Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Steppin’ Out: E’s Birthday

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Wooooooooooo Date Night!!! My super old husband turned 32 yesterday. I get to call him super old until I turn 30, so it’s a good thing I’m only 22.

We celebrated in style with a little birthday music:

A super delicious carrot cake:

Swear to God, the best cake I've ever baked - and it was from a box and made with applesauce instead of oil.

I managed to light all 32 candles with only one minor thumb burn:

Plus we only burned one tiny hole in the tablecloth!

Then we put the kids to bed, left our babysitter on the couch with the remote and hit Mohegan Sun. It’s handy that we have two of the biggest casinos in the world right down the street.

E's yearly cigar, one of the many cool light fixtures, Leffingwells Bar

Fake sky over Leffingwells

Indoor river, riding the elevator, ceiling over the craps table

You know how people throw coins in fountains for good luck? At casinos, they throw CASH.

Terrible cell phone photos are what happen when you're too embarrassed to take a real picture at home in front of the 19 year old babysitter.

Sparkly top: Dress Barn (I’m not even ashamed, they have cute shirts)
Jeggings: Nordstrom Rack
Ridiculous platform heels: Charlotte Russe
Earrings: I don’t remember and it doesn’t really matter since you can’t see them.
Clutch: Ditto the earrings

We lost, of course, because that’s what you do at casinos but it was SO GOOD to be out and doing adult-type things without having to wipe anyone’s nose or mouth or butt. We chatted with grown-ups about things other than our kids. We made angry faces at the douche-canoes who sat down in the middle of our blackjack shoe (because we’re so fancy and worldly we know that’s poor manners). The kids slept the entire time and didn’t even know we ditched them. Let’s do it again soon!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband and Happy Sunday to you!

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Caroline’s Sparkle Snowflake First Birthday

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The Theme: Winter sparkle snowflake party, with glitter, pale pink and blue accents
The Location: The entire first floor of my house

This post is going to be HUGE, so if you have no interest at all in Caroline’s party please come back in a few days when it’s been bumped off the front page. I don’t want to put in a page break and have people think I’m trying to trick them into more page views. I get my page views the honest way – exploiting my children and friends!

The Decorations:

winter snowflake sparkle first birthday party

Dining room

Tree branch sprayed with snow-in-a-can

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party crepe paper christmas trees

Ruffled crepe paper trees from this tutorial found on Pinterest

winter snowflake sparkle first birthday party

Living Room

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party paper snowflakes

Snowflakes cut from printer paper (Google “snowflake templates” for ideas)

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party photo dislplay

My clothes pin photo display re-purposed as Caroline’s year in photos display!

winter sparkle glitter snowflake first birthday party candles in mason jars

Epsom salt in mason jars to look like snow

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party

Glitter play dough party favors (more details in this post), yarn wreath, mirror frosted with snow-in-a-can

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party yarn wreath jingle bells

Yarn wreath, $1 picture frame ornament from Target

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party chandelier

Chandelier decorated with dollar store garland & ornaments

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party doily garland

Doily garland

high chair tutu winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party

The orange high chair didn’t match my theme, but a paper table cloth and a little tulle fixed it!

 winter wonderland sparkle snowflake first birthday party

Fake snow everywhere!

The Food:

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party hot cocoa bar

Hot cocoa and cocktail bar – the Keurig made it SO EASY!

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party hot cocoa bar

I bought every single Christmas mug at Goodwill

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party hot cocoa bar

Mini marshmallows, egg nog, powdered sugar, crushed candy canes, vanilla syrup, pink sprinkles, whipped cream, coconut flakes. Also on the bar: dark and milk hot cocoa, cider, Bailey’s, vanilla vodka, coconut rum, peppermint schnapps, mini candy canes.

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party hot cocoa bar

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

Cucumber sandwiches, candy cane blossoms, red peppers & dip

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

Smoked salmon, dill & cream cheese on herb bread

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

Cupcakes (from a box!), my favorite frosting, edible sugar paper snowflakes bought at Stop & Shop

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

Sparkling cranberry brie bites. You know how sometimes you seen an idea on Pinterest and think “yeah, there’s no way that idea is going to be as awesome in real life”? This one was JUST AS AWESOME.

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

Thumbprint cookies, gooey vanilla sparkle cookies, fruit & dip, sugar cookies, ginger cookies, mini pastas on sticks with vodka, marinara, and alfredo sauce.

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party coconut snowballs

Coconut snowballs

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

Cream cheese mints, lemon meringues

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party food

The pasta on sticks was a great idea… for grown ups. Next time I’ll get less pointy things.

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party snow men milk bottles

Milk bottle snow men. Not quiet as cute as on the interwebs, but still cute.

Lemon cake (more boxed mix!) tinted 3 shades of pink

1st Birthday winter snowflake sparkle party smash cake

Tiny cake baked in a tomato can, covered in sprinkles & topped with “Caroline” written in chocolate

1st Birthday winter snowflake sparkle party smash cake

1st Birthday winter snowflake sparkle party smash cake

Don’t even THINK about taking her cake away

The Fun:

Glitter play dough & cookie cutters on a kid-sized table

All the planned activities in the world can’t stop the kids from getting every toy out of the toy box

DIY pull string pinata (more here) was a hit, even though it didn’t work exactly as planned. I had to shake most of the candy out after the ribbon holding it up broke, but the kids didn’t care one little bit.

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party DIY snowglobes

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party DIY snowglobes

winter sparkle snowflake first birthday party DIY snowglobes

DIY snowglobes were cuter in theory than in reality. They were kind of leaky and some of the trees dyed the water purple and the glue was messy, but everyone went home with one!

Sharing strawberries with a friend

Refusing to wear her hair bow

Dance party!

These two are TROUBLE

Playing with Grandma

Somebody got a pony for her birthday! (She’s kind of scared of it though)

Family photos with two kids – there is ALWAYS someone not looking.

Holy crap, that was ridiculously long. I think I got all the links and recipes in there but if you’re looking for something let me know. My Pinterest board for the party (with most of the ideas I did use and some really good ones I didn’t get around to) can be found here.  I’m sorry most of the photos are terrible – it gets dark REALLY early here so I had to use the flash after the first 30 minutes of the party. It was definitely a great time and I know Caroline enjoyed herself. I hear everyone’s kids slept really well on Saturday night so I think they ran off all the sugar I pumped into them before they went home. Thank you to everyone who came and especially to my mother-in-law Carol who flew all the way from Ohio just to help me make the food and watch Little Evan for a few hours!

And Happy Birthday Caroline!

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Evan’s Second Birthday: Food

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Even though I spend the majority of my pre-party planning on crafts and decorations, I spend 75% of my money and day-of preparations on food. I love food. Food is the reason I have parties at all.

Here’s an overview:

1. Mini-cupcakes
2. Marshmallow lollipop
3. Cucumber sandwiches
4. Mini quiches
5.Swedish meatballs
6. Mini doughnut cookies
7. Hand-made chocolate truffles made by and shipped from my friend Erin
8. Caprese salad sticks
9. Fruit salad
10. Veggie plate
11. Cheese and cracker plate
12. CAKE

Now here’s the deets:

Leftover cake batter (because I had to TRIPLE the recipe to have enough for the cake but only needed a little bit of that 3rd batch) turned into mini cupcakes in polka dot wrappers topped with peanut M&M’s on a cake stand from BJ’s.

I came up with these on Thursday morning when I found marshmallows on sale at Target. I stuck them on sticks and dipped them in colored melting chocolate and sprinkles. The little stands are Styrofoam balls cut in half and wrapped in tissue paper. They were SO EASY and delicious and popular with the kids.

The cucumber sandwiches were the only thing we ran out of. It’s just Wonder Bread with garden veggie flavored cheese spread and cucumbers, but they are SO DELICIOUS. And I even used the secretly whole wheat white bread to make them a little healthier. The mini quiches are store-bought and my absolute favorite party food in the world. They have been since I was about 12, when I decided eating mini quiches automatically made me look both older and classier.

My mom used her grandma’s recipe to make Swedish meatballs and I used my awesome crafting skills to glue felt circles to colored toothpicks to make them fancy. One of us worked a lot harder than the other.

My friend Kimberly sent me a link to these a couple weeks ago when I mentioned I was looking for round food and I fell in love with them. I actually baked and decorated them last weekend and stuck them in the freezer. They defrosted beautifully and were both adorable and delicious.

This idea came from Amy at Soup or Salad Blog – tomatoes, piece of basil and cheese. I just picked up the little mozzarella balls from the salad bar at the grocery store and made my aunt assemble them for me. The cute little stand was from last year’s birthday party!

Even all my fruit was round, thanks to my mom’s mad melon balling skillz. Cantaloupe. watermelon, red grapes, green grapes, blueberries and black berries. You can also see the corner of my round veggie tray – cucumber, carrots and radishes cut into circles.

I didn’t get a close up of the truffles Erin made, but there were extremely yummy and also adorable – she somehow put colored polka dots into the coating. She did vanilla and strawberry for the kids and then orange liquor and Kahlua for the grown-ups. I ate the leftovers for lunch. And dinner.

And finally, my cake:

It is not as pretty as I had imagined. It also doesn’t have the precise color coordinated stripes of dots I had planned on before I realized the “20-25 minutes” it took to bake this batter as cupcakes was more like 50-60 minutes in large cake pans in my crappy oven. Then I ran out of batter and when I tried to make more I was a cup of sugar short. Luckily, my run to the grocery store didn’t end up ruining anything besides my plans to make the frosting perfectly smooth and delicately place all my jelly beans in exact lines.

You know who cared about the uneven frosting and the random dots? NO ONE. Not a single person, including me, cared that the cake didn’t look like it was from a professional baker.

The main reason is because it was DELICIOUS.

I ended up making it all from scratch, using recipes from I Am Baker for everything. The cake is white cake with buttercream frosting and lemon curd filling (the recipes are in those posts, but you’ll have to scroll for them – which shouldn’t be too much of a hardship because her cakes are GORGEOUS). When I test drove the cake as cupcakes last weekend they were perfect. When I tried to make it as cake it stuck to the pan and came out a little dry, but honestly, it was such an easy recipe I’m sure that was baker-error and I can do better next time. I kept apologizing for the dryness, but I may have been the only person who was bothered by it.

The frosting is like store-bought cake frosting, which I love but no one else does. It is very sweet, but the lemon curd filling tempered the sweetness. The filling was DELICIOUS. I should have cut each cake layer in half and done three layers of filling in each tier, just to get more lemon curd into each slice. I may have put lemon curd on toast for breakfast today. And lunch. And dinner.

2 year olds can blow out their own candles

The number of sweets in my house (all the baked goods combined with all the candy from the decorations) is EPIC. I need to have another party just to get rid of the food from my first party. But I heard from all the guests that despite the sugar overload their kids all slept REALLY well on Saturday night and spent all day Sunday talking about the “balloons!” and “ball pit!” at “Baby Evan’s party!” I call that a success. An extremely delicious success.

p.s. I need to add that NONE of the food would have gotten finished if not for my amazing family’s help. My mom and my dad and my aunt never batted an eyelash when I insisted they cut every slice of cheese into a circle or told them to ONLY use certain colors of jelly beans on the cake. They cut and slices and cooked and arranged so I could focus on my cake. Even E helped with the food when he wasn’t wrangling toddlers and babies. Thank you all SO MUCH for the help!

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Beware the Fools of April!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

No, seriously guys, it’s April 1st so DON’T BELIEVE THINGS. I actually spent several months last year thinking someone I knew was pregnant because even though I KNEW it was April Fool’s Day her Facebook post was really convincing. It took me MONTHS to realize she had been kidding. I freaking HATE April Fool’s Day because I feel like I am always the person who doesn’t get the joke and ends up looking like an idiot and I hate looking like an idiot more than I hate anything else.

Well, almost anything else. I think I hate the fact that it still feels like February even though it’s April even more. I am so ready for spring – or even just NOT SNOW – that I’m refusing to dress like it’s cold even though my poor toes are freezing in flip flops and I’m shivering in capri-length leggings. I will MAKE it be spring.

But I don’t want to risk getting sick just in time for the sunshine so I spent the last few nights knitting myself a spring neck warmer…

I lightened this picture approximately 200% because there is NO natural light in my house right now

Flower Scarf pattern by Robyn Diliberto (available for download on Ravelry or here as a pdf) The yellow is just what I needed. I want to knit a giant blanket out of that yarn and hide under it until this stupid day has passed.

The next three days are going to be crazy busy with errands and baking and patching holes in walls and cleaning and…and…and…I should really make a list, or it’s going to be two hours before Little Evan’s party when I realize I didn’t make a cake.

Speaking of the cake, does anyone have a really great recipe for a yellow cake? I mean, if I wasn’t crazy I’d probably just get a good old Better Crocker cake mix in a box, but I’m just insane enough to make one from scratch if I can find a recipe that someone SWEARS is delicious. Oh and I need a frosting recipe. And maybe a suggestion for some sort of filling between the layers. Have I mentioned I’ve never tried to make a real cake before?

Excuse me while I go weep into my KitchenAid.

Happy Friday and Happy April and DON’T GET FOOLED.

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The Creative Connection Part 1: Tables & Food

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The people involved in decorating and planning the events and meals for The Creative Connection were, of course, brilliant and crafty and…creative.

(Here’s a tip for anyone tired of hearing about my trip: start at the first post and drink every time I say the words “amazing”, “awesome” or “creative”. You’ll be so smashed after 2 paragraphs you won’t even notice I CANNOT shut up.)

From the very first lunch to the cupcake farewell party every table & place setting was gorgeous. Here are the pictures I managed to catch before I shoved the gifts in my bag and the food in my face.

Lunch on Thursday, Keynote Address by The Pioneer Woman

Clockwise from top left:
Adorable place setting with note pad, antique fork and mustache-on-a-stick
I heart gourds as table decor – so fall-y!
After picture of my red velvet cake (I seriously considered eating that piece in the background too)(I did not)(But I regret that decision)
Before picture of the red velvet cake – it’s The Pioneer Woman’s recipe! We also had the Asian Noodle Salad I made for dinner once before

Cocktail Autograph Session & Gala Dinner, Speakers were MaryJane Butters and Amy Butler

Clockwise from top left:
The BEAUTIFUL tables – the tablecloths are 400 yards of Amy Butler fabric hand sewn by Jo Packham & her friends!
Apple crumble for dessert – we had dessert at EVERY meal, including parfaits at breakfast
The super cute tables for the cocktail hour – an author was at every single one to sign books & pictures & chat
Lisa Leonard gift box at every place setting – she gave a beautiful necklace to every attendee!!

Box lunch on Friday, panel discussion was Women Entrepreneurs

Clockwise from top left:
Adorable tables full of lunch boxes
The third gorgeous centerpiece of the event
Another picture of the table set up – I wish I had gotten one of the beverage table, it was all mason jars of lemonade & buckets of ice
Gift at the place setting – a mini apron made from a tea towel

Breakfast Saturday, Editorial Panel with TONS of great advice on publishing & the future of the industry

Clockwise from top left:
Table from breakfast – what you can’t see is the flower pins for everyone made by Suzanne from Italian Girl in Georgia
“Flowers” made with old pages & clothespins
Close-up of the centerpieces – I STILL can’t figure out quite how it was done
I was so excited to see someone fancier than me using milk glass to decorate a party! I’m so hip! And stylish!

Cupcake Farewell

Clockwise from top left:
Gorgeous table of (delicious) cupcakes
Adorable little signs – so Alice in Wonderland
The chocolate ones disappeared in about 2 seconds
Good thing I prefer to shove vanilla cupcakes into my face – NOM NOM NOM

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