I did learn one important lesson though, for those of you who are soon to have a wedding (and I know there are several of you out there.) SweetiePie had a wonderful vision for the placecard table. As you entered the country club, there was a big round table and she wanted the placecards lined up in rows with fresh rose petals sprinkled in lines between the rows. How pretty! A family friend was lined up to set the table up in the afternoon. By the time we arrived after the wedding, most of the placecards were gone and I was SO disappointed to see that whoever had set up the placecards, hadn’t bothered to place a pretty white or black tablecloth on the table (they were readily available — one only needed to ask — if I’d only known, I would have put one there myself.) The cards had just been set up on that UGLY brown tabletop. ICK! So…my lesson learned is, have a trusted friend (not someone in the wedding party — they’re too busy) who knows just how you want everything and can be at the reception location to make sure everything is just how you want it!

Anyhoo…after the set-up, I rushed over to take pics of the girls having their hair done. Lots of curls and pretty dos!

HairDos

Then back to the hotel to get ready and then to the church. At the church, I went to the bride’s room to quickly sew a label in SweetiePie’s dress — this was the first time that I had access to the dress since the label was made.

DressLabel

After the dress, I went downstairs to the groom’s room to fix TheManoftheHouse’s tie — it was too small and the rental place said they couldn’t do anything about it since it was the day of the event. (Thank goodness for those cupcake box ribbons that were almost the same width — when I got done sewing a ribbon on, you couldn’t even tell!) While I was sewing the ribbon onto the tie, the cute little wedding coordinator from the church came down to say that The Bride wanted me back in her room (I assumed with my sewing kit) — and by the way, could I please go with her to check the flowers in the chapel first (there weren’t any flowers in the church, so we brought the flowers from the rehearsal dinner the night before.) We hustled upstairs, adjusted the flowers, and I quickly went to the bride’s room. {Kleenex Alert!} Once in the room, SweetiePie gave me a big smile and said that now they could start. She’d waited for me to be there before her bridesmaids dressed her. Of course, when I realized that, I started crying (the official start of the waterworks for the afternoon.) I just can’t tell you how incredibly touched I was — and still am. Now you know why she’s SweetiePie! Watching her dress just took our breath away — she was a beautiful bride. The photographers whisked everyone into a room that had a big, pretty picture window (their hearts must have skipped a beat when they found that room — so perfect for pictures.) They turned out the lights in the room and put SweetiePie in front of the window with all the natural light streaming in. For some of the pictures they gave her a pink umbrella. Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot wait to see the pictures!

So…on to the ceremony. It was wonderful! The highlight for me was when MyDadLovesMeBestSister spoke for a few minutes to the Bride and Groom. Such a touching heartfelt speech — she had us all laughing — and in tears. The night before there had been joking about all the goodies I’d made and she claimed she couldn’t do stuff like that — but she has talents I can’t fathom — there’s no way I could have given a speech like she did. It was another awesome event — thanks MDLMBS!!! Anyway…here’s a pic of the big event (I wish you could see her beautiful dress better (tee-hee):

TheKiss

After the wedding, we had a great time with pictures. The photographers were awesome — they put everyone at the wedding on the steps of the church and we did some fun poses. Then they sent everyone except wedding party and family on their way to the reception. Lots of family pictures. Lots of fun. Then off to the reception. Where it’s all a blur. We had a fantastic time visiting with people we hadn’t seen in a long time and just being with family. There was lots of dancing — even the grandparents were all out there cuttin’ the rug!  I was so busy I didn’t even get a close look at the beautiful cake — I ate it though LOL! At some point, a limo picked up the Bride and Groom and whisked them off to a hotel where they spent a few hours before they had to get up too early to catch a plane to San Juan to embark upon a southern Caribbean cruise. The party went on and all their friends had a fantastic time into the wee hours of the morning.  Have I mentioned it was awesome?  It was awesome!  I was just amazed at all the love and laughter from so many friends and family who care about two very special people.

Limo

Sunday morning was hysterical. The groomsmen were in a severe state of disarray — they all slept late and were in different rooms with different combos of tuxedo parts. They had to check out of their rooms, so I finally had them all bring their stuff down to the parking lot to sort things out. There were a lot of “I have an extra tie!” and “Hey, I’ve been looking for that” sort of remarks — too, too funny! Then we returned the tuxes and went to breakfast at 2:00 p.m. It was a quick meal for TheManoftheHouse and me though, as we had to whisk TheSecondChild off to the airport so he could return to Sydney.

So, it’s all over now. What a fabulous weekend. We spoke to the newlyweds briefly after they boarded their ship — so excited — it’s a first cruise for SweetiePie and she was beyond thrilled! I noticed a full moon last night and thought of them — cruising along on a ship deck in each others arms, staring up at the full moon. Such a perfect ending to a perfect wedding. What lucky, lucky kids. The best thing is that they both said it was the wedding they had hoped for — that’s what’s most important. No tears. No tense moments. Just perfect!

I hope they’ll always remember this wonderful start to their lives. Especially when things aren’t so perfect. I hope they’ll remember how much they love each other. And how much we all love them. And most of all, like my father told me on my wedding day, I hope they’ll always be good to each other.

Back soon to our regularly scheduled programming — thanks for making it this far!
XOXO,
Anna

May 17, 2008

Home Run