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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pineapple Pecan Cake

Our little guy turned 1 earlier this week.  Can't believe how big he's gotten.  He is such a smiley baby and good for the camera (most of the time).  I took pictures every week so I could see how he grew, but rather than try to make one big collage of 52 pictures, I simplified and just did 12 (one per month).

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a triple family birthday party since three of our kids have birthdays within three weeks of each other.  So we actually celebrated my son's birthday a week early.  Of course, we couldn't let his real birthday go by without some sort of celebration.  We'd had lots of chocolate celebrating the previous birthdays so I opted to make a 'healthier' cake, a pineapple pecan cake.  I divided the batter in half and made two little cakes, leaving out the pecans in the cake for the kids.  I guess you could just call that one a pineapple cake.  

I used one of those spray cans of icing and tried to draw a "1" on it.  It turned out pretty bad, I'm blaming the tip and not my amateur cake decorating skills.  Luckily my husband came to the rescue and outlined the "1" so it didn't look so bad.  

Regardless of what it looked like, our son loved it.  Of course there's not much he won't eat.

In case you are wondering how to make this deliciously easy cake, here's the recipe.

Pineapple Pecan Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans (optional).

Combine the first 5 ingredients, mixing well.  Add the pecans.  Pour into ungreased 13.9.2 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

It tastes good by itself, or you can add some cream cheese icing.  The icing is also pretty easy to make:
1/2 cup butter
1 package of cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix well and spread onto cake.

I have to thank my mother in law for sharing this recipe with me.  It's easy to make and tastes great.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Triple Birthday Party

With three kids who have birthdays within three weeks of each other, I thought I'd make it easy on myself and have one big family birthday party to celebrate.  And by family party, I mean extended family, not our immediate family.  We also celebrate each child's birthday on their actual birthday as well.  My youngest daughter turned 5 two weeks ago.  You can read about how we accommodated her mermaid theme requests HERE on her birthday.  My oldest daughter turned 11 a couple days ago.  You can read about her Art Studio birthday party we had for her friends HERE.  We had her friend party on the same day as the triple family birthday party.  My mom and sister came up early to help with that which was great.  And my son turns 1 next week, so it's been party central around here.

OK, onto the details about the triple birthday party.  I started out with a theme that would work for all the ages and genders.  My theme was simple - Numbers.  I tried to incorporate numbers into the invitation, and figured we would play games during the party since games usually have lots of numbers like rolling the dice and traveling so many spaces.   We actually didn't play any games, just sat around talking and watched the kids play with their new toys.  But at least I was prepared.  I'm getting ahead of myself, first up are the invitations.

I've had this "Happy Birthday" banner for years and bring it out each birthday.  

I thought I'd turn the banner around and use the back of it to put on numbers and have each kid hold onto their birthday number.  Rather than sew or iron on numbers, I just photo edited them in there using Picmonkey.  To go along with the 'number' theme, I made a cute saying for the invitation:

I also took some pictures of the kids individually.  Can't believe they are or will be 1, 5 and 11. I wish I could just stop time and enjoy them like this forever. 

And here they are on the day of the triple birthday party.

I made cupcakes so I could decorate each child's cupcakes according to their own theme.  I could have done three separate cakes, but our party didn't have that many guests and we don't need that much cake sitting around.  I did make more cupcakes than this but this was all that I had the energy to decorate after hosting the friend birthday party earlier in the day.

I decorated these after the friend birthday party and sadly, didn't put a lot of time into it so they don't look the best.  I also let the three oldest add the green frosting so those cupcakes look even crazier.  

My oldest daughter's cupcakes are paint palettes.  My youngest daughter's cupcakes have blue icing to be the water and the DIY mermaid tail cake toppers sticking out.  My son's cupcakes have car stickers stuck on toothpicks for his DIY cake toppers.  Making you own toppers is so easy and a great way to personalize your cupcakes.  I'm so glad I figured out this trick.

Does anyone else celebrate several birthdays at once?  How do you make each child feel special?

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Art Studio Birthday Party

My oldest daughter had a friend birthday party on Saturday.  The theme was an ART STUDIO.  My daughter loves to draw, paint, sculpt and do all sorts of crafty things so this was the perfect party for her.  She planned a lot of the party herself, from the invitations to the cupcakes and even some of the games.

For the invitations, I took a picture of her with arms outstretched so we could add in a paint palette and a paintbrush.  We used Picmonkey to create it adding words so her guests would know where and when the party was.  

On the day of the party, we created a sign that said "Welcome to (my daughter's) Art Party".  We set the easel on the front porch and added some balloons.

When the girls arrived, we showed them into the dining room where they could use colored pencils to color in some zentangle drawings.  We did this while waiting for everyone to arrive. 

The girls had a great time coloring and talking, but I had to interrupt them so we could get on with the next activity which needed to dry before they went home.

Next, they went outside where I had two tables set up with canvases, paint and paint brushes.  The girls got to paint whatever they wanted.

Little sister was even given her own special spot to paint.  She loved feeling like one of the big kids and hanging out with the older girls.  

We let them paint for about 20 minutes and then moved them back inside for a few drawing games and snacks.  The girls worked in pairs so not all the girls needed to come in at once.  
The first drawing game was to draw your partners face without looking at your paper.  Of course they found this hilarious and the portraits where very impressionistic.  

The next drawing game had them scribbling all over the paper.  Then they were to look at their scribbles and see what sort of shapes, images popped out.  They could use markers to outline those images.

The snacks were simple:  popcorn, some sprinkle covered donut holes and bottled water with a "Creative Juices" label.  The bottles also had their names on it which made it easy to keep track of whose drink was whose.

Then it was time to go back outside.  This time I handed each girls a clump of the Air Dry Sculpting Clay and let them create whatever they wanted.  Most of the girls made some sort of animal.

I had planned to have the girls go back inside for another drawing game, which would allow me time to clean up the tables outside and set up for the next art activity which was water color painting.  However, the girls were taking longer than I anticipated to do each activity.  We skipped the water color painting and the two other indoor drawing games I had planned.  I'm glad I over planned rather than under planned the amount of activities.

Some girls were still sculpting, but others were finished so we handed out the popsicles.  I had gotten ones that looked like crayons.  The girls all thought they were cute.  

And then it was time for the paint balloons.  I had gotten some water balloons with a swirly design on them so they looked cool to begin with, and then we filled them up with a drop of paint and some water.  This was the messiest part of the party preparations, but so worth it once I saw how much fun the girls had with it.  My daughter really wanted to do this so of course I had to make it happen.  The balloons were in a bucket on the lawn with an old white sheet held down by some rocks on the corners.

We had practiced this before the party with a regular water balloon and found that the balloon bounced on the sheet so it worked better to throw the balloon onto the grass right in front of the sheet and then it would splatter onto the sheet.  Also, I told the girls to stay on the patio so they wouldn't get covered in paint...

It started out pretty calm, with the girls taking turns throwing the paint balloons...

However, once the balloons didn't pop, the girls went after them, not caring that other girls were still throwing balloons.  It was all fun and no one got too messy.  Glad I told them to dress accordingly for the art party.

And here's what the sheet looked like after all the balloons had been popped.  

Once the girls cleaned themselves up, we headed back into the dining room for singing, cupcakes and presents.  My daughter wanted to have cupcakes that looked like paint palettes.  I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing then added some mini M&M's and a chocolate chip to create the palette.

And finally, the gift bags.  Each girl was sent home with a little goodie bag that contained a scratch off bookmark, a tube of paint, and a ceramic thing to paint.  There was also a thank you note that said, "Thank you for making my birthday party a masterpiece".

I know the girls all had fun at this party and the moms were impressed with their masterpieces.  It wasn't too hard to set things up and once the party got started, the girls were so good that they didn't need much supervision at all.  In fact at one point, I saw down to chat with my mom and sister who had come up to help. 

After all the friends went home, it was time to get ready for the second party of the day.  More on that party later.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hair Dryer Storage

I thought I'd take a break from all the party posts and talk about organization.  
Here are a few ideas about how to store your hair dryer.  I've included links to amazon so you can read reviews and more information about the products and purchase from there if you want.  If you make a purchase from my links, I receive a small percentage.

To keep your bathroom counters clutter free and still have easy access to everyday items like your hair dryer, they need to be stored within reach.  I've rounded up a few products which do just that.

This one goes over the cabinet door and hides your hair dryer on the inside of the cabinet.  And for about $8 on amazon, it's a pretty inexpensive storage solution.  

A Bowl Full Of Lemons uses a similar over the door holder to store her hair dryer.  This one is more of a basket and can also be used to store a curling iron.  Find out more about her bathroom organization HERE.

If you don't have room on the back of your cabinets, you can use this product to store you hair dryer on your towel bar.  I found this HERE.

Or you could use this holder to hang it on your wall.  

Right now I've been storing my hair dryer and curling iron in a basket in the closet.  I just used what I had.  It's not pretty but it works.  My bathroom counters are less cluttered which means they are easier to clean.

So how do you store your hair dryer?  Share what works for you in the comments. 

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Upcycled Mermaid Skirt

I mentioned how my daughter wanted a Mermaid Birthday party.  Not Ariel from the Little Mermaid, just Mermaids.  To go with the mermaid theme, I made her a mermaid dress up skirt.  I actually used a too-small dress up outfit to make a mermaid skirt for my daughter and one for her doll.

I believe this was an Island Princess Barbie dress up outfit.  

I cut off the end of one of the sleeves and used that as the skirt for the doll.  Since the sleeve was sheer, I used some teal fabric I already had to line it.  Then I sewed the elastic in at the waist.  This was pretty simple, even for me.  I wish my daughter's skirt was as simple to make.

For my daughter's skirt, I cut out the frilly lining on the inside of the dress up outfit.  Again, I used the teal fabric I already had to be the bodice of the skirt.

I made and elastic waist and attached the teal skirt to the gathered frilly part.  This was easier said than done, but after several attempts, I finally got it to work.

My daughter was so excited to have her own mermaid skirt.  It's plenty long so she can wear it for a couple of years.

If you want to check out the rest of her mermaid themed birthday click HERE to see how I made an ocean / mermaid birthday cake,

and for a tutorial about how I made the fleece mermaid blanket just click HERE.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mermaid Ocean Cake

It's a busy birthday month.  With three kids who have birthdays within three weeks, I feel like I'm in constant party planning mode.  First up is the Babes, our youngest daughter, who turned 5 yesterday.  She has been waiting to turn 5 for 'years and years' she said.  Seriously, the day after she turned 4 she started asking, "when will I be 5?".  We didn't have a big party, just went out to dinner at her restaurant of choice (Burger King) because she loves cheeseburgers (not hamburgers, cheeseburgers).  Then we came home for some cake, ice cream and presents.  She wanted a Mermaid cake, not Ariel, just mermaid.  I wasn't sure how I was going to make a cake in the shape of a mermaid, so I did the next best thing:  an ocean cake with mermaid tails sticking out of it.  It was pretty easy and she loved it.

She was clear that she also wanted it to be a rainbow tie dye cake.  I sent my husband to the store to find such a cake and he came back with this Funfetti cake.  Not quite rainbow tie dye, but my daughter said it was perfect.  Glad she is easy to please.  She helped me make the cake by mixing it, watching it bake and decorating it.  I used white icing with some drops of blue food coloring in it to make it the perfect shade of ocean water.  I spread it onto the cake in a swirly motion so it would look more ocean-y. 

She added five gummy fish, since she's turning five. 

We also added five mermaid tails.  To make the tails, I just cut out mermaid tails using my Silhouette Cameo.  I did a google search to find a mermaid tail outline I liked then saved it to my Silhouette using THIS tutorial from  I cut it out onto some mermaid like scrapbook paper that my daughter picked out.  I glued a toothpick between two cutouts so I could stick it into the cake.  This is a great way to customize a cake.  

 And here is the finished product.  

Since she wanted a mermaid cake, I ran with that theme and many of her gifts were mermaid themed.  I already showed you the mermaid blanket I made for her in THIS POST

 I also made a mermaid skirt which I'll post about next.

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