Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Getting Nervous

June 17, 2010

I have a lot of baking to do in the next week and a half!

Monday is Iron Cupcake, so Sunday afternoon and evening will be spent baking and decorating 12 dozen mini cupcakes!

Tuesday evening I will be baking a few cupcakes to take to my friend when I go to visit her new baby on Wednesday.

Saturday I am baking 10 dozen (full size) cupcakes for the wedding of two friends. This will be started on Thursday evening. I’m nervous about this because, even though the flavors are going to be simple, I have no idea about the logistics of baking 10 dozen cupcakes! I feel like it won’t be that hard, but a couple of weeks ago I baked 5 dozen, and it took me well over 8 hours to do all the baking and decorating.

The decorating on those 5 dozen, however, was a little more complicated. But cute! Check these out:

Fortunately I just have to make these 10 dozen look pretty. Swirly frosting, maybe some sugar pearls, but nothing as intense as marzipan ladybugs!

Then, of course, after the cupcakes are done I have to find the energy to party at the wedding! I hope I can do that, because it is sure to be a fun tonight.

I’m nervous because this is a lot of baking! I was hoping to spend most of the week prepping. Cleaning my kitchen, getting all my supplies purchased and in order and ready to go. Now I’ll have to do that a little quicker than planned. I will post pictures when it’s all done. And maybe of the tornado that sweeps through my kitchen.

In other news, David and I are trying to plan our wedding. BUT we’re so confused by all the options! Right now we’re not even sure WHERE we want to get married- locally, or in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas sounds like FUN, and it would combine a honeymoon into one trip. We’d get married on a Friday night, and then spend the weekend in a nice suite. It wouldn’t be eloping, because we would still be inviting a lot of people to join us. But of course, some people won’t, because it is expensive.

That means the biggest pro of the in-town option is that all our family and friends could be there. We’d have a party back in town if we got married in Vegas, but it wouldn’t be the same. Sure, my parents and a few friends would join us in Vegas, but what about people like my grandparents? Vegas hold no particular appeal to them and the airfare would put a huge burden on them. So they wouldn’t be there. Can I handle that? I’m not sure. What about aunts and uncles that have watched me grow up? Will I just ditch them? What about friends who would LOVE to come, but really can’t afford it with their student loans and their rent payments? Is it fair to ask them to come, knowing that it will set them back, or they won’t be able to?

Just because Vegas is fun?

Baking 10 dozen cupcakes is going to be much easier than planning this wedding.

So I Say It’s My Birthday

December 11, 2008

Because it is.

I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly found time to get excited about it. Normally I’m bouncing off the walls because all I can think is, OMG BIRTHDAY!!!!

December came on so fast, and it made me realize that now November is over and I missed the birthdays of one of my BFFs and my cousin’s baby. Sigh, I suck.

I think I keep forgetting it’s my birthday. So I’m going to keep reminding myself. Because of all the days in the year, I should feel special and happy today. But dragging myself out of bed and into work at 7am is not ideal. Fortunately I get to leave at 11 and go to lunch at an as-of-yet undisclosed location with my dad. It’ll be somewhere downtown, so it’s got to be good. Then he’s taking me shopping at that East Towne Women’s Resale shop in the Third Ward. I love that place. They have such awesome stuff. Usually their best stuff is pretty small, but if I can’t find some beautiful clothes, I know I can find some kind of cool, vintage-y accessory. And if not, my dad says I just get the cash. 😉

I made cupcakes last night to take to rehearsal tonight. Vanilla brown butter. YUM. I was in a rush, and my eggs may have curdled a bit. I tried one, and it still tastes good, but I was pissed. I just wanted to bake one yummy thing, and I didn’t even have time. I’m going to whip up a chocolate buttercream at my mom’s house this afternoon. Hopefully after today I won’t have to rely on her mixer anymore!

I did get a pair of silicone presents from David this morning. Haha, I just wanted to say it like that. I got a Sil-Pin silicone rolling pin and a Sil-Pat baking mat! The rolling pin is pink! I’m super grateful for the Sil-Pat, because there are a couple recipes that I’m looking at that specifically call for it’s use. And while I could probably get away with some combination of parchment paper and tin foil, this will be so much easier. Do you have any idea how much parchment paper I’ve gone through in the past couple months? It’s a little obscene.

So, I’m 24. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to saying that, because it was just a couple months ago that I couldn’t remember if I was 22 or 23. I know 24 is still pretty young, but I am of course plagued with how far along I “should be” in life. I mean, I could be about 1/3 done with my life right now! Okay, that’s just scary and might make me puke or cry.

I’ve been PMS-y all week which has put me into an awful emotional state. I’ve cried a lot, over nothing at all. And yet I feel like I need to cry some more! I can’t wait to have those birth control hormones coursing through me once again. </end random rant>

So as much as today sucks for having to work, even 4 hours, I am full of anticipation for tonight and this weekend. My mom is making me dinner and cake (CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!) and tomorrow I get to dress up for my work Christmas party, and then meet friends for martinis. And on Saturday David and I will FINALLY get our Christmas tree and do some decorating. And I get to have dinner at Cubanitas and drink all the mojitos I want.

I’m glad I wrote this. Now I’m feeling all happy happy joy joy. YAY BIRTHDAYS!

PS. A happy birthday shout-out to my favorite people to share a birthday with me, Jeff and Greg. Is it a little strange that David, and his sister Sandy, are both with people who were born on December 11th? As if this time of year wasn’t crazy enough. Also, I’m sorry to all who have to come up with birthday and Christmas gifts in such rapid succession.

It’s Me Again

November 12, 2008

Am I too talkative lately? It’s probably because work is insane right now and I’m training on new stuff, and in my few spare moments, I just bubble over with thoughts.

Right now, it’s about how my dad is awesome.

When I had to buy a “new” car last year, he helped me out with a loan. My bank’s loan wouldn’t cover the cost of the car, and combined with my own money, I was still down about $1,000. So he covered the rest of it. I’ve been SLOWLY paying him back via “his bank” of no interest. $50 a month, which was really nice and easy for me to handle. Things were fine until my major dental bills of late. Suddenly I realized I hadn’t paid him in three months and was quite broke in all my accounts. He had talked about helping me with the bills for my root canal and crown, and so finally I confessed that I was struggling and didn’t know what to do.

He said don’t worry about the car. We “argued” about it for a few minutes, but he wasn’t having any of my protests. He told me to forget about the money I owed him and to use that to pay off my dental bills. Amazing.

Today I got an e-mail from him, asking about plans around my birthday. Nothing has really been talked about yet, and I told him so. He told me to keep my birthday afternoon open. He says that if the stock market goes up, he will have some extra money and wants to take me shopping. WHHEEEEEE!

That would be so much fun! I could really use a couple high quality pieces, like a good sweater and a great going-out shirt. And I have no work pants that fit me well right now.

And if that’s not motivation to drop another size by my birthday, then I don’t know what is. Guess who’s going to be going to the gym ever day at lunch from now on!!

What Happens

October 20, 2008

When sisters are on Facebook at the same time…

Cupcake Crazy

October 8, 2008

I am feeling obsessed with cupcakes right now. I’ve spent the last two days at work feverishly pouring over recipes. Sometimes I get distracted by brownies or cookies, but I always work my way back to cupcakes. I like them because I love cake and they’re individually portioned. I’ve always liked the cake part better than the frosting part, even when the frosting is rich and delicious buttery buttercream, and a cupcake generally has a better cake-to-frosting ratio for my tastes.

Of course, there are many factors that would go into my decision to eat a cupcake or a piece of cake, but that is neither here nor there.

I like the easiness of cupcakes. I mean, they’re mini cakes!! While I might not bake a cake for a casual party or get-together, I would definitely bake cupcakes. There really isn’t any other treat that is both individually sized, and cake.

And so, I think I have finally found the recipe I will make for my mom’s Halloween party. I thought about making those Apple Pie Cupcakes again, and tinting the buttercream frosting orange, and I found a recipe for Pumkin Spice cupcakes, but there was no clear winner.

Until now. I present the Vampire Cupcakes. Not only are they appropriately creepy, but I think that touch of cherry pie filling will be tasty. I’m not huge on fruit pies, and I’m especially not huge on fruit pie filling from a can. But I think this small amount hidden inside each little cake will be okay.

If I’m brave and have the time, I might try to figure out how to create a filling from my mom’s homemade strawberry jam. The recipe as is claims to have a somewhat runny filling that still doesn’t get totally absorbed by the cake. I’m thinking I could do that with some slightly watered down and pureed jam… maybe cooked with a little melted butter? Hmmm… I’ll experiment. I might also change the “marshmallow frosting” to something with white chocolate and/or cream cheese, though I don’t want to lose any of the whiteness.

My mom’s party is on Friday, October 31st. Incidentally, that’s also her birthday! That means I need to get her a birthday present! My standby has always been a spa gift certificate, but it sometimes feels like a cop-out. I’m sure she’d appreciate a gift card to REI, but I just don’t know if I can get a gift card for my mother. It just doesn’t seem right. So inbetween obsessing over cupcakes, I have been obsessing over potential gifts. It’s HARD!

Despite constantly looking at pictures of amazing baked goods, I have been GREAT on my South Beach Diet so far this week (and yes, I know it’s only Wednesday). I started over with Phase One on Monday, and haven’t cheated, except for a couple tiny bites of Vosges’ Red Fire Bar. I’m proud, because this week my company is celebrating “National Customer Service Appreciation Week.” This means there is food and candy and treats EVERYWHERE!! Yesterday there was a cookout for lunch, and I ate a burger and brat without buns and skipped over the entire dessert section. And I ignored the cheesy potatoes. I have not touched any of the candy bowls spread out across my department. I hope to remain strong for the rest of the week.

When David mentioned Taco Bell a couple days ago, and Cubanitas as a possibility for dinner on Friday, I remained unmoved. I am yearning for Cubanitas, but I will do without. The desire to get back on track and lose weight is again greater than the desire for all that yummy food. I still plan on reaching 170 by the end of the year, but I have to get my act together! With all the food and holidays yet to come this year (not to mention my birthday, where I will eat LOTS of cake!) I really need to get to 170 by December. 10 pounds in two months? I can do it!!

Four Years Ago

October 1, 2008

I started dating this goofy guy. I didn’t want to be in a relationship, and I wasn’t sure where it would go. We hung out and were friends, but I wasn’t thinking about the future. How that all changed, I’ll never know, but I remember the week that I fell head-over-heels in love with him. I don’t know how it happened, but at the start of the week, I was scared, worried, cautious. At the end of the week, late on a Friday night, he asked me again.

“Will you be my girlfriend?”

My heart was bursting with “YES!!!” and my mind finally let me forget all the fears and questions I had and I actually said it.

The last four years have not been all puppies and rainbows, but it’s been pretty close. We talk about EVERYTHING and I think that will get us through the next 40 years. And then some.

It’s amazing to feel just as passionately in love now as I did then. I feel like I’m still in that “honeymoon” stage, especially when we’re cuddled up close to each other. I know, it’s terribly sappy, but it’s true. We have brought out the best in each other and pushed one another to grow and try new things. It’s great!

The most recent example of that: David suggested we go get sushi tomorrow to celebrate. Because HE WANTS IT!!! Finally! So tomorrow we’ll be exploring sushi at Japanica. Yummy!

And now, to make this a little less sappy, here are some pictures.

From the first year of our relationship. I think this was around Christmas. When my blonde hair still looked okay.

From cutesy and dorky (we coordinated his tie with my dress):

To the skanky and retarded. Sorry, this picture had to be posted.

From the scary faces…

To the silly faces…

And the silly moments

And all the laughter

And love…

I can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world. We’ll take on the future together. And it’ll be awesome.

Deliciousness

September 29, 2008

Haiku For Cupcakes:
Foul temptress with your
Inviting interior.
Could there be better?

After spilling my heart about my bakery dreams (and thanks everyone for your words and encouragement) I decided to put my mixer where my mouth is.

Well, really it’s my mom’s mixer, because I don’t have a mixer and she has a KitchenAid beauty. I went over to her house on Sunday afternoon to use her big kitchen (compared to mine, anyway) and baking tools. She wasn’t home, because she was off competing in a triathlon in Whitewater. Where she won the GOLD MEDAL in her age group! GO MOM!!!

WD showed me this recipe on Friday. I thought YUMMMMY and thought it didn’t look too difficult. So I decided to attempt it on Sunday. Annie’s Eats blog is full of incredible looking recipes, so check it out!

While there are more components to this recipe than a normal, standard cupcake, none of the steps were very difficult. I, shamefully, don’t make a lot of cakes or cupcakes from scratch. In fact, I don’t think I have ever made anything like that from scratch on my own. It was easy! I find that I overthink some things while baking and underthink others. I’ll mis-measure ingredients even though I think I’m being so careful! Fortunately, I haven’t made mistakes like that in a long time. You can’t rush baking, and once I accepted that, things have been a lot better! This did take me about three hours, from start to finish. And unlike something simple, like cookies, I was working pretty much that whole three hours.

The cupcake base recipe is so delicious. I will definitely use that again. In fact, I’ll probably make this whole thing again. I love the combination. I’m thinking it would be a fun dessert to take to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration or a Halloween Party, especially with a little orange tint to the buttercream.

If you like apple pie, you’ll love these. I had never made apple pie before either, and I was surprised by how easy this filling was. I thought there wouldn’t be enough butter in there to cook all the apples, but it was just fine. I used regular white sugar, but I think brown sugar would work well too. I found I didn’t need it because of the cinnamon. I could only find medium sized apples, and I used four of them. Well, four minus 2 slices, because I ate those.

Of course then I wished I hadn’t, because I ran a little low on the filling. The cupcake batter made 26 cupcakes for me, but I overfilled a couple of those. I probably could have gotten 28 cupcakes out of this. My advice: make more filling than you’ll need. You can always just eat the extra!

These delicious looking puppies are then topped with equally delicious vanilla buttercream. Yes, you may continue drooling. I have a small container of Maple Sugar at home. I think I will sprinkle some of that over the remaining cupcakes.

Oh, and if you have leftover buttercream and/or apple filling, you can do what I did. Put all your carved out “muffin tops” on a plate and eat them with the leftovers! I also recommend taking these leftovers to a peace rally and handing them out to friends as “Muffin-Tops for Peace!”

So yeah, try this recipe. It’s easy and delicious. I’ll leave you with some more impromptu poetry, inspired by the cupcake I just finished.

Ode to Cake and Buttercream:
Alas, with your tender crumb and sweet richness,
You would tempt many a hard-hearted soldier.
Your smooth texture is not only pleasing to the eye,
But heaven on the tongue.
The sugary taste lingers, and develops,
And soon all thoughts have flown from my mind.
Only thinking of cake and buttercream,
I am left in a hazy paradise,
Wanting, yearning for more.

🙂

Dreams

September 25, 2008

First off, I’m not going to forget to do this. I was given my second blog award (I am totally lame and forgot to blog about the first one) by Ginesa.

I have to thank her, because if anyone’s blog is encouraging, it’s hers! We found each other, thanks to the internets, and have enjoyed cheering each other on in our weight loss journeys. She is doing GREAT! Not only is she losing weight, but she’s training for a race and doing a kickass job on her runs. Plus she has an adorable daughter who just turned one, and posts pictures often. Yay babies!!

Okay, now that I have remembered to write about that…

I had a dream a couple months ago about a bakery. I’m unclear as to whether I owned it, or was just a customer. It could best be described as a dessert bar. It was decked out in black and pink and had a modern, yet whimsical and a not-too-girly feeling to it. Kind Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. It was in a part of town that was part nightlife/part college area. Although it happened to look just like this street of gay bars that I visited in Thailand.

There were big comfy couches and booths where groups of young adults picked off large trays of gourmet goodies. Fancy versions of youthful desserts like Oreos, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Twinkies, and other treats like cookies and cupcakes. It was like a cafe, where people could come in, hang out, study, work, chat, and eat delicious desserts. Or they could place orders to go. It was cool. And it was open late.

I awoke with the insane urge to open this place.

A couple days after this dream, a coworker talked to me about a thought she had about opening a “Wonka Bar.” She had just seem us perform in “Willy Wonka” and had this idea of opening a bar that served candy-themed drinks. It fit in perfectly with my dessert bar idea. It could be called the “Candy Bar” and could serve all kinds of delicious desserts along with yummy drinks.

Just a couple weeks ago, after dinner with my dad and sister for her 13th birthday, we wanted to go get dessert. I racked my brain for places to get dessert, near downtown. We had just come from a restaurant. We didn’t want to go into another one just to order dessert. Kopp’s custard was far away. We didn’t want to go to a grocery store to get cupcakes and eat them in the car. We settled for gelato from Whole Foods. But eating gelato in a car on the way home was not the perfect way to end the night (though close, because Whole Foods’ gelato is yummy).

I started thinking, does Milwaukee really not have a cool place to go get dessert? Shouldn’t we have one? We have plenty of awesome bakeries, but those require planning and forethought. What if I want to GO OUT for dessert, at 9:00 at night? The closest thing I can think of is at the InterContinental, where you can order up some chocolate truffles or petit fours at $2 a pop. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for.

So now I’ve had this thought, this dream, of opening up a “dessert bar” in Milwaukee. I’m not the best baker, but I would learn. I’m pretty good, and if I had the time, I think I could develop quite a nice talent. But running a bakery? I don’t know… It sounds like a good idea sometimes, but then I think about all the potential problems.

How would I get started? Where would I find money/space? Would I be able to sell stuff? What about equipment? What about health insurance? What about health codes and regulations? What about the potential of financial ruin? What if no one thinks it’s as cool as I do? And so on…

I keep thinking about working towards it, though. Maybe devote my weekends to baking. Learning about it and trying out new recipes. I have a couple friends who own theatres. Maybe they would let me sell some treats on show nights. Maybe I could develop a small following. Maybe I could start a by-order-only business, and then hope for it to grow. Maybe… what if… what about…

I don’t feel like I’m cut out for the 8-5 job that I’m in right now. My creativity is stifeled. I need more. I want more. I deserve more. I wish I could jump into this RIGHT NOW. But I have to step back and think. Maybe I can go to MATC and get my associates business degree. I hear that gives you some good entrepreneurial information, and it wouldn’t take half a lifetime to finish. Maybe in five years, I can really start something. Or maybe in five years I’ll think it’s even more foolish than I do now.

And it’s time for my favorite Disney quote. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast sings,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”

Exciting Stuff

September 18, 2008

I am thisclose to getting to go to the Packer game on Sunday. They play the Cowboys. If anything, it should be an exciting game. My coworker’s brother has extra tickets, and I’m getting them, if she can get a hold of him and they’re still left. I’m completely on the edge of my seat about this. I’m trying not to have high hopes, because I got badly burned on some Packer tickets last year. But still, I’m really afraid that I’m going to be disappointed by the end of the day.

And if I’m not? I’ll probably be the happiest girl in the metro area. Even though I’ll pretty much have to eat Ramen Noodles for every meal until my next payday.

David and I are going to see the Brewers play on Wednesday, courtesy of my dad. We will be in the FIRST ROW on the 3rd base side. Hopefully the Brewers can come out of this slump they’ve been in!

I just placed a huge order on Barack Obama’s website. I ordered over 20 of these:

The Obama campaign offices are consistently out of the yard signs, and it was suggested we just order online. In order to make it a little more efficient, and save on costs and energy, I sent out notice to friends and family, asking if they’d like a sign. The response was overwhelming! I also ordered 8 bumper stickers and a couple other items.

There might  be something left over that I can give my youngest sister, as she, at the tender age of 13, likes Obama. It’s cute, and a little surprising since my family rarely talks politics and my parents have voted Republican for the last twenty years. Four years ago, during the Bush vs Kerry race, she decided she liked John Kerry. Where that came from, I have no idea, but that’s what happened. I guess they were doing a mock election to learn about politics in her elementary school, and she made the choice to vote for Kerry. I was shocked, since my parents’ large, prominent yard was host to an equally large, prominent sign for Bush. Her friends parents are mostly republican and so are her friends who, like myself in my teenage years, assume that they have the same views as their parents and choose to copy that. My little sister is so strange, in so many ways, but it’s things like this that give me faith that she’ll grow up to be a strong, healthy, smart person. NOT because she’s a 13-year-old democrat, but because she’s out there, thinking for herself.

And finally, David and I are going camping this weekend! We’re headed to the Kettle Moraine on Friday after work. We both come from major camping families, but this will be the first camping trip either of us have been on in years.  And our first one together. It will be a lot of fun, but it’s a little… interesting. Since we both have done a TON of camping with our families, we have very distinct ideas of what we need and how things should be done. Like his family never used bungee cords, whereas my family would get my dad bungee cords for his birthday! It’s silly little things like that; things that are so ingrained into us, that we can’t help but think that “my way” is the best way. It’s kind of funny when I step back and look at it. We’ve talked about this, and agreed not to kill each other and to just have fun this weekend. It’ll be an adventure, and we’ll be able to just hang out in nature and enjoy each other’s company. I’m so excited for that! Oh, and I’m extra excited to sit in front of a campfire with him while I make myself some s’mores. Only myself, since he doesn’t like s’mores. Who doesn’t like s’mores?!??!!! See what I mean…?

Road Trip!

September 12, 2008

Today, after work, I’m picking up my little sister and we’re road tripping to Eau Claire to visit my sister Samantha. While I’m not looking forward to the four hour drive, I am looking forward to hanging out with my sisters all weekend!

I’m not sure yet what we’ll do on Saturday. We’ll either go “floating” on the Chippewa River, which apparently is simply floating down the river in an inner tube. If it’s not too cold, that would be really fun. If it is too chilly, we’ll probably go to the Mall of America, as Minneapolis is only a short drive away. That would be so much fun! I’m trying to pass the interminable hours at work by browsing the mall directory. I don’t have that much money to spend, but shopping with my sisters is something I haven’t done in ages. Plus, they have Bloomingdales, which I love.

I’ll never forget my first experience with Bloomingdale’s. My dad took me to New York after my junior year of high school, I think in August of 2002. He was going on a business trip, and I got to go with. I was SO thrilled. He gave me his cell phone, and a map, and set me loose on the city. What an adventure! He had meetings the whole first day, and I was on my own. I saw Jane Curtin in a matinee of Noises Off and bought us tickets to see Phantom of the Opera that night. I stepped foot in my first Sephora, and marvelled in the gloriousness of Times Square.

The next day, we went to Bloomingdales, where I spent 5 hours on ONE of the 9 floors. I tried on so many beautiful clothes, with labels that I had only read about in magazines. My dad was floored by the prices, but I somehow convinced him to buy me a beautiful Anna Sui blouse that ran well over $100. It was incredible. It threw me into a full blown love affair with the Big Apple. Maybe it’s silly to have those kinds of memories tied up in a department store, but I can’t help it. Everytime I think of Bloomingdales, those memories with my dad are not far behind.

I’ll have to find pictures of that trip and talk about all the fun I’ve had in NYC over the years. The shoes, the shopping, the shows… Oh, and can I mention that on that trip I saw Molly Ringwald and John Stamos perform in Cabaret, one of my most favorite musicals? ‘Cause I did. And I saw John Stamos’ butt (he was the Emcee). Yes, it was fantastic (the show and the butt).

Is it 5:00 yet?!