Friday, April 8, 2011

Up for auction!

 "Slumber Party: Girls Only".

 These photos are of the donation items that my husband I donated to one of our nieces school auction.  The money will help with education.  The "Slumber Party: Girls Only" has all the necessities for hosting a sleepover.  Cupcake mix, icing, glitter finger nail polish, glow bracelets, cupcake liners, pencils, notepads, travel toothbrush and paste, popcorn, banner, and a craft project.

The "Family Night" contents are: popcorn, movie theater candy, mini 7-Up cans, four small popcorn holders, one large popcorn holder, UNO card game, and a banner. Just what you need to have a family night!

We also donated two sets of note cards.  One set features copies of the paintings my husband did for me.  The second is a set of thank you cards that I created.  We hope these will fetch a good price at the education auction!
"Family Night"
"Scenes from a Tuscan Countryside" & "Thank You, Thank You"

Would you like sugar with your coffee?

My sweetpea was on Sprink Break recently and was able to spend one day with me.  She wanted to bake something so we decided on some more dark chocolate cupcakes to use up the leftover mocha buttercream from my mom's birthday party a few days prior.  She likes the decorating sugars.  I have the rainbow in these and she wanted all of them.  We also chose some plum colored royal icing flowers.  She helped make the cupcakes and did the decorating.  I did the icing designing. We had a good time together!  She even arranged the second photo for the photo!  She's pretty creative! :-) 

We call these cupcakes, 
"More sugar with my coffee, please!"

oooh la la!! Desserts!!

Photos taken from the Birthday Dessert Party that I hosted for my mother, Carla. 
(*Click on the pictures to see them bigger.)

Every year I wonder what sort of gift I would like to get my mom and I always end up at the thought of a party.  My mom is a busy woman and never seems to have the time to plan big get togethers with her friends.  She is a social person and has many wonderful friendships.  This year I wanted to do a dessert party since two years ago I hosted a dinner party for a small group of her friends.  This allowed me to be able to include more people.  

I had been thinking of a French Pastry Shop theme.  My dining room is already decorated with European themed pictures so the theme was perfect!  I wanted to create a fun whimsical relaxed feel for the ladies to socialize in.  I found this great little shelf at a garage sale that was free and used it as my main backdrop for the table.  I featured jars of decorating sprinkles and sugars and some of the artwork my husband painted for me.  The paintings are of poppies, sunflowers, lavender, and a grove.  I used tealight candles and a few vases of flowers to match the color scheme.  The invitations, napkins, decorations, and favors featured reds, pinks, and cupcakes. 

I prepared a lemon cheesecake, almond cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, cherry gooey butter cookies, rice krispy treats, cherry cake balls, dark chocolate cupcakes with a mocha buttercream, tiramisu, and the birthday cake was a pineapple layer cake with fresh lemon buttercream topped with toasted coconut.  The drinks featured were: hot tea, regular coffee, and chocolate truffle coffee.  I also served a chocolate raspberry creamer which the ladies went crazy over with the chocolate truffle coffee! 

The favors were: a devil's food cupcake with a pink buttercream flower design, notecards, pencil, and wildflower seeds.  I made the little birthday banner, welcome banner, and the hanging decorations on my computer and saved some money buy not having to buy them and was able to be more creative!  The best deal was the invitations which really set the theme.  They were plain do it yourself wedding programs that I found on clearance.  I separated  the papers inside and kept the extras to use for another party in the future.  I had to buy envelopes to mail the invites but that was also a bargain since I found those on sale too!  I used items that I already owned for the decorations.  I also found a great deal on craigslist for two of the cake stands.  It seemed that the party was destined to be planned from the get go!!

This party was a delight to host!  I sooo enjoyed seeing my mom's face as well as her friends when they walked in and saw all the desserts!  I think it was a fantastic birthday celebration for my mom and one she will remember for awhile!  

What will next year's theme be?? Hmmm....I guess I had better start thinking! :-)

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Carrie! 

Carrie and I have been friends since 1993.  That's a good amount of time!  She is a wonderful person and so much fun!  We met at St. Louis Community College in Sex Ed class.  She missed the first class and was the very first seat in the front row and I was the second seat.  When she made it to the next class she asked if that seat was taken.  I told it was by a girl named Carrie.  She was so excited and said, "that's me!!!".  I was taken aback by enthusiasm because she seemed very different from me back then.  But, we became fast friends!!  She and I have been through good and bad times together.  We have been bridesmaids in each other's weddings and now we live just a few blocks from each other!  I couldn't have asked for a better girlfriend than when I met her!

We tend to not get each gifts for our birthdays but I wanted to make her something special this year.  This was a white cake dyed two different colors.  Pink and Purple.  I layered the colors with pink on top, strawberry filling, purple layer, strawberry filling, and pink layer.  It was then frosted with a bright pink buttercream icing and added pale pink pearl dragees around the border.

Happy Birthday my dear friend!

"Let's all go to movies!"

 It's birthday movie time!  My sweetpea decided that this year's birthday was all about the movies.  She wanted a red carpet, balloons, and fondue!  Her mother and I brainstormed over coffee one day and came up with the following ideas: a red carpet made of felt, gold mylar star ballons, red and purple latex balloons, the menu, and the favors.  Sweetpea and her friends had a blast!  They were treated to pizza fondue and then for dessert: chocolate fondue with strawberries and pound cake, and lastly popcorn cupcakes.  They watched "The Princess Diaries" with home popped popcorn in their retro popcorn holders and drank 7-Up with cherries in it!  They decorated their on gold stars to hang on the Wall of Fame while listening to some fun tunes!  The favors for the girls were so much fun to put together.  They each received a retro plastic popcorn holder with a mini bag of microwave popcorn, movie theater candy, pen, picture frame, plastic mardi gras type necklaces, and popcorn cake pops.  The cake pops I made with a cherry cake and icing dipped in a white chocolate and decorated to look like a popcorn bag with popcorn.  Sweetpea loved these!   My cousin and I were wishing we were "invited" to the party so we would have received one of the favors! :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time to cook!

I tend to get in these moods where all I want to do it cook.  Not just a little...A LOT!  I may feel inspired by a recipe or a picture or the random growl of my stomach.

I tend not to be a breakfast person too much but I tend to crave it and weird times of the day.  I never enjoyed biscuits and gravy as a kid or much into adulthood.  In the last few years I decided to give it another try.  I love it!!  I decided to try a recipe of what it similar to a breakfast pizza and add gravy into the equation.  It has a croissant crust with your meat of choice (sausage, bacon, or ham), shredded cheese, and you then pour the beaten eggs over the top and bake.  I made mine with sausage and since I love bacon, I had it on the side.  The gravy is then drizzled over the pizza once it has finished baking.  Pretty tasty!

Next up, Turkey and Pancetta Meatballs.  Meatballs, not a favorite of mine, either.  But, these are different!  They are made with ground turkey, sage, lemon, and garlic.  The first time I made these I shaped them into little balls and then proceeded to fry them like the recipe stated.  Not easy.  This time I made them into little patties so that there was more crispy to them.  I like to serve these as a side to toasted ravioli and dipped in marinara.

Sweet & Smoky Mountain Chicken was the first item I made on the grill this year.  It was a freakishly warm day in the middle of winter so I had to break out the grill.  Grilling is probably my main source of dinners during the summer.  Originally, I was going to make a Chicken Cordon Bleu yet I was craving barbecue sauce.  So, this is what I came up with!  A boneless skinless chicken breast grilled and then topped with some cooked ham, shredded swiss cheese, and Bandana's Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce.  I served it with a Ceasar salad, corn, and mini peirogies.  (The frozen box kind not homemade Polish ones, Carol! Sorry!)

My mother used to make this Milnot Coffee Cake which was my brother and I's favorite.  It is so moist and cinnamon-y.  I finally got around to asking her for the recipe so that Dave could finally taste it after hearing me rave about it for so long.  It was soooo good!  It tasted just like I remembered.

I also found this recipe in a book from Paula Deen.  It is her Pecan Pie Muffins.  Oh my gosh, just like a Pecan Pie.  So simple and easy to make.  Look it up online and give it a try!  You will not regret it!

Yesterday the weather was absolutely perfect!  I cleaned up the patio table and a couple of chairs to sit outside with a  book and grill up some more BBQ!  I grilled up six boneless pork chops, four hamburgers, eight hot dogs, a pound of fresh sausage, a mini beef tenderloin, and five small potatoes.  All of this just because I was craving a hamburger!  No, I don't plan on eating all of this this week, it will be heading to the freezer.  We had our dinner outside and watched the sun set.  A perfect ending to a nice weekend!

tied up in knots...


What does this bring to mind?

For me, it used to be a "little old lady" sitting in a rocking chair with two knitting needles and a ball of yarn.  This was my idea of it until I tried my hand at it.  It actually is somewhat fun.  When I say "somewhat" that is depending on what sort of knitting you are doing.  I taught myself the basic crochet and enjoy it.  Next up, knitting.  The kind with the two long chopstick looking needles.  I was lucky to find a knitting group that my mother's good friend started with her daughter.  Carol is a patient person and taught me how.  It may take me an hour to do 30 stitches but, by golly, I can do it!  This sort of knitting became a little more like work to me instead of an enjoyable activity so when my close friend, Carrie, told me about loom knitting I was intrigued.  Carrie's mother started this and taught Carrie, who in turn, taught me.  I have since then taught my mom, sister in law, and another friend's mother how to do this.  I caught on quick and can enjoy it while watching tv, or having a conversation with a friend.  In fact, Carrie and I spent part of winter hanging out like two "little old ladies" knitting!  We often joke that we are definitely old now!  :-)  Which by the way, I am not!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Margarita Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday to my mother in law, JoEllen!

This is a margarita cake that we had for dessert.  We celebrated at our home with a homemade mexican meal.  One of her favorites!  The cake had a margarita glaze over the top of it and was sprinkles with orange, yellow, and lime green sugar.  The little glass on top was to look like a margarita had spilled out over it.  Unfortunately, the glaze absorbed the sugar so the effect didn't quite work like I wanted it to.  But, all in all, it was a great meal celebrating with her and family!

*Sorry, about the quality of the picture as our camera's flash is no longer working.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my little brother, Jim!

We celebrated his birthday this year with dinner at our mom's home.  She cooked a great meal and I made dessert.  This year it was Brownie Cake, which most people will call Texas Sheet Cake.  My brother is not a huge sweets fan but I know there are a few that he will eat (chocolate chip cookies, gooey butter cookies, mocha cupcakes, and cheesecake) and I try to make those for special occasions. 

This was my first time making it and I would make it again! 
Super easy and delicious!


During one of the recent snowstorms that we had, I decided to break out my sewing machine and do some mending that needed to be done. It didn't take me long to finish and feeling a little inspired I cut up a pair of pants that a friend of mine found in her attic.  They were not something that I would wear but thought they would make fun curtains. The fabric is this great european city motif. After cutting and squaring the fabric up, there wasn't much to work with, a long valance was created.  I also found this pink belt in my stash of odds n ends.  It has a cute little rose on the right that I also incorporated.

This is a nice change from the red valance that has been hanging in my work area for the past six years.

Recycling can be fun! ;-)

The Holidays 2010

Here it is 2011 and I am finally getting around to finishing up 2010!  Yes, I have been a bit busy! :-)  

Dave and I decided that this year we would make all of our Christmas gifts.  It was an undertaking but one we really enjoyed.  We forgot to take photos of everything we did but we hope that everyone enjoyed their gifts.

Here photos are of the painted flower pots that I gave away as gifts. 

We also made our annual goodies to give away and I forgot to take pictures!!! Ugh!  The bags were really fun.  We bought plain brown paper gift bags with handles and glued a victorian themed christmas picture to each bag.  The bags were filled with Triple Chocolate Cake Pops, Chocolate covered Cherry Cake Pops, Gooey Butter Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Blueberry-Cranberry-Pepita-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies, Butter Spritz Cookies, Almond Spritz Cookies, and Molasses Cookies.

Here's a picture of my first ever pumpkin pies that I made!  They were my mom's recipe and tasted wonderful!  I also made home made cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.  Yummy!