My daughter turned 4 last week, and requested an under the sea Birthday party. She also has this stuffed, glowing, musical seahorse that she has had since she was 6 months old. She calls it her baby, more specifically her blue baby, since she has previously owned a pink baby in the past.
Anyway, her favorite color is purple and so she requested to have a birthday cake with a purple baby on it. I’ve drawn this damn seahorse thing so many different times, at baby girls request, so I was most definitely up for the “challenge” of putting a purple baby on a cake. She also requested chocolate cake and blue icing. Done deal baby girl!
First I sketched out my plan on a piece of paper, and made sure to color it in. Although I didn’t follow my plan 100%, it’s always good to have a visual of your plan, and make sure the colors actually go to together. See what works and what doesn’t. It’s better to make your mistakes on a piece of paper, rather then your cake.
I started with a boxed chocolate cake mix. I’m not gonna lie to you, I almost always use cake mixes. They taste really good, and you can up the anti on them if you so desire by just adjusting some of the added ingredients. Plus, lets be honest, the cake is just a vehicle for the icing, fruit topping, whipped cream, candy bars or whatever other tasty treats you plan to put on or around your cake region. I baked one 9×11 chocolate cake using melted butter instead of oil. Sometimes I add extra eggs then what is recommended, but since the cake was for a childs birthday I figured no one would really notice or care if it was more decadent. After I let the cake cool, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and but it in the freezer for an hr or two. This helps with the frosting process.
I put about one cup of butter in my stand mixer and whipped it on high. I do that until it is all airy and white. Maybe 5 minutes? I don’t really time it. Just turn it on high and do other random things in my kitchen while checking on it often. After it’s all white and whipped to my liking, I add about 1/3 cup of icing/powdered sugar at a time and turn the mixer on low until it’s mixed in, then whip again and repeat until the frosting is a texture I like. Then, if I’m in the mood, I’ll add vanilla extract or maybe a different flavor extract and whip it again. I’ll check again that the texture is agreeable to me. Be advised not to make your icing too stiff which basically just means you’ve added way too much sugar and your frosting will be very sweet!
In this particular case I purposely didn’t add quite enough sugar before portioning out the frosting that I needed for the blue water frosting. I then added some blue jello mix, a few table spoons at a time, while checking for a tasty flavor that I liked. I really didn’t want my frosting to be too sweet, so I was very careful about not adding too much sugar, especially before adding sugary jello mix. I added a couple drops of blue food coloring to get the right color that I was looking for.
After I scooped out the blue frosting and cleaned my bowl, I added the remaining frosting back to the mixer, added the rest of the desired icing sugar, and then portioned out the frosting to add food coloring to afterwards.
So much explaining, but all of this can be overwhelming and confusing at times.
I took the cake out of the freezer, unwrapped it and placed it on a dish that I planned to serve it on. I took a small spatula, and iced the entire thing. I initially wanted to make the frosting all smooth, and pipe a colored boarder, but I ended up making wave like strokes which I really liked so I went with that instead. When I was done with the blue I put the entire cake in the fridge, uncovered, to chill.
Because I used real butter for the frosting, it gets hard when chilled, and is a lot easier to set. Once the frosting was hard, I traced out the seahorse with a toothpick, then piped on all of the details.
Overall I was pretty pleased with the outcome, and it was not hard to make at all. Just required a little dish washing and time chilling in the fridge. Baby girl seemed pleased with the results as well, and that is all that matters!
I’ll admit it, I have a guilty pleasure. Well perhaps I have two. First, I loved watching the Girls Next Door, and am semi fascinated with the Playboy lifestyle. Second, I love tell alls and getting the juicy details. This book contained both aspects in a neat and tidy little package.
Jennifer Saginor’s father was Hugh Hefner’s good friend, and happened to also be a doctor. All Playboy bunnies, groupies, girlfriends and what not, would be referred to him for their plastic surgery needs, as well as their diet pill “requirements”. He also liked to indulge himself with the naked ladies, drugs and the general lifestyle that the Playboy Mansion provided him. The fact that he had two small daughters aged 5 and under did not stop him. He brought them along, and let random bunnies, and mansion staff babysit while he went about having his fun.
The exposure to foul language, drug and alcohol abuse, nudity, sexuality and general disregard for females, would be a lot for anyone to take in, let alone two small, impressionable girls. As Jennifer grew up, she was exposed to more and more, and was taught that so much was to be treated nonchalantly. Seeing so many wild things created a delusion that typical life as a student in school, going to pep rally’s and hanging out with your friends was just not stimulating enough. Her father continued to ignore her for his own needs, often throwing money and possessions at her instead. If that was the end of his poor behaviour, the scenario could almost be forgivable. Instead he formed a very dysfunctional relationship with his daughter filled with verbal and emotional abuse. In ways some, things would even be considered sexual abuse, although he did not actually force himself upon her.
All details came together nicely, and often times left my jaw dropped in disbelief. There were definitely juicy tidbits, some involving celebrities. This book provided some definite insight on what life at the Playboy Mansion is really like, and to be honest, it kind of deterred my interest in Playboy a little bit. I always knew The Girls Next Door was a sugar coated version of reality, but I never knew how much sugar was coated on top until reading this book. You do however have to take what Jennifer says with a grain of salt. She comes off very bitter, and some of her perspectives may be skewed. She’s publicly admitted that some of her dates and details were inaccurate and untrue, which is why I chose to give this book an 7 out of 10 instead of a 8 out of 10.
I also felt like this story ended some what abruptly. She has yet to find much resolve in her personal life. While this is honest with her life, and that in itself can be appreciated, I just feel like her story isn’t quite finished, and perhaps she jumped the gun with writing this book.
If you are into celebrity dirt, behind the scenes stories, Playboy or TV shows like Intervention I would most certainly recommend this book.
Finding Me, by Michelle Knight, is a memoir of one of the Cleveland Kidnapping survivors. Being kidnapped, tortured, beaten and raped several times daily for 11 plus years is horrific. It was very saddening to read that Michelle also had a very hard childhood and up bringing. She grew up very poor with neglectful parents, and was molested by a family member for years. She ran away from home and began selling drugs just to survive before ending up back at home. She experienced teen pregnancy and had to drop out of school. Then when her mother’s boyfriend beat and injured her toddler, her son was taken away from her by social services. While trying to find an address for a supervised visit with her son, she was abducted by Ariel Castro. Turns out that this man was also her friends father, and he used that fact to lure her in. How sick. If nothing else, this can be a great reminder to never accept a ride from anyone you don’t know. Even if you know of them, that doesn’t mean that you can trust them. Never let your societal duty to be polite to everyone overrule your gut instincts. It doesn’t matter what other people think, as long as you feel safe.
Michelle’s life was filled with so much heart ache, tragedy and unreal abuse. Her memoir depicted this very well. She met all the key points and told her story very well without lingering too long on certain aspects. The writing flowed smoothly but also didn’t feel too abrupt. There was only one time in the book that Michelle stated that the events were too gruesome to share, otherwise, she was very open and honest about all the events that had occurred.
In the end, she was able to escape and Ariel Castro was arrested and sentenced to life in prison plus 1000 years without the possibility for parole. Unfortunately just a month into his sentence he took the cowards way out and hung himself in his prison cell.
Michelle managed to stay alive all of those years with the hopes of seeing her son again once more. Although he had been adopted by a loving family which is great news, this meant that Michelle could not just walk back into his life without the possibility of hurting him and his up bringing. I would be devastated. Years of receiving the shitty end of the deal, and in the end, even your freedom is very bittersweet. I hope one day he seeks her out and they get to meet again.
This book was heartfelt, sad and very touching. Michelle’s outlook on life, even after all that she has endured, is certainly awe inspiring. Her appreciation for the little things, after having her freedom taken away, is a good reminder to all of us to never take for granted what we have. Love the sunshine, and your ability to go walk around in it any time that you want. Enjoy the fact that you can open a fridge and decide for yourself what you would like to eat, and actually have food there to eat. Hug, kiss and tell your family and friends that you love them every day; several times a day even!
This book is certainly not for the weak of heart, and could be too overwhelming to some. But if you are interested in true crime, and would like to receive some inspiration at the same time, I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. I give it a 9 out of 10.
I remember being younger when the Bridget Jones movie came out, and feeling like it was stupid or lame. I was a bit too young to enjoy this type of movie, and for some reason figured it was so not cool. As time went on I still was not interested in the movie, but more because it was a typical chick flick and I was too cool to like chick flicks in general. Being a chick and all, I’m not sure why I was so afraid to embrace the typical girl role, but I’m here now. I’m not saying that chick flicks are amazing, they can be very typical and predictable and all of that. Some days, however, it can be nice to sit and watch an uncomplicated movie. You aren’t sitting uncomfortably at the edge of your seat in suspense, or covering your eyes from gore, or shielding your ears from all of the swearing and loud explosions. Some days when I have the house to myself, and baby girl is in bed, I like to put on a nice, easy chick flick.
With all that being said, one day I saw that Bridget Jones Diary was coming on one of our movie channels. I figured that I’d record it, and then I figured I’d take it one step forward and read the book too! I prefer to read the book before I watch the movie, so I quickly bought the e-book on my phone and started reading.
Wow! What an easy read this book was. I’m not sure if everyone knew this, but this book is actually like picking up a diary and reading it. It was nicely broken down so going through the pages were a breeze. It can be a bit more tiresome to read through an entire chapter sometimes, but this was just a few pages per entry so that made it simple to say “one more entry before bed” as opposed to one more chapter before bed, which could leave you awake for another 20 min or so, depending on the book.
There was definitely a lot of british lingo and slang, but it really wasn’t too hard to pick up on. Even if you really had no clue what was being said, we’ve all watched enough british movies by now that we get the jest of it.
Bridget’s personality was cheeky, and entertaining to read. She got herself into awkward predicaments, but they never really bothered me or made me feel uncomfortable to read. Some books and movies are based around those really awkward scenarios, and they actually make me feel so uncomfortable or uneasy, that I don’t even enjoy reading about it at all. Confessions of a Shopaholic was very much like that for me. However, I think the fact that Bridget had already lived the moment, and then was recapping them at home later in her diary, made the situations a bit relaxed and easy to endure. I know it’s just fiction, but I can’t help getting emotionally involved in these stories!
There was a cute love triangle that could technically actually happen. I would say that the chances of it happening are slim, but I’m sure something similar has at least happened to a friend of a friend. The misconceptions that all of the characters had for each other were very realistic and believable. We’ve all had those single friends that are trying to help but sometimes can do more harm then good. We’ve all encountered that “player” who can sweet talk his way into anything. We’ve also all come across that person who seems like a snob, but actually just turns out to be overly shy. I liked how relate able all of the characters were.
When it came time to watch the movie I wasn’t disappointed there either. I’m always a stickler to see how well the movie follows the book and this came pretty close. Of course some details were over drawn, alterednor skipped over completely. Often times I prefer an event that took place in the book vs the movie, but in this case, I actually preferred the movie’s take on the story. Although I always knew Bridget was quirky, she came off a lot more funny in the movie. I did miss some of Bridget’s more vulgar ways that were included in the book but had been left out of the movie, but it wasn’t enough to ruin things for me.
All in all I give the book 7/10 because it was a very easy, fun, unique and an eventful read. It wasn’t overly meaningful or thoughtful however, so that is certainly where it lacks on the rating. It did make me laugh, but it didn’t make me cry or feel passion in anyway. For what it is, the book is great though.
As for the movie, I give it the same 7/10 review. It was cute, relate able, funny, and I enjoyed all the actors playing the parts. Who better than Hugh Grant to play the womanizing player? I think had there been just a little less cheese, it could maybe have rated a bit higher, but not by much. 7/10 is basically the highest rating that any chick flick can get. Movies like Inception are 10/10, and I just couldn’t possibly put Bridget Jones Diary right next to Inception, that would just be weird and unfair.
Yes I know that Napoleon Dynamite is a pretty old movie now, but I can never stop using the “soft body” quote.
“You know, Deborah, you have striking features. Such a soft face should be complimented with a soft body.”
– Uncle Rico
Anyway, this manicure I did can definitely be described as soft.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a manicure actually. I thought about doing a post about all of the past mani’s I did that I never got around to posting. Turns out that I just stopped taking pictures of my nails, so I had nothing to show for it. Manicure time is a bit different for me these days. Once upon a time I had a wee baby and could just bundle her up and prop her with couch cushions and paint away without a care in the world. Now-a-days, my preschooler is always demanding something of me:
- assistance with potty breaks
- book readings
- mouse trap game set up
- channel changing
I don’t know if you noticed the trend, but basically these are all wet manicure damaging activities. Yes, I live a life of luxury where my manicures come to life while I lock myself in the bathroom Saturday morning when my husband is off from work. Green with envy is not a good color on you…
Anyway, now that we’ve explored behind the scenes, let us discuss the main feature. I got a Smith & Cult polish for Christmas and had to put it to good use. The color is “Pillow Pie” which sounds a bit sexual to me, but I’ll let that go. It’s a sheer light pink, which I was determined to use. I thought light pink and silver and then kind of went from there digging through all of my polishes.
I came up with pink on my pinky and pointer, grey on my middle and thumb and shimmery white with sparkles on my ring finger.
Notice the severe smudging on my pinky nail? I accidentally bumped it, and then fixed it up – no problem. When it smudged again I thought “F*ck it, this smudge was meant to be!” I can be superstitious like that.
My husband also got me those little silver nail decals and I thought they would go great with these colors so I applied a few with tweezers. This technique looks much easier than it actually is, especially if the polish is still a bit wet.
Overall I am satisfied with the finished product. Looking at these pictures though, I thought that a matte finish could have carried on the ‘soft’ theme I had started a bit further. I also thought that I could use a little cuticle oil and some hand lotion. No I am not a 50 year old woman, my lady leather is just a bit dry. Noted!
Merry Christmas Everyone!!
Enjoy your family, gifts, and num nums today!
When you are all done celebrating today, make sure to get all of your needed rest tonight so that you can head to the stores and recklessly spend even more of your money tomorrow.
I told you to stay tuned for cheese cane and tuned you stayed. Now you shall be rewarded with this delectable tasty treat. It started as my Mom’s Cheese Ball recipe and has since morphed into something far greater!
What you will need:
- 1/2 of a large block of marble cheese
- 1 brick of cream cheese
- 1/3 of a medium onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp of crushed garlic
- 2 dashes of worcestershire
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- Mixing bowl
- Large spoon
- Sharp knife
- Mad skillz
- Amazing Cheese Cane Dish
- First thing’s first, take the cream cheese out of the fridge and let it soften on the counter for an hour or so.
- After the cream cheese has softened on the counter, unwrap and place in your mixing bowl and mix it with your spoon to ensure it is really softened.
- Finely dice your onion and add to the cream cheese.
- Add the crushed garlic to the cream cheese.
- Grate your marble cheese then also add this to the cream cheese.
- Sprinkle the worcestershire sauce and then mix everything together until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Cram all of your cheese tasties into your amazing cheese cane dish.
- Decorate the top of your cheese cane with the diced red pepper for added Christmas pizazz!
- Serve with awesome Christmas crackers and a sliced coil of garlic sausage for best results. I use Ritz, Sociables, Bacon Dippers, Sour Cream and Chive are also amazing and will add a lot of extra flavour.
Now like I said, this was originally supposed to be a cheese ball so if you are one of those unfortunate souls that does not own a cheese cane, skip step 7 & 8 and instead roll the cheese mixture into a ball with your hands. This recipe makes a fairly large cheese ball compared to the store bought kind so feel free to divide it into two balls. Double or triple this recipe to acquire many balls. You can then coat the cheese ball(s) with the diced red peppers. This is where you allow your imagination to run wild. Maybe you’ll be a rebel and roll it in both red AND green diced peppers (oh SHIT!). My Mom would coat hers with chopped walnuts, and I used to coat mine with chopped bacon, which is clearly far superior than nuts, but that is your call.
After the cheese ball is coated, carefully wrap it in plastic wrap once or twice over, and keep in the fridge. Remember to take it out of the fridge 30min or so before serving, lest everyone’s crackers snap in half!
This general recipe is very versatile and can be altered in so many ways. You can add mozza and cheddar instead of just marble cheese. Perhaps you’re gonna spice it up with parm and basil. Or you can add some chives instead of just diced onions – or maybe you don’t like raw onions and prefer them to be caramelized first, or just onion powder. Same goes for the garlic – use as much or as little of that stuff as you desire in whatever form you have. Maybe you want to add something spicy, or maybe some festive craisins. The combination possibilities are endless!
Oh yeah… you’re welcome!
If you missed Day 11, click here.
Day 12 – Christmas Day!!
Happy Christmas Eve Eve! This is the last day of my 12 Random Days of Christmas. It’s been awesome laying it all out there, and reinforcing all of the great things that I love about Christmas, and what makes the holidays special for me. So enjoy the last post of the series!
Nothing beats actual Christmas Day. After all, the gift giving, food, drinks and celebrations have all been about this very day. Christmas Eve night we all grab some hot chocolate and drive around looking at all the best Christmas lights. When we get home, we all open up one present, and then put on our matching Christmas PJ’s. My husband would always watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation with his family, so I think we will adopt that for our family starting this year.
After laying out “Santa’s” gifts, and eating cookies and carrots, or struggling to get to sleep (depending on if you are the child or the parent), will come Christmas morning. Everyone wakes up the rest of the family and gather them around the tree. In our family we get some irish coffee and eggnog, and turn on the yule log channel. We start with the stockings and work our way around the tree, trying to save those really big presents for last. We all say thank you to everyone, and clean up our garbage.
Next we get the turkey and stuffing in the oven then start with our traditional breakfast. When I was growing up that was always Birdies in a Nest, which is a bacon lined muffin tin with an egg cracked in each hole. We’d usually put them in an english muffin with some sliced cheese. Yum! I still carry this tradition on with my family, but I’ve added snowflake pancakes to the mix with my snowflake griddle that I found at Costco a few years back.
Now I know many of you may be thinking, “Well what about Jesus?” and that is a very fair question. I will simply answer that by saying, my family celebrates the birth of Santa, and I will just leave it at that.
Christmas is most definitely my favourite time of year. I love every part of it, the good and the bad. There are so many traditions, and other good feeling moments. You and your family stuffing your face with delicious food and drinks, while listening to the choir of bells and using all of your new presents in front of the Christmas tree. It might not be exactly how Christmas all began, but it is how my family finishes it, and that’s what means the most to me.
Here are some links to the entire 12 Random Days of Christmas Series:
For Day 12, scroll up… But I didn’t actually have to tell you that did I? ;]
If you missed Day 10, click here.
Day 11 – Movies
I sit here on the couch, watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on TV as I write this post. What a great Christmas movie this is. Did you know that it is 50 years old this year? And it was voiced by mostly Canadians, including a lady for Rudolph’s voice? I loved watching this movie as a kid, and I still enjoy watching it now (even though Santa is basically an asshole), and I’m almost 30. The quality is a bit dated, but that isn’t stopping my baby girl from enjoying it right now too. It truly is a timeless classic and I look forward to watching it every Christmas for many years to come.
Along with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer come a bunch of other Christmas classics. My favourite was always the cartoon version of How the Grinch stole Christmas. When I grew up I was a bit disappointed to find out that it was only like 18 minutes long or something. It always seemed so much longer with all of those commercials that you couldn’t fast forward through! Anything Dr Seuss is truly amazing though so I’m not surprised that this tops the list for me.
A close second for me was the Garfield Christmas Special. Garfield was the original grumpy cat before Tard came along. He always seemed to know how to tug on my heart strings and make me laugh. I know everyone’s lines in that movie, and every lyric of the songs. I still love this movie despite the color changing bulb at the top of the Christmas tree, just as Garfield slips down it. Haven’t noticed that before? You’re in for a real treat. Those lazy animators!
The Charlie Brown Christmas is also a must. I was never super crazy about the whole Peanuts situation, but it’s just not Christmas time for me if this special is not included in my Holiday movie line up. It still makes me giggle how a twig becomes a full bodied and leafy tree when they add ornaments and lights.
Most people will also say Frosty the Snowman is a classic too, and I agree, I just personally never cared for that movie. I could just never get on board with that one. Maybe it was too 70’s-ish, or maybe I didn’t like the cut of the villains jib. Either way, I think this movie stinks. BUT, I will still show baby girl. She has a right to hate it all on her own accord like her mother.
Can’t forget about the Home Alone series, and by series I mean the first 2 only… I ain’t no chump watching 3 and 4 and however many other ones there are. These movies are totally cult classics, and will forever be awesome despite their many many flawed loop holes.
There are so many other movies now to enjoy. Elf, the new How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and the countless other Christmas specials. Now all we have to do is wait and see which ones will stand the test of time like all of these awesome movies that I’ve listed. Get down with a great Christmas movie today! You will not be disappointed!