Teacher Treats 2015

I didn’t get to make something special for the teachers last year (2014).  I was signed up to make and bring them something, but I became overwhelmed with school and had to cancel.  I felt horrible!  I LOVE doing teacher treats, but I strive to do my best.

This year, I wanted to do a white / red theme.  I planned this out in early November when I had some down time with school. I found the recipes, printed them out, and made a list of what I needed.  There were 5 recipes total.

Sounds yummy, right?!  Except there was a problem.  Early September, I received a brochure for a Psychopharmacology continuing education class.  I jumped on this!  Learning about medications is so very important for my line of work.. especially since I will be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner by next Christmas!  So I signed up for it without even thinking twice about the date.  Problem was.. the date was the exact same day I was suppose to bring Teacher Treats!  OOPS!

So I was at this class from 8am – 4pm. It was boring.  Prior to going, I started the cranberries and placed in the frig.  While at class, I decided last minute to change the scones to white chocolate cranberry muffins.  Texted husband to get me a couple ingredients, and I came home and starting working on things! I had my daughter finish the cranberries, and they turned out beautifully!  Keri wasn’t sure about the taste.  She said they were tart at first.. but she kept on eating them!  They were okay – tart, not as sweet as I like.

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Next, I moved on to the cookies.  They were delightful!  When I picked up Keri from school, a few teachers mentioned how yummy they were.  It was my first time making them, and sure enough, they really were delicious!

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Then I made cut up the strawberries and made the cream cheese fruit dip.  The fruit dip was very delicious!  A couple teachers asked me where I bought it at.. when I said it was homemade, they were surprised – it was that good!  Yummy!

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Now, I moved on to the mini cheesecakes.  This was a disaster.  Richard took Keri to swim class tonight, and I started on these.  First time ever making it.  And, they did not turn out.  They were a lot of work, took about an hour, and made 48 mini cheesecakes.  They looked beautiful when I put them in the oven.. came out beautiful.. and immediately sunk.  Yep.  Sunken cheesecakes.  Turns out, I over mixed the mixture.  Oops.  Too much air got into them and made them sink.  Could not serve these things!  No picture – they looked horrible.

Well, I was very discouraged by this.. and did not make the muffins either.  Just was getting late, I had been cooking all afternoon since I got home, and decided what I had was enough.  I made some little placecards (as you can see), and said that will do!  It was delightful and just as I wanted it – and plenty 🙂

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Loved doing Teacher Treats this year!

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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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Pizza & Pool Party

Yesterday we had a pizza and pool party at my mom’s house.  It was so much fun!  We invited a few friends over, went swimming, had pizza.. and best of all, CUPCAKES!  Well, okay, the best part about this event was having friends over.  It was an awesome day 🙂

I had to keep this event pretty small due to the size of my mom’s pool, but I think we had the perfect size group.  Only one friend wasnt able to make it due to an illness, but everyone else showed up!  We started at 10:00am, and the last guest left at about 4:00pm.  Wow!  You were actually in the pool for 6 hours!!!  (9:15ish to 3:15ish!)  Amazing!

Everyone swam for a bit, then.. pizza time!

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We set you guys down on the lower deck b/c of of the wasps.  Those wasps..!!  I think I was the most terrified by them since I was stung by a little one last weekend, but man.. these big ones creep me out!  I didnt see any small ones actually, just the really big ones.. wow. 

And some pictures of you and your friends.  This is of you, Hailey & Blake.  You just love Hailey!

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And this is when peer pressure.. well.. WORKS!  We have been swimming at grandma’s pool for a very long time now – all summer!  We go over at least once a week to swim, and this week alone, we have been over 3 times!  I cant get you to jump off the side of the pool – you wont do it.  But, when Hailey and Alli do it.. you jump 🙂  I got video of this, but took a picture of you three girls before one your jumps into the deep end.  I’m so happy you are a good little swimmer!

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And of course before everyone went, I had to get a group shot!  Love the group shots of you and your friends.. just something to always remember your friends by as well as your ages.  You guys are getting so big!

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But, the highlight of the day was Becca’s new underwater camera.  It was amazing!  I have two pictures to share.. first one is of you and your friends – sooo cool!

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And lets see.. here in this picture you have Ava, you, Hailey and Alli.  But, the best pictures of the day were the individual pictures that were taken of several of you!  Carmen took this picture of you and I am so in love with it:

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Just amazing!  Love get togethers like this.  It was so much fun!

Kitty Cat Birthday: Party Favors

I asked Keri what she wanted to give away for party favors.. and of course, her answer was kitty cats!  I found some adorable cats on Oriental Trading and made some kitty paw print chocolate lollipops for party favors.  They are simple, and adorable!  Check out the little kitty cats:

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And the lollipops:

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Kitties and lollipops together – Love this little setup!

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And look how cute!  These are the one that Keri chose – the little light brown kitty and pink lollipop.

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Think the kids loved them, and Keri had so many leftover kitties!  She now sleeps with all of them, it is very cute.  And of course I did not get a picture of Keri with her party favors.. slacker!  So, I’ll end with a picture of Keri in bed, cuddling up with all her kitties.. so cute!

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Once again.. Happy Birthday to my little girl!!

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!!

Kitty Cat Birthday Party: Food Table

My pride and joy.. my little girl.. and the food 🙂  I LOVE baking!  I did a lot of baking for Keri’s birthday party.  In fact, I spent from 7:00am – 9:00pm on Saturday (day before her party) baking!  Loved every moment of it.  Here is a wide view of the food table.. then I’ll break down what exactly is on it! IMG_2326 Well, that shows everything but what is on the right of the table.. the most prized food items, in my opinion.  But, it does show the strawberries and fruit dip there.  This was something that was unexpected to make.  I did not, and was not, planning to make this or include it (it is RED!  Not pink / purple!  Yes, I’m that weird) – but my husband requested that fruit dip.  I am so glad that I made that fruit dip because it was the most complemented item on that table!  And, here is the recipe if you want it:  Cream Cheese Fruit Dip. The next complimented item was the homemade kitty marshmallows.  I used this recipe:  Homemade Marshmallows – and cut the marshmallows using a little kitty cat cookie cutter.  Everyone loved them! IMG_2318 Notice the little food cards?  They are so cute!!  Love those little cards.  Next, I made homemade cat graham crackers.  A lot of them.  They are delicious!  Recipe:  Graham Crackers. IMG_2319 To keep with the health items.. I made homemade chocolate chip & marshmallow granola bars.  I was so happy these were a huge hit!  Recipe:  Granola Bars (I used mini chocolate chips and those itty bitty marshmallows like you put in hot chocolate instead of raisins). IMG_2317 Next, candied popcorn!  This recipe I made just a couple hours before the party.  It was easy to make, and I thought it tasted good, but it wasn’t exactly a big hit at the party for some reason.  I’m not sure if this because it was sticky or chewy, or not sure.  But, still looked cute!  I got the little purple popcorn boxes from Oriental Trading.  Recipe: Candied Popcorn IMG_2323 More semi-healthy food.. that of course, match the color scheme, is yogurt covered pretzels.  These are available at a store right down the street from me, and the kids always seem to like these! IMG_2244 Next, chocolate kitties!  Well, not exactly chocolate, but they are the vanilla candy melts – I just bought pink and purple.. and a kitten mold, and made my own!  Of course the kids devoured these: IMG_2247 Lastly, fruit.  (Not exactly lastly, you can see all the cakes here:  Kitty Cat Birthday:  Cakes).  I had my step son and his girlfriend cut the watermelon into thin slices and with the kitty cat mini cookie cutter and a mini flower cookie cutter cut a bunch of shapes out.  So, we had strawberries, fruit dip, watermelon and grapes! IMG_2314 The food table was quite pretty – I really liked this one!  But now you have the drinks.  I did not make the labels on the bottled water – A seller from Etsy made them for me.  They were definitely complimented, and many thought that I made them myself since I made the zhu zhu ones last year!  But, I didnt have time to make it this year, so had to buy them.  Think they are cute! IMG_2325 Lastly.. kitty milk!!  Now, this picture doesnt show the milk in the bottles, but that is on purpose.  I did not fill the bottles up with milk until right before I gave the drinks to the kids.  But, Keri’s favorite drink is milk (by a landslide!) and kitties drink milk.. hence, milk instead of juice boxes!  I tied on a ribbon to the bottle and added those paper straws that you can buy from Etsy.  Very very cute set up – love it! IMG_2333 And just a silly picture of me and my birthday girl.. I was trying so hard to get a picture of me and her – and she was just soooo excited!  This picture is a cute one – and shows us in front of the food table!

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All that is to talk about now are the cakes!  Kitty Cat Birthday Party:  Cakes

Kitty Cat Birthday Party: Decorations

It’s a kitty cat birthday for my little 7 year old!  She requested a kitty cat themed party with the primary colors being pink and purple.  So, let’s start with the invitation (of course the personal information is blacked out, but adorable invitation!).  This invitation was not made by me, but from an Etsy seller Lollipop Prints.  It is adorable!

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That part was easy.. but what about the decorations?   I had to use a lot of decorations from last year, but did make some pink / purple triangle banners as well as a happy birthday Keri banner.  This is the food table:

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More about what was on the dessert table in this post:  Kitty Cat Birthday Party:  Food Table.  But, here are some other views of the table – Love how pretty it is!!

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Note the backdrop?  A friend made that backdrop for a baby shower I had for a dear friend last year (the Owl Themed baby shower) – and I’m reusing it for Keri’s birthday party!  It is being held by a PVC pipe stand that my husband built for me.  It is amazing!  Love that backdrop and what my husband built to hold up my backdrops for my food / dessert tables!

And the island – it has to have decorations too!  Notice the ribbon balls??  Yep, they are from last year!  All I did (while at school in right before clinicals), was switch out the bright blue and bright orange ribbons to pink and purple… just to match the theme a little bit better!

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Now, what I did not take pictures of were the signs, but, you’ve seen those before.  They are the same signs I used last year except the zhu zhu is changed over to a kitty.  Nothing too exciting, so will spare you that.

But, lets get on to something more exciting, shall we?!  The food table!!

Kitty Cat Birthday Party:  Food Table

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!

 

 

 

Teacher Appreciation Day – Post 2

While I was working on the gift for Keri’s teacher, Ms. Maribeth, I was also working on something a lot more bigger.. something special for all the teachers and staff members at the Montessori!

My friend, Sandy, was coordinating the event.  Teacher Appreciation Day – A day where the teachers and staff members at the school get spoiled rotten full with lunch, gifts, and a day of awesomeness.. because they deserve it!  Sandy wanted me to make a few things.. and this is what I came up with based on her ideas 🙂

First, the colors.  They were catering Mexican food for lunch for the teachers & staff, so bright fiesta type colors.  I chose red, yellow, orange and green to be the colors to work with.  With these colors, I started with the banner:

Next, I moved on to the tags for the bags.  I used the Teacher’s Apple stamps by Papertrey Ink to create these tags (and all other images / apples on the items use the same stamps).  They have a front and back.  The front is an apple and the back is personalized for each teacher / staff member (saying “Thank you <name> for all you do!”)

Next, something to decorate the bags with.. a card!  Again, personalized you’ll see the theme start to emerge with the gifts.

The water bottles.  Originally, we wanted to do a normal, wrap around paper for the water bottle.  However, I did not have time to do a design on my own (although, I’m perfectly capable of making a design, but realistically, it would have taken a few hours minimum to do.. Keri’s water bottle design took me 4 hours to make!) – and buying a design cost money.  And although they are cute.. I wanted something a little more different / unique.  So I found this:  Water Bottle Tag – I loved it!  I suggested doing this for the teachers.. that way they can make tea or lemonade or such.  She told me to go for it.. so I did and this is what I came up with:

 

Lastly, the candy bar wrappers.. my personal favorite!!  Originally, we were just going to do regular printable hershey labels.. but that isnt much fun.  Again, I dont have the time to design something (I am so not a graphic designer!) and I thought it was a little boring.  So, I found this example using scrapbooking paper to cover a hershey bar. Loved it!  I love the 3d effect that scrapbooking gives over the plain paper.  I wanted to do this, and this is what I came up with:

Just the tag:

And a picture of the water bottle and candy bar:

Arent they awesome?!  Loved how they turned out!  Used my cricut to cut out the tags and the Teacher’s Apple stamps, some scrapbooking paper from Hobby Lobby and some ribbon to tie it all together – they turned out awesome.

Finished gift bags (my end – more items were going to go in the gift bags!):

And thats’ it!  Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

Teacher’s Appreciation Day – Post 1

In Montessori school, kids often spend a few years with a single teacher.  At my daughter’s Montessori, “primary” is ages 3-6.  So, Keri spent last year (pre-K also know as half day and Kindergarden – also known as extended day).  Keri has been with her teacher, Ms. Maribeth, for 2 years now.  In the Fall (2013), she will start her journey in lower elementary (1st – 3rd) with another teacher.

So, I wanted to do something very special for Ms. Maribeth.  I adore this teacher!  She has been nothing less than amazing towards Keri (and me), and I wanted to do something to show our appreciation for all she does.  She is an amazing teacher!

I started to scour the Internet & Pinterest for ideas for teacher appreciation day.  I found out what I wanted to do.. crayon art.  I wanted to give Ms. Maribeth a monogrammed letter (letter M) of crayons.  I thought this was perfect!

I bought a box of 64 crayons.. spent a couple hours (yes, hours), peeling off roughly 2/3rds of the crayon wrappers and started to assemble the letter M on paper.

It failed.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to make the letter M from crayons?!  I found a few examples from Google, but I didnt like them.  So, I scrapped this idea.

Now what?!  Well.. I kept going back to this post:  Teacher’s Apple from Papertrey Ink – I loved this gift idea.. and the stamps – oh my, how cute are those stamps?!?  I decided I would do it.  However, in the beginning, I was planning on using the apple from the Create a Critter cricut cartridge.  That was.. until I bought the stamps 🙂

I ended up doing Teacher Appreciation Day for the entire staff at Keri’s Montessori School also.  There was no way I was going to print out 200+ apples on my cricut!  I needed this stamp kit (yes, needed)!  So, I bought it 🙂

When it came in, I went to work on a very special gift for Ms. Maribeth. I did pretty much everything as in the Papertrey Ink example.  I used my letter stamps and made my own letter paper, used the same colors and such and think they turned out very well.   Check out the journal, paper jar and card:

Cute huh?  But, I wasnt happy with that.  I wondered if there was some way to incorporate post it notes into the gift basket.. so did a Google search for post it note frames.  Using an acrylic 6×4 frame, I made a very cute little post it note holder!

But I still wanted a monogrammed letter.. I had to have one in the basket!  So, using the same paper, I used modge podge to glue it on the letter M.  I decorated it with coordinating ribbon, buttons, and the apple of course.  Not bad and adds a nice little touch 🙂

Lastly.. my personal favorite – the clip board!  Every day, Ms. Maribeth comes out with the kids at pick up and has a clipboard.. a boring, brown, undecorated clipboard.  I wanted to make something personalized and special for her.. something that would stand out and be hers.  This clipboard by far took the most time out of all the projects I did.. and I am so happy of how it turned out!

The basket I bought at Michaels – thought the word “Inspire” on it was very appropriate!  I touched it off with a personalized tag:

I put everything in a cute little gift basket I found at Michaels, put a tag on it, wrapped it up, touched it off with ribbon and there you have it – A beautiful, elegant, practical teacher appreciation gift for Keri’s teacher.  Oh, best of all – the entire gift basket cost about $30 – Loved that part 🙂

Last but not least.. this post was all about Ms. Maribeth – Keri’s first teacher ever.  So, will leave you with this.. Keri and Ms. Maribeth 🙂