Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome To The Circus... A Baby Shower.

I am close to my aunt, Stephanie. She is my Dad's much younger sister and has always been a role model for me. When I was a kid she was my fashion icon now I am an adult I work to be the kind of wife and mother she is. So when she called me still stunned from the news that she was in fact pregnant, unexpectedly, I immediately started planning the shower. I called in my mom #2 Mitzi, my Nana Raylene, my sister Holly, and of course the big sister Michaela.  I looked through blogs and party planning sites for the perfect theme. I had a mustache and bow tie theme, a bubble theme and a couple of other themes but none really worked. Then I stumbled on a circus themed birthday party and I realized that it was perfect for her big, silly busy family. I knew if anyone would find humor in a circus theme she would and she did and loved the idea. I started by picking my color palette. I used primary colors, red, yellow and blue. I usually have some strange color combination in mind for my parties but this one screamed for traditional kids colors. Then I decided that Since we were welcoming baby into this circus of characters that I would give every one their very own act and a dessert to go along with it.

So I started with my uncle, Alex, if anyone can calm chaos of 4, soon to be 5, kids and cope with and encourage their tons of activities and can be heard over everyone it would be him. So he was the Ringleader.

Next I moved on to Steph, she is always on the go taking the kids from one activity to another or hosting events for the church or helping anyone in need. She always has so many balls in the air, naturally she is the Juggler.

The oldest is Carlye and I am pretty sure that this child has no fear and you probably shouldn't dare her do anything because she will do it. So I thought that the Tightrope Walker was the perfect act for her.

The next one is Elijah and he is super athletic, adorable and confident. The Strong Man seemed to be the perfect roll for him.

The next to youngest is Michaela. She always know what everyone is up to and has opinions on many topics so naturally The Fortune Teller was her act. She totally agreed and LOVED it.

Last but not least is Micah. He is a ball of energy who can literally climb walls. We think he is actually a mini ninja. The Acrobat a given for him.

These are the signs that Michaela, Holly and I made with my Cricut using the Carousel Cartridge.

The night before the shower we decided that little baby Zeke should have one too so we made him the Amazing Growing Boy.

We also made a few of the circus themed posters...

Now for the customized desserts...

The Ringleader's Big Top Cupcakes. 

Mini Mocha Cupcakes with A Chocolate Ganache

 Mini Key Lime Cupcake with a White Chocolate Buttercream

The Juggler's Truffle Balls
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

 The Tightrope Walker's Sky High Lemon Trifle with a Twizzler Rope

The Strong Man's Mustache Lollipop

The Fortune Teller's Magical Fluffy Stuff
Nana's Strawberry Fluff is a family favorite and was a must have.
The Acrobat's Twisted and Flipped Snack Mix
animal crackers, white chocolate covered pretzels and blueberry kettle corn.
The Growing Boy's Red Hot Fudge

Pineapple Lemonade

Baby Boy Blue Punch
This is what it looks like before the ice cream melts.
And this is after. Although the picture makes it look slightly green it is actually a very pretty baby blue.

We went pretty simple for decorations. I used the Cricut to cut out letters for the banner and Mitzi cut out pennant shapes. Michaela and Holly and I made flowers out of tissue paper and we used streamer to create a tent affect on the ceilings and the doors. We've only been in the house for about 2 months so the hubby hasn't gotten to hanging anything on the walls so I had a blank canvas to work with.

I wish some of the pictures were better but I people were arriving and it was cloudy out so a good shot was not in the cards for some things. I really loved this shower and had so much fun doing it. I really could not have done it without Holly Mitzi and Michaela! I will do another post for the recipes later on. oh and just for fun...

Caleb's first hair cut

Lee and I have always resisted cutting Caleb's hair because, it took forever for it to look like he even had any and then it started curling. I just could not bring myself to cut those little curls. I knew it was time because he started to rock a mullet. I reluctantly call my Mom (the former hairstylist) and begged her to trim it and she begrudgingly agreed that it was time. No one wanted him to lose his baby curls. The night that we went to have it cut he was tired and cranky so we will have to go back for a second time in the next week or two. She was only able to just barely tip the ends sine he was sssoooo uncooperative.
Not a happy camper. Even bribes of cookies wouldn't work.

For me this symbolized my baby is no longer a baby. Even though on his first birthday, 10 months ago, he was a toddler to me he was still a baby. But now we are trying to potty train and getting hair cuts I have a little boy not a baby boy!  I'm not sure I am ready for this. He is growing so fast and I am always amazed out how he retains so many things and how quickly he learns new things. I wish I could stop time and just enjoy this stage just a little longer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My comfort drug

When I get stressed or anxious, there is one thing that always make me feel warm and fuzzy.... mashed potatoes!!! I've made them with butter, garlic, wasabi, Worcestershire sauce (don't judge me, its delicious) but my tried and true go to addition is cream cheese. They are so smooth and creamy and it adds just a little tang and richness to them. Just tonight I discovered another amazing add in, Sriracha! Lately, I have been super stressed and I wanted... no, I NEEDED some comfort food! Not just any comfort food would do. I wanted mashed potatoes and I wanted them out of a bowl. For some strange reason, things are always more comforting when eaten out of a bowl. So, I made orange teriyaki salmon with Sriracha mashed potatoes. Now that I am full and the day is winding down, I must say, I feel more relaxed and much calmer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Chilli

I first made this recipe on Father's Day this year and we fell in love with it. I found it in my Yum-o Cookbook but you can also view it here. It is super easy and Lee cannot get enough of it. I usually stir some sour cream into Caleb's to cut the heat because I add a little extra hot sauce to it. This time I tossed onion, carrots, celery and left over zucchini and squash, from the previous nights dinner, into the food processor. I did the same with the chicken breast since I did not have any ground chicken. I stirred some frozen corn in at the last minute. It is a super easy way to get veggies in my guys who love to eat chicken, chicken and more chicken. You could easily put in some baby spinach or some other type of leafy green goodness. Caleb does love it as you can tell in this picture.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lemon + Coconut = DELICIOUS!

I made this Lemon Coconut Trifle For our 4th of July family barbecue and I must tell you it was very good. Everyone liked the red, white and blue cupcakes but they loved this. I'm planning on making mini versions of this for a baby shower later this month and wanted to give the recipe a try. I may make some changed next time, the coconut cream was a bit runny and I plan on making a basic white sheet cake for it. I bought a plain store bought angel food cake this time. It was good but I would prefer a bit of a denser heavier cake next time. 

You'll Need
store bought angel food cake cubes into bit sized pieces placed in the bottom of clear bowl.

for Lemon Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups coconut juice (look in the Latin food section of the grocery store)
4 large egg yolks
1 cup lemon juice (preferably fresh)
3-4 teaspoons lemon zest

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the coconut juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring then boil 1minute. Remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of hot mixture. Return all of the filling to the saucepan, whisking constantly. Whisk in lemon juice and and zest boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat. Let cool slightly and cover the cubed cake pieces.

for Coconut Cream
1 package of cream cheese (at room temp)
1 container of marshmallow fluff
1/2 can of coconut milk

After lemon mixture has cooled. Beat cream cheese and marshmallow fluff until blended. Slowly beat in coconut milk. Top the cooled lemon mixture wtih coconut cream. Chill until ready to serve.

Just before serving beat 1 small container of heavy whipping cream till soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons of confectioner sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Pour on top of trifle and Cover with coconut.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!!!!!!!!!

How about some red white and blue velvety cupcakey goodness to celebrate the 4th? Why, yes, please! 

Of course some cutie wanted to try a bite. And how could I say no to "cucake pweaaaase!!!!!!" 

Then of course Dad had to have some cupcake!

I think Caleb won out though! 

So here is what the inside looked like...

While I did manage to stay out of the pictures, I did get a face full of cupcake thanks to Lee. Of course Caleb thought that was hilarious. I must say they are delicious! I used this cupcake recipe, but I omitted the cocoa powder and added the food coloring at the end after I separated it into three bowls. I decided that I wanted the whitest frosting possible and used this frosting recipe

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday. Please remember the people who continue to fight for our freedom. We love and miss you Mike (Unc)!!!!! See you soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Looking back at Caleb's 1st Birthday Party

I have had the intention of starting this blog for over a year now. So I've been planning this post for quite some time now. Considering Caleb's birthday is in September it's been a while. But I was super proud of how his birthday turned out and really wanted to blog about it. 

Since before he was born he was called Monkey. I have no clue where it came from but it seemed to fit him and his demeanor perfectly.  We opted to highlight this fact and have Monkey themed Zoo party. We rented the party room at the zoo, which came pre-decorated and was actually pretty cute. 

All the tables had animal print tablecloths, there was a felt birthday banner and the room was filled with aquariums of snakes and lizards (that came out to play later) so I had very little to do decor wise. Honestly I could have made cupcakes and been done but I just can't help myself. I used my Cricut to make invitations, a banner and cupcake toppers.

The guestbook was chipboard letters that spelled out Caleb. I painted them a color to match his room and had every one sign them. They are super cute on his wall and when he has out grown them they can be put away in his keepsake box. Unfortunately I didn't get a shot of them but we love them.

 We had tons of mini to-go boxes  left over from the favors at our wedding. So I batted my eyelashes at my Mother-in-law and asked for two trail mixes and Chex mix so that everyone could help themselves to snack to carry around the zoo. We probably should have asked permission for that one, but sometimes asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission. She made the cutest M&M coated caramel apples too.

Lee's grandmother or MomMom, as Caleb calls her, made the most adorable chocolate monkey lollipops.

My mom and I made the cupcakes. We had three flavors, Banana Chocolate Chunk with Chocolate Buttercream topped with M&Ms, Birthday Cake with Vanilla Buttercream topped with primary color quins or nonpareils  and Lime Coconut with a Lime Buttercream topped with coconut.

 And all of his grandparents came early to help us get set up.There is no way we could have done all of this without our family. They are always such a blessing to us.

After we did the cake the lizards and snakes came out for anyone who wanted to hold them. Now, at this point, I promptly moved to the other side of the room and handed my child off to his Uncle Ronnie ,who has grown up with snakes as pets. Most of the kids loved it and most of the adults evacuated the area.

Since we booked through the zoo we had a guided tour. Our tour guide was great with the kids and kept the adults attention too. 

It is a R.O.U.S. (tee hee)

Caleb enjoying the zoo with his daddy

Catching a ride

Love love love this shot. He wanted to pet the kitty so badly.

Big Caleb, Little Caleb and of course Cuddles

The hubs loved the Star Trek quote!

I cannot believe it is almost time for his 2nd birthday! We have already picked a theme and and color palette. I'm about to start the invitations and decorations soon. Time really does pass so quickly now that I'm trying to squeeze every moment out of watching him grow up.