Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mid-Century Mom Bakes a Cake!

Good evening, all. I hope every single one of you has had a chance to watch the premiere of Mad Men tonight. :) Not me, alas. Once again, living in a Mid-Century Modern home on the edge of a forest has led to us being without power...for the tenth time since we moved there in 2007. Sigh. At least my dad lives near us and has power for me to get this post done. No Mad Men here, though, as my kids really REALLY want to watch PBS Sprout. I feel like such a good mid-century mom, putting their happiness before my own desire to see people in beautiful outfits drinking. LOL.

Thank you, Getty Images. This image suited my needs just perfectly today! :)

You know what feels REALLY very mid-century mom to me? Baking a cake! I mean to me (and probably many others) this seems to be the activity I see most when watching old television programs or talking with ladies of that generation. Baking was an art form!

The lady in this image is 100% mid-century mom with her frilly, colorful apron, conservative dress, and bright, beautiful smile. The cake she is holding out may not be the stuff of current TLC programming, but it has a subtle, gentle beauty, small and well-formed with the yummiest looking buttercream frosting.

Before we get to what I actually look like baking the cake, I have to show you my festive, fun outfit. I didn't just bake a cake because I enjoy it (more on that later)...but because it was February and my husband and my son share birthdays (almost--one is the 11th and the other the 12th). I needed to show them some love and at the same time fulfill one of my blog needs. (Anything for you lovely 36 followers!)

Like the lady in the photo, I have a full face of makeup, nice hair, pearls, and a very lady-like dress. I also have my baby girl in tow, but she is often there. ;)

But what shouts mid-century mom in the kitchen more than an a graphic apron? Exactly. Anthropologie has a TON of great aprons, and I just adore this one with its green/ivory floral print and snazzy blue buttons.

I had baked the cake for the prescribed time (from a box--baking is NOT my thing--miracle this one turned out so well) and once cooled, I brought out the very fabulous, in a can, whipped buttercream frosting (yum, yum, YUM!). I could eat it straight from the can but I do have to maintain my figure, so I will leave it for the cake.

Yes, that is a spatula, and yes, I am smiling nice and big. This is FUN! (I think the scents of the frosting and cake had put me in a sort of sugar wonder so many mid-century moms enjoyed baking...)

Trying to spread the icing perfectly is an art form...I really desired that it stay even and smooth. I think the little bend to my leg helps. (Either that or I really wanted you all to see the cuteness of my Boden kitten heels...aren't they just TDF?)

What would a birthday cake be without the candles? Since this was for both my husband and son, there were balloon candles AND number candles. If I was a better baker and artist, I would have piped balloons and written their names and ages in blue and purple. (Maybe in another post!)

Yes, that smile means I know I am nearly done. :)

And there it is...all spruced up and ready to go. Yes, Mr. Mid-Century Mom and Rex were very pleased. The cake lasted all of two days. (And there are four of us in the of whom is a baby and one who doesn't really eat cake--me! So for it to be gone so quickly is saying something!)

Final Thoughts: I am not a very good baker, have never been. The cakes, muffins, breads, etc. I make are fine, just not luscious. But you know what? Like the mid-century moms of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, my family was just fine with what I make, actually more than fine...based on the family's reaction, you would think I was one of the DC Cupcake girls. And that is perfect enough for me.

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 3 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom). I find that baking in heels and pearls is just okay. I find cooking in general a lot easier in flip-flops and shorts, but it wasn't terrible. The heels made me taller, so I had to bend over more and that got a bit tiring. And I was a bit concerned for my pearls, as they are real and very special to me. (Nothing happened...maybe if I had been working with hot oil it would be a different story, but baking doesn't really affect your The apron helped with the dress, and I felt like I could get into it more knowing my clothes would be fine.

I am so glad I was able to do two of these today. (See this post on making a snowman if you missed the one from this morning!) I do look forward to doing more, and hopefully it won't be another 6 months before I do the next one! ;)

Mid-Century Mom Makes a Snowman!

Hello, dear sweet readers of mine! It sure has been a long time. In fact it has been such a long time that this post is woefully out of date! But let's turn lemons into lemonade (ooh, another great idea for a mid-century mom post) and pretend that I did this on purpose--it is SO HOT outside I am sure many of you will enjoy this journey to a much cooler environment, in other words, Virginia in mid-February of 2010.

I was very excited to do this particular "chore" for you all. I truly believe that when you have snow, you need to enjoy it while it lasts. I might HATE snow (yes, it's true), but I can see why it is special. Plus, kids love snow, and what kind of mid-century mom would I be if I didn't get out there and enjoy it with my children?

So when enough snow had melted...remember, there was almost 36 inches of it where we lived...we took the kids outside to make a snowman. It was still too high for darling CW (see pics below), and she barely had a good time, but at least she can say that we gave it our best shot. I also had to do this task wearing my best approximation of what women in the mid-century would wear to do the same basic task (p.s. not a whole lot of images of retro housewives outside in the

Above is one of maybe three images I could find of a retro woman in the snow. Thank you, darling for providing me with the image I so desperately needed. :)

I hope you notice that although she is wearing pants, she is still the very epitome of lady-like, gloves, kerchief, pants and coat that nicely hug her figure (yet not too much), and sturdy, yet in no way manly boots. Doesn't she make you want to find a nice cold place and play in the snow with your husband and dog (even though we all know that it is 12 degrees outside and that snow is probably over four feet tall)?

In my beret, tailored coat, borrowed from the boys jeans, gloves, and boots, I feel very put-together, yet no so much that I can't get "dirty."

I don't know if you can see this, but CW is sitting on a part of the snow that was sturdy enough to hold her...much of the snow just swallowed her up and there she was, her torso peeking out of the snow while her legs and feet were covered. Poor baby. :)

At this point, with the world's teeniest snowman (who knew that even with a lot of snow, if you have the wrong snow, it is hard to make a snowman--huh!), we are adding the finishing touches. Nothing fancy here, just some rocks and sticks.

Please do note that I am doing just fine in my ensemble. Thank goodness ladies from the '50s didn't wear dresses and heels to do winter "outside" work.

Oh, isn't that snowman cute? It is a baby snowman! :)

It is hard to tell from my snow pics what I actually am wearing, so here is a closer look.

The sweater is covering a blouse. Even though I am going outside, I chose to find a very lady-like look as I still want to be 100% housewife. (If I showed you what I would wear if I wasn't doing a mid-century mom post, you would see a much more casual get-up.)

And the coat? Pure femininity.

Final Thoughts: I really loved this "chore". I just wish my kids had been able to get more into it, as well. I think I will try this post again when they are a bit older and there isn't *quite* as much snow on the ground. (Which shouldn't be hard--our last winter was one for the record books and unlikely to be seen again for another hundred years or so.)

Ease of being a mid-century mom: 5 out of 5 (5 is the easiest to be a mid-century mom). I again truly appreciate that even in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, women were reasonable about their outdoor wear. This task would have EASILY been a 1 out of 5 had I had to do it in heels, dress, and stockings.

I would like to let you know that I am ready and able to keep up with this blog again. It wasn't that this blog was a "chore" to me, it was that I was uninspired, and unlike my other blogs, I don't want to litter this blog with bad writing and posts that are not well thought out. If it is a while between posts, it is simply my way of keeping this blog as wonderful as possible. :)

On that note, there will be one more post today (yay, two in one day!) as I HAVE to celebrate the return of Mad Men tonight. I know many of you will watch and I hope you enjoy!