Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Mayhem

How many of you were brave enough to put on your armor and go to battle? Am I seriously talking about war? Nope. I'm talking about shopping. Isn't that ridiculous!?

Seriously though, we've all heard about people being trampled to death in the chaos of black Friday. And I must admit when I decided to go this year, I was kinda freaked out. Not to mention I had to pump myself up to go stand in the cold night for hours on end. Well, I kinda did it the easy way- I went about an hour before the Toys R Us opened. And yes- because of my procrastination and lack of desire to stand in a long line in the middle of the cold night there were 300 people in front of us. But, there was also 300 people behind us. And it was cold! What was worse was if you sat on the ground because your legs were tired then you got even colder. Insert teeth chattering noise here.

I must admit I was kinda impressed with how Toys R Us handled it. They knew it was going to be pure chaos and they didn't let let people run in. You had to enter in a single file line and no cutting. Not to mention they came out and passed out tickets to the people in line for big ticket items before the store opened. If you got a ticket you were guaranteed that item. And oh-yea I got one! YES!!! When I put that ticket in my hand for the "fur real friends pony" I jumped up and down with my lil sister (I needed a wingman and she rocked it) and we did the happy dance. Then I called my other scouts located at 2 other Toys R Us's letting them know that I had it! Ahhh....there is something wonderful about winning. It seriously felt like I was in the last 5 seconds of a game, just scored a goal and pulled our team ahead for the win. INSANE!
I'm so tired today. This year was the first year I've ever done a black Friday middle of the night shopping trip and I did it because a toy was $200 off. But I'm seriously hurting today. I don't know how other mom's do it. I'm going to put my kids to bed early and then crash. Forget cleaning up after Thanksgiving today- I got my tushy whooped in shopping last night. Who knew it took so much to recover from "shopping."

I didn't have time to take pics of myself fighting the crowds I was already smushed like a sardine in the store (pretty sure there were multiple fire code violations). So check out these pics of black Friday by NBC News and just imagine me in there :)

Special Thanksgiving Memories

As stressful as it is to plan a "Thanksgiving" -- it is well worth it. This Thanksgiving we were so blessed to have our family and friends share it with us. I found our house filled with smiles and laughter. While we ate our delicious food we giggled at silly old stories and found ourselves doubled over in hysterics at new stories too. Friendships were born and family bonds were strengthened. We truely have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Most importantly to us, we are thankful for our family. It was ever present in our minds that day because we had two U.S. Marines with us. These young men didn't have local family so they came to eat Thanksgiving with us. My son, who is 4 was beside himself with excitement that real heroes were coming to his house.This program is organized through the YMCA. When my husband and I heard about it, we immediately said YES! We live close to Camp Pendleton and knew that this would be a great way to give back to those who give so much to us. Yet, we didn't expect to get so much in return. We made new friends and new memories that our family will cherish. This was a Thanksgiving we all will always remember.

Turkey Wrangling

Here's the issue with the Thanksgiving turkey.... it is THE Thanksgiving turkey. It is the main focus point of the meal. You spend hours on end slaving away in the kitchen over side dishes and deserts all to complement a big chunk of meat. I mean, think about it- if you burn the turkey, that kinda ruins this whole meal that you literally have spent a month preparing and hours prepping for. It's kinda scary to most people to put that much pressure on one piece of meat!
Yes, even after doing this many years, it is still intimidating to me. Not to mention the whole "prepping" the turkey.
Here's what goes through my mind on Thanksgiving morning:
How the heck am I going to rinse this awkard lump of meat that weighs an insane 24 pounds ! Um...o.k. So I'm dangling this in my sink and trying to control where the faucet is hitting the turkey while trying to not drop it. It's freezing too! It's been thawed out in the fridge and happens to be very cold. And it's slippery! Oh crap, totally just dropped it- hope that didn't bruise it or tear the skin. This thing is bigger than a kid! It'd be easier to hug this thing and rinse- but eeew. Well, do I have another shirt? Ok, bad idea. Ok, got most of it rinsed by this point. Oh darnit, the turkey just hit the faucet- mental note: Disinfect that when I have to disinfect the sink later. And, LIFT. And then try to gently set this monster of an obese bird on a roasting rack. Phew. Now just pat dry.....and thoroughly scrub myself and the sink and possibly floor where water went splashing everywhere. Now yell at the dog to not lick the water on the floor, dangit that's going to make him sick. Kids!
No running in here! Don't come over here!...... When do I get to open the wine?!

Here's the good part- it turned out perfect! After I patted it dry I rubbed it down with a salt/herb mix and slathered with butter and olive oil. It was soooo good. Yay for a successful turkey roasting!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Children's Place Cards

Taking the few extra minutes to make place cards for kids can make a huge impact. I really like turkeys so I decided to do a turkey for the kids but you could really do anything. I went to my local craft store and purchased large foam sheets of brown for about $1.99 each. The eyeballs were also purchased there for $0.99. This craft is pretty inexpensive. It would actually be a great craft to do with kids (age preschool and up).
1) I cut out a circle shape with scalloped edge scissors. Two per turkey.
2) glue feathers to the top of one brown circle. Apply other circle on top. Do not apply any glue to bottom half
3) I glued the eyes on. The beak and gobbler were hand made out of construction paper. Glue under eyes.
4) I hand cut a little sign like the turkey was saying the kid's name out of white construction paper.
5) Cut the base of the turkey so it's flat.
6) Let dry. Then gently pull the bottom apart to create a standing turkey. Done

Adult Place Cards

Every year in our house we put place cards on the adult table that say "We are grateful for our friends and family." It's our way of saying thanks for coming and we love you guys. This year I was walking down an isle at Target and came across these adorable felt stickers. All I did was print out our little saying on white card stock. Then I took the stickers and stuck them on the sides of the cards. Ta-da! Super simple, super cute. You can take this idea and customize it to whatever you have on hand.

The silver ball place card holders add a touch of elegance and are available through "beau-coup":

Cupcakes galore!

In addition to all the crazy Thanksgiving "stuff" I still have my other job. No, I'm not talking about being a mom- that's just understood as a permanent part of me. Nope, I'm talking about my bakery. I've been really busy with all the orders for Pumpkin Pies, Pecan Tassies and Pumpkin Tea Cakes. But in the mix of all that, people are still having birthdays.
Yesterday I spent basically all afternoon making Pecan Tarts. Then I spent maybe 2 hours making my double vanilla cupcakes. But then I had to stop because my husband and I had a date planned. Which was so much fun! We went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewery. Then, we went to go see the "New Moon" movie. When it got out we came home and I started whipping up some chocolate buttercream. I finished at 2:30 in the morning. But it was worth it to have a weekend night to go out. Just a fyi: the weekends are the busiest time for the bakery since that's when everyone has events going on. So I work through the weekends - usually.
Last night my hubby stepped up to the plate, then he totally took out the plate. He stayed up with me and helped put on some polka dots. That is beyond the call of husbandly duty! And it helped keep my energy up. As busy as I am and as much as I do - I couldn't do it without my friends and family who are always there for me. The reason that I can reach for my dreams and live them is because of the love and support of others. Thank you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pecan Tassies or Pecan Tarts?

At my bakery we sell "Pecan Tarts". But....I recently discovered that the proper name for these delicious treats is "Pecan Tassies". I must say Tassie does sound cute. It is a southern treat and Tassie sounds very southern. Here's the problem for me, I grew up with my mom calling them "Pecan Tarts". me that's what they are and the thought of changing the name is just kinda odd to me. But... from a business perspective I should call them "Pecan Tassies". Oh, decisions, decisions....

But regardless what I call them, these little mouthfuls of heaven happen to be a top seller. These are absolutely delicious! When I was growing up our house smelled like "Pecan Tarts" from Thanksgiving through Christmas. So the smell of these baking in my kitchen instantly brings me back to childhood holiday memories. Images of my mother molding the dough in her well loved pan instantly come to me. Funny how a scent can bring you right back to a specific moment in time. I hope my children have great memories like that.

My plans for Thanksgiving

Goal #1: I need to make my kids table cards. I made these adorable little turkeys a couple years ago and I've decided to make them again this year. As if I really need another project to do, but what the heck- Thanksgiving only comes once a year right? Anyway, back to my super simple place cards for kids. If you have construction paper, you can make this:

1) Cut out a circle for the turkey's body. I did mine with scalloped edges- I'm not sure why. I think I have scissors that do that pattern.
2) Cut out feathers in a simple almond shape.
3) glue feathers onto turkey body (see, I told you this was simple)
4) Cut out beak, eyes and giblet out of construction paper and glue onto turkey.
5) Cut out talking circle image, write child's name and glue to turkey (almost done!)
6) Cut a skinny rectangle out of extra construction paper. Form into a triangle (one side glued to turkey body, one side on the table and one side at a 45* angle connecting the edge of the table side back to the turkey) to help support the weight of the bird.
You are done and now I need to make my own!

Goal #2: Make my turkey look as good or even better than the one I did the year before. This was my turkey last year and I must say it was delicious. I slather mine with an herb/salt rub and then baste in in butter throughout the baking time. Oh yum.

Goal #3: Arrange an elegant table for the adults. This was my table setting last year and I liked it. I have red chargers that go underneath my china. But this year, I didn't have enough so I had to run to Target to buy another pack (and thank goodness they had the same color I have). Then I take a napkin (this year I'm going with paper- because I don't have enough and don't want the laundry) wrap a ribbon around it. Simple and elegant and cheap! If you can see the gift label on there I used those as place cards. Everyone had different initials and it was tied to a ribbon to use as a wine glass indicator. This year I'll leave them off the napkins but still making my own homemade wine glass tags. There's nothing worse than mixing up wine glasses. I actually went out to the "Crate and Barrel" outlet and bought some new wine glasses. They have great deals there!

Those are some of my main focus points on my to do list. I'll be blogging along the way as I prepare the food and wrangle the turkey!


If your wondering why all the women have this dazed and crazed look on their faces these days it's because Thanksgiving is less than a week away. I am in charge of the Thanksgiving feast in my house. I nearly said "obviously because I'm the mom" - but then it dawned on me that some husbands actually cook. Unlike my husband who looks at me with puppy dog eyes when I tell him is left overs are in the fridge. Seriously, the man is so spoiled. He barely operates the microwave in this house. But I realize that some men are fully capable of cooking and preparing a delicious home cooked meal (just not my man).
So back to my point- AHHHHhhh!!! Less than a week. And it's not just another dinner.... oh no. It's a meal that is glorified in the magazines and t.v. commercials as a meal to remember. Which pretty much means- this meal has to be perfect because if you mess up; it will NEVER be forgotten. Yikes. That's enough pressure to make anyone insane. But- there's more! Add in a whole lot of people to remember the event. This dinner party is 3 -4 times the size of a normal one and they've been looking forward to this ALL YEAR. wow.
The one good thing is we're all in this together. Unless you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, which is so not fair- it should be mandatory. So ladies (and a couple men who make all other men look bad), when I lift my glass this year at Thanksgiving I'll be thinking of all of you. All your hard work, love and sweat. All your all nighters and early morning turkey in the sink wrangling (that's for a later post). All for the enjoyment and wonderful memories of others. Here's to you!


Hi! I'm Becca:
*a mother of two rambunctious and adorable kids (yea- I'm busy)
*a wife to a very wonderful husband (he's also my best friend)
*a professional baker who recently started up her own bakery business (that's my passion)
*a sister to a very creative and wonderful sister (check her out!
* a sister-in-law to my other sister and brother (both of whom I love deeply and they rock)
*a daughter (to my parents and my husbands- lots of family)
*a friend (I am so lucky to have such awesome friends)

Basically, I'm me....and if you stick around long enough you'll get to know me pretty well. This is going to be my place to write, vent and create. I'll be honest and open and if I'm lucky maybe you'll find me funny and charming! (hehe...a girl can dream, right?) I'll be posting about my husband, my kids, cooking adventures, crafting, baking and basically my topsy turvy life.

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