Fox Birthday

Keri is 8 years old!!  Early on, she told me she wanted a fox birthday.  Now, she will deny it to this day.. but, the theme came from the song “what does the fox say” – we loved that song!  She gets embarrassed easily by it now, but loves it when she listens to it by herself.. otherwise, she is quite adamant that she hates that song, ha!  We have had a lot of fun with that song though!!

Anyways, so I knew from about March that she wanted her 8th birthday to be a fox / nature type of birthday.  First thing I had to do was get her outfit made.  I contacted the seller that made her Christmas outfit and wanted to know if she could make the exact same outfit.. just with a fox.  She did, and it turned out to be so beautiful!  Look at how big my little girl is!

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I took the colors from the outfit and basically did her decorations and party around her outfit.  To start, lets look at the invitations!  I found these adorable cards at Michaels and knew I had to buy them and use them!  I also used my Create A Critter cartridge from my cricut to create the fox for the invitation, and this is what I came up with:

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I had a lot of really good feedback from the invitations – a lot said it was my cutest invitation yet!  I loved them, think they turned out to be so cute!

Next, I had to work on my ribbon balls – I know from experience how long these things take to make!!  I decided this year, I would have 2 big ribbon balls, and make 6 little ones for the entertainment center.  It took me about 20 minutes to make each small ribbon ball, and about 3 hours to make each big ball.  Dedicated.. but absolutely LOVE the end result!  Love my ribbon balls!

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For the entertainment center, I made 6 small ribbon balls.  Keri wanted to contribute too!  So, she drew 6 different foxes, and put them beside the ribbon ball.  Very cute!

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My banners – Of course I had to have my classic banners!  Again, using the colors from Keri’s outfit, I made the banners “fit”.  AND, I finally discovered how to stick the banners to the plastic table cloths!  Glue dots!  Why have I not used these before?!  I have tried hot glue, double sided tape, “permanent mounting squares” (they are NOT permanent and do not stick to plastic.. at all!!), regular tape, clear mounting squares, scrapbooking tape, and.. is that it?  Well, none of that works.  The banners always fall!  So this year I thought I’d try glue dots.  Man.. I was so surprised.. the banners all stuck to the table cloths.. and STAYED up!  How cool is that?!  Glue dots rock.  Just saying.

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Food – well of course I had to limit myself to the colors of my choice.. so this is always the hardest.  I needed food that Keri would eat, matched my color scheme, and half healthy.  So this is what I decided:  mini bananas, tangerines, black & green grapes, chocolate dipped marshmallows, apples with cream cheese fruit dip, chocolate graham crackers with brownie dip, oreo cookies with mint chocolate chip cookie dough dip, banana bread, apple squares, and homemade graham crackers.  For drinks, I had bottled water, orange juice, and homemade lemonade.  Nice!  Loved the display.. as always, check this out – turned out so beautiful!

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For that backdrop – I used a sheet from Big Lots – they have a lot of really cheap sheets.  Well, when I say cheap… oh yes, I mean cheap.  Cheap in price.. and quality.  Despite hanging the sheet, I could still see the mini blinds clearly in pictures I took!!  So, I had to hang up two sheets – a thick white sheet.. with the cheaply made gray sheet on top.  It did the job for the backdrop!

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Next, on to the cupcakes and cake!  Keri wanted a chocolate cake and vanilla cupcakes, so that is exactly what I did!  Both are eggless recipes so she can have them, and I think they turned out very cute!  I used the fox from the create a critter cartridge, and made “grass” for the cupcakes.  Simple, but pretty.  For the cake, I took the design of the fox on her outfit, and made that fox.  I asked Keri what color she wanted her cake to be – she said green.. I think it turned out beautiful!  It is covered with marshmallow fondant, green as she asked.  The little flowers – Keri helped me make these!!  We stayed up pretty late one night making these little flowers.  She played with fondant while I did the cutting (well, she actually did half of the flowers, I just rolled the fondant for her) – and she helped me “glue” all the centers onto the flowers – great teamwork – and they turned out so pretty!  The only thing I had to fix was the legs on the fox.  I made the mistake of not using pure gumpaste with the legs – I used a mixture of fondant and gumpaste, so as soon as I removed the paper towel from under the legs.. they broke, ACK!  I freaked out!!  So, I had to get out the gum paste again and make them again!  Here’s pictures of the fox, cake, and cupcakes:

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And here is the table and how I decorated it for the party:

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The mantel – I was decorating this while the house keepers were here.. and had issues with the flowers.  I wanted real flowers, but the real daisies I bought wouldnt fit in the long skinny vases!  So, we went to buy these flowers, and I think they looked really nice with Keri’s pictures there!  Loved how it turned out.

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Party favors!  Oh my… I went slightly overboard.  Okay, here was my honest, original plan.  Seriously.  I had no clue what to do for party favors.  A week before her party.. I still had nothing for her party favors!  Then I realized that Keri wanted a fox / nature party (duh), and what is more nature than bird seed feeders?!  I had all the ingredients, so one night, I made 20 bird seed feeders out of my leaf cookie cutter.  They turned out really cute!  (I know I have a picture.. somewhere.. but cant find it – if I do find it, I’ll update this post to show you what they look like!)

Next, I found these milk cartons at Michaels that I really, really, wanted to work with – Had to have them!  So, I bought them and all the little accessories (tag, twine), and went for it.  I wanted to fill these up with whoppers.  So, this was suppose to be it.. bird seed feeders, and a milk carton of whoppers.  How did that turn out?  Well… I went to Michaels (I go there a lot around her birthday!), and bought some burlap bags for the bird seed feeders.  I also searched everywhere (party city, target, costco) looking for a huge carton of whoppers.  No luck.. so, I bought a huge bag of M&Ms at Party City instead.  Got home with my burlap bags.. and guess what?  The bird seed feeders dont fit.  Nope.  And the M&M bag.. yeah.. it would have taken like 6 of those bags to fill up those milk cartons, and I thought that was way to expensive.. and a ridiculous amount of money.  So, instead of returning the small burlap bags and M&Ms.. I just decided to fill those up with the M&Ms!  It worked!  And, they look cute.

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I went to Michaels (again), and bought bigger burlap bags for the bird seed feeders.  They were a little too big.. but, that was all I could find!  Again, cute!

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Then, we went to HEB, and I saw boxes of whoppers that were buy 2, get one free.  We got six boxes (they are like movie size boxes – the big ones.. so, not cartons, but still a decent size).  I made six of them work.. and filled up 18 milk cartons about 3/4th full with whoppers.  Now, let me tell you something.. these milk cartons ended up being a pain in the royal behind!!!!  They are so incredibly cute, but are ridiculous to close.  The “sticky” tape on there.. does not hold, at all.  I “closed” all of them one night, and in the morning, all 18 of them were open again.  So.. I got out my hot glue gun, and closed them again.  Well, the hot glue gun stuck to the “sticky” side.. and peeled right off.. and didnt stick.. so an hour later.. all were open again.  Ugh.  I finally had to basically gorge the thing with hot glue to get them all to stay closed, was such a pain!!  But still.. cute.

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But wait.. what about the bird houses?  Impulse buy.  I went back to Michaels to buy the large burlap baggies.. and saw the bird houses there for $1 each.  I had bird seed feeders.. I needed bird houses!  Totally an impulse buy.. bought them, what was another $18?!

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Here is the final table.. incredibly cute!

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Next, the signs.  Of course I have to have signs.  I used my cricut and created the fox to make the signs.  The outdoor sign was my favorite though – turned out so pretty.  Just as I love glue dots, I also love spray glue!  Spray glue is how I glued the paper on the poster board.. and on the cardstock – it is easy to work with, and quick to apply.  It takes a while to dry, but I just let them dry overnight and they were done.

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The last picture I’ll leave you with is my beautiful little girl holding her cake in front of the dessert table – she was so pretty, and I love this picture!  Happy 8th Birthday Keri!!

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M&M Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcakes

Today was dinner at a friend’s house!  We went over for some fun, swimming, dinner.. and of course, CUPCAKES!  I wanted something fun for the kids, semi-new, and delicious.  So, I settled on a recipe I found on Pinterest, but changed it up just a bit.

Here is the original pin:  M&M Cupcakes.  Lets get to the changes that I made though!

Cupcakes:  The recipe used on the website was the Hershey cupcakes (located on the back of the Hershey cocoa box).  Pretty simple recipe, and makes decent chocolate cupcakes!

Eggless Cake:  Keri needed a cupcake too!  So, I made the Hershey cupcakes with eggs for everyone, and Crazy Cake (a vegan cake from Allrecipes) for Keri.

Ganache:  The original recipe states the ganache as just being melted bittersweet chocolate.  Boring!  I used the same ganache I used for the Black Cherry Cupcakes – it was a delicious ganache!

Frosting:  Followed recipe exactly.  However, for Keri’s frosting, I used Chocolate Frosting from Allrecipes.  And since there was so much chocolate frosting.. I decided to fill these cupcakes too!

On to the baking!  (I’m only showing pictures of the cupcakes that have eggs in it – You’ll see Keri’s final eggless cupcake at the end).  Here were the delicious looking cupcakes out of the oven cooling:

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Next, the filling!  I used the chocolate frosting, the icing pipe tip, and just piped icing into the cupcakes.  Can you say yummy?!

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Next.. the marshmallow frosting!!  NOTE:  If you are new to making marshmallow frosting, I will give you a tip.  You need a stand alone mixer!  I think you could technically make this frosting with a hand mixer.. but the one time I tried, I was whipping it for 30 minutes.. and still failed.  You really do need a stand alone mixer!  Marshmallow frosting is so easy to make once you have a stand alone mixer, and so delicious!  (My favorite part of the cupcake was the frosting!!)

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Next, take the cupcake and dip it into the ganache, then pipe a little bit more frosting on top of the ganache.  (Make sure you refrigerate in between to hardened the ganache!)  And the final product looks like this:

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How delicious do those look!?  YUMMY!  And they were, of course!  All very simple recipes that I have made before, but combining them all together just makes them even more amazing!  And as promised, here is a picture of Keri’s – just slightly different (Eggless, of course!)

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Keri loved her cupcake too.   And I admit, it was hard to let Keri have her pure chocolate cupcake.. I mean, it was like triple chocolate!  Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting filling, chocolate frosting dipped in chocolate ganache and more chocolate frosting!  So much chocolate!

Changes:  As always, I learn from my cupcakes.  There are two changes I would make – so if you ever make these.. make these changes!  First, be generous on the chocolate frosting filling!  Don’t be afraid to put more in there!!  Second, there wasnt enough marshmallow frosting for all the cupcakes.. even when I took two away for Keri!  (only frosted 22 cupcakes with the marshmallow frosting to provide room in the container for the 2 I made Keri).  I would definitely double the marshmallow frosting – It is lacking for sure!

Last picture.. Keri and her cupcake.  Enjoy!!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I love baking new recipes!  I have been looking for a reason to bake these cupcakes.. and finally found one.  A friend of mine was hosting a get together for another friend whose husband is being deployed – so it was a good bye type of party.  Cupcakes were in order here!

I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats – a site that I have baked several recipes from.  Check out the recipe over there:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.  I’m always the type that like to follow the recipe the first time I bake something exactly as written.  So, that is what I did.  The cupcakes were just so-so to be honest.  Everyone was really excited to hear they were chocolate chip cookie dough, but the cake itself was a little dry, and the frosting was too sweet.  The filling, however, was definitely the best part and very delicious!

Cupcakes when I pulled them out of the oven:

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They at least look yummy, right?!  But now.. the best part, the filling!  Again, made exactly per the recipe.  Just look how scrumptious these cupcakes look when I was doing the filling!

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They look quite yummy – but next time I think I’d cut down on the baking time of the cupcakes – as they were dry.  So, reduce baking time and/or oven temp.. try to get the cupcakes not so overcooked (I dont think it was the recipe for the cupcake that made the cupcakes dry – I really do think they were just overcooked).  As far as the frosting goes – it was very sweet.  Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious!  Just sweet.  Probably will reduce the powered sugar a little bit next time.. see if I can reduce the sweetness.

Overall rating – meh – I need to hold off on that.. try this recipe again 🙂  yummy concept though!

Black Cherry Cupcakes

It’s my mom’s birthday!  I always love to make new recipes, and I often experiment on my family (thanks family!) – so.. today I made Black Cherry Cupcakes for my mom.

I chose this recipe b/c it has been one that I have been wanting to make for a long time.. I just didnt know which one to make!  I wanted certain things in this cupcake.  First, I wanted to make a brand new chocolate cake.  I have made so many different chocolate cakes, and I wanted something new (love new things!)  Next, I wanted to experiment with dipping the cupcake in ganache – something I have always feared doing (not sure why, really), but I wanted the challenge.  Lastly, I wanted a filling.  Didnt care if that filling was frosting.. or something else, but I wanted a filling!

I searched for a Black Cherry cupcake for a long time.  Finally found this one:  Black Cherry Cupcakes.  I thought this would be the perfect recipe to make my new cupcakes!  The only thing that I changed about this recipe was the buttercream.  I have tried other buttercreams.. and I just havent found that that compares to Wilton’s Buttercream Icing.  So, I changed out the buttercream and used the maraschino juice in place of milk.  (It was delicious!)

But first.. the cupcakes.

Side note / vent.  I hate my oven.  When we first moved in this house 3 years ago, my oven was awesome!  Then, the heating element went out.  Ever since then, the temperature isnt right in the oven.  Everything cooks faster than what the recommended time is, AND more importantly, my cupcakes are often burned.  I have experimented with turning down the temperature 25 degrees to compensate for the over heating, but it severely messes with the time the cupcakes need to bake, and they dont bake right.. and still get burned on the bottom.  Damn heating element.  I hate my oven!

Anyhow, I wasnt about to burn these cupcakes – my baking reputation is on the line here with so many people getting them!!  So, I did two things.  First, moved the oven rack from the middle up one more notch.  Second, I double lined my cupcakes.  It worked this time!  Yippie!  The cooking time was still off – they were only in the oven for 14 minutes (vs. the recommended 18-22 minutes!) – but they turned out so beautifully, look at these beauties:

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So pretty!  After they cooled completely, I cored them and filled them with a black cherry fruit spread:

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This fruit spread was strong!  I was a little worried about it, but it was very nicely complimented with the sweetness from the cake and frosting.  After I filled them, came the cherry buttercream.  Remember, this is from Wilton – the only change I made to the recipe, and it was so delicious.  Loved the cherry flavor!

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Next game the part I was fearing – well, I shouldnt say “fear”, just reluctant.  I mean, I live in TX – it is hot and humid here!  I was so afraid that the ganache wouldn’t “stick” to the buttercream, or just melt it, or – not sure what I was thinking.  But, I had nothing to fear!  I put the cupcakes in the frig for about 20 minutes to harden the frosting enough to withstand the warm ganache.  I dipped them – straight down, twist, pull out, and ta-da!  Yay!

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Lastly – the garnish.. cherries!  They are so pretty, loving the way they turned out.  And, for the record, they taste sooo yummy!  They arent burned (double yay!), the flavor is delicious and the frosting with the chocolate ganache.. so yummy.

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Another angle:

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And… one more, just a closeup of one:

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So pretty!

Lastly, I needed a card for my mom!  I didnt have a lot of time to spend on making a card.  Heck, I didnt even have time to make a card for a close friend of mine earlier this week who also had a birthday!  (Yes, I made her cupcakes too.. peanut butter ones, just no pictures of those since I’ve done it before!) – So.. I had to make a quick, simple, easy card.  This is what I came up with:

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Meh – simple, but decent.  Her favorite color is purple.. and I like the way the gray accents the purple.

Keri needed a card too!  So.. This is her with her card she made for grandma.  Inside the card she drew herself, grandma, a cat (of course!) and wrote “I Love you” – so cute 🙂

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And that’s it!  Now.. to deliver the cupcakes.  I ate one.  I have one set aside for the husband.. or me, we’ll see about that (ha!) – and the rest go to friends 🙂  Six for my neighbors, six for a friend at nursing school as a belated birthday gift (her birthday was this past week too), four for a playgroup friend who couldnt come to the pool party we had this past Friday, and the last six for the whole reason why I made these cupcakes in the first place.. My Mom.  Happy Birthday Mom!

Kitty Cat Birthday Party: Cakes

It’s cake time!  Keri wanted a chocolate cake for her kitty cat birthday.  It was mandatory.  It was all she was talking about.. a chocolate cake!  I scoured the Internet looking for examples of cakes (all of which are posted on my Pinterest board), and found the perfect cake.  I modeled my cake after this one – go to the Pinterest board and you’ll see which one I’m easily referring to!  But first, I had to make the fondant kitties.  These little kitties were made a week before her party because I had a very very busy week at school, so knew I would be unable to do any baking of any kind during that week.  The kitties are made out of homemade marshmallow fondant and homemade gum paste (from the back of the gum-tex container).  It tastes very yummy!  Now, the kitties how I made them, were not edible.  They had toothpicks and wire as well as fishing line (whiskers) in them.. so, they were pure decoration, but not too bad looking.  Took me 3 hours to make both of them.  Kinda cute, yeah?  Maybe?  Keri thought they were cute.. suppose that is all that matters!

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I made the cake the day before the party to ensure I had time decorating it properly.  As by request, it was a Hershey Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate Fudge Icing as the filling (and thin crumb layer for the fondant to go on), and covered in pink marshmallow fondant.  I made little flowers to decorate the bottom, made the #7 out of fondant / gum paste, tied a ribbon around the center, and.. that was it!  Ta-Da!  Beautiful cake for my little 7 year old:

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Here are fondant kitties a little closer on the cake:

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I was happy with the cake, Keri was happy with the cake, but my husband always thinks I have more potential (love that man!) – he said he wished the kitties had more color on them, such as black patches or something.  It took me 3 hours to make, and I was so done and didn’t want to add any more color to it!

Next, I wanted cupcakes.  I made an eggless white cake with a strawberry cream cheese frosting.  I didnt do anything extravagant for these cupcakes, just frosted them, put on edible pink glitter and a kitty pick that I bought off Amazon.  They are pretty cute!

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Lastly, I wanted to make push up cake pops!  I wanted a strawberry cake, so made a vegan strawberry cake and with buttercream frosting.  I bought these little containers and stand at HEB (shocking, eh?) and they are adorable!  Everyone loved these, even the parents wanted to try them!

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Think everything turned out well.. I asked Keri if she liked everything, she said she did, so that makes me happy 🙂  Here is my little 7 year old with her cake!

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Happy 7th Birthday Keri!!

Hubby’s Birthday

It’s my husband’s birthday!  Well, almost.  He will be in England for his actual birthday.. so.. celebrating early 🙂

I thought I would surprise him with his favorite.. peanut butter!!  This is a brand new recipe that I am doing.  And yes.. I’ll admit.  Had one earlier.. delicious!!!  Absolutely amazing recipe!

Recipe is from Bakerella, check it out:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes  And then.. look at these beautiful cupcakes!

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And look how pretty those flowers are!  Another post about those flowers.. 🙂  Probably should have taken out the Reese peanut butter jar.. but that’s okay.  Still some beautiful and yummy cupcakes!!

Cupcakes, done.  Now.. what about a present?  Well, I dont have a lot of money.  I wanted to get something special for him that would be practical.  I started to just google pilot gifts.. and it dawned on me.  He travels a lot for his work so bought some new suit cases.  But, despite traveling a lot, he uses the paper luggage tags from the air port.. I mean, really?!  So, I found a wonderful gift from the seller ThreeBoysWish from Etsy.  She worked with  me on the charm since my husband is a private pilot (in his free / spare time, that is) and put two airplane charms on it.. and it is amazing!  

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Look how beautiful this gift is!!  I am really hoping he loves it.  I think he will.  

Gift, done.  Now.. a card!  He doesnt do sentimental cards very much.. and why make them for him?  He looks at them once.. and then who knows what happens to them.  BUT, if Keri makes one.. we keep it forever!  So, of course Keri made daddy a card – an airplane card.  Here is the final card, and inside (not picture), she wrote “Happy Birthday Daddy, I Love You” – and drew lots of pictures of cats, Ha!  Love it!  

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Even though he will be in England for his birthday.. I sure hope he enjoys what we have done for him 🙂  We celebrate tomorrow, so Keri is excited to sing Happy Birthday to daddy!  And even though my husband will probably never read this.. Happy Birthday to the love of my life, my best friend.. my husband 🙂

 

Becca’s Baby Shower

Baby Time!  A very good friend of mine is expecting her third child shortly.. and I had the wonderful honor of throwing her a baby shower 🙂  I must admit, it was a little difficult to pull this off while attending nursing school.. but I started early, had a wonderful co-host and my vision came through.. it turned out so beautiful!

Another few views of the dessert table.. which was the highlight of the event 🙂

 

 

Details!  Everything was in the details.. and I have a few people in particular to thank, so first.. my lovely co-host, Jeanette!  She was amazing during this baby shower!  I was (am) in Nursing School and only had a few days to do stuff on my own in between semesters, so I bombarded my friend with tons to do.. and she pulled it off 🙂  Thank You so much to an awesome friend for all her help in making this shower happen!

So, what all did we do?  LOTS!  We will start with the crafts!

Notice the backdrop?  I owe that to my awesome husband!  He built a backdrop based on this pin I found off Pinterest:  Building A Backdrop.  However, my husband decided to build it with PVC pipes rather than wood so it would be easily transportable to and from the baby shower (it was!) – we made it 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide.  He drilled a hole a few inches from the top, tied a rope from one end to another and that is how we secured the King Size sheet to the backdrop.  For the decorations, I cut out 4 inch circles from my Cricut (George & Basic Shapes cartridge), used the twine rope to hot glue them into a a banner type thing and secured it to the back where the sheet was held by alligator clips.  Beautiful backdrop!  Thank you hubby, love you!!

 

For the island – I wanted to decorate that a bit.. so, Jeanette had a couple cans that I decorated with scrapbook paper, tied some twine rope on it.. and instant hold for the silverware!  It is elegant, simple, and so beautiful.. took less than 5 minutes to make both of them – awesome!  And the background has the vases that I painted white.  I used acrylic paint – poured some inside, turned the vases upside down to let the paint drip out.. and beautiful effect!  Fake flowers in the vases from hobby lobby 🙂

 

Also on the island were the dessert boxes to go.  You didnt expect all 16 guests to eat everything on that dessert table.. did you?!? Of course not!  Dessert to go boxes 🙂  I bought these boxes a long time ago.. for my daughter’s 5th birthday (about 15 months ago).  I still had 18ish of them.  They would not disappear!  So.. lets make them disappear 🙂  I bought labels at Office Depot, used a foot stamp I bought from Hobby Lobby and decorated the boxes.  This is what I came up with:

For the dining room table, I didnt want a lot on there.  I wanted it to be simple:  simple blue table cloths, baby confetti, and in the center is a beautiful ribbon topiary!  I have made these before.. and love making them, but they are very time consuming!  So, Jeanette did the ribbon part of the ball!  For the bottom – it is simply a flower pot with scrapbooking paper cut and modge podged on.  I used moss for the inside.  Beautiful!

Lets talk about the presents!  In particular, the diaper carried cake.  I found this amazing You Tube Video giving step by step directions on how to make it, and knew I wanted to do it!  It was so easy and only took about 45 minutes to make – beautiful!  I just wanted to do something different.. b/c for Leia and Jeanette’s baby showers, I made diaper cakes – I wanted something new and different.. so hence this 🙂  Included in this diaper carriage cake is 82 size 1 diapers, baby washcloths, onesie, bib, puppy dog lovey, receiving blanket and a big fuzzy blanket.

Lets talk about the onesie bouquets!  My inspiration is this beautiful artist on Etsy – check out her store and what she sells:  Baby Blossom Co.  I did not order these that I made from her, but used her creations as my inspirations – so she deserves full credit her!  Mine were no where near the beauty and elegant (or sturdy!) as hers.. but I tried 🙂  Took forever too!  Huge thanks to Jeanette for helping out with the blankets and clothes used in this project and the diaper carriage cake!

 

Notice those cute little favor boxes there in the above picture?  Lets talk about those!  Those party favors.. oh my.  Will save you the long story, but they turned out beautiful!  And, btw, a few have asked where to get the burlap at, which is at Hobby Lobby.  It is in the fabric section, and expensive (use a coupon!) – but that is where I got it at.  I used my cricut to cut out the tags, stamps to stamp “Thank You” on one side and the date “09-01-12” on the other.  Hot glued everything together.. and beautiful!  Whats inside?  Onesie bird feeders 🙂  Soo cute!  Recipe for the onesie bird feeder is here:  Homemade Bird Feeders.

 

And.. just a shot of the table with the baby Trent banner!  (Note:  On the table to the right are wrapped gifts in brown paper – these are the “sibling” gifts.  Wont give any details about those gifts here, but will try to update that post giving credits soon.  The kids havent opened these gifts yet so do not want to give anything away!)

 

Lastly.. FOOD!  What was on the dessert table you asked?  Well.. okay.. guess I’ll reveal everything 🙂  I made homemade cards for all the items, which are adorable, and all the recipes were amazing too.  Will list the items along with the recipes and pictures (and necessary inspirations / credits) below!  First.. lets start with the cake!

This was a simple white cake with a strawberry cream cheese frosting (frosting recipe on here, cut down on powdered sugar and sub vanilla with strawberry extract) with homemade marshmallow fondant.  The inspiration came from this post:  Baby Shower Cake.  I havent worked with fondant in a while (6+ months), so had some difficulty with the fondant since I was rusty.. but turned out okay.. I guess.. 🙂

 

Cupcakes!  Becca’s favorite cupcakes are chocolate peanut butter 🙂  I found this recipe off Annie’s Eats for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, and have made this recipe several times.  The chocolate cake in this particular recipe is dry – I do not recommend it.  Made the recipe twice using that chocolate cake.. and both times it was just so dry.  So, I changed up the cake and used this recipe from Annie’s Eats:  Chocolate Cake.  It was delicious!  Inspiration for the toppers came from here:  Cupcake toppers.  I used fondant to make the flowers and blue colored chips and footprint molds to make the feet.  Cute!

btw – the cupcake wrappers were made using scrapbooking paper and the cupcake wrapper cartridge with my cricut!  Also used them for the fruit cups.  Speaking of which.. the fruit cups 🙂

 

Lets see.. chocolate lollipops!  Loved how this was displayed!  Got the inspiration of using the jelly beans from this post and knew I had to do it.  Found these yellow pails at Target’s dollar section, decorated them, and loved the result!  The chocolate lollipops are just used making the chocolate molds and footprint molds with regular chocolate.

 

Brownie Batter – mmmmm!  This was such a good recipe!  Found the recipe off Pinterest:  Brownie Batter, and knew I had to have it!  It was very good 🙂

 

The homemade onesie graham crackers were also a hit.  Always amazed how well these things are received!

 

Beside the graham crackers were yogurt covered pretzels.  Nope, I didnt make these.. not even going to try 😉  Bought these from Greenfields down the street!

 

Sugar cookies!  Ack!  These things were annoying!  I wanted to do homemade.  I didnt have time.  Jeanette tried them, made them, turned out beautiful, husband ate them all,  told me she didnt have time to make them for the shower, so.. what to do?  Lily’s cookies (who made the zhu zhu cookies for Keri’s birthday), were too expensive.  Just couldnt do it..  did not need 24 cookies!  (They have a minimum order for custom cookies).  So.. what to do.  Sugar cookie bars!  Found this recipe.. tried it.. meh, it was okay.  They were really dense in my opinion, but a few seemed to like them.. so be it 🙂  Not sure I’ll make these again though.. we’ll see!

 

Lets get to a couple things that Jeanette helped me out with, shall we?!  I didnt bake everything.. just not enough time!  So, Jeanette helped me out by baking these delicious lemon cookies.  They are always so yummy.. and so easy to make!!

 

And what is lemon cookies without lemonade?!  Have to have the homemade lemonade!  Jeanette made the lemonade from a true tried recipe – delicious stuff!  Now, this was my pride and joy.. the lemonade bottles!! (Bought Here).  HAD to have these!  I’ve always wanted these.. had to get them!  They are beautiful!!  And of course my inspiration for the lemonade bottles / tags is here – beautiful display!  The 10.5 inch straws were bought from the Esty Store:  Isakay Boutique.  I made the tags myself.  LOVE my lemonade bottles!!

 

Speaking of Etsy.. lets talk about the water bottles.  I did not have the time to make water bottle labels this time!  So.. Etsy to the rescue 🙂  I contacted Modern Beautiful off Esty and they made these water bottle labels for me.  Love them!!

Back to Jeanette!  And.. something healthy, I think.  Cucumber bites!  The colors matched what I needed.. and I needed something healthy to put on the table.  So, found this recipe and Jeanette made them for me!  Turned out so lovely!

 

Back to the sweets.  Last one.. Oreo Truffles.  Mmmmm!  These things are so addicting!

 

And.. thats the important stuff.. oh, one more thing.. the most important thing of all – the guest of honor 🙂  Becca and I at the shower.  It was such an awesome experience doing this for her, loved every moment of it and hoping everyone else loved it to!

 

 

 

MSSA Spring Festival

Twice a year, Keri’s school puts on a Fall & Spring Festival.  Unfortunately, we missed the Fall festival due to being out of town.. so I was really looking forward to the Spring festival!  I wanted to help out in every way I could.. so, I did 🙂

This year, the theme for the Spring Festival was biomes.  Keri’s class was combined with 2 others and were given the Temperate Forest biome.  I was in charge of snacks.  I came up with 3 snacks.. a forest berry punch, a forest animal trail mix and forest cupcakes.  And of course.. I had to get my craftiness on and help with some decorations too!

I passed the trail mix and the punch over to other parents so I could concentrate on the cupcakes.  They needed 200 cupcakes.. oh my.  First, I made the trees out of homemade marshmallow fondant.  Next were the mini cupcakes.  I used a simple white cake recipe that is both easy to make and yummy.  I also made a batch of eggless cupcakes so my daughter could have one.  I think they turned out really cute!

I also did signs for the snacks & crafts as well as a banner.. check them out!

The individual signs from the event:

 

 

 

And of course the banner I did:

All the signs and banner were made using my cricut machine – I used the create a critter cartridge for the animals, simply sweet for the banner, and cuttin up for the letters on the sign.  I love my cricut!

But most importantly.. the Spring Festival was for Keri 🙂  She had a blast! (picture is a close up of her.. she was not having all pictures I was taking tonight, so this is her trying to block the camera.. and I caught that beautiful smile in the process.. love it!)

 

Valentine’s Day Celebration

Time to celebrate Valentine’s Day!  After Keri and I made the valentines for all her friends, bookmarks, bags, and I did the Valentine Treats for Keri’s school – it was time for Keri’s valentine’s day 🙂  Originally, we had a valentine’s day party scheduled with her playgroup the day before Valentine’s day (the 13th) – so, I baked some beautiful eggless vanilla cupcakes and strawberry frosting.  Regarding the recipes, I did use regular whole milk instead of soy milk, these cupcakes are delicious!

But unfortunately.. these never made it to the party.  Keri caught a cold the next day so we had to reschedule the party until the day after Valentine’s day (the 15th) – but she did have one of the cupcakes.. and loved it 🙂

On to Keri’s Valentine’s Day Box.  This year I bought a paper mache mailbox for Keri to paint.  She decided to paint it pink:

We ended up putting a kitty made from the cricut as well as her name (made from the cricut too) on the box.  Next, she decorated it with stickers!

It’s beautiful!  But now we needed more cupcakes.. so, I baked her eggless chocolate cupcakes (from the “Are you sure thats vegan?” cookbook) and the chocolate fudge frosting from allrecipes.  I made mini cupcakes this time because I assumed there would be plenty of sweets at the party 🙂  I tried to imitate the frosting to be a chocolate kiss.. I think I succeeded, they are cute!

So after the party, we came home and Keri went through her valentines.. she had such a great time, and we loved every moment of it!

Teacher Treats: Valentine Themed

Every year at registration, there is a sign up list for what the school calls “Teacher Treats” – Every Wednesday, a volunteer offers to bring the staff of 50 at the Montessori School a little something special.  Iloved doing it last year!  This year, I signed up for 2 days.  The first was last semester while I was a full time student in school.. not much baking was able to get done, unfortunately.  I felt horrible!  I didnt even post pictures of what I brought because (in my opinion), the teacher treats were definitely below bar of what I did for the treats last year.  But, there was a problem.. my second day to deliver teacher treats was after I started nursing school in May – this would not work!

Everything happens for a reason, right?  Right.  I’m in charge of the reminder emails to parents for the teacher treats – something I dont mind doing at all.  But I send out the reminders every Sunday to the parents to remind them of their date as well as a monthly email to the month ahead.  One parent was going out of town Feb 15th and needed to switch.  This was my chance to switch my date from May!  I asked her about it, and we made the switch.

February 15th.. could this day be anymore perfect?!  This is the day after Valentine’s Day.. oh my, wait, Valentine’s Day.. YES!  I’m totally doing a Valentine’s Day themed teacher treats.. 🙂

The first item I made were the heart mints.  These are a mint recipe from Allrecipes:  Cream Cheese Mints.  These things are so easy to make.. why havent I made these sooner?!  It took longer for me to cut out the little hearts than it did to make the recipe!  They are incredibly delicious and very addictive – will definitely make again.  Regarding the recipe itself, I had to add an additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and I used 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract.  Mmmm!

Next I made the cinnamon chips and fruit salsa.  This recipe also comes from Allrecipes:  Fruit Salsa.  I used flour tortillas and shaped them into hearts for the chips.  I used significantly more cinnamon sugar than what the recipe calls for however.  For the salsa, I used strawberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries.  Nice valentine’s day compliment to the other goodies!

Next I made the fruit dip, heart fruit kabobs and heart strawberries.  The fruit dip comes from Allrecipes:  Fruit Dip.  This fruit dip is beyond delicious.. something you can the whole bowl of!  The fruit kabobs was from an inspiration I saw off Pinterest:  Fruit Kabobs. For the fruit, I used watermelon, honeydew, pineapple and cantalupe.  I used two small heart cookie cutters to cut the hearts – I think they turned out pretty good!   The strawberries – my wonderful husband helped me wash and cut the strawberries into cute little hearts.  These add a nice touch of healthiness to the treat table!

To compliment the fruit dip, I also did heart strawberries (actually, my husband cut these for me!) – loved how they turned out:

Next was the cupcakes.  I made a vanilla bean cupcake from Annie’s Eats that has long been in my recipe box – this vanilla cupcake is so delicious!  For the frosting, I made a strawberry Swiss Meringue frosting, which is to die for!  This frosting far exceeded my expectations and I’m so pleased with how delicious this frosting was!  It complimented the vanilla bean cupcakes perfectly.  The little hearts are made from marshmallow fondant from Allrecipes.  Yummy!

Lastly, the heart sandwiches.  We made these the morning of, and they turned out so cute!  I saw this idea on Pinterest about the heart sandwiches and knew I had to include them for the teachers.  I made various sandwiches with turkey and ham meats and swiss, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

I also made Keri’s teacher individual plates to ensure that they received a little bit of everything from the treat table:

Thinking the teachers loved their Valentine’s Day treats, they deserve it!

Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

Picture is of Keri outside in our backyard – she had to show me how she can do the monkey bars.. right in the middle of me baking / preparing all the delicious treats.  Of course I happily agreed and took a few minutes to go outside with her.. beautiful day and beautiful girl!