Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To!

I've been so busy keeping everyone else's schedules together that I hadn't realized that my birthday is Tuesday! I knew that it was coming pretty soon, but I had no idea that I'd be the big 2-5 (again) in just two days! I haven't had time to ponder over what gifts I'd like to receive although I'm sure there are some things I can think of that would look great on my arm (hint) or sitting in my lap (hint, hint)! The names Michael Kors and Steve Jobs come to mind when I think about those splendid gifts!

Now, if only Cake Boss would send me a cake! That would make my day! Buddy, I'm calling you! Check out this Bumble Bee Transformers cake that he did. How awesome is that!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Erin's Yummy 3!

Last month, we celebrated my Erin's Yummy 3! with an ice cream-themed birthday party. We had a blast, and we are literally still eating ice cream sundaes. Delicious! Nothing better than chocolate ice cream with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, pecans, M&Ms, marshmallows, and everything else that I can find in the fridge! Here are some of the photos from the party, so I hope you enjoy taking a quick (or long) peek at the fun that we had!

I was looking for a much better alternative for invitations than the pre-made invitations that came with the party packs that I purchased. I used faux carnations and sugar cones to get the looks. Yes, the cones are real!

I put the cones in cello bags made little ice cream tags and tied them with ribbon! Everybody loved them!

This is the birthday banner that I made for the party. My carpet was covered in silver glitter for days, but it was worth it!

The dessert and ice cream tables were so fun to make! I loved the variety of colors that I was able to use with the Ice Scream for Ice Cream party packs that I purchased from Oriental Trading. I absolutely loooove Oriental Trading because they have the cutest items for such great deals. I was so disappointed in the marshmallow pops because I forgot to put styrofoam under the boxes, and they looked like they were dancing to their own rhythm.

The ice cream table! We had ice cream cone cupcakes, ice cream sundae cupcakes, all types of cones, syrup, ice cream, and different toppings! I made the awning below that was attached to wooden dowels but ended up having to take my "ice cream stand" down because the huge fans that we had outside were blowing it all over the place! It was so hot outside, and I didn't want to the kids to be too uncomfortable, so the fans won!

My awning that I painted with care. I even used painter's tape to try to make the stripes as straight as possible, but... Sniff, sniff, RIP...

Ice cream table again!

We had lots of yummy ice cream toppings! There were cherries, marshmallows, gummi bears, M&Ms, Oreo cookies, Nerds, sprinkles, and pecans! I had to refill the gummi bears 3 times because they were disappearing each time I placed them in the bowls. There was also caramel, strawberry, and chocolate syrup, and whipped cream! I think the whipped cream and pecans were my favorite!

These ice cream sundae cupcakes were delicious! There were 12 to begin with, but I snuck and ate one of them while I was decorating the cupcakes and never thought I would have eaten that much icing at once! I made the little straws from paper straws that I had left over from the Cowboy baby shower and bought sour cherry candies to make the cherry on top!

As soon as I put the ice cream cone cupcakes on the tables, they were gone. They were made with key lime batter that the birthday girl's grandmother whipped up for me because I'm hardly a baker! I must say that I think these turned out pretty cute for it being my first time making them!

Goodies, goodies, and more goodies! I knew that I wanted to do a dessert table because they are fun and always liven up a party. There were many treats and snacks that the kids loved, and the colors were just perfect.

Sno-balls are a favorite of mine and the birthday girls, so I had to include them. My grandmother let me borrow the scalloped cake stand that they are on. Gotta love her for that!

The boy favors were little green ice cream cone cups that I found at Dollar Tree filled with lots of goodies. There were crazy straws, ice cream poppers, ice cream cone shaped candies and marshmallows, silly glasses, ice cream cone stickers, rainbow springs, and other fun candy that kids gobble up! Most of the favors were purchased at Oriental Trading.

The girl favors were nearly identical to the boys with the exception of the ice cream cone cups being pink, and instead of crazy glasses, the girls received butterfly-shaped sunglasses. I even had green popcorn boxes that I decorated with ribbon and ice cream lables for the older kids. I hate that I didn't get a picture of the finished boxes.

Yummy candy bars that ended up melting because it was so hot. I froze them the night before, but the heat just wouldn't let them be. I purchased these candy bar labels and favor tags from Oriental Trading also.

The party tables!

Getting this water slide was probably the best and ONLY idea contributed to the party by dad! It cooled the kids off and provided hours of fun! The adults were able to relax and enjoy the day while the kids played.

The birthday girl and other kids not playing fair and getting first dibs on the game prizes. I love Dollar Tree because they have so many cool prizes for the kids!

A couple of the games that I had for the children to play. I was running a bit late in getting the games set up, so the kids took matters into their own hands! I made little cardboard signs to go at each station, but ended up not even using them :( My hard work went to waste!!

Isn't this the cutest little ice cream toss game? Of course it was courtesy of Oriental Trading, and it was perfect for the small children. They enjoyed all of the prizes that they were able to win while playing the game. I had to hide the bean bags afterwards because they wanted to throw them at each other!

What's a party without crafts?!?! I printed ice cream-themed coloring sheets from the Internet and made popsicles out of foam so that the children could decorate them with google eyes, rhinestones, markers, and other fun items.

It was dark by the time we got around to playing with the pinata. I found this ice cream cone shaped pinata at Hobby Lobby, and it was just as much fun l

Mommy and Daddy! The day ended great, and I'm thinking that next year, we're going to do something with just a few kids. Maybe I can use all of the Princess and the Frog items that I purchased for this year's party and throw a small princess party. We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Mac or Not to Mac...That is the Question

My computer is nearly on its last leg, and I've been pondering what my next machine will be. Of course, I salivate when looking at the Apple's Macbook line, but then I start looking at the prices and remember that I'm living on a working girl's salary! Pricing aside, I believe that the Macbook Pro may be joining the ranks of my now defunct line-up of laptops because I need something for more than just computing power. Since laptops and other mobile devices are becoming the latest "must-have-even-if-I-don't-know-how-to-use-it" accessories, I need something that's aesthetically pleasing. I like the word aesthetically, by the way. Bottom line, although I need functionality, I want a pretty laptop. Is that too much to ask for? Are laptops pretty? Maybe I'll check with the Geek Squad at work and see if they can find me a better term for a laptop that looks great! I don't know if it's safe to approach them since the last conversation that I had revolved around the new version of Ubuntu. I love technology, and I'm surrounded by it every day, but I don't think I want to gloat over the new user interface of Ubuntu. It does look amazing though!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Amazing Discovery

I normally try to eat breakfast so that I won't have a ravenous appetite by lunch time and eat up all of my food, my co-workers' food, and anyone else's food who's in my path. Despite my reluctance to admit it, I also eat breakfast because I sometimes can hear my mom's annoyingly harsh loice saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You won't be able to think if you don't eat, Sheenika." I'm at least 25 years old by now, so I tend to THINK that I know how important I THINK breakfast is everyday. See? No problem thinking, and it's after 12pm!

I was speeding through town and decided to turn into McDonald's for breakfast because I figured the line wouldn't be wrapped around the building. [I have yet to understand why Americans are so lazy and would rather allow gas to pour out of our vehicles while idling for 15 minutes all for the sake of a biscuit slathered in bacon grease]. No one was waiting, so I pulled up to the speaker and put my hand to my mouth to muffle my laughter as I always do when the auto-attendant comes on. It's generally a good idea to have a voice that is "transparent "and not obviously "Southern," but I guess there were no "transparent sounding" employees at work the day the announcements were recorded. At the insistence of the "Southern" sounding auto-attendant, I ordered the Fruit and Maple oatmeal, and boy, what a great little find! There was actually tangible fruit contained and the oatmeal was even yummy. To top it off, I can keep my figure (or what's left of it) after eating it because the calorie count is relatively low for a McDonald's treat. Now, I'm not saying that you'll be stuffed after eating only one bowl of it, but it's a least worth a taste.

I think of a Sex and the City episode when Miranda calls the Chinese restaurant and they already know what she wants to order. I will probably become the Miranda of McDonald's with this oatmeal!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I'm Reading

I recently joined a book club, and I must say that I look forward to our monthly meetings to listen to and participate in the insightful discussions that we have regarding the book of choice. This month, the selected book was Multiple Blessings by Kate Gosselin and others. Initially, I wasn't sure how I felt about this book because I'd always had this perception of Kate as being an emasculating, over-bearing, psychotic, neat-freak with adorable children. My heart strings would be plucked for Jon's sake because he seemingly complied with her perpetual list of rants and demands with the most nonchalant attitude. He was overly passive-aggressive, and I can honestly see why they ended in divorce.

With that being the case, the book solidified my assumptions that were gathered from watching the Gosselin's reality show, and Kate's likability factor is no better on my scale than before. Oh, and the use of analogies, and all of the imagery producing English terms available were in overdrive in this book often making me want to hurl it against my bathroom vanity. I can't wait to see what the other ladies have to say about this delightfully-written smorgasbord of pretty daisy dancing emotions filled with gleefully flying butterflies under the simmering sunset of this miraculously humid day while the crispy yellow bumble bees are intermixing with the dust-like pollen that is covering my cement-laden driveway... Well, you get the picture.

The verdict is still out on Getting to Happy since I've only cracked the first chapter or so of this book, but from the few pages that I've read, it's filled with Terry McMillan's "in-your-face-I-don't-give-a-damn-what-you-think" language. It's the sequel to Waiting to Exhale and a true testament that books brought to the big screen are often done so cinematically and don't have many of the original elements of the book. I keep thinking about the part where Savannah, who was Whitney Houston's character, thought she wasn't beautiful. Um, how can you cast Houston in a part where a woman isn't beautiful? Maybe they should have opted for Kimberly Elise or Viola Davis. They are relatively attractive but not necessarily the most beautiful women although their talent is radiant. Hopefully, this book will not disappoint. Maybe I should recommend it for the next book club meeting because I'm sure there are going to be some worthy moral discussions contained within.

For those of you who are on Twitter, you can follow Terry and all of feisty splendor at @MsTerryMcMillan

I was having a conversation with a friend who suggested that this book would be a good read, and it wasn't really surprising to me that I hadn't read The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. My friend also mentioned that it would be an "easy" read which would have been a bit insulting coming from someone else, but he knows that his subtle jabs go in one ear and out the other!

I think that in our busy and often chaotic lives, we forget that reading is not only for entertainment, but it is also for personal enrichment. Thus far, I've read the forward to this book, and I find myself thinking that I am the stereotype that is being perpetuated when it comes to being "taught" about my heritage and where I come from at institutions of learning. We learn about MLK, the Black abolitionists, the Black poets and musicians, and that's pretty much it. Unfortunate as it is, if African-Americans don't take the initiative to learn about where we come from, history is not going to be delivered to us during our educational years. Knowledge is truly a sense of self-empowerment.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cowboy Baby Shower Dessert Table

I had the opportunity to host a baby shower this past Saturday which is something I've never done before. This was probably the first and last time that I'll ever do it because quite frankly, I'd rather work with a bride-zilla than an emotional, pregnant woman! She knows that I love her to pieces, but geesh. cut me a little slack! I think the most fun part of putting it together was doing what I call the "dessert" table. I think that I'd eaten so much prior to it beginning that I wasn't hungry during the shower, and there were mountains of food! The food was absolutely delicious, so thanks to my mother and one of her good friends for making that happen! Here are a few of the pictures from the Cowboy themed shower.

I had to improvise with the balloons because the cowboy boot printed balloons burst each time we tried to fill them with helium!

Burlap, raffia, and twine were my "best friends!"

I made the little "baby" sign from styrofoam letters that I purchased from Hobby Lobby. I painted them with blue acrylic paint and tied them up with blue bandanas to go along with the theme.

I found the cute little cowboy boots on Oriental Trading and filled them up with Jell-O. I used twine on the candy jars to add a more rustic look to the table. I didn't quite finish decorating the cupcake tower because I ran out of time, so I have plenty of bandana themed ribbon that's waiting to be used for something else! BTW, those are brownies instead of cupcakes, and they were yummy!

The haystack took up much of the gifts table, so we had to relocate the other gifts to another table.

My mom loaned me her beloved cowboy boots to use as props at the shower. I had to listen to a lecture on boots that I purchased for her anyway! I couldn't quite get them to stand up straight, but they managed to not fall off.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Need a good laugh? I don't know if there's an app for that!

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love to laugh although I can only tell funny jokes on paper. I never professed to be the "Chris Rock" or "Bernie Mac" of my generation, and needless to say, I definitely fail at being spontaneously funny. With that in mind, I like a good dose of crude humor every now and again because it helps me to keep a balance between my personal and professional life, and what better way to find that comical delight than to read The Oatmeal? I discovered this website one day while doing who knows what online, and it has been my guilty pleasure ever since! I literally LOL, and I've shared it with a few of my friends so that we are all LOLing together. Even though it sounds corny and so cliched, laughter really is the best medicine!

Disclaimer: The Oatmeal is not for the weak or faint of heart. Please read at your own risk. Oh, yeah, if you're an animal rights activist, then you may not have an appreciation of dolphins getting punched!

One of my favorite LOL moments:
Why I didn't like riding the bus as a kid

*Credit: Picture of Tumblbeast was swiped from The Oatmeal, blah, blah, blah