Archive for August 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What On Earth is a Kanban?!

It's been a tough week around here. Mind you, it started out on the right foot. We took a couple of days at the beginning of the week to rest up our minds for the big CRASH COURSE on the "kanban" way of life. Some guy at TOYOTA came up with the whole idea of "kanban". It's really just a different way of looking at things........a way of becoming more efficient on the production floor.

Kanban is a term that means something like "visual signal". You know, like when you are pulling a guy on a tube at the lake and he falls in. To let other boaters know that your passenger just fell head over tea kettle into the water and is now in need of an ADVIL, you throw up your orange flag as a signal. Everyone knows to stay clear. That's a kanban. Well, I THINK that's a kanban. Let's call that a Tamara kanban.

It's the same thing in the greenhouse. When you're busy planting geraniums at your station and your flat is almost empty, you throw up your yellow flag, your kanban, to let your peeps know you are almost empty 'cause when you're empty you will not be productive. When your peeps see that you're KANBAN is showing, they have to run and get you another flat of geraniums. It's that simple. Nobody is panicking. The assembly line keeps running. Life is just great.

We also learned about the IPK or "in process kanban" which I found to be a little more difficult to understand. It's sort of like a buffer zone. You know what I mean. It's like when you are having an amazing spaghetti dinner out at the lake, watching the sun go down, savoring every sip of SMOKING LOON cabernet sauvignon and you suddenly notice that your glass is almost empty. Your "in process kanban" is that buffer zone of wine at the bottom of your glass. As long as your peeps keep your glass from going dry, all is good in the world. I really LOVE an "in process kanban" of SMOKING LOON. What would life be like without a little IPK in my wine glass?!

So, as you can see, it's been a tough week at work and now I need some time to really digest this whole new way of thinking. It's going to take some serious discussion among management to get this KANBAN thing to work at Darvonda. I can envision the need for at least a full week of important meetings with the Big Guy to really get this process up and running......


Monday, August 24, 2009

Wasn't That a Party?!

I just LOVE IT when a plan comes together! Yesterday was the big shindig for the Wee One, a kind of 2 in 1 type party. I figured we should have the Baptism and Baby Shower all rolled into one. There's just nothing like getting together with the whole family to celebrate and.........EAT!

I made sure to hang out the balloons and the banners.........I had my peeps make a whole pile of fruit kebabs.........piled the table high with cupcakes and party food.........and we just ate and drank till the sun went down.

The Wee One got passed around from person to person, getting a chance to meet all of her new family. My Little Angel was spoiled rotten by all of our guests with so many beautiful things for the baby. The men got a chance to sit and chat about the things men chat about at a Baby Shower.
I hope that all our guests enjoyed themselves because I know I had a most wonderful time! Does it get any better than spending time with family and friends, reconnecting and bonding over a glass of wine and a brand new baby?!

One very special thing I just HAVE to share with you.......a picture of 5 generations of Jansen's including Great Great Gramma, Great Gramma, Grampa, Mama and the Wee One. I just love this shot!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hooked on Hello Kitty Cake Pops

I am having such a BLAST this week! Not only did I just become a Gramma but I get to throw a big PARTY for my very first Grandbaby, to celebrate her birth! The Wee One and I agreed that we would serve something very special at her big shindig…….we decided on serving Hello Kitty CAKE POPS. I am most definitely HOOKED on CAKE POPS.

Now the first thing you need to know about me is that I gave up baking all together about 15 years ago. I have firmly refused to make anything sweet, prefering to buy my baking, including my RICE KRISPIES, much to my sister Lisa’s HORROR! So, to make my return to the baking scene by attempting CAKE POPS is probably asking for trouble. But…….I trust Bakerella, my new favorite blogger peep. She has a wonderful website full of such inspirational ideas that you just must check out.
I assembled all the ingredients last night and got started forming my Cake pops with great enthusiasm. But……it’s not nearly as easy as it looks on the blogs. I learned a few things last night like:

1. I stopped baking for a reason
2. Candy Melts WILL burn if you cook them too long in the microwave
3. Any baking done after midnight is sure to fail miserably

Fortunately I woke up the following morning with renewed enthusiasm, determined to figure out how to make a nice looking Cake Pop like Bakerella and Martha Stewart. Surely if they can make a Cake Pop, Tamara can make a Cake Pop. How hard can it be?

After a little more research on the internet and a trip to my local bakery supply store, I figured I had the problem licked. You see, my chocolate was just not runny enough. The trick to getting the chocolate to the right consistency is to melt it slowly in a water bath as well as add a little extra shortening to make it run better. VOILA! It worked like a CHARM.

Mini Me and I were pumping out the Cake Pops by the time dinner rolled around. Not a chance I was going to stop the Cake Pop assembly line for l’il ol dinner time. I was on a roll! 4 dozen Cake Pops later, I have an adorable family of Hello Kitty’s and Rubber Ducky’s that are sure to please at my party.

Oh, and there was one more thing I finally figured out today. THIS……..
and THIS……….is why I stopped BAKING in the first place! I hate doing the DISHES.

Make sure to stop by Hooked on Houses today for Hooked on Friday. Check out what all the other blogger peeps are HOOKED on this week.


Hello Kitty Cake Pops - DIY

The Wee One popped in at my place yesterday to discuss details about the big party we’re throwing in her honor. I needed her opinion on what color scheme to go with. We really had a great chat. "How about all PINK?!"
Hmmmm, think, think, THINK! After a short brainstorming session, interupted by a feeding break and diaper change, we decided to go with Yellow and Green. Our theme is gonna be RUBBER DUCKIES. It seems I have my work cut out for me this week!

We had a tough time deciding on what to put on the menu. Should we have light finger foods and cake……or should we go a little over the top? I suggested that maybe we should go outside our comfort zone and do a little BAKING. I am confident that I can DIY some cupcakes and things! Especially since I found BAKERELLA’S blog and all of her super cute creations. She makes baking look so fun and easy that I have a hankering to make something wonderful!

I threw the idea out to Celina. “What would you say to HELLO KITTY Cake Pops, sweetheart?” I’ll take that as a YES!

So, after a 15 year baking HIATUS, I dusted off the old cake pans and got to work. I will admit, BAKERELLA makes this CAKE POP thing look a whole lot easier to do on her blog than it is in real life. It took me a while to figure out that the dough rolls into smooth balls better if you keep your hands clean…….and that you CAN overheat candy melts if you leave them too long in the microwave. I also learned that working with delicious things like cream cheese icing and white chocolate chips can lead to uncontrollable finger licking! But, how on earth is a Gramma my age supposed to work with such tiny little candies? My hand-eye coordination is just not what it used to be.

Once I finally figured out how to not BURN the dipping chocolate and keep the pops cold while working with them, I managed to knock out 2 whole HELLO KITTY Cake Pops…….and it was only 2:30 am!

Here’s to hoping my cake decorating skills improve quickly ‘cause I’ve got an army of RUBBER DUCKY and HELLO KITTY Cake Pops to finish before Sunday!

Make sure to stop by A Soft Place to Land for DIY Day where you find all sorts of people doing all sort of things ALL BY THEMSELVES!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Welcome to The World, Wee One!

Oh my, I've fallen in LOVE and I've fallen HARD! I mean, there's just so much to LOVE about a newborn baby. Their gorgeous little TOES.........and their precious little FINGERS........I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pry myself away from this tiny little bundle of JOY!

Born early this morning, our little grandbaby CELINA took her time. Her mommy and daddy had to wait patiently for many long hours before she finaly made her grand entrance. But it was worth the wait! Weighing in at 7 pounds and 12 ounces, the Wee One was born without complications. Mama is doing very well, although she's a little tired after all that work!
This Gramma is sure feeling so BLESSED with the addition of this new little MIRACLE into our lives. May the LORD richly bless her mommy and daddy with all the WISDOM and PATIENCE they will need to raise this little Angel in HIS service!

We love you so much, Wee One!