Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A sneak peak....

Our Jack Skellington Pumpkin....

"What's this? What's this? There's color everywhere. 
What's this? There's white things in the air. 
What's this? I can't believe my eyes I must be dreaming wake up, Jack this isn't fair.
 What's this?" 
- Jack Skellington

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My New Favorite Site

Follow me.....

  I was finally invited to's now my new obsession!  There are sooooo many great ideas for crafts, parties, recipes, holidays, it's endless.  I am so inspired!  Let me know if you would like an invite since you can only join by invitation.

Some Really Good Lookin' Cupcake Recipes

Yum Cupcakes

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Candy Corn M&M's

     Supposedly M&M's debuted some new Candy Corn White Chocolate Candies at Walmart.  But I have yet to see them!  The hunt for these little delights is ON!!

Here's a link for a coupon if you ever find them!!  Candy Corn M&M's Coupon

Saint Patrick's Day Celebration

     Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  This is one of my favorite holidays....I have to admit, I do love the color green.  Figures, since I am from Irish decent.  (The red hair, didn't give it away or anything).   This year we invited some friends over to celebrate with us.
Table Scape

     As far as the decor went, I had green everywhere.  The table cloth, place mats, chargers, napkins, napkin rings, candles, garland, wreaths, even found some beautiful green orchids for the centerpiece.  I accented with touches of gold here and there, a little tribute to the leprechauns.  On each of the place setting I placed either a green bowler's hat or a green crown for the guests to wear, along with some green beads, a little Irish button pin, and some gold chocolate coins.  It was a lot of fun dressing up in the silly garb for dinner.  For the kiddos, I had green place mats, which they got to decorate with shamrock stickers.  They had fun personalizing their place mat.

The Centerpiece

Place setting for the Fellas
Place setting for the Ladies

Corned Beef & Root Veggies
             What Irish celebration would be complete without some awesome Irish fare!  This year I decided to go all out and bust out some great Irish dishes, including Emeril Lagasse's spin on "Green Eggs & Ham" Deviled Eggs.  This appetizer was a great start to the night, along side a tall glass of Black & Tan.  That was the first time I made the deviled eggs and the hubby really loved them.  One of my favorite recipes to make for St. Patrick's day is Irish Soda Bread.  It's great for dinner, but even as a snack with a warm cup of Irish Coffee.  And of course, no Irish celebration would be complete without some Corned Beef and Root Vegetables.  The great thing about making corned beef is the great recipes you can make with the leftovers, such as Corned Beef Hash or  Reuben Sandwich perfect for breakfast or lunch.  One of the recipes I make every year is Martha Stewart's Colcannon.  I found this recipe on her website a few years ago and have been making it every year since.  To round out the menu, we had three desserts to choose from, of if you are like me, try them ALL!  I made some of those Pillsbury Shamrock Cookies, Blarney Scones, and my friend made an Amber Apple Tart with Meringue.  Everything was DELISH!

Irish Soda Bread
 Once we were all stuffed, we visited for a little bit with our friends before they headed home, then the hubby and I started on the dishes.  We all had a great night celebrating Saint Patrick with our green beads and enjoying some wonderful food and friends. Slainte!




Shamrock Cookies & Blarney Scones

Apple Amber Tart with Meringue

Here's an Irish Blessing for you.....

May you always have...
Walls for the winds
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Julie & Julia 30th Birthday Party

Me & the Birthday Girl Kristi

     Let me just begin by saying cooking a 5 course meal for 10 guests all inspired by Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is no easy task, especially in heels.  But, it has always been one of those crazy things I have wanted to do for awhile.  The idea came when I met Kristi at my Cookie Swap party I held last Christmas.  We talked about the "Julie & Julia" movie and looked through all three of my Julia Child cookbooks.  I admitted I was totally inspired by Julie Powell's quest to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and that I've always wanted to cook a sit down course meal.  It didn't take long for Kristi to come up with the idea to cook for her for her birthday coming up in February.  I told her, "Yes! I would love to!"  She borrowed my cookbook and picked out some recipes she would like me to prepare for the party.  For three months, I was busy planning and coming up with the ideas for the decorations, table settings, menu, ice breaker games, etc.  I had so much fun, I could hardly wait till the BIG DAY!  And of course, you know how I love keeping as much as I can a secret from the guest of when she saw everything for the first time all put together, tears came to her eyes.  I was so excited she loved it.  She is such an amazing friend, I wanted it to the BEST Birthday party ever for her!
The Table Scape
Julie & Julia, the Inspiration
     As far as the decorations go, I tried to find old kitchen utensils (thrift stores are perfect for great finds),  used some of Julia Child's cookbooks, lots of sunflowers (Kristi's favorite flowers),  roses (Julia Child was known for her rose gardens), anything Paris related (nod to Julia's years in France), and a few of Julia Child's famous quotes framed (I printed the quotes on some cute
Sunflowers, Kristi's favorite flower
vintage scrap paper, added a little embellishment and put it in a simple frame from the dollar store).  I laid a vintage looking table cloth over a simple red one and arranged wooden creates at different angles to establish an interesting staggered table scape.  Then I just placed all my little details, the sunflowers, frames, roses, books, utensils, candles, etc. where I thought it looked best.  Then I set each place setting with a dinner plate and two salad plates, eating utensils, champagne flutes, white, red, and dessert wine glasses, water glasses, and napkins fitted with the night's menu printed on beautiful scrap paper.  Once the table was all set, water glasses filled, and candles lit,  it looked gorgeous!
Place setting

     Kristi and I collaborated on a few things like the party favors, which turned out so cute. She purchased some miniature whisks and had some fresh water pearl necklaces and aprons made for everyone.  When it came to arranging them on the napkins, I tied a place card onto the whisk handle and placed the necklaces inside the wire part of the whisks then onto the napkins.  As for the aprons, we tied those to the backs of the chairs.  It totally made the room vibrant with color.  Everyone looked great wearing their aprons and pearls and they all had fun channeling their inner Julia.
     Since this was suppose to be a birthday party, I decided to throw in some games for Kristi's guests to play while I prepared all five courses.   On the backs of the menus, I printed a few trivia questions about Julia Child which everyone took turns reading and trying to answer.  I also printed a question or comment about Kristi inside the name cards that each guest took take turns reading.  I wasn't able to watch them play, but could hear the laughs and comments while I cooked.  It sounded like they were having a great time.
Salad Nicoise
     Now on to the best part!  I know everyone is dying to know....what was on the menu??  I decided to start the night off with one of Julia's favorite cocktails, the Upside Down Martini while waiting for all of Kristi's guests to arrive.  Once everyone was seated, I began to serve dinner starting with the first course of Salad Nicoise served with a nice chilled champagne.  Second course, Asparagus topped with a Poached Egg drizzled with Julia's Hollandaise Sauce and shaved Parmesan, took a little longer then expected (trying to get a perfect poached egg sounds easier then done, I totally felt like Amy Adam's character in the "Julie & Julia" movie) but it turned out DELISH!
Asparagus topped with Poached Egg,
Hollandaise Sauce,and Parmesan Cheese
Cream of Watercress Soup
Baked Apples drizzled with Creme Anglise
It was served with a crisp Riesling.  Third course, Cream of Water Cress soup, was very easy to make, since most of it can be prepped a head of time.  It was accompanied with a nice glass of light Chardonnay.  I thought it was a very nice smooth light soup, perfect for dinner any day of the week.  Next fourth course, Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables and Stuffed Eggplant paired with a wonderful Pinot Noir.  Lastly dessert!  I made Baked Apples with Creme Anglaise paired with a lovely Moscato wine.  As a special little something I found some amazing dark chocolate French truffles for the guests which I served with coffee and espressos.
     After everyone was stuffed with food and feeling great from all the wine and then experiencing a zing from the espresso it was time for presents!  We ended the night of celebration with warm hugs and good byes.  Overall, everyone enjoyed all the food and had a great time.  Especially Kristi!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Enchanting Butterfly Baby Shower

The Invitation
     Well, since I won't be posting any new party pictures till Halloween, I thought why not post some previous party ideas...
     The most recent party was actually a baby shower that my friend Kristi and I hosted for our other friend, Carla.  We sat down with the Mommy-to-Be and asked her all sorts of questions.  This of course, we called our consultation, trying to be all professional.  But, really it was just to get to know Carla better.  Especially, for the fun games I had ideas for.  She did have a few requests, like making the theme about butterflies, since that is what the new baby girl's name, Vanessa, meant.  She also wanted to play the measure the mommy's belly game.  And we HAD to have brownies and chocolate chip cookies, which we were happy to accommodate her with.  Never say "No" to a preggo with a sweets craving.  Besides those three requests, we were given free range of what to do whatever we wanted.  So I ran with it.
     Sometimes, I have to see something such as a picture, colors, fabric, anything that gives me some inspiration on a theme or an over idea for a party.  Kristi found this beautiful box with vibrant bold colored butterflies....we knew this was what we wanted the shower to look like.  So from there, we just took those colors and tried to create a whimsical enchanting butterfly world meant just for Carla and baby Vanessa.  I think everything turned out amazing.  From the decorations to the table scape to the food to the games, everyone loved everything and the Mommy-to-Be was blown away.

The Table Scape
     For me, the best part of a party or shower is the reveal! That is the moment that really touches my heart.  I love watching their face as they take in all the hard work that went into making their event so special.  And of IS all about the details!  I also believe keeping everything secretive.  We didn't even give Carla one of her own invitations to her shower till the day of.  Didn't want to spoil the surprise.
     One piece of advice I can offer is hire a photographer for big parties/showers when you have to play hostess.  Usually, I am the one taking all the pictures along with playing hostess, cocktail waitress, chef, and clean up crew.  So if you can, find some one to take pictures for you.  One less thing to stress out about.  For this shower, Kristi and I decided to do just that.  One of our friend's, Samantha, is a photographer and all her pictures turned out A-MAZ-ING! (After I got all the edited pictures, I made a photo book on Shutterfly and we gave it to Carla as a special surprise.)
Caprese Bites
Spam Sushi & Butterfly Pasta Salad
Brownie Bites
     As far as the food goes, we kept it quite simple.  We had hot wings (another one of the Mommy-to-Be's favorites), pasta salad (made with bow tie pasta to look like butterflies), Caprese bites, and Spam sushi (definitely a Carla thing, since she is from Hawaii).  For dessert, we made brownie bites dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with butterfly sprinkles (one of the requests), butterfly sugar cookies, pineapple and cherry skewers, and of course......vanilla cupcakes with chocolate chip cookies baked inside topped with chocolate frosting (a little spin on the whole chocolate chip cookie request).  All I can say is: Yumm-O! I posted the cookie and cupcake recipes for those of you who like to bake because these were a BIG hit!

Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Butterfly Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Mommy Scramble Game
Beautiful Butterflies
A Guest's Painted Canvas Decoration
 You can't attend a baby shower without playing some of those fun games, right?  Of course not!  We did do some games, but not the cheesy guess what baby food it is or what candy bar is in the diaper or taking the clothespin for saying "baby" or "mommy" or whatever word.  However, we did do the measure the Mommy's belly game as per requested by Carla.  We also played a pass the prize game which was really cute, a Mommy scramble game, and we got a little crafty by painting little pictures of butterflies on canvas, that will serve as decorations for the new baby's room.

Painting a canvas     
    Overall, the shower was a lot of fun from conception of the theme and decorations to preparing the food to enjoying the actual day with all Carla's friends and family.  I can't wait to do another!
Butterfly Decorations
Vanessa Banner    
Butterfly Diaper Cake

Photography by Samantha Lovett Photography

Thursday, October 13, 2011


So...with Halloween right around the corner, you know I have something SPOOK-TACULAR up my witch's sleeve......I'll just say, I am totally inspired by one of my son's favorite movie's, "The Nightmare Before Christmas"!  I have found so many ideas for decorations, crafts, games, party food & drinks, and more online.  I am counting down the days to Halloween and can't wait to put it all together!  I'll be posting pictures soon!


     Hello everyone who has stopped by to check out my blog.  I have really enjoyed reading some of my friend's and thought, "Hey, I could do that."  So, here I am, starting my very own.  How weird to be just typing and to think someone might actually read this one day.
     Well, the reason I finally decided to start this little adventure was to start expressing and sharing some of my creativity with the world.  I love being busy with new projects and coming up with fun crafts or trying out a new recipe that I can't wait to share with friends.  So, I figure, a blog would be a great way to post recipes, crafts, pictures of the parties I have thrown, and pretty much anything that I think is amazing.  I'm looking forward to sharing and hearing people's thoughts.
     So, I welcome you and hope you find some of my ideas or posts fun and inspiring!

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