Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cake Decorating MNI

I love having friends over especially for crafty endeavors. This past Thursday I hosted a mom's night in for cake decorating. A friend in my mom's group, Kelly, taught Wilton Cake Decorating classes for years and still makes cakes for clients. Kelly made the Mario themed cupcakes pictured for the birthday party of another friend. In addition to the adorable cupcakes, she also made a cake for the adults with Mario. Anyways, back to Thursday. Everyone brought plain cupcakes to decorate. Kelly brought her entire kit and everything needed for icing. We learned about the tools, techniques (tort, level, crumb layer, starts, shells, writing, piping), and some tricks. My favorite tips were: cook the cupcakes a couple days before you need them, you can freeze icing, and parchment/wax paper is your friend. We had a ton of fun. I never understood how someone would willingly cover a cake with little stars. Now I get it. I'll probably stick with cupcakes, but I get it.

I can't wait to try my own recipe for icing using organic shortening. I'm almost out of the Jungle Organic Shortening no longer carried at Whole Foods.  I'm going to try Spectrum Naturals since I've always had great experiences with their other products.
Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening, All Vegetable, 24-Ounce Containers (Pack of 4)

I also want to try India Tree Natural Decorating Colors Set.  I've been eying them for over a year. The reviews I've read have stated that there are no odd tastes with these colors.  I bought a "red" natural coloring at Whole Foods for my daughters birthday. I was shooting for a pastel pink and it came out a kind of a dirty pink with a tart flavor. It was good, just not fabulous.   

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Major changes

Lots of changes around here in the past almost year. April 1 was my last day in the corporate world. It's been 2 weeks and I couldn't be more excited about my decision to make my 3 wonderful children my #1 focus. My first week was spring break for the kids. We started off with Easter weekend at Nana's and Pop Pop's in NC. When we returned home, we went to the fountains, a farm tour, lunch with the nanny (Bud didn't get to see her the last 2 days), Half Pints at Whole Foods, park play dates, play dates at friends, neighborhood walks, walks to the store, and more. I've done a little nap time crafting, a lot of cooking, a lot of cleaning/organizing, and quite a few orders. We are having so much fun!

With the Bud and Sissy back in school, I'm trying to turn the house around and get more nap time crafting done! I have a few completed projects to share and more projects to come. One of my recent projects was to make some pink chaps for my friend's daughter. I sketched out the design and used a pair of Sissy's outgrown pants to get the right size. They came together pretty easily. They would be fun for dress up for boys or girls.My friend is quite the party planner and always comes up with awesome ideas. She was throwing a Cowgirl party for her daughter's birthday complete with a hayride! How gorgeous is her daughter?! My friend is in the beginning stages of starting her own party planning business. I'll link up when she gets her website/blog up and running.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Homemade Magic Shell

Here's one I've been wanting to try for over a year. I was trying to find the old bookmark and wouldn't you I ran across someone else who just tried it? Here's the recipe on Alpha Mom. Thanks to Skip to My Lou for linking to it. I asked Mark to try it. Super quick, super easy, and super tasty without mystery ingredients. All you need is coconut oil and chocolate chips.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Still here

It's been almost 5 months. Wow. Work got crazy. Lots of stuff going on, but no posting. I'm a week out from a major implementation at work. I hope that means I have more time for fun stuff.

On to more exciting news, Awesome turned 1 a few weeks ago. He thoroughly enjoyed his cupcake. I went with an owl theme. ("Who's turning one?") Here are the owls. Inspired by these Owl Cupcakes at Ezra Poundcake. I made the cupcakes from scratch. I used Trader Joes Vanilla Joe Joe's for the eyes and ears, chocolate chips for the eyes, and m&m's for the beaks. I tried to feather at the ears with piped frosting. I didn't love that so I left most of them plain. I love the cupcake tower I picked up at Michaels for Sissy's birthday. I got it for $4.99 since it was in holiday packaging. Funny thing, when I got home and slipped off the holiday sleeve, it was the same packaging as one they had on the shelf for $14.99. Love a deal.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I've been fascinated with making things at home that I grew up buying at the grocery store. We ran out of ketchup last weekend and Mark pulled up a recipe online. We reused the bottle from the organic ketchup we normally buy. This is some good stuff. A little runnier than store bought, but tasty.
While Mark worked on the ketchup, I tried out a cracker recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook. It's a basic recipe where you add your own extra ingredients. The first out of the oven were very similar to plain pita chips. I added garlic powder to the dough, then onion and then garlic salt. Sissy could not get enough of them. They were great for dipping in hummus. I'll have to work on this recipe.

We made our own tortillas a week ago. So easy and so good. I need to track down the picture for those.The other homemade treat was naan. I prepared the dough in the breadmaker. Mark and I worked together to cook them. One of us rolled them out and the other cooked them on the skillet. They look similar to the tortillas in this picture. I like this naan recipe better than the first one I tried. The kids kept asking for more. I really want to learn how to make dosas. A friend's mom is visiting from India and prepared some fresh dosas the other week. So delcious.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Monday- Rice cooker mac n cheese
Tuesday- Cici's for the RM Fundraiser

Wednesday- Hamburgers/Veggie Burgers

Thursday- Burritos/Burrito casserole

Friday- Homemade Pizza night (we might get crazy and do calzones)

Saturday- Adventure Night- Japan- Pork terriyaki for the family tofu terriyaki for me

Form more Menu Plan Monday, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Adventure Night

We alternate pizza night and adventure night every Friday and Saturday. This past Saturday adventure night was fondue. We started with a mozarella and cheddar fondue with homemade bread, apple, and carrot dippers. The kids were very into the forks and dippers. They weren't terribly excited about the cheese fondue. Mark and I thought it rocked. What the kids really liked was the chocolate fondue. Imagine that! We had apples, pineapple, and pears to dip. Sissy even tried bread and carrots in the chocolate.

Mark made the fondue, I prepared the dippers. It was mess to make and a mess to clean up, but we'll still do it again some time.

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