Baby Mac’s Baby Shower

April 25, 2011

At the beginning of April, my mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law hosted a fantastic baby shower for me and Baby Mac. I was really looking forward to this shower, but when it was over, I was even more overwhelmed with what a great job the hostesses did and how thankful I was (and am!) to spend time with my friends and family and to be showered with such generous gifts.

There were several cute games – most of them going on in the background, which is just how I like baby shower games to be!

People placed bets on when Baby Mac would arrive. My sister-in-law generously has me going 4 days early, while I think my aunt had me going 12 days late (ugh).

There was also a gift bingo game and a giant bag of diapers where the guests had to guess how many were in there. I got to keep the diapers (and omg they are tiny!!).

A cute clothesline of advice and well wishes from everyone.

There was a table full of ham and cheese croissants, pasta salad, fruit salad, and some other yummies. And cake of course.

There was this diaper cake made by my friend Jeanne. Not until I dismantled it later did I realize just how much stuff was in there!!

A huge pile of gifts!

And lots of friends and family there to celebrate with me 🙂

My sister, me, and my mom.

The grandmothers and me.

The Breton Girls. Me and my roommates from UMBC, plus our kids – mine still in utero obviously, and Nicki’s about to turn 4!

The Bathroom: A Plan

April 18, 2011

[Pictures from Lowes, except paint sample from Behr/Home Depot]

I have zero design experience or expertise. Like none. And this bathroom very nearly defeated me because starting from scratch was so overwhelming. What do I pick out first? Vanity? Tile? Wood tone? Overall theme? And what goes with what??? The possibilities are endless.

I think what I picked first was the wood tone for the vanity. Dark. Check. Then the color for the bathtub and toilet. White. Check. Then tile for the bathtub/shower. Plain white 6″ squares. Check.

Then the finish for the faucets. I picked brushed nickel which is not something we have anywhere else in our house. But I figured, a) the basement is a whole level of our house separate from anything else so I care not if the faucets down here match the ones upstairs, and b) our other 2 bathrooms don’t match either (one builder-grade chrome, the other oil rubbed bronze) so why not make them all different. Plus I thought a cooler/lighter metal would be good with the darker vanity. Check.

Then I picked out the vanity itself. (The one pictured above is the actual vanity I chose.) It’s actually one of the few models Lowes had out on the floor – complete with the vanity top and everything, and for a decent price. Vanity + top combo = one less choice for me to make. Check.

Then came floor tile. (The one pictured above is the actual floor tile I chose.) We decided to go with vinyl tile over ceramic because it costs less and it would be easier to install. Also, I’d be able to pick out a marble-looking tile in vinyl that wouldn’t be in our budget if we went with ceramic. I wanted to add some gray to this bathroom so I went looking for tile that had some gray and also brown to tie in with the vanity and vanity top. Check.

Now to paint. I wanted a gray with brown undertones. I made 2 trips to Home Depot for paint chips and finally picked Cotton Knit by Behr (pictured above). It doesn’t really have much (if any) gray in it which was a little disappointing, but the grays that I found were all too dark or too cold. And this color will look perfectly fine with everything, so no problem. Check.

The light fixture and mirror above the vanity are both still outstanding. The mirror pictured above is probably the one I’ll get. It’s the same finish as the vanity so I know it will match – and we know how much I hate to try to match finishes! The light fixture I haven’t picked yet, but it will be something like what is pictured above.

So what have we done so far?

  • Purchased the bathtub, tub tile, tub faucet, paint, floor tile, and sink faucet
  • Bathtub is installed
  • Bill tiled the bathtub/shower this past weekend, but still needs to grout it. He ended up going with 4″ tiles instead of 6″ due to cost and to minimize the amount of cutting needed.
  • Painting is done

And what do we still have left to do?

  • Purchase toilet and vanity (our plumber will install both of these, along with the sink faucet)
  • Install shower faucet (our plumber will do this too)
  • Tile the floor
  • Purchase the vanity light fixture (the electrician will install this)
  • Purchase and hang vanity mirror

And how much time do we have before Baby Mac (aka Derald) arrives (assuming that he’s not early)? 7 weeks and counting…

Leslie’s Baby Shower

April 4, 2011

When I went on “cake hiatus” at the end of January, I still planned to make 2 cakes in the coming months. One will be for my sister’s bridal shower (which I am co-hosting) at the end of April. The other was for my friend Leslie who is expecting a baby girl in May (she’s due just 3 weeks before I am!). Her shower was this past weekend.

Leslie didn’t really have a “theme” for the baby’s room or anything so I Googled some pictures of pink baby shower cakes (no short supply of those) and got some ideas. I picked this one as my inspiration pic [source]. I really liked the display platform that this cake/cupcake combo was on. I don’t usually make anything special for the display, but for some reason I wanted to for this one.

I used a 14″ round cake base for the larger bottom part, and I used 5 stacked 8″ round cake circles for the middle section. I used hot pink laminated paper for the top of the cake part, and I hot glued some green ribbon around the edges of it.

Leslie said chocolate peanut butter was her favorite combo so I planned to do a vanilla cake with chocolate ganache filling and peanut butter icing.  Due to a very, very busy week and weekend leading up to this shower, I decided to cheat and use a box mix for the cake. I made a 6″ round cake and 12 cupcakes.

For the chocolate ganache filling, I used a recipe that I have used several times before. Though it was fudgy and delicious, I don’t think it was smooth enough. Maybe I didn’t mix it enough or maybe it was because I refrigerated it for awhile. For the peanut butter icing, I used a recipe from Annie’s Eats that I had been wanting to try for awhile. Peanut butter icing can be so rich, and this one looked lighter and fluffier so I wanted to give it a try. I thought it was delicious and very smooth and had a nice sheen to it. I thought it piped well on the cupcakes, but it was a little too thin for piping the border around the cake. It firmed up in the fridge though and it didn’t melt so overall it worked.

I tinted some fondant using Wilton’s Pink and Leaf Green gel colors and cut out some flowers and circles to use for decorations. I also made little “lollipops” to spell out “Congrats Leslie” which I wasn’t sure would fit on such a small cake, but I managed to make it work.