Friday, September 30, 2011

Robot Birthday Party Part 3... The FOOD

The recipes I used for the party are...

Cosmic Cookies via Bakerella
I ♥ her so much!!! They were very butterscotchy! I loved them that way though. A few people thought we should cut back on the butterscotch chips next time. But honestly I loved them that way so I will probably leave them just the way they are.

Gear Gumdrops also from Bakerella
Told you I love her. These are a lot  of work but very much worth it. The orange were root beer flavored and the blue were bubblegum flavored. I did two recipes and wound up with left overs. Next time I think I will do a fruit flavor and cut down to one recipe. Maybe next time I will remember to put out the treat bags so guest can take them home too.

Gadget Gellies from Food Librarian
I used berry blue and orange flavors. I now have a major obsession with gelatin related recipes. I bought the tiny spoons from Bake It Pretty but now they have these spoons that I think I like better. They have everything you need and more! I bought the shot glasses from Oriental Trading.

Mechanical Marshmallows
These are pretty self explanatory. Just put lollipop stick in marshmallows then dip in melted chocolate and shake on the sprinkles let set until chocolate hardens. Easy!

Contraption Cupcakes
(mango lemonade cupcakes)
I'm not going to give you the recipe I used for the cupcakes. It was a new recipe and it was dry and had a weird texture. So I recommend using this cake just add lemon zest and reduce the milk but the amount of lemon juice you add. I would add 1/4 cup of lemon juice and zest of at least 3 lemons.

For the butter cream we still haven't perefected that either. It had an amzing flavor but the textuer was odd. We used...
2-3 cup powered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup fresh mango puree
but next time I think we will strain the puree and maybe cook it down until it has thickened and let it cool. Then add it to a cream cheese frosting. Maybe! Who know what I will do.

Bionic Brownies
1 cup butter
2 cups cugar
1/2 cup cocoa
4 eggs beaten
2/3 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup nut optional

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 13x9 pan. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and cocoa; stir to blend. Remove from heat, stir in eggs. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in vanilla, chocolate and nuts. Bake 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from pan.

Birthday Bot Cake
(chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling)
For the cake we used Hershey's Black Magic Cake. It is our most used chocolate cake.
 For the filling...
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package of chocolate  cream sandwich cookies
Cook flour and milk together in small saucepan until thick and bubbly. Cool. In separate bowl cream shortening and butter. Beat in sugar. Beat in flour mixture and vanilla. Stir in cookies.   
 The filling for this cake can be used to make a wonderful chocolate filling, an amazing mint, coffee, caramel or peanut butter filling. Just omit cookies and add flavoring of choice. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two years have flown by...

Today at exactly 12:12 pm my baby boy will be two years old. Two years ago I looked at him for the very first time and in that moment time stopped, no one in existence mattered except for my baby boy, my husband and me.

Today he is running, playing and talking in full sentences, I'm still trying to figure out when that happened. He amazes me everyday and has changed us for the better. While I love to watch him grow and change I really wish I could stop time right now and have him this age for just a little longer. I pray that Lee and I give him the things he needs and show him how to be a a happy, healthy, godly man.

To celebrate today we had Birthday Pancakes for breakfast which are pancakes with sprinkles cooked in topped with homemade strawberry syrup and fresh whipped cream. Yumm!! We are going out for the day and having dinner with all 8 grandparents. He is so very excited to see Nana and Poppa, Nana and Papaw, Mammy and Gramps, and Mimi and Poppy all at the same time.

Happy Birthday Monkey! I love you more than you know and I always always will.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Robot Party Part 2

I didn't get all those little details done ahead of time like I planned. But Sunday through Wednesday I was sick. I wasn't just under the weather I was so congested that I had to sit several times because the room was spinning. Not cool, not cool at all! So crafting was out of the question. But thing did turn our very well at the last minute. Decoartion wise I think I did rathter well.

The food table had a gray backdrop which was a full size flat sheet that I bought at Wal-mart. You can buy the sheets separately and it is very inexpensive. I also bought two twin size orange sheet for the table cloths. I cut out two robots with my Cricut and printed Caleb's initials in a roboty, yep I just made that up, type font onto 8 1/2 x 11 white card stock and attached the robots to card stock also. I added strips of robot themed scrapbook paper to the tops and bottom to make them look more custom and add more color. I also did the same thing for the drink table. I made a sign that said "refueling station" and added strips of the same print. We filled a huge galvanized bucket with ice, water, soft drinks and juice boxes.

My husband  and Brother-in-law built a back drop using strips of wood then nailed the sheet very carefully onto it. My cousin, Angie, but you will hear me refer to her as Bob, came early to help so I had her attach the letters, the number two and the robots but the sticky foam I planned on using kept flying off. So they tried stitching it on. Which meant they had to take the back drop down and put it back together.  Next time I will plan better. I wanted the table right up against it but we set the table while the back drop was still down and then couldn't move it back. So its not exactly what I had in mind but I think it still turned out cute especially in my last minute, fly by the seat of your pants planning style. I ♥ you Bob!
I got really lucky with this guy. I found him at Oriental Trading on sale along with some super cute robot napkins. Caleb likes him very much and now I have to figure out where to put him in my house!

Lee drew Plex, The Magic Robot from Yo Gabba Gabba the morning of the party. I think he's pretty cute. I now have to find some huge, cute poster frame for him because Caleb obviously wants to keep him.

 I cut everything out for the banner using letters I printed, cut into 4 inch squares and printed scrapbook paper cut into 5 inch squares and two small robots cut out with the Cricut. Once again I handed a glue gun to Sharon, my MIL and put her to work. I am really happy with how it turned out too. I love the thought of mixing different patterns for a cohesive and custom look.

Like I said in the last post I dressed us to match. I wore an orange sweater and jeans. I also found the cutest robot necklace and earrings.

My mom found an orange and gray robot shirt for Caleb, at Wal-mart of all places. I looked everywhere and on every website to find a robot shirt in our color scheme and they were the only ones to have it. He just work a pair of his regular khakis and his converse. Lee wore his jeans and  a t-shirt that he already had that Caleb swears has a robot on it and an orange button-up. It was too warm for the long sleeved shirt so he barley had it on.

And that is it for decorations. Tomorrow's post will be on the food and the recipes we used.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Robot Birthday Part 1

I have been planning Caleb's 2nd birthday party since right after his 1st birthday party. I loved the idea of a robot theme and luckily for me about six months ago he became enamored with robots. I wanted it to be a lot more easy going than the previous party. Last year we rented the party room at our local zoo. We had to be on their time line and only had 30 minutes to set up and they kicked up out before our time was up and we hadn't even opened presents. Luckily Mom's house was just 5 minutes away but still some of his grandparents missed it along with friends and aunts and uncles. I was determined to enjoy this party.

So this post will be about the activities and some of the decorations. I will be posting more decor and food things soon though. The thing that was the most fun was our bouncy rental from Ark Bounce of Cleveland. All of the kids and several of the adults had such a good time bouncing around in there.

He needed a break!

We also brought a smaller tent with a bouncy pad and some balls for the younger kids that were a bit to small for the big bouncy house.

We also had a small table set up with crayons a blank robot cutouts for the kids to color and take home but some how no one got a picture of it. I'm really sad about that too. I think I may call up a photographer friend next year so that I don't have to worry with blurry images, craptastic pictures and straight up forgetting some things!

We also gave out the cutest favors too.

I got the idea from She always super cute ideas for parties. I ♥ her blog so much. Once again I called in my Mother-in-law, Sharon, for the fun task of using the hot glue gun. She tells people, "Ashley has the ideas and I follow directions really well" which makes me giggle. She is secretly crafty she just doesn't know it.

This is cute little Sophia and her mom, Jana. Isn't Sophia the cutest!?!?!?!? I just can't get enough of her.

My Mother-in-law, Sharon and my bestie, Jackie's little mister, Jaxon. How handsome is he!?!?!? I think he knows it too.

You can kind of see the coloring table in the far right hand side of the picture. While all the kids jumped we all talk and mingled an ate. Which reminds me ...

This is the food table and I am really proud of how it turned out. The backdrop is a little wonky but there was a little drama surrounding it. I will  get into that in the next post or two though.

And of course we how cute is my little monkey!?!?!?

We had to help him blowing out his candles...

I also color coordinated out outfits. Yes I have been watching to much Tori and Dean. Tori Spelling always dresses her family according to the theme or color scheme of the kids parties and I love that! More on our outfits later.

We also told people that they didn't need to buy him any presents and some people listened and then others didn't Hey Unc! I'm talking to you!!!!! Caleb is having so much fun with everything he got. He has honestly already played with everything. 

So that is a little but more of the party we had this past weekend. Stay tuned for more. Believe it or not I have already started planning the next party.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Robot Party Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek from Caleb's birthday party yesterday. He had sooo much fun and I think all the kids and adults did too. I need to relax today though. I will be posting the details and recipes soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fun, silly things...

 So... This is what happens when I get bored, let me rephrase that. This is what happens when I feel like poo. Thank you very much sinuses and allergies. The past few days I cannot seem to muster up the energy to be productive. I love picnik. I can spend hours playing around on there.

I'm not quite sure what I am going to do with this Green Lantern picture but I will be doing something special for my guys with it. Maybe it will go into Caleb's room.

I also made two collages one for the living room the other for Caleb's bed room. I think I may actually hang Caleb's up with each individual letter mounted on 8x8 canvas.

My new living room collage...
I'm going to have it printed on poster paper and have the hubby make a wooden sign to mount it to or maybe I'll take the easy way out and buy collage frame that holds 5 pictures. Either way it will look awesome in here.

Caleb's new name collage...
I got the images from Leo Reynold's Flickr Photostream . I have no clue who he is, but I found his stuff via Pintrest. He has a few restrictions but not many and definitely nothing unreasonable.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Night of New Recipes.... Orange Chicken and Peas

This chicken recipe has been patiently waiting in my "Recipes To Try" folder for months now and I finally decided to try it. Honestly I was a bit skeptical of it. I was wrong, it was wonderful. I figured while I was at it I would finally use the frozen peas in my freezer. Lee and I both HATE the texture of peas but I don't want to stop Caleb from trying new food just because we don't like them. So for that reason I reluctatnly bought some peas a month or so ago and decided since I was afraid of the result of the chicken I might as well go for broke and make a brand new dinner.

We had Crispy Skinned Orange Chicken and Pea Puree. For the Chicken recipe go here. I added a little Sriracha because I cannot get enough of that stuff. For the peas I was inspired by Nigella Lawson's pea puree but I did not follow the recipe exactly. I didn't have creme fraiche and I omitted the mint and Parmesan. I used milk and a bit of cream cheese and added parsley.  I added too much milk so we decided it was Cream of Pea Soup. We liked it very much.

 When I started plating everything I thought it was a funny little sight. Caleb's dishes are a kid's set from Ikea and he almost always eats off of them. Lee's and mine are different because I wanted a smaller bowl therefor I used matching plates for each of our bowls. I bought the white set from Pier 1 a million years ago and the pink set was a random find in the Target Dollar Spot, in the front of the store. It made me think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Chef in the Making...

Much like me to my dismay, Caleb loves him some TV. So most of our day is spent negotiating. Our conversations sound like this, 
Caleb: "My watch Giego" (Go Diego Go)
Me: "Maybe later buddy"
Caleb: "Giego, Giego. GIEGO!!!!!!!"
Me: "Later, go play with your toys. Do you want to read a book?"
And then another hour of begging. And I will admit he has learned how to con me; with smooches.

Caleb: "My watch Cues Cues" (Blue's Clues, with Steve's little hand motion)
Me: "after lunch ok?"
Me: "Fine" (imagine the exasperation in my voice)

But there is one thing he LOVES to watch, almost as much as Diego, Imagination Movers, Handy Manny, Yo Gabba Gabba (I could go for days here!!!!) etc... That one thing that stops him in his tracks while he and I stare blankly enthralled in whatever is on the screen. FOOD NETWORK! Every single time! We both especially love Nigella Lawson and Aarti Sequeira. I love, love, LOVE how he pulls the step stool, which he has nicked named MO MO, into the kitchen if I so much as pick up a pot. Last night while we were watching Aarti, which I missed most of because of his head blocking the TV, he would run back to me on the couch exclaiming "Beans! She cook Beans! I wike Beans!" "Cheese, she make Cheese!!!" So terribly cute. He simply amazes me at how at not quite two years old he has a passion for something that is so adult. I truly hope he keeps that love and joy and never loses it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Happy Hubby AKA Apple Crisp

     I wanted to make something for Lee to welcome him home. Something that makes him feel warm and fuzzy, so I made one of the easiest things in my repertoire, but is one of his favorites. I used to make this all the time when we were first married, but it has severely fallen out of use. I think I stopped making it because I'm always exploring new recipes and flavors, but sometimes the same ole, same ole is what you really need. It is super easy and super good. 

The Ingredients:
The apple base
6 apples, peeled and sliced in the juice of a lemon
1/8 cup agave nectar
1/8 cup raw sugar
1/8 cup AP or Wheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, I don't always add it)
salt AND black pepper to taste (trust me here)

The streusel topping
3/4 c up raw oats
1/8 raw sugar
2 large pinches AP flour
1/2 stick (4 TBSP butter)

White Chocolate for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine and mix all ingredients for apple base. Pour into a small casserole dish. 

See the flecks of pepper????? trust me!
Next combine remaining ingredients leave a few small bits of butter to top.
Cover apple mixture with streusel mixture and drop bit of butter in a few spots. 
Bake uncovered for 25-30 minustes or until brown and bubbly.

Melt white chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds, stir if not melted completely put back in and heat to 10 second intervals, stirring in between each. Be careful, white chocolate burns easily. Drizzle over crisp.

Serve warm.

♥ And they all live happily ever after. The End. ♥