Wednesday, December 31, 2008

th(E) Cake

5 years ago I was in a friend's wedding. She was from a pretty well-to-do family in Birmingham and the reception was held at The Club. I (only once mind you) mistakenly called it the (short vowel) club and was IMMEDIATELY corrected simultaneously by a few people that it was not the (short) club it was THE (long vowel) Club. How uncouth of me!

However I understand that a little better after making my sister in law's wedding cake. To me it was not just the wedding cake it was THE cake. Now I am aware that the cake is not the most important thing in the wedding. It actually ranks below quite a few things, however, it is something everyone will see and when Katie looked back on her wedding day I didn't want her to look back and say oh it was so beautiful but man wasn't that thing that happened with the cake hilarious! Like maybe it fell over, made everyone sick, or just looked so horrible that people felt they needed to over tell you how great it was. Since it was the one thing I was solely in charge of and the first time I've ever made a cake, not just a wedding cake but a cake in general, I wanted to do a good job.

I started the process the day before we left for Enterprise for Christmas. I had been looking online for months for advice, recipes, decoration ideas, etc so in my head I knew exactly how this was supposed to go. All the ingredients and supplies had been purchased and Steph let me borrow her mom's cake decorating stuff. I had also borrowed her kitchen aid mixer and my friend Krysti's mixer so that I would have three in all. It was definitely a full kitchen that day!

Anyway I baked, cooled, filled, and crumb frosted the layers for the three tiered cake and shoved them in my freezer quite proud that I had gotten it all done. Of course three days later in Enterprise I realized I was supposed to make two layers for each tier and I had only done one. Funny how that tidbit of info I hadn't read about, I guess it was supposed to be common sense. So Christmas night when we got back to Conyers, before we left for Gainesville the next morning, I baked, cooled, filled and crumb frosted the second layer for the three tiered cake.

We transported the three tiers (unstacked) to Gainesville and put them in the church kitchen. That night after a full day of wedding preparation and the rehearsal dinner I made more icing then I ever want to see again in a giant commercial mixer and spent the next few hours icing the cake and smoothing it to the best of my ability. Thank the Lord (seriously thank you so much) that my cousin in law Hannah stayed to help me. She gave me company and took on the icing process too. Two completely unexperienced bakers did a pretty dang good job!

The next day we were able to again transport this freakin' HEAVY thing (still unstacked) to the reception hall where I added ribbon and finally put all the pieces on top of each other. The only part that was hard was what to put on top. I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like but had no clue how to do it. Finally after another team effort it was all done and if I do say so myself it turned out pretty fabulous. Definitely WAY better than I had anticipated. People said it tasted good to but there was no way I was eating any. I stared at that thing way to long to be able to enjoy it!

I now understand why wedding cakes cost so much. I spent almost exactly $100 after it was all said and done which isn't much but the work you put in....WOW!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Zach, Micah and I just got back from a southeast Christmas tour and are EXHAUSTED! The busiest part had nothing to do with Christmas but that will come in a later post.

We spent Dec. 21st-25th at my parents' house in Enterprise, AL. Unfortunately there was only one day (Christmas Day) that we were all actually there but that's alright. We spent the first part of the week with my brother Tim, sister Jennifer and nieces Keelie and Haley. David and Christina were gone for a long weekend and Chris had basketball games to coach. We basically did nothing but watch my mom cook for us and it was FANTASTIC. It was nice to be able to sit in one spot, especially since my dad was taking Micah to the park and playing with him constantly outside on the bikes!

Christmas Day we were all together and had a great time opening presents. I was hoping Micah would be a little more into the present opening this year, but for that to happen I think he'd have to open his stocking last! He got a reindeer pez dispenser and spent the majority of the morning eating candy (it was Christmas after all!!) Then one of the first presents he opened was a kiddie electric guitar from my parents and it was a lost cause after that! He loved that thing. We did manage to get him back at the end to open a gift of tons of clothes from my sister, but then he just wanted to put them all on. However the highlight of the morning seemed to be the pop up tunnel fort system my brother and sister in law gave him because he, Haley, Keelie and Tim, of course, played with it before the little ones all crashed from Christmas morning exhaustion.

That afternoon my mom made her traditional lunch of prime rib and garlic mashed potatoes and we rested and hung out for a bit before we had to pack up and head out to North Georgia for my sister in laws wedding.

Here's a few pics of our wonderful Christmas Morning!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

gather round ye children come...

These are the very first words sung in the most amazing and blessing filled concert I have ever attended. Zach did a post about Andrew Peterson, a singer/songwriter, awhile ago when he came to Conyers. Every November/December he tours doing his Christmas concert, Behold the Lamb of God. If you have never heard it you must go to his site immediately and order the CD. You will not want to listen to anything else over Christmas!!!

Zach and I saw him in Atlanta in '06, Augusta in '07 and decided it was time to go to his show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the original Grand Ol' Opry for those of you who didn't know. The show there is like none other on the tour. He has amazing special guest musicians (there is definitely not a shortage of those in Nashville) who play with the original tour group. This year Ron Block, who plays with Allison Kraus, Michael Card, who was just a totally different caliber of musician, and Stuart Duncan, who apparently is an amazing fiddle/violinist, plus a few others who I can't remember/didn't know. Plus the people who travel with him all the time are awesome like Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Andrew Osenga, and Bebo Norman (my fave!!!!)

OK so enough name dropping! Anyway the four of us (mays and moons) drove up to Nashville last Thursday afternoon to see the show that night and then spent Friday walking around downtown Nashville and then headed to the Grand Ol' Opry area to shop, eat, hangout before heading back to Conyers that evening. It was a whirlwind trip but oh so worth it!!!!!!!! In the words of Justin, "I may never be able to watch a concert anywhere else!"

The Ryman during intermission.
The acoustics in this place were UNBELIEVABLE!

Zach and me after the concert.
Yes I know there's a prominent baby belly there.

Steph and Justin after the concert.
Her baby belly is more well hidden!

The next day walking around downtown

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa, the Square and CCC

We've had many Christmassy celebrations already and there's still 8 more days to go!!

Last Saturday Zach, Micah and I headed to downtown Covington to see Santa. Micah actually recognizes a Santa when he sees one which is really funny and cute we're working on recognizing baby Jesus too but there's not as many of those floating around on signs, stores, windows, tv, etc!

Micah seemed really excited on the way so we thought there was a chance he'd actually sit with him but no no no! Instead Micah and I got to hang out on Santa's chair while he peeked over the side. It's really not that big a deal to me or Zach if we have a good Santa picture, it's just fun to do.

Sarah, Micah and Santa

We ran into Matt, Leslie, Isabella and William at Santa's Workshop (Isabella wasn't keen on ol' Santa either) and decided to head to the square downtown to take some pictures. Isabella and Micah were so freakin' cute staring at the monster Christmas tree which made for some super cute pictures.
Father and Son walking downtown

Wow, what a big tree!

Once they saw their reflections in the ornaments picture time was over!

Sunday we had our church Christmas party. There was lots of yummy food and good company. I think finding/being led to CCC is the best thing that's happened to us since moving to Conyers. I can't imagine a more wonderful church family to have around you!!!

These were the coolest glasses.
The lights looked like snowflakes when you wore them.

Caught in the act!

We're cute too!

The most amazing small group ever

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

sprinkles, sprinkles, everywhere

Yay for Christmas cookies! It's my families turn for Christmas this year and I can't wait because I know there will be tins of cookies lined up on the counters and one of them better be filled with chocolate covered peanut butter cracker sandwiches!!!!

Two years ago (pre-Micah) I did major holiday baking because that was the gift we gave out. I have given up the major holiday baking until my children are somewhat older. Taking care of Micah is tiring enough without busting out all the ingredients, scaring him half to death with the mixer and then cleaning all the mess up! I'll just wait until they all can help with it.

However I did want to do something so I made some sugar cookies and Micah (and I) decorated them. He was so darn cute with all those sprinkles. At first he was a little cautious, but by the end he was shaking those sprinkle jars like crazy. He also loved to veto the colors himself. He'd be staring at them all and say,, and shake the orange everywhere then he repeated the process with other colors. I haven't eaten any because I tried just a little of the icing and it was so sweet my pregnant self got sick, but they sure look cute!

Cautious sprinkling

Crazy Sprinkling

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Girl's Weekend

This past weekend I went to Helen with 5 girl friends, some of whom I've known since elementary school. We had such a great time, we are planning to make it a yearly thing, however in the future it will be in late summer or fall because it was soooo cold! At least cold to a bunch of south Alabama girls!!

Once we got to the cabin we had a great time but it was quite an adventure at first. We finally got on the road about 9:00 pm after meeting up in Atlanta, but as soon as we were on the exit ramp traveling onto 85 North the car I was in ran over something and I heard a very unfavorable noise coming from the back tire. Oh yeah, in the first 5 minutes of the trip we got a flat tire. There were three of us in the car plus an adorable 7 month old boy and all of our stuff, not to mention the fact that none of us have changed a tire, let along on the side of an interstate in dark 30 degree weather...NOT FUN!

After about 2 1/2 hours of waiting, sitting, unloading, reloading, staying warm we were on our way. I would go into the entire ordeal but if you want to know you'll just have to ask personally because it would take FOREVER to write! We finally made it to the cabin at 12:50 am, dragged our things inside and promptly went to bed.

The next morning we woke up not so bright and early and headed to downtown Helen around lunch time. I had been there once before in the summer and had an ok time, but Christmas Helen was definitely more fun. There was a brass band playing in the middle of town, Santa Claus visiting children, horse drawn carriages, and decorations everywhere!!! We looked at the river, ate lunch, walked around the shops and took pictures. It was cold cold cold but it was very fun!

Diana, Me, April, Brandi, Briana, Kristen and baby Eli

Later that evening we went home to watch the SEC Championship Game. The majority of us are Auburn fans so we were pulling for those Gators to beat Bama!!

After the game we did our Christmas Ornament started off tame but got good in the end which is hard to do with such a small crowd. I love my cute 'candy' ornament.

It really was a great weekend and thankfully my wonderful husband had a boys weekend with Micah so I could go!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Grinch and Scrooge Update

Hello all! Thanks for your comments/opinions on the Grinch and Scrooge issue. I'm going to share with you my opinion real quick and then link you to the original question and answers.

Overall I have to go with Scrooge as being the meaner one. Scrooge lived day to day life surrounded by other people and made an active decision each day to be as unloving as possible.

However my biggest sympathy goes to the Grinch. Now I'm talking cartoon/book Grinch not Jim Carrey Grinch. That poor green man lived his entire life up on a hill judging people not realizing that he was the one being hurt the most. They paid him no mind even when he stole everything he thought was precious to them.

The big winners in both stories here are the Cratchitts and the Whoos though. Wow what an amazing example of unconditional love and grace. Even after Scrooge screws him out of a good salary forcing him to live in poverty and for one child to remain lame he thanks him at their Christmas dinner and continues to wish him well. and the Whoos (cartoon whoos not stupid spend tons of money on crap whoos) knew that presents were not what Christmas was all about.

The 'semi'- official results!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who's Worse...

Scrooge or The Grinch?

I heard a very interesting discussion on the radio today. Apparently someone did a study by asking 3 different people, a judge, a minister and a cop, who was worse Scrooge or The Grinch. Each man was required to look at the lives of these two characters and decide who was worse or 'more' wrong in how they lived. Then after deciding they were then to tell whose redemption at the end of the story was bigger.

I would love to hear your opinion on the matter and then I will update the post and tell you what the results were found.