Thursday, January 4, 2007

It's Gonna be a Bad Day

You know it is going to be a bad day when you find a pile of poop on the floor. Grrr...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Adventures in Entertaining - continued

Thankfully our planned meal was simple. We were having fried turkey, mashed redskins with smoked gouda and corn. The redskins and corn would be easy but the fried turkey we had never attempted on our own before. First he injected it with a little bit of honey (yum!) and then he injected the turkey with a little bit of Jack Daniels (yummier!) just to give it a little bit more flavor. As he hid out in the garage "watching the bird" I got to entertain our friends who were complaining about various things. They were too hot, too cold, had a fever, whatever. I finally got tired of hearing it so I began ignoring them and pretended to be doing things to get dinner ready.

There were a few people kind enough to offer help and so I put them to work setting up an extra table and more chairs. They also started setting the table for me (hopefully Martha Stewart isn't reading this, boy would she be appalled) and as they were doing this I realized we only had enough place settings for 8 people. So 8 people got regular plates and the least favorite people got paper plates and they were just going to have to deal with it.

We all sat down to dinner at about 8:30 (a good 2 hours after the originally projected dinner time) and the food was fabulous (or so I thought). Everyone seemed to like it but our friend male H complained about our good friend Jack. He exclaimed how he could for sure taste it and that female H (his wife) would have to eat less so she could drive home. He was sure he would be drunk. Thankfully everyone seemed to ignore his comments and between bites murmur "mmm....good" like Homer Simpson.

Everything was quiet and then it happened again. Our tree fell over. It seemed to happen in slow motion. Everyone saw it yet no one could do a thing. The people with their backs to the tree even got to see it thanks to a big mirror in front of them. We all sat there for a second before anyone did anything. Everyone was afraid to talk. Once again there was broken glass, water and ornaments everywhere. We decided we had had enough and that the tree was going to stay there, mess and all. It was to be ignored and not talked about for the rest of the night, which is hard because it is the size of a sequoia now sideways in our living room.

After dinner we decided to play board games. All was uneventful until part way through a game the smoke alarm began screeching. Now we didn't know what was causing it to go off. The power strip and electrical wires that had been smoking earlier had by this time been out for hours. So we began a search to figure out what the cause was. It turned out to be nothing big, simply a candle left burning too long that had been smoking away under the smoke detector. It was quickly extinguished and the board game resumed.

We must have had a rowdy board game going because the husband spilled his beer twice. Female H (who is obsessive compulsive - which always makes for an interesting guest) also spilled her beer. She I guess felt so bad she went to the hallway and cried. Weird I know. I couldn't make this stuff up. All I can say is thank goodness for tan carpet, a dog who likes beer and friends that are not Martha Stewart. The rest of the night went well. No more surprises/things falling. However, the next day was needed to clean up our house yet again. I don't see us entertaining that many people in the near future. Thankfully the New Year's party is at someone else's house.

Adventures in Entertaining

In a temporary moment of insanity the husband and I (in our infinite wisdom) decided to have 12 people (and a baby) over for dinner as an early Christmas celebration (on a Friday to boot). This is mistake #2, mistake #1 is coming shortly. After a day of work the husband got home early to finish cleaning and start dinner preparations hours before I even got off work.

Everything had been cleaned and festively decorated when he heard a noise and felt a WHOOSH of air. Here is where mistake #1 comes into play. We (once again in our infinite wisdom) decided to forgo our traditional fake Christmas tree in exchange for a real tree the size of a freaking sequoia. Yup, that's hour and a half before company was supposed to be there our tree falls. (Note: this wasn't the first time the tree had fallen. The first time was a week before only it had not been decorated yet and it stayed on its side for a week before we picked it up.) So back to the carnage. There are ornaments everywhere, some broken, some whole, the top of the tree barely missing our fish tank. There are ornaments down the stairs, in the kitchen and under the table. Not to mention the added bonus of broken glass and water everywhere. Some water splashed into a power strip so there was also the sent of burning electrical wires.

He wrestled the tree back into place (my hero), unplugged the power strip, opened the door to air out the stank and cleaned up again. With all of that excitement out of the way the night is bound to get better right? Wrong! With the additional mess to clean up none of the dinner preparations got done. I got home and guests started arriving soon after. Our projected dinner time was now nowhere in the near future. As we busily finished preparing for dinner we were unknowingly turning our friends into little icicles (the door was still open and it was about 30 degrees outside).

Our friends B & S (funny I know) arrived with their adorable 6 month old son K C. As cute as he was there was a problem. He was petrified of our dog Boddington (a Chinese Shar Pei puppy). Now he may be goofy looking but he is equally adorable and not scary at all. Screaming and crying and hyperventilating ensued. We tried to lock him in the bedroom (the dog that is) so KC could calm down but then the screaming and crying ensued - this time it was Boddington (he doesn't like to be alone). We couldn't handle that either so he came out again and they both cried until they got used to each other (half an hour later). See, he isn't scary...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wedding Cakes and Wet Pits - continued

It was an hour ride home from the rehearsal so I took the time to make a game plan for the rest of the night (something I probably should have done earlier in the day). All the cakes were baked so I felt confident that I would be able to ice them and cover them in fondant by the end of the night.

Once I got home I started off on the wrong foot. I was cutting the crown of the cake off when the stupid knife slipped and my finger got in the way. Cut myself good too, Cake 1 - Me 0. It honestly looked like the scene from a horror movie. It spurt blood instantl, thankfully missing the cake but instead got on the counter and the floor and the sink and the roll of paper towel. I ran it under hot water, applied paper towel and applied pressure in an attempt to get it to stop bleeding. 15 minutes later it finally stopped enough for me to do a frantic search for band aids. Going to the hospital to see if I needed stitches was NOT an option. I had too much to do a too little time. Besides I would look goofy trying to carry flowers the next day with a bandaged up index finger. There were no bandages in the house and another trip to the store would take too long (plus I was still bleeding and I didn't want to freak people out by leaving a little blood trail) so I had to settle for the next best thing...Super Glue. It felt a little funny but it did the job. The cake will continue and I will triumph.

Everything else went well for the rest of the night. No more injuries occurred but with a still throbbing finger everything took a little longer than planned. The bottom tier was white cake with strawberry filling, next was orange cake with orange buttercream, white with chocolate buttercream, chocolate with chocolate buttercream and the top was another white cake with strawberry. Baby steps but I was getting closer. The next step was the fondant. Thankfully that went on with out a hitch. Lastly were the supports, I got most of those in but I looked at the clock and had to admit defeat for the night. It was 3am and I had to get up by 6am for the next days (I guess that days actually) event.

That three hours went by quicker than any three hours have ever gone by before. (If only work could go by that quickly). I woke up and realized I had to call my mom to see if I could borrow her car, oops that was on my to do list the night before. The cake wouldn't fit in my car so mom came to the rescue . We got the cake loaded and I was off, for a minute anyways. Forgot another item on my to do list. I forgot to get flowers for the cake. Minor detail. Let me tell you, at 6:30 am two days before Christmas NO flower shops are open. Kroger here I come, you were my saviour. $15 and the perfect flowers later I was off again.

Another hour long car ride, holding my breath the whole time in hopes that the cake didn't tip over or no car accident occured I was in the clear. I got to the brides house to get my hair done along with other wedding preparations. After my hair and makeup was done I was looking gorgeous and off to my next destination...To set the cake up.

I must say the bride and the groom have some great friends that they put a LOT of trust in. The groom's guy friends were decorating the hall and making it look pretty (and no they weren't gay friends). They did a good job I might add. The bride's stepfather was setting up and stocking the bar and some other people were helping with the linens. I set the cake up and realized that it was on the wrong table. I am a freaking genius I swear. I carried the cake across the room to the cake table and breathed a sigh of relief. This is where it was staying and it was NOT going to be moved again. It was finally over!! The cake was up and stable, decorated and looking pretty. Now I could go have fun with at the rest of the wedding and only get wet pits from dancing the night away instead of nerves. Here is wishing the bride and groom a lifetime of love and happiness.

By the way everything turned out perfect. The bride was beautiful. The groom was crazy happy and everything looked great. I don't know if you could get me to do this again though. It would have to be for another really special couple (or for money). Here is a pic of the cake. The picture is bad but the cake looks good. Final score: Cake 1 - Me 5.

Wedding Cakes and Wet Pits

A really good friend called a couple of months ago and said she was engaged. Yay! I was so excited for her. She said they were going to do a small wedding on December 23 (of 2006) and asked me to be a part of it. Double yay!!! So since they were having a small wedding with a small budget, putting it all together in 2 months and I was now a bridesmaid I was obligated to offer up my services (not those services you sicko). Actually, I was happy to help so it wasn't really an obligation. Anyways, I think I actually opened my big mouth and said ANYTHING you want I will do - cake, decorations anything. A couple of weeks later I got a call from her saying they were going to take me up on my offer. Would I please bake their wedding cake. Not just the shower cake but the BIG one!

Let it be know that I am a baker. Not by trade but out of pleasure and sometimes boredom. I love to bake but I have NEVER baked a wedding cake. As soon as the question came out of her mouth I got instant nerves. My mind was swimming and my pits were sweating. I was asking myself questions like - would I really be able to pull of making a wedding cake? What if it looks like crap? What if it tastes like crap? What if it topples over as they try to cut it? What if it topples over in the car on the way to the reception hall? AGGGHHHHHH!!! I was stuck now there would be no chance to turn back so of course I smiled, acted excited and said yes I would make their cake.

Some discussion took place about the look of the cake and their only request was that it be covered in fondant (the stuff that gives an ultra smooth look to the cake). Cue the wet pits again. I have never used fondant to cover a cake before but I figured since I was already in over my head why not go into even deeper water so I said sure, why not.

Thankfully I did a small trial run and made the cake for the wedding shower. After mishap after mishap I was glad I did that trial run. I had so many problems with that cake you would not believe it. Cakes weren't cooking right, the frosting was too thin, the frosting was too thick, I was SUPER sick and various other things. If this happened when I was trying to make the wedding cake it would take me weeks to make but after all of these problems though the shower cake was a hit. The bride LOVED it, it looked like everyone else did and as far as I knew no one got sick. I had a renewed sense of confidence. I could do this.

Fast forward to the day before the wedding. I was busily making cakes and frosting listening to bad reality TV shows while I worked. I baked and baked and baked. I discovered our oven is not level as evidence was in a lopsided cake(or two). I fell asleep while one was in the oven and about burned the house down. I made a mad dash to the store to pick up some more ingredients. 25 lbs of sugar, 8 lbs of powdered sugar, 5 lbs of butter and $80 later I was back home.

I was getting into a good rhythm and lost track of time. I looked at the clock and realized I had to pick up my bridesmaid dress from the tailor, pick up a few last minute items and be at the wedding rehearsal and SOON! I got all my errands done and was running only 15 minutes late. The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner went well but I felt a little guilty but I felt a little guilty when the bride asked how the cake was looking. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the only thing done was the cakes and they weren't even iced. I was in for a long night.