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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

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Entries in cake pops (6)


Reindeer Pops.

Here I go with the shortcuts again.  Just like the no bake Turkey treats from yesterday, I went semi-homemade this year for Rudolph pops (former cake pop version here).  I dipped double-stuffed Oreos into chocolate, broke some pretzels for antlers, red M&Ms for noses, and sugar pearls for eyes.  I also drew on details with an edible marker.  Easy peasy, but still cute, I think.  Even so, I am itching to make some real cake pops soon.  We're heading to a party tomorrow evening, so maybe then.

These were for our annual gingerbread house decorating party.  It was a whopper this year--pictures soon.  But first I need to scrub the house because there is frosting everywhere.



Gingerbread decorating party, 2010.


At our annual "gingerbread" decorating party, our day was filled with candy-laden graham cracker houses and bits of frosting everywhere.  This year, I decided to go with traditional royal icing for the mortar rather than the melted sugar like last year

To make house construction go a bit faster and easier, I did two things.  First, I used one cracker for a bottom base, gluing it to the cake board then building the sides around it--it made a huge difference in stability!  And second, I did not make gabled sides...doing those pointy sides always made for dozens of crumbled and unusable crackers.  I wised up this go and simply cut crackers in half for the sides.  I then added a cookie to cover most of the gap.  I thought they looked like wreaths.

We had 37 kids this year.  And as luck would have it, it turned out that the holiday party for my new job was the night before this party.  Charlie and I had a great time at the business party.  But it left me in no shape to get the house ready for our party.  Luckily, no one seemed to mind and my good friends helped shoulder many of my hostess duties.

Notes to myself for next year:

*  First and foremost, do not drink wine hand over fist, no matter how good it is or how fancy the bottle, on Gingerbread Eve.  Just don't do it.

*  The bag of 8 lbs of mixed candy, available at Costco, is a bargain and works great but takes a bit of time to unwrap the individual pieces.  Do it ahead of time--the candies will not stick as long as no other soft candy is introduced to the mix (keep away mini marshmallows and any soft mints!).   

*  Open House style and brunch time worked well as did the simple menu (bagels, salmon, fruit, breakfast casseroles, coffee, cider, and then pulled pork sandwiches for lunch). 

*  Cake pops were probably not necessary as there were plenty of sweets.  But they still went! 

Check out the cake pop stand Charlie fashioned--details to follow...

Every year we wonder whether we'll do it again the next year.  But so far, we don't think the boys are outgrowing it, so odds are we will.  I hope so; I love this tradition.  And I love how proud they are of their creations. 


Hope your holidays are as sweet as can be, too!



Thanksgiving, 2010.

Well, well, well.  It appears I can only get ahead with my holiday prep agenda if certain things fall by the wayside.  Usually it's feeding the children.  Okay, not really really--unless you count how many Trader Joe's entrees they've had lately.  I actually don't feel that awful about it because I really adore Trader Joe's.  It's the budget Whole Foods as far as I'm concerned.

In any case, it's pretty obvious that blogging took a backseat these past couple of weeks, as did most crafting.  And like everyone else, it's just because I've been busy--my volunteer schedule was double my norm!  But I did manage to get our Christmas card ordered...before Thanksgiving.  That's incredibly early for us.  I'll post it after we've sent them off. 

We used Scrapblog again, like last year.  I really like the design freedom they offer.  None of the preset templates worked for the colors in our photos but it wasn't a problem because I was able to design our own--love that.

I also finished knitting Will's hat.  I plan to top it with a pom-pom even though Charlie asked "why on earth would you do that?"  But I think it'll be darling--especially because I went super simple on it, just stripes in colors that match his winter coat. 

I'll post more pics with details soon...the most exciting thing about this hat, for me, is that I think I've settled on a jogless join technique for stripes.  And I truly don't care if it seems silly to be excited about such a thing because I really, really am.  That said, I do freely admit that it is pretty silly to be as vexed as I can be about teensy jogs in knitting stripes--especially since I didn't even know what they were a few months ago.

I also made some turkey cake balls for Will's Thanksgiving feast at his preschool.   

They were gobbled right up.  Sorry, I just can't pass up a pun, ask anyone...



We had several left over, so we took them to our neighbor's house for Thanksgiving, where we had a delicious meal and a fantastic time.  For the record, I did bring more than just leftover cake balls, but not much! 

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend, too. 



2010 Halloween Recap, part II.

We skipped town last weekend and headed to a lovely cabin in the Shenandoah mountains.  It was really a great way to kick off the season...a little respite before the crazies set in.  I will post more pictures soon; it was a great setting to play with the camera and my newish lenses.

I wanted to mention that I'm using Giver's Log's Handmade Holiday Organizer as a template for my own holiday ambitions.  I didn't start nearly as early as she (drats!) but I do think it will be helpful to prioritize creative tasks.  We're talking all my addictions here: baking, cooking, entertaining, sewing, knitting, paper crafting.  I may even be constructing a little something, good grief, because nothing makes you feel as optimistic as an adorable and blank to-do template.

But first, I wanted to tidy up my Halloween recap for future reference.  I'm sure you've moved on so this is really just for future me.

I made cake balls (like cake pops, but just not on a stick) for the annual pumpkin carving party.  It is hosted each year by the same generous family.  They let the entire neighborhood make a royal mess of every inch of their home--they are saints!  For the cake balls, I made ghosts, eyeballs, jack o'lanterns, and one-eyed-purple-people eaters.  My attempt at decorating them was sad.  Not starting until two hours before the party began was not the brightest idea, I'm afraid.  But they were still gobbled up...       

My favorite part of the party is playing the Mummy Mommy Wrap, pretty self-explanatory when you see the pictures, I think... 

We did not win.

This mummy did.

But my goodness do my boys love wrapping me up.  They said we could practice for next year using rope.  Hmmm.



More cake pops.

Did you see that Bakerella's book is now available for preorder??!!  I can assure you that I am splurging on this one--cake pops are a big deal in this house.  In fact, little Will sometimes looks at baked goods funny when they are not presented to him on a stick.  And...did you see her recent post on cake pops shaped like ice cream cones?  I immediately fell head over heels.  And I knew they'd be the perfect treat to take to a summer party for a couple of super special birthday girls.

A few notes:  you cannot make these too far in advance.  Luckily, I suspected this and made them the day of the party.  Good thing, too, because I found that the left over cones stored in the fridge went stale pretty fast.  To make ahead, you could dip the "ice cream" portion a few days in advance.  But I recommend waiting until the day of to assemble the cones.   

Speaking of cones, I'm still pondering what on earth to do with all of these...

Also, I need to figure out a better way to display cake pops.  Especially these ice cream ones.  Bakerella had hers standing up, which I think really tricks you into thinking they are real ice cream cones.  Much more so than my method of plopping them into a bowl...


though it's not as if they hang around too long... 

Hope you treat yourself today!



Cake pops roar.

Have I ever mentioned how much Leo loves lions? Well, he does. I suppose if parents choose to name their child Leo, you’ve got to see it coming…  

And so I knew lion cake pops were in order for the birthday boy’s school party yesterday. They were very fun and easy to do. I dipped them in yellow candy coating (then tried to make them textured a bit to look like fur, which only sort of worked), used chocolate for the mane, cheerios for the ears, a red sprinkle for the mouth, and red jimmies for the nose (originally bought for the Rudolphs but they ended up being too small).  

It made Leo very happy.


More cake pop posts here and here.  And here--yes, I need an intervention.  Actually, I just found out that the grown up party we’re hosting in a few days may include some younger guests (babysitting woes, you know how it goes...), so more cake pops may be in my near future.  Everything is more fun when you stick it on a stick, don’t you think?