Friday, March 20, 2009

She Who Bakes The Cake and She Who Takes the Cake!

Since the Cheese Hens ran away with the win yesterday today we will depart from March Madness to feature one of my favorite things...cake!

She Who Bakes the Cake
I am lucky enough to know a fantastic woman named Kate Danko. Kate and I attended high school together and now she lives in Fort Bragg, North Carolina with her husband and handsome twin two-year-olds Connor and Brandon. Kate's husband is in the military and he has spent 17 months of the past 25 months away from the family which has left Kate to handle raising her precious boys alone. What I've come to love about Kate is that she doesn't let the stress of having twin toddlers keep her from being creative and she is most creative when it comes to food. You'll have to check out her blog to see the full scope of her yummy food creations because today I'm only focusing on her cakes.

You see, Kate has photographed some cakes she has made and they are Amazing (with a capital A). With no formal training, a little fondant and a lot of creativity she manages to pull together cakes that are worthy of the Food Network. As you can see from these pictures Kate would fit right in with our group of women.

Crying Baby for a baby shower

Train Cake for Brandon and Connor's 2nd Birthday (Note the second picture which shows how she shaped the cake out of rice krispy treats to accomodate Brandon's food allergies).

And her talent doesn't end with baking cakes...she made this awesome diaper cake for a friend's baby shower.

She Who Takes the Cake
While I could certainly argue that Kate takes the cake that is a title that has been left up to YOU the readers of highlowaha. For the past several weeks we have had the nomination lines open for you to submit the name of a woman in your life who "Takes the Cake" to be honored by highlowaha. The competition was STIFF, you all came through with touching nominations of amazing women in your life. The HLA creative team had the difficult task of narrowing the field down to three finalists and from here it is up to you. In today's comment section please vote for one of the following three finalists:

Lisa Van Wallaghen
I nominate Lisa Van Wallaghen, my coworker and dear friend for the Takes the Cake Award! Lisa has only been working with me for about 8 months, and I already could not live without her! I have never met someone as selfless, genuine, passionate, and compassionate as she is. Lisa is a very empathetic person, and she cries all the time - at happy things, at sad things...just as an example, she cries at school events (like pep rallie - total fun days!) when she thinks about what a great school this is and what an amazing opportunity it is for all of the girls who go to school here, knowing that she gets to share that opportunity with families every day. She is a hard worker, who takes her job very personally, takes things home with her, thinks about new ways of doing things (at home in the shower!)...she is always willing and ready to go the extra mile and she makes my job so much easier. I can always depend on her to do things, and do them with a big smile. Outside of work, Lisa is completely dedicated to her kids (2 in college and 1 a high school freshman). They respect her, but also think of her as a best friend - it is evident as they call her to report all of their successes, as well as calls for guidance. I have truly never known someone so genuine. Lisa never says things just to fill the silence. She is thoughtful, positive, and encouraging. It is easy to see the glass as half full when Lisa is part of the discussion. In other words, I know of no one more deserving, no one more content to stay out of the limelight or take credit for all she does, no one who TAKES THE CAKE quite like Lisa!!!

Hannah Clayborne
I’m nominating Hannah Clayborne as a woman who takes the cake. From the time Hannah arrived at Bellarmine it was obvious that she was truly dedicated to try to make a difference on campus. Hannah works long and hard to make an impact on students’ lives each day that she comes to work. Despite working in a situation where her job is an uphill climb, (bringing multicultural competence to a campus that is historically filled with middle class, white, traditional aged students) she never lets on that she struggles or faces challenges. Hannah managed to get a group of students from Bellarmine to the Inauguration this January which I think is testament to the work she is doing. I can attest to the fact that Hannah impacted my work as a student affairs professional and I’m certain she has impacted many others during her time in the field. So you see, Hannah Clayborne really does take the cake and she deserves some recognition.

Molly Shotzberger
I would like to nominate my mom. Her name is Molly Shotzberger. She has been there for so many people throughout the years. She was at 9/11, down at the towers from day one and she did not leave until everyone else left. She must have spent 4 months there helping and caring for people. She has also gone to Iraq to help the people there. She went a year after the US sent troops in. She has been at most disasters in the US for the past 8 or 9 years. The most important thing that I think she did was put her life on hold to help my family. When I had cancer, she came and took care of myself and my children. I can never express to her how important that was to me. This is why I feel she deserves a cake.


HLA T-shirt Winner:
Each month we engage in reflection as a community on our high, low and aha. Each member who submits their personal reflection is entered for a chance to win their own Ray Wattson t-shirt. This month's winner is B.K. Root! Congratulations Brian...please take a chance to look at the GalleRAY and decide which Ray you would like on your very own t-shirt. Then send an email to letting us know which Ray you want and what size shirt to order for you.


cassie p said...

We are supposed to vote on the comment section, right? I hope so, because I am going to vote for Hannah Clayborne!

It is FFAF, so I hope I am not stealing the limelight from the wonderful ladies.
Thanks for all the great suggestions yesterday, I wrote them all down! OK, so here is what I need some help with.

80's theme party, we have music and dancing. I have "40th" decorations that look sort of 80's ish (thank you Horner's!), but how else can I decorate 80's? Also, I need food ideas for at least 50 people (I hope!), and most importantly, ACTIVITIES to have. So far, I will definitely have 80's music/dancing, and probably some type of trivia game. What else can I do? I am coming to you all first for some really fun creative ideas before I scout out the internet.

Heather said...

Cassie...of course it is FFAF...thanks for jumping right in.

80s decorations...think neon and glitz and over the top...but wouldn't it be awesome to make it an "80s prom" and do cheesy prom decorations from that era?

That would help people focus their dressing to one specific type of clothes (poofy dresses, tacky tuxes, big hair and stilettos) and you could focus your decorations on lots of puffy tulle, balloon towers, and of course a place to have your prom picture taken complete with corny prom poses. You could use one of those printers for pictures and print the pictures out during the party and put them in one of those picture holders you can make out of cardstock as a little giveaway item.

Peggy said...

One quick idea I have before I have to scoot... then I get back to choosing between three GREAT entries....
Pick icons from the 80's.... Boy George, Madonna, Mr. T, Alf, Sam Malone (Cheers) go to to find tv characters...

Make up a card for all your guests, when they come in, tape the character on their back... and they need to find out who they are (no cheating) by yes and no answers... Am I a male, am I a singer, was I on a tv show, was I a kid with brown hair etc... it's a good ice breaker.... you can then use the cards for a triva contest... each person would stand up and say... ie I was a female singer, with the top hit in 1982, I was known for my blond hair... ( but don't give away too much to make it easy... I sang Like a Virgin).

I got more, but gotta run @@

BU KNIGHT said...

I also vote for Hannah Clayborne. She is one of the most thoughtful and reflective people I know. I value her judgement, character, and passion for life.
You know when you solicit Hannah for advice she will give your question, concern, or problem, long and valuable consideration. I have the pleasure to work with Hannah each day!
I consider myself lucky to interact with her each day. I appreciate the autonomy she allows me as well as her ability to challenge and support me.

lindsaymarie said...

I may be a little biased (ok a lot biased!) and all three of the women sound amazing, but I've got to vote for Aunt Molly. She's a truly INCREDIBLE woman and I am so grateful for having her in my life.

Cassie, I'm gonna think about this 80s theme and get back to you! I love Heather and Peggy's ideas, you could combine them and do an 80s prom theme and instead of using celebrities for Peggy's game (which I have played before, it's a lot of fun) use high school stereotypes. I think doing an 80s prom/high school theme in general would be a lot of fun!

b.k.root said...

My vote goes to Molly.

And thanks for the t-shirt! I'll e-mail you right away.


Cruise Director said...

Good morning!

I'm going to vote for Lisa. I love that she cries over everything.

80's activities...Isn't there a Trivial Pursuit game about the 80's? Wasn't PacMan big in the 80's? What about playing air guitar contest, of course, while playing the hair bands...Van Halen, Poison, Motley Crue...

Cruise Director said...

I hate when I publish without signing up for the follow up email comments... why doesn't blogger offer that straight away?

Laura said...

Lisa is amazing. My words don't do her justice.

Chaotic said...

Hannah gets my vote...motivating students is HARD WORK!

Katie K said...

Happy Friday, highlowaha! I am currently standing in line for mission:space at Disneyworld, but I wanted to drop in and say hi!

Devil Dog said...

It's taken me all morning and part of the afternoon to deliberate on who I should cast my vote for.

I've decided to go with Hannah. I agree with Chaotic that motivating students can be hard work. As a fellow educator, I LOVE that she cared enough to take a group of students to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration. It illustrates the passion she has for her work.

Hats off to Lisa and Molly as well!

Peggy said...

I'll vote Molly.

sue said...

I vote for molly

lindsaymarie said...

My mom (Lori C) is at a conference today so she won't be able to comment, but she just called me to tell me to send in her vote for Molly!

cassie p said...

thanks for the ideas so far people, keep it coming!!!

OH, and are we still doing Coke rewards, heather?

Heather said...

Coke rewards have wrapped up officially but if you'd like to send some I am still entering them for Julie.

My vote goes to Hannah C.

Heather said...

Coke rewards have wrapped up officially but if you'd like to send some I am still entering them for Julie.

My vote goes to Hannah C.

cassie p said...