What's really goin' on...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Goodness, where does the week go?? I thought that with school out things would be less busy here the past week, but it seems like there is always something that comes up. Whether it be a last minute request from a friend, an order from a customer, party planning, getting info ready for the new blog or what was that other thing?? Oh, yeah, taking care of my two little ones and trying to keep them happy, fed and out of trouble(AKA destroying our house!) I don't see any signs of it stopping any time soon either. Yikes!!

Anyway, here are a few of the fun little projects that I've been sneaking in time for lately.
The first was something I did for one of Pierce's teachers this year and after the past several weeks of getting to know her better, I'm happy to now call her 'friend'. I just love her. She's just one of those people who makes you happy when you see her. She's always upbeat, outgoing and I think I could tell her just about anything and she wouldn't look at me like I had two heads and think I was an absolute loon. Like I said, she's good people. :)
So, anyway, Pierce brought to school a few fun and yummy gifts for his teachers this year, and she asked me a few weeks ago to come up with some little teacher gifts for her to give to her girls' teachers, which led to the Cookies & Creme Peanut Butter you see here. Yummy, yummy stuff, people! Try it.

So this past week, she asked me to come up with seven more little teacher's gifts for the end of the school year. So I did.

Naughty Cookies & Creme Banana Bread
Coconut Banana Bread with Key Lime Glaze
Strawberry Pecan Bread

Gotta make 'em look cute!
On a sidenote, I hate it when you get your hands on something yummy like some banana bread and you don't have a knife to cut into the darn thing IMMEDIATELY! I'm lucky if I make it through the checkout before I tear into a baked treat when I'm at the grocery store. So, I thought I'd remedy that and add one for each these ladies. That's me...always thinking of others. Go for it, ladies.  :)

What else, what else? Oh, yeah, so last week I posted about taking photos of my little one in his vintage inspired onesie I made for him to wear to go on his birthday invitation. After much preparation and dragging husband, kids, props, etc. to our photo shoot site halfway down the road, we finally got it done! Yay! Thanks, Hubby!! Reeves looked adorable in his outfit and did really good for me taking photos! Can't wait to show you the finished invitation, but until then here's a little sneak peek of how sweet my little man looked. He's crazy cute, right?! Yeah, well he's mine...all mine. :)

Oh, and after seeing a few daily deals come through my inbox with supercute camera strap slipcovers to purchase, I finally decided to stay up a little later than usual the other night and make my own! It turned out cute and it's proving to be really functional as well, with a pocket for my lens cap(or any other little "something") and light padding around the neck for comfort. I'm loving it so far! I see making many more in my very near future....for holidays, different seasons, matching the outfits...ok, I'll stop now.

In shop news, we're getting closer and closer to getting the new blog design ready to install and I've been holding off on adding some fun new products in the shop to coincide with the new blog launch, but I'm starting to get antsy! I wanna show you guys! But I'm confident that it won't be long now. Shalon of Pretty Lovely Design is getting me all fixed up and looking fresh!

Also, this was fun to see! Maria of Stellbelle and Rubylou posted my Vintage Inspired Pink Announcement Trio Gift Set on her blog yesterday. So many cute new baby finds on there! Love it. Thanks for including me, Maria!

That's all I've got for today. I will be taking the kids over to their Nana's house this weekend for some fun in the sun at the beach and who knows what else. Wish me luck that everyone(AKA my two little monkeys) sleeps well and is in good spirits. Cause it's just understood that a sleepy, up-all-night momma equals a grumpy, not-fun-to-be-around momma.
Happy Memorial Day to you all! Have a safe weekend!


Party Planning in Progress

Monday, May 16, 2011

So, in theory, I've been planning my littlest one's 2nd birthday party since March, but have been super busy with everything else so it kinda got put on the back burner for a bit. But, I realized the other day that it's already the middle of May and Reeves' party is the first saturday in July! Holy Smokes! I gotta pick up the pace around here. It's about to be a whirlwind of party planning and prepping as I try to play catch up on all the ideas I have for this year's party.
Here are some images from Reeves' 1st birthday party last year. Lots of color, lots of sweets and lots of fun! Hopefully, this year will be a continuation of that!...but even better....cause you know, you have to try to outdo yourself on each party. :) Plus, if I'm honest with myself, this last party is looking a little less than stellar to me now. I think we can do even better this year. :)

Here's the little Birthday Boy stinker yesterday in my studio(no, umm, that's not a filthy studio you see there). Boy, do I love that feisty spirited little boy! The way his smile lights up his whole face never fails to make me swoon and wonder "How on earth did I get so lucky to be this little boy's momma??" Blessed am I.

I am superexcited and inspired by this year's theme(yes, I am totally and hopelessly a theme gal)! I love the idea of Carnival birthday parties. SO many ideas you can build on for a party. Plus, who doesn't love a carnival....the funnel cakes, the cotton candy, the POPCORN, the games, the prizes...I could go on and on.
But, what I really wanted for this carnival themed party this year was something softer.....more vintage. Perhaps, I'm not yet ready for my little one to go from "baby" to "little boy" just yet, so I'm clinging to those soft "baby" colors....or maybe the "girl" in me just loves the whole pastel palette and is dying to use it in a party!! hmmm....

Anywho, I put together these inspiration boards back in March and I still love them just as much as the day I created them! My idea is a Vintage Carnival done Coney Island style with the influence of the boardwalk and the beaches of the 1940's. I love the idea of the Coney Island Amusement park combined with the softness of the beach resort that came with it. I see big cabana stripes, saltwater taffy colors and total vintage appeal. The gorgeous colors in all of the artwork in these photos really describe the feel I'm shooting for.

So, this week is the absolute deadline I've set for myself to get photos done of Reeves for the party invitation. BUT, I can't just snap a cute photo of my litte one just ANYWHERE or with just ANY prop....Noooooooo.....not me....I gotta make it super time consuming and expensive complex. Honestly, I wear my own self out with all of my big ideas. But, I've just about got all of my props ready to go, thanks, in part, to the time and talent of my awesome hubby! I hope the photo shoot turns out half as cute as it looks in my mind. I'm excited to do it, but even more excited to get them done so I can turn it over to the responsibility of the wonderfully talented Jessica to get the invitations and all the other party paper goods done for me this year. She is CRAZY talented!!

I got the outfit done for the invitation photo over the weekend. I wanted softer colors and I loved the idea of a tie and suspenders with flat front trousers, kinda newsboy 1940's looking. I think it's going to be supercute and I can't wait to see how my little cutie looks in it and how all the colors of the props look in the finished setup! Wish me luck! We're having some amazing weather right now, so that's defnitely in my favor this week!

I'll be back with more sneak peeks as I really get rolling with the planning.

Another school year gone...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My heart is a bit heavy today. I'm feeling all nostalgic and weepy on the eve of my little boy's last day of school this year. I can tell this is going to be something I struggle with each year as another school year comes to an end. Like most parents, I can hardly believe how quickly he is growing up. Some days I find myself looking at him, wishing I could freeze time and keep him small...small enough to always want to play with me, to give me hugs and kisses and small enough to want to do our secret "I love you" hand code that's reserved just for he and I. When the days seem long and I want nothing more than just to put the kids to sleep for the night, I try to remember these special times with my boys. I don't always succeed at it, but I do often attempt to keep it all in perspective.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Pierce has had a terrific year in school. He has had wonderful, wonderful teachers who have truly helped him blossom. They are the kind of teachers that care tremendously for their students and it shows. After the rough year we had last year with school and a new baby in the house, it has been so nice seeing him thrive in his current class.  I will miss what a terrific combination his teachers were together this year.

 As a small gesture of thanks, I made some fun and colorful glazed popcorn just for these ladies to start off their summer. Though lighthearted and perhaps a bit campy, the sentiments on the packaging could not be more from the heart. I hope they have some sense of how much of an impact they have had on these children this year-- my little one, in particular. I can't thank them enough for the wonderful year it has been.

And so now, I guess I should attempt to dry up the tears and officially welcome in summer!

A whole lotta bakin' goin' on!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whew! What a busy couple of weeks it's been as we hit the end of another school year. These bouts of real "hustle-and-bustle-busy" usually comes in waves for me, I find. (I imagine it does for most people.) I'll be coasting along in my upbeat "ok, I can do this" mode and then suddenly my to-do list whams into the "CAN I do this??" mode. Now, I will admit that much of the "list" and stress is completely self-induced and TOTALLY not necessary, but I still feel compelled to get it all done anyway. That's me. Luckily, most of the to-do list this time around consists of things I really love doing...so really, it's not THAT bad. Ok, it's not bad at all. On occasion, I've been known to outwardly moan and groan about them, but like I said, I really just enjoy it. Some of the things on the list have been baking...baking for one holiday/occasion or another. I've been whipping up some really yummy stuff thanks to some recipe gems I've found in various places. Let's start at Easter, shall we?

"The Ultimate Chocolate Layered Reese's Peanut Butter Birthday Cake"

The "Ultimate" is right!! AMAZING cake!! I made this for our Easter get-together with the in-laws(we're all chocolate people) and it was superb. Now, I will say that I know there are lots of folks out there who speak of things being "too rich"..."oh, it was just so rich"....it ain't me. My taste buds just don't register such things. I love chocolate, no matter how "rich". So, if you shy away from so much goodness in one dessert, this may not be the one for you. BUT, if you aren't afraid of a real chocolate dessert, you and this cake will definitely hit it off! I'm not certain he wasn't lying to me, but my husband mentioned to me that my mother-in-law froze the last piece because she couldn't bear to let the goodness go to waste.(Ok, I added the "couldn't bear" but that's how I like to imagine it going down) My mother-in-law is not a left-over "freezer"-type person, folks. So, in short(or really, really long), this cake will knock your socks off. Give it a try. You will be very happy, as will all of your friends and family. Be nice and share with them.

Yes, hunting for Easter eggs was nice, but this pool was where the real fun was at for all the kids on Easter.
Good, clean, cheap fun. Isn't it the best? But I digress. Back to the baking.

Sugar Cookie Truffles

I did these for a Girl's Night Out Bunco Party last week along with a Hot Chicken Dip(YUM!). When I stumbled on this recipe a while back, I knew I had to give it a try. I had done many of the popular truffle(AKA cake balls) recipes out there. I liked the idea of it. Sugar Cookie Truffles. Sounds good, right? A little different. They were really good! Like I mentioned before, I'm a chocolate person, but it was nice to change it up a bit with these. I loved the pastel sprinkles and white coating. Really, really pretty.

Key Lime Pie Dessert Shooters

So, I went to a fun girl's get-together this past weekend(two in one week! Yes!) and amid the goodies there were these cute little chocolate parfaits. Super cute and it reminded me of that fun trend sweeping the baking blogs right now for desserts served in little shot-type glasses. I couldn't help myself. I had to finally give them a try. My monthly MOPS meeting with the ladies was as good a excuse as any to whip them up for! I was in the mood for Lemon....no, Lime....no, KEY Lime...Key Lime Pie to be exact. Simple, simple. This is what I came up with.

Pie Filling:

4 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice

Beat egg yolks on high speed in a medium bowl for 2 to 3 minutes or until light yellow. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat again for another 30 seconds.
Put mixture into a medium saucepan over med/low heat and stir in 1/2 cup key lime juice. Continue heating for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and cool. I put my saucepan over some ice water in a large bowl and stirred it until it was room temp. Didn't take long.

Now, I just made it real easy for time's sake and just used crushed up graham crackers and layered them in the cup as is. I'm sure you could add a bit of melted butter to them to make more of a "crust-like" consistency. I didn't think it was missing anything by leaving out the extra calories though.

I made the whip cream using the regular stuff...whipping cream, sugar and my kitchen-aid mixer. Depending on your energy level, you could make from scratch as well, or you could certainly go lower maintenance with a Dream Whip or plain ol' Cool Whip if that works for you.

Then it's just a simple layering process topped off with some pretty little key lime wedges. Cute as pie, these things were...and really, really tasty!!

Ok, this last one got added to my To-Do list at the last minute this afternoon. Teacher Appreciation Party cupcakes for my little niece's class. She asked for white cupcakes, but that just wasn't gonna cut it for me. Back in February I made her this cake here for her birthday:

It was delicious and everyone loved it. So, today I thought we'd bring a little bit of that fun to some cupcakes!

Colorburst Cupcakes!


For this one, I went with a Buttercreme Dream Frosting. Good stuff, people. Holds up beautifully on cakes and cupcakes, alike. I just tinted the cake batter and layered in my baking cups then frosted them up. Easy peasy. 

Anywho, speaking of all this baking reminds me that there is lots of new stuff "baking up" in the shop and blog as well! I'm so excited and can't wait to share all the fun stuff with you all! Won't be long!

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and are surviving the end-of-the-school-year rush starting to happen for lots of parents out there right now. I have exactly one more school day left of freedom  solitude  useable time to get a few things done before our summer begins. I can already smell the back to school candy apple treats I'll be making...in THREE months. Can that be right?? Three months in the south Louisiana heat with two little ones to entertain all day everyday is a reallllly long time.
ahhhh....Summer, ready or not, here we come!!

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