Monday, March 30, 2009

Wedding Cake Adventures

Now on to this weekend. Ashley Graham and Brandon Johnson got married yesterday!!! And I did their cake! I started baking it last week and froze it, then frosted it Tues and Thurs nights (the bachelorette party was Wed night) and we were going down Friday night so it had to be done before then cuz the wedding was at 11am yesterday and the reception was at 1:30pm, down in Columbus, GA. So I ended up taking Friday off from work to decorate the cake.

Ash and I went through a few different designs before I came up with the final result (she didn't know what it was till she showed up at the reception). First she wanted a red and black polka-dot square cake that was like the one off "Because I Said So." But after being informed that red and black are the worst frosting colors because they turn everyone's mouth's that color, we nixed that idea, but we were thinking marzipan might work. Then she sent me a pic of a cake with stripes/ribbons on it, which would be easy enough cuz I could just frost it (which is really the hardest part) and then put the ribbons on. Then she saw a pic of a cake with a different design on each tier that she really liked, and she didn't want to be pulling ribbon of her cake when it came time to cut it. And we decided to do the top and bottom layer white frosting and the middle layer chocolate. Soooo.....the only thing that didn't change was the square cake.

So, I decided to do a wide chocolate frosting "ribbon" look on the bottom layer, with polka-dots and cornelli lace alternating design on each one, as if it was a design on a fabric ribbon. The middle layer I just did small polka-dots. Then the top layer, Mom actually ended up doing it all over with cornelli lace pattern. That was the layer everyone liked!! Mom actually helped me ton on the cake, thank goodness. She's so amazing!

Well, a couple adventures we had were that I ordered the wrong separator plates and they should have been a couple of inches bigger each. Then I added WAY too much cocoa trying to get the chocolate frosting dark brown. Then we got that fixed. Then I thought black food coloring would darken it up...sounds logical, right?? WRONG!!!! It made it this LIGHTER ugly gray color. So then I thought we might could salvage it by adding some brown food helped....a little....a very little!!! So then, cuz we didn't use up all the chocolate frosting in this first attempt, we mixed the rest of the plain chocolate frosting with the "colored" chocolate frosting and it actually did make this really pretty dark brown that I was going for.

Then we got them done and packed in enough time (thanks to my wonderful and extremely skillful dad) for me to meet Hillary and Mark Elton and David and Whitney Anderson to caravan down to Columbus, as we were staying with Hill's parents. I wanted to originally take the cake straight to the Stake Center and unload it there Friday night, and I'd just put it together when I got there on Saturday. But then I was informed that it would be an hour round trip to get there from the Swanson's house and that they would have room in their fridge for the cake. So I agreed to just take it there on Saturday. I didn't end up putting it in the fridge, cuz it was in the boxes and this was a 16", 12", and 8" other words...really, really big! So it went in the food storage room upstairs with me, to keep away from the grandkids and it had an ac unit in there I could crank down to keep it cool.

We got up Saturday morning and it's pouring rain! We get ready and load the cake in the car. I wanted to leave early to take the cake to the stake center again, but was informed that there was more than likely not going to be anyone there. So, I would just go there straight after the wedding. We make it to the wedding site, a cute little chapel in the woods. And we go in, in the pouring rain, through the mud. And it was so cute inside the building. Very nicely decorated. The wedding ceremony was very sweet and beautiful, and Ashley looked gorgeous!!

I leave the wedding site to go to the stake center to set up and assemble the cake and I'm following Hill to get back to the interstate. The last right turn I take to get on the road that'll take me to the interstate....I cut to close, and jump the curb...BIG TIME! I of course scream, immediately pull over and put my emergency flashers on and climb in the back to check on the cake, cuz though we packed it securely, that was a big jolt. The middle layer's ok, phew. Next I check the bottom layer. AHHHH, it's smashed into the corner of the box!! I jump out of the car and run around to the back, open the door and have to smash my fingers into the frosting (why it's a good reason to buy a separator plate a couple inches bigger than the cake you're putting on it) to move the cake away from the edge fo the box. I'm freaking out now and in a hurry to get to the stake center to see what I can do to salvage the cake. I then look at the top layer....YIKES!! It's smashed into the corner of the box too!! Just not as bad, and I can move that one away a little easier.

I jump back in the car and take off down the road, flying till I make it to the stake center. I run in, (it's still pouring rain) and recruit Taylor Burke to help me carry in the cakes. Jacob Terry's there, so he finds me a table I can work on, so as not to mess up the beautifully decorated cake table they have set up in the gym. They have no room in the kitchen with the other food, so I'm having to do the repair job right there! And it's 12:40pm and the reception starts at 1:30pm. I have no idea how I'm going to fix this cake either, it's smashed pretty bad. Though luckily there are two sides that look decent enough that I can do a quick fix job and turn those to the front. Ryan Smith was my amazing helper and found supplies for me and help me hide the bottom layer, which was the worst one damaged, with the tulle on the table and the roses we pilfaged from the other tables. In my opinion Ryan saved the cake. I don't think I could have gotten looking half as good without him! Thanks for marrying such a good man Heather!!

We set it up and assembled it and I put the border on, all as they're announcing Ashley and Brandon and saying the blessing on the food, yeah, talk about the center of attention!!! But it did turn out well, and looked really good after it was all over, and Ashley loved it, which is what mattered, and as long as you didn't look too closely at the back, you couldn't tell it'd been smashed...really.

But I had a good time and will definitely do it again if given the chance....though I won't drive all over Harris County (or whatever county it needs to go to) with the cake in my car for two days. I'm taking it straight from my house (or my folks house, wherever it happens to be finished at) to the reception site in one trip. Less, though I know it doesn't eliminate all, chance of anything happening to it the less time it's in the car.

But we stayed at the Swanson's all weekend, and ate like they do in the country, way too much of way too good food. I loved every minute of it and I'm going to be eating salads for every meal for two weeks to make up for it, but it was so worth it. But it was Hillary's niece's blessing today, so we stayed for that, then they bbq'd chicken and ribs for dinner. Mmmmmm, is all I can say for that, and we came on back home. I'm thoroughly exhausted and ready to get back to some semblence of normalcy! ;)

I'll post pics of the cakes when I get add to my adventure, I didn't put my memory card back in my camera so I didn't get any pics on my camera from the reception. :(

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ward Activity - Pick a Dinner, Pick a Date!

So the weekend of the 21st was our ward activity, which I was in charge of. And I cannot seem to get ahead of the game on this calling. I'm just not able to get organized. So we did a date-dinner auction, without the auction part. And it was fun...I think. We had girls bring dinner/lunch for two and we had it at noon at Hammond Park. Then the guys were give numbers and we drew their numbers out of a hat and then they chose the dinner they wanted (without knowing which girls dinner they chose). We also had the girls write down 2 truths and a lie and put with their dinners so the guys could pick someone they might have something in common with and have a conversation starter.

Well.....we ended up having twice as many guys than girls show up, which also happened at the February activity, not quite twice, but definitely 3-2 odds, and I might have had more guys than girls at my January activity too, which was my first one. So we can see where my trend's going, and I'M not complaining about the odds, but I'm sure the guys aren't too happy about it. :) So, we ended up having each dinner get picked twice so that each girl was eating with 2 guys, and we had brought extra food for whoever forgot so there was plenty if the girl hadn't brought enough, but most girls had.

Matt Drake and Drew Metcalf picked mine, and they were great and awesome picnic companions. It was a cooler day, but nice and sunny. And then at the end, when we're all packing up, Matt comes running up with flowers!! Apparently some of the girls had been complaining about cooking for the activity, so he brought flowers for whoever was going to be his "date" which happened to be me. It totally made my day!! Seriously, one of the best guys in the ward. If there's any girl who doesn't believe me, send her my way, I'll have a talk with her and convince her one way or the other....ok, ok, I'm really not going to browbeat, but I'll definitly talk to her!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Moving and Greenwood Trip

A couple weeks after the Idaho trip, Mom and Dad moved into a new house (which we were in the process of packing and cleaning out stuff before the trip as well). Well, they'd been in the old house for 9 1/2 years, had 4 grown kids storing stuff there who didn't live there anymore, another teenage daughter, and my two grandfather's things who had passed away while they were living there and still hadn't had a chance to go through everything that was left from them. So needless to say, besides just the moving part, which is always fun (in case you couldn't tell, that was said with major sarcasm) there was the sorting to go through. And poor Mom was mostly on her own, cuz Dad had to focus on the business, seeing as that's paying the bills, and I worked full-time as well, not to mention my responsibilities in a million other areas, and Alyssa has a social calender more packed than all 4 of her older siblings combined, and everyone else lived too far away (though Alan was able to fly in for a week to help her before we went out to Idaho). But we had so many precious angels that came and helped soooo much with the moving and the packing and the sorting. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! So that all ended the weekend of the 15th.

Well, that weekend as well, was my dad's cousin's baby shower, up in Greenwood, SC....3 1/2 hours away. They'd been married 13/14 years and were just now pregnant with their first baby (they weren't sure if they could get pregnant before as she had had some health complications), which my grandma (who's almost 81) wanted to go to. Well, she CAN drive herself, but we DON'T like her to. And she had asked me earlier that week. Well, I had been asked to speak in church that Sunday as well. And I had responsibilities with my church calling as the activitie's co-chair that I needed to take care. But I rearranged everything and drove her up that weekend cuz I was the only one available to do it. I had a great time and it's beautiful up there and I love my great-aunt and uncle's place. And the shower was so cute. They had made a corsage out of a baby's paci and sock and bow. It was cute!!! I wish I had a pic of it, but I'm horrible and never take pics ever!! But I'll have to remember that whenever we do a baby shower up here. And they had baby dolls for table decorations. It really was cute.

The present grandma brought for Aimee. It's wrapped in cloth diapers and those are diaper safety pins holding it together. Isn't she the cutest??

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hailey's Blessing and AnnaLea's surprise bday party

Soooo much has happened in the past month or two. We went out to Idaho to visit Alan and Crystal and see Hailey for the first time the first of March. She was sooooo adorable, and so incredibly good. She was being passed around to all these strangers and mostly just slept, but didn't fuss much when she was awake. I love that little munchkin. And she loves music. Alyssa sang to her (she sings awesome) and Hailey was just watching her as she sang, she'd been a little fussy right before that, but there wasn't a peep out of her while Alyssa was singing. It was cool! And her blessing was that weekend, which is why we went out there. It was pretty awesome to watch my brother bless his daughter, I'll admit I teared up, and my mom cried a little too I think. ;)

What a cute family!!!

There were 4 baby girls blessed that Sunday. It was kinda wild. One of them was Jimmy Johnson's daughter.....ok, ok, not THE Jimmy Johnson, #48 Lowe's car Nascar driver (yes, this shows how much of a redneck I am), but he later got up to bear his testimony and introduced himself as Jimmy Johnson. Dad was tickled!

While we were there, we also had a surprise 30th birthday party for AnnaLea on Sunday evening. She turned 30 on the 17th, but since we were all going to be out there then, we planned it for that weekend. It was awesome, she didn't suspect a thing. Mom and I came up with the idea to have people write her a letter with a memory or something they love about her, and we were trying to get 30 of them, for 30 days of letters, but we didn't quite get there, but that's ok, it still was good. But Alyssa was writing hers at Alan's apartment Saturday night, and had just hit the print button (and her letter had AnnaLea's name in big bright letters across the top) when AnnaLea walked into the room, and I tried to subtly walk her back out to the main room, but she was trying to talk to Alyssa, so Alyssa just dived to hug her round the neck and dragged her out of the room. AnnaLea was suspicious after that, and was asking about her, while I very calmly and as seriously as I could, told her it was nothing and don't worry about it. It took a minute or two, but she atleast let it go enough to not push it, but then I think she forgot about it. So thanks to an awesome decoy named Lindsey Borg, we were able to keep her away from the place where we were having a luncheon after the blessing on Sunday in order to decorate with tons of St. Paddy's Day stuff. She was shocked....she didn't even know who we were yelling "Happy Birthday" too when she walked into the room. It was great!!

Here's AnnaLea in part of her birthday present...don't you think the hat works for her???