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Kiddo crafts have been on a down-swing lately at our house.  Lots of birthdays and holidays keep us busy from November thru February and creative time with Ethan takes a backseat.  I figured V-day was a perfect occasion for something crafty.  Ethan asked me if we could make "sparkly glitter hearts" and off to google-search land (and Michael's) I went for some ideas.  Side note: I LOVE the internet.  Almost every cake, craft, party, etc. idea I have stems from something I saw online!  So, next year when you're thinking of what to send with your kiddos for their V-day parties at school, check back here and try these Buzzzzing Valentine's.  They were cute, fun, and easy!  I found these on the Disney Family Fun website and it even included a short video on how to make them. (I love this website-sooo many ideas!)  The only changes I made were to use craft foam instead of paperstock for the hearts and felt instead of tissue for the bee wings because I wanted them to stand up to a 4-year old delivery!  We added-of course-some sparkly glitter hearts too.  Here's the finished product—And as I'm writing this, I'm thinking you could do this same idea for St. Patrick's Day (green foam clovers), Easter (pastel foam flowers), etc.  Hmmm…this craft might be seen again in 2011!Hearts-split
And, even though I really didn't feel like spending more time on V-day projects, I just couldn't resist trying these adorable cookie lollipops I found on  (Another website I love and use a lot!)  I read some reviews and made a few changes based on several of them.  I used 4 oz. cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, added 1/4 cup extra of sugar,  and 2 tablespoons extra of flour.  Rolling out the different colors was a bit time consuming but the end product is so cute and fun!  Do you own a food scale? If you bake often, you should!  Weighing your ingredients (in place of measuring) can make all the difference in the final texture of your food.  And my scale came in handy for these cookies too.  I didn't want varying sizes of lollipops, so I used my scale to weigh each dough section before forming the cookies.  It was fast and they all came out (about) the same size.  This is another idea that can be used for many occasions…Easter, birthday parties, baby showers, etc.  Here's another idea: Put some foam in a flower pot and make a lollipop cookie bouquet.  I might try these again this year too!IMG_7033

Christmas Cake Screw Up!

I would love to say that the final product of this cake is what I had planned it to be.  That would be a lie!  I was so excited to make a cake for the 30th birthday of a great friend.  I had planned to make an awesome, burgundy-colored, Christmas gift box cake–an open gift box–with a propped up open lid and tissue and elegant golds and silvers accenting the burgundy.  It was going to be amazing-I’m telling you!

However, I made..not 1…but 2 big cake-making mistakes!  First, I started off with the wrong color to end up with burgundy fondant.  It turns out that white fondant coupled with an ENTIRE jar of burgundy coloring gel will only get you a deeper and deeper shade of PURPLE.  Have you seen many elegant purple Christmas gifts?  Me neither.  So my first mistake brought the first design change.  This will be a white (thank goodness for a 20lb tub of white fondant) Christmas open gift box cake.  No problem.  Next, I did not leave enough time for my lid to dry.  This is the biggie.  Always, always leave enough time for your pieces to dry.  We had the lid sleeping overnight on our guest bed under a ceiling fan set of high and a floor fan on a chair blasting right on it.  Poor little guy was probably cold all night.  So I hoped I could prove the cake forums wrong and have my lid all dry and solid from over-night fanning.  We let it dry until the last possible minute before putting it on top of the cake.  And when we did (a few hours before the start of the party!) it cracked.  Un-repairable cracks.  No-way-to-fix-it cracks.  I-am-completely-screwed-cracks.  I can’t even think about taking pics to show on the blog because they have me so stressed out-cracks.  This problem was much worse than the color change.  I had cookie sheets full of fondant tissue, all dried and ready to fill the open gift box that couldn’t be used.  And I still have them, stored for when I attempt another one of these cakes.  There was no way to make another lid–no way.  Trust me, I had thought of everything.

So, I still had to finish the cake.  I sat and thought.  I sat and cried.  Really, I cried–ask Nick.  And I sat and decided to do a much simpler gift box cake and just rely on the fact that no one else knew what I had planned for the cake and would be pleased with the outcome just the same.  So I pressed on and finished the cake.  I actually was pleased with the outcome and proud of myself for being able to take a deep breath, let it go, and move on.  I thought it looked great and tasted great.  I tried a new cake recipe–pink champagne.  Yum.  So…here is the Christmas gift cake.  It is 3 layers of pink champagne cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.  This baby taught me many lessons.  Now I just need someone who needs a purple gift box cake in order to use all that dyed fondant and tissue!

December Catch-up Part 4: Christmas!

Bits of Christmas in pics:IMG_4628A gingerbread house just wouldn't do for this kiddo.  We, of course, did a gingerbread TRAIN!
IMG_4633 A little something for Santa.

IMG_4635 A little something for the reindeer.

IMG_4637Santa left a little note for Ethan!
IMG_4641Santa's note: "Dear Ethan, Thank you! Those cookies & milk were delicious!! My reindeer loved the carrots too! Merry Christmas, Santa.  P.S. Your fireplace was quite difficult to get through! I got in, but I made a mess of things! I hope your daddy can fix it!"
IMG_4638Haha! Ethan had been questioning how Santa was going to come down the fireplace when there is glass in front of it…well, he figured it out!  Gotta love the extra mile that Santa goes for the kiddos! 
Fun A little fun before Christmas dinner with the fam.
GiftsEthan's such a blessed boy.  He has so many people that love him!! Above are Auntie Em and Great-Grandpa and below are Grammy and Pop!
IMG_4681Merry Christmas 2010!

December Catch-up Part 3: Ugly Christmas Sweater Fun

In between the busy days of Ethan's birthday and Christmas, one of my fabulous friends–Kimberly–turned 30.  Our house was the gathering spot for her Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, and it was sooo fun!  Besides the occasion and the fun, the sweaters just by themselves were blog-worthy, so here's some pics from the night!K's 30th 9
K's 30th 10 
We had the best time celebrating her big 30th–Food, drinks, light up sweaters, ponchos, karaoke–so awesome!

Train Birthday Cupcakes

I made such a mess making Ethan’s train party cupcakes that I decided it needed a post all it’s own.  Here are 2 tips I have for you…learned from hands on experience…with photographic proof!

#1-Use a pastry bag large enough for your frosting needs.

#2-Don’t overfill your dry ingredients in the mixer, especially without a shield over it.

I made a huge mess but the cupcakes turned out great!  I’ve thought for awile I didn’t want to have cupcakes be a part of my cake-making, but I had fun with these!  They were chocolate on chocolate with a cream cheese center.  The yellow RR crossing discs and white RR Crossing light signal were made using fondant and food marker pens.  I think a small cake with cute matching cupcakes will be perfect for some parties.  I wonder who will be the first one to have a cake made by me for 2011?!