Sunny’s Entertaining: 2nd Annual Xmas in July! #family

I am happy to say that our 2nd Annual Xmas in July Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake Baking Party was a success!

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with Sam, Esar (my niece’s lovely French foreign exchange student-who was the stand-in for my daughter) and Lauren

Last year I got the bright idea (?!) of getting the girls in the family together with my daughter and my nieces, along with my mom, to bake a Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake. Despite the heat, outside and in the kitchen inside, we had so much fun that a tradition was born. However, just like the recipe for the cake itself, it takes a lot more planning than you would think trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules and get everyone together at the same time.

This year, the only time my nieces could come was the same weekend my daughter was gone to Chicago and my mom was on her wine cruise in Bordeaux. So, so much for everyone getting together. They were very much missed. However, we did have a lovely guest join us, my niece’s French foreign exchange student, Esar, who was lovely and fun and she was cooking in English- not the metric system!

Since my nieces could only be here for less than two full days, we had to look through the  catalogue of SL cakes recipes to find one that didn’t take a month to construct. (As you may have read here before, the Southern Living Christmas Cake is a serious undertaking and is not meant for anyone in real life….hahahaha.) We did finally find one from the December 2007 issue. It was a bundt cake, so it only used one pan. This recipe did not call for a commercially stocked kitchen, which I consider a true Christmas miracle in July! It did however call for red food coloring “paste”, which I could not find anywhere within a twenty mile range of me. I must remember to order everything from amazon from now on. So, we used regular food coloring, which if truth be told, I don’t think we really needed at all because the red and white peppermint candy that we made to be used for the garnish was so sharp it was like shards of glass, and we cut our fingers so many times that there was plenty of blood to turn it red. So, you don’t have to worry about trying to find the paste – that’s just my little Xmas in July “gift tip” to you:) Luckily, I still had some edible glitter left over from one of the SL cakes we baked a few years ago because it only called for something like five glitter flakes, so I had plenty of that. Which was good because, again, it’s something I can’t find anywhere within three states of me and it ends up costing something like $1.00 a flake, so, I’m glad I was able to use it again.

Here are a few photos from our party with some fun party ideas. Once again, we made more than just a cake, we made some fun family memories. And that’s the best gift of Xmas in July!

 

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The idea for our Xmas in July Baking Party was born out of the fact that my daughter and nieces were all growing up too fast and I wasn’t getting to spend as much time with them as I like, and they weren’t getting to see each other as often either.  During a conversation with my niece, Sam, she mentioned she wanted to make a Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake. My daughter and I made these every Christmas for years until she went away to college on the other side of the country. Trying to bake the cake during Christmas added to the insanity of the holiday. So, for some reason I still can’t figure out, I thought it would be less frantic in July. And, I still can’t figure out how I can be so wrong so often.

You can find my popular essay about this yearly undertaking in my book, available here.

A Short Sunday Read: Kicking Your Bucket List #Goforit

If you are ever feeling like you are afraid to go for something that you have always wanted to do, you can just remind yourself of me in this crazy situation and you will never feel afraid, or bad about yourself again! I hope it gives you a little laugh-it has me! From my January column in B-Metro Magazine: Photo: Billy Brown

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Sunny’s Entertaining!: Christmas in July!

My God, I’m Hot!-In the kitchen!-In July!! 😉

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Here we are with the finished Southern Living Gift Box Cake!

A couple of month’s ago I was texting with my youngest niece, Sam, when she sent me a picture of a cake she had baked from scratch and she said it reminded of her of a Southern Living Magazine Christmas Cake. (If you haven’t read my essay I wrote for B-Metro Magazine on my daughter’s and my adventures with baking those cakes every Christmas for several years, you can find it in my book “LMAO! A collection of humor essays to help you lose weight!” at amazon.) We decided then and there that we would get together and have a Christmas in July Party and bake one of the Southern Living Christmas Cakes. Planning a time when all the cousins, and my mom (their grandmother) could all come together proved almost impossible with one taking college summer classes and working, one on a nine week trip to Asia and Europe, and one heading to Seattle (where she would get together with my son! I love that- since he would not be at the cake bake!) We finally found three days in the middle of the month right before Sam’s 16th birthday so the cake became her birthday cake.

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Happy 16th Birthday, Sam!

Any illusions I had about it being less hectic to bake one of those particular cakes in the middle of summer was sadly mistaken, and gave me plenty of material to use for another essay! However, we had a great time, and made very special memories with all the girl cousins together, along with their grandmother, and decided that this was our First Annual Christmas in July Party and that we will continue to have it every year.

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You might know by now, as I’ve motioned many times in my column and my book, that I don’t like to cook. As a matter of fact, my motto is “I don’t cook~I don’t care.” I wrote all about this in my column “The Pressure Cooker” for B-Metro Magazine, and it seems that many of you feel the same way based on your response to that essay. (I even have an apron available with that quote at my Zazzle store “Buy Sunny”!) This is especially true in the middle of the heat wave that is July! In the summer, and actually year ’round if truth be known, my specialty is no cook recipes. Actually, it’s really more that I am not particularly fond of cooking in the day-to-day.  I actually enjoy very much entertaining and celebrating special occasions.

When I am not entertaining people on camera, or on the stage, (or on the page:), I love entertaining at home spending time with family and friends. But, lately it seems as if time is flying by and our family is spreading out all over the country making it harder to stay connected. I think that there is a much stronger bond that forms with the memories made from shared experiences than there is just seeing each other’s posts on Facebook. So, I decided to make this a new tradition!

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We kicked off the party with Frozen Hot Chocolate!

When you find that life has become hectic and that the time and distance between seeing your children and nieces and nephews and your own siblings has become further and further apart, you have to become very intentional about keeping those relationships strong and make the effort to plan time to get together. At our Christmas in July Party three generations of women got together in the kitchen to bake and made more than a beautiful cake, we made memories. And, really, I think that is what the folks at Southern Living Magazine have in mind all along.

You can check out my Pinterest page to see some of the other fun ideas we had for our party! If you have had a Christmas in July Party I would LOVE to see/hear some of your favorite party ideas that we could use next year! Please leave a comment here:)

Now, stay cool- we still have to get through August! ~ Sunny xo

 

Christmas Comedy ~ Feminine Hyjinx!

I am so excited to be performing with the lovely ladies of Feminine Hyjinx! In the Virginia Samford Theatre’s Christmas variety show “Holiday Seasonings” December 16th-20th. If you are in Birmingham, Alabama at that time get your tickets to see your favorite funny ladies and add some spice to your holidays! Click here for tix.

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