Easter Table

29 03 2012

Looking for a little Easter Table inspiration?  I put together these three looks for you to enjoy.

From top left Gold charger from, Target, green plate Anthropologie, scratched egg Etsy, Cherry Blossom branches Pottery Barn, Water Goblet Anthropologie, green bird candle via Remodelista

Napkin, Anthropologie; Goblet, Crate and Barrel; birds on branches, Design Shimmer; naturally dyed eggs, The Carnivore and Vegetarian; Carrot Cake, Pinterest; tablecloth, Horchow; plates, Anthropologie

cloche, Williams-Sonoma; goblet, Williams-Sonoma  ceramic bunnies, Williams-Sonoma; sculptor’s plate, Anthropologie, pitcher is filled with Queen Anne’s lace, Franc Gromm Easter eggs.

Happy Easter!


Gabe’s 12th Birthday Cake Challenge

3 02 2012

I had a really hard time trying to come up with theme for Gabe’s birthday this year.  He’s officially a tween. (tears).  He’s not really into sports so a sports theme was out and that was pretty much the only idea I could find on google.   So with all the craziness around cake decorating I decided to set up a Cake Challenge for his party.

I got my cake supplies from a couple of sources.  Jesters Cake Supply I used for my fondant, rollers and impression.  They have really good prices.  Especially on the fondant.  One five pound bucket was enough for both cakes.  I also used my coupon at Michael’s to pick up a few things and I went to Scoop n’ Save which is local for me.  They always have a great selection.

I also bought chef  coats in blue in green.

My wonderful, talented friend Maria did the graphic design for me. I cut out differnent size circles in coordinating colors and hung them from the ceiling.  It turned out really cool.  For give aways I filled candy jars and added the graphic to the paper bags which the boys got to fill just before they were ready to leave.

I did some prep work before the party.  I pre made all of the cakes and icing.  I made two three tier cakes.  A ten Inch, eight inch and six inch.  Two layers for each.  I’m not going to lie….it was a lot of cake. If I were to do it again mayb a couple of styrofoam layers would of been a good idea. I also made a big batch of buttercream and big batch of royal icing and put those into rubbermaids.  Didn’t think making icing during the event was a good idea.

This is me making a complete disaster of my kitchen:

I decided before hand that part of the challenge would be to make a cake that goes with the themed colors for the party.  This helped because I bought decorations that would work.   It also made what colorings to get a lot easier.  I also enlisted the help of family and friends.  The girls in my life are amazing.  I had one friend in charge of icing bags and an adult on each team to help decorate.  The fondant is a bit challenging so the kids needed some help, and lets face it….how could we not jump in??

Important steps to cake decorating you NEED to know:

Each cake layer will need to be covered in buttercream.  middle layer and outside.

You will need something in each layer to keep them from collapsing.  I used big straws which I cut to size, but you can also use small dowels.  Straws are easier to cut though.

Buy gloves because coloring the fondant is messy!

If you’ve never done this before…. don’t worry.  That is what You Tube is for.  Watch some tutorials and do a practice cake if your nervous.  I’ve only ever made one fondant cake before this.

Upon arrival everyone got to put on their chef coats.  I had a bunch of snack off to the side so everyone could munch while they decorate. I broke everyone up into two teams. Green and Blue.  They were given the rules.

They were:

1.  The cake needs to match the theme of the party.

2. Each cake must have a figure on top that represents the birthday boy.

3. Each team member must contribute.

4.  Adults are only allowed to assist.  Not do. (We had trouble with this rule you may want to skip it)

5.  Two hours to finish.

I ordered the chef coats from Happy Chef Uniforms.  I got a really great deal and the boys got to take them home.

On with the challenge!

After planning our cakes we all dove in.  Took about three minutes to break rule number 4.

OK….I know this looks bad but I swear the kids got to do most of it!

Needed to keep the tiny chefs busy of course!

I put out a lot of snacks for the kids to munch on and half way through we took a break for pizza.

We also had a time challenge.  I member from each team had to try to eat the most freeze dried beans (you know the edible salted kind) they could in 3o seconds.  Loser had to sit out for 5 minutes.  I am so mad I didn’t get a picture because it was REALLY funny.  (They were so grossed out)

The kids were totally into it.  They worked hard and had fun.  After our time was up each team  had to carry their cakes to the “judging table” to be judged.


These two are just too cute for words.

Hope you enjoyed!

Cowboy Birthday Party

18 01 2012

For Romy’s fourth birthday we threw him a cowboy party.  It was super fun and the kids loved.  Here’s what I did…

For Romy’s third birthday I decided on a cowboy theme.  It turned out really great and didn’t matter what age the kids were they enjoyed themselves.  I wish I had taken more pictures but I though I would share the ones I do have and the ideas I came up with.

Upon arrival all of kids were given a bag containing:

1.  A cowboy hat


3. plastic gun in holster (I made sure all the parents were ok with that first)

4. sheriff badges

5. fake moustaches

6. and those cute horse heads on a stick.

A lot of the guests dressed up and the  kids loved it.

I bought my decorations and party supplies off the internet, local dollar stores and party supplies.  Shopping around for whatever the current best deals saved me a ton of money.  This was a couple of years ago so it’d be worth doing a bit of exploring on your own.  If you need any info just ask and I’ll see if I can find it for you.

The cowboy boot mugs were one of my favorite finds.  I served root beer floats in them.

We played a few games shown above the kids had to shoot empty tin cans off the hay stacks.  I kept pails of water near by so it was easy to refill them.  Prizes were little plastic hopping frogs.

I gave jumping frogs and harmonicas for prizes.

Games we played included:

Shooting the tin cans off the hay piles with water guns….which then turned into a water fight (so fun).

Panning for gold.

Mike made an elevated trough out of some wood scraps, we added some sand and I put some gold-colored rocks I found in the dollar store in it.  I then punched some holes into tin pie plates for the “panning”  each child got a mini galvanized pail which, after they filled,  they then brought to the “candy store” to use to buy candy.

The kids also had a water gun fight and they took turns trying to toss rubber snakes into a cowboy boot.

I also rented a couple of the ponies for the kids as a surprise.  They loved it. Two ponies for an hour was about $200.  I actually think I could done with less time because from 3-5 the attention isnt’ quite there for long periods of time.  I let any of the neighborhood kids ride if they wanted to as well.

For dinner I served sliders, salad, hot dogs, chip….you know the usual suspects.

After dinner we moved the hay stack around a fire pit for the kids to roasted marshmallows.  It was a very dry summer so there was fire restrictions.  I found these cool cleaning burning gel packs.  No sparks and controlled flame…which I really liked since there were little ones there and it was definitely a lot safer….minus the flaming marshmallows.  Those were a little dangerous.  Oh, and the metal sharply pronged marshmallow stick…those gave me a bit of heart attack as well.

Here’s a picture of Romy with the only authentic cowboy at the party…..his Papa.

I also set up a little photo booth which I got some really great pictures of the guests.

It was a fun party.  Hope you enjoyed!

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread cookies

22 12 2011

This one of my favorite cookie recipes I like to make at Christmas. I got the recipe out Fine Cooking’s Cookie magazine. They are so delicous and you can use any shape you want.

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 lb (1 cup) of cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

10 oz (2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour

2 tbsp. finely ground espresso beans

10 oz (2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour

For the dipping chocolate:

9 oz of semi sweet chocolate

1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine the butter, sugar and salt on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth. 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don’t over mix. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking. Cut out shapes, press scraps together and roll out again. If the dough becomes sticky refrigerate briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment lined cookie sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 min. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Position trays on upper and lower thirds of oven. Bake cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top. This can take 30 min to 1 hour. Rotate the pans halfway through baking to make sure they bake evenly. If the cookies are done before 30 minutes reduce temp to 275 degrees, if they take longer than an hour increase temp to 325 degrees.

Dip the baked cooled cookies.

Lay out a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a work surface. Put the chocolate and shortening in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate stirring until its smooth. Do not get any water in the chocolate or it will seize. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the cookies on the prchment and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about two hours.

My first gingerbread house

19 12 2011

I’ve been trying to find the time to post for Christmas but the holidays have bee n crazy.  I made my first gingerbread house from scratch this year.  I have only made one before in my life and it was when I was much younger and I did it with my grandma.  She died a number of years ago and I always think of her this time of year.  So I decided to take a some of my memories and keep them well.  Baking with her is what we did she.  There wasn`t anything that she couldn`t do.  Seriously she was a amazing……I wish I had photos to show all of you.  Taking this on this year I thought I was ready to show my nieces all my major skills.  That didn`t work out so well, thought I would finish two houses in one night….not possible.  Gingerbread takes time….for sure.  I hard time with making and rolling out the dough.  I doubled the batch and it didn`t turn out as smooth as I hoped apparently my mixer does not have enough horse power to handle that much dough.  My friend told my it made it more rustic….I guess it did….she is the sweetest.  So here it is…..la gingerbread house.

I went to my absolute most favorite store when it  comes to this stuff…. Scoop n Save.  I  bought the chocolat rocks for the path and rock candy for the chimney.  I also grabbed the snazzy plastic reindeer and trees.

Ok…I know they are bit kitschy but I love them and how great would these trees and deer be in a snow globe DIY.  They deer was 50 cents and the trees were 35 cents. CHEAP.

I cut out the window openings then crushed up some Kerr clear hard candies for the windows. Baked at 350 degrees till the melted.  I love how they just look like frosted windows.

He looks so serious, eh.  Candy is serious business.  Mike (my husband) asked informed me that mushroom do not grow in the winter time.  I told him that coconut covered mushrooms grow in magical gingerbread forest where plastic reindeer live……duh.

Next year I am not playing around.  I am going to work on piping skills and my nieces are going to have some serious memories that they will be able to pass on….and my sons.  Their future wives will be so impressed!

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 11 2011
Thanksgiving was so nice this year.  I had a great dinner at my sisters and had my own on the holiday Monday.  I made a couple of things that I posted in my previous Thanksgiving post and put the rest on my to do for next year list.

Making the little turkey pine cones was my favorite thing this Thanksgiving.  Daniela and I got to together with friends and spent a great night talking laughing while making our projects.

I also made my own version of the “Gather” banner.  I was happy with it, turned out pretty good I think.  I tried to distress the paper and discovered that that is definitely not a job that can be rushed.

My table was simple but I liked it, only thing I wished I had been linen napkins and maybe some new place mats oh and I would like some chargers or colored plated next year as well.  I didn’t have enough of the right color….so mad.

I love holiday and how they give the family a good reason to get together and eat a good meal while enjoying each others company.  This year Daniela and I did the Turkey Trot the day of my dinner.  Got up very early and went and ran 10km.  This was not easy post her amazing dinner and wine but this may be why although snug, I can still get into my pants.  Will this become a tradition??  I hope so.  It was fun.

There is my brother-in-law well into his tradition of watching football on the couch.  He’s lucky I love him because watching sports honestly makes me want to poke my eyes out.  I love how the baby seat is strapped in and the toys are taking over the room.  A real family dinner!

P.S.  that’s me down there with my wine in hand

It’s “Fur” Christmas

29 10 2011

Keep fur on your decorating must haves list. I have found these beauties for you can use when warming your home up for the Christmas season!

This is a seriously gorgeous stocking! I found this on Habitat…a UK site. I would love a bunch a different colors to hang around the fireplace!

This would look sooo good under my tree! Tree skirt is from Arcadia Home.

Wine needs to keep warm too…..fur coat is from Pottery Barn. (the Santa hat is pretty adorable too…great way to dress up a hostess gift)

Why not my whole bed? Looks heavenly…..love Restoration Hardware!

More from Restoration Hardware….. love the coloring in these pillows

Hot water bottles from Restoration Hardware

A very luxe throw from Zgallerie

Pellicia pillow from Crate and Barrel

Some more beautiful throws from West Elm.

And finally……this gorgeous table runner from ZGallerie….love.

Hope you enjoyed and are inspired to cozy up for winter!

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