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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and a few years in...

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Entries in party (5)


Easy peasy girly decorations.

And why, you might wonder, would a household of boys need girlified decorations?  Because a few days ago, I hosted a baby shower for a sweet baby girl who recently arrived in our neighborhood.  It was a "sip and see" style shower for everyone to ooooh and awwww and make a fuss over the baby.  And because my neighborhood residents have a schedule as crazy as my own, when we pulled out our calendars to plan a workable date, we discovered that the best date was merely a week off.  Yikes.

Queue the easy peasy decorations.  First up, some flowers made by folding and gluing precut cardstock strips.  I hung the flowers with fishing line from the dining room chandelier.  I think they'd make a great garland...

I also wanted bunting but had neither the time nor the future occasion to warrant stitching one up.  As a compromise, I assembled temporary bunting by folding precut quilt squares over twine.  And as a bonus, working with the lovely prints has me convinced it's time to finally quilt them... 

And of course there were cake pops.  Super simple but girly red velvet cake pops.  And I want to note that even though the party was pretty much kid-free, there were only two pops left--so I think adults like them, too. 

The short notice did not leave me enough time to make a set of my signature 'welcome baby'  personalized burpers.  Hopefully I can get to those soon.  But I did knit up a quickie hat and a pair of sweet booties...

The hat is the same pattern as Will's beanie, just sized down to fit a newborn.  And the bootie pattern is from a vintage magazine my mother-in-law handed down.  I tucked both of these handknits alongside some store bought girly clothes.  Yes, store bought...because I'm sorry, I know I'm a proud "gift homemade" supporter but you can't blame me for grabbing a chance to shop in the little girl's department!



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!



Party on.


In in her mini-feature today, Shannon (the mastermind behind the wonderful and completely addictive blog, Creative Parties & Showers) linked to my post on the boys' Master of Disguise birthday party!  Woo hoo.  It's really nice to be mentioned.  But as she features the most amazing parties on her site, to be honest, I sort of feel like I do when I go to a party and am completely under dressed.  You know how that is, right?  You go somewhere in jeans and a cute top but then feel like you stick out among all the gals in cute dresses.  Especially when you have a ton of cute dresses you could have worn?  See (as I said in the original post), that particular party was a bit of a bust for me, as far as party-throwing-according-to-my-plans goes.  And adaptability?  Not my strong suit.  Now, the boys had a great time...and I know that's all that matters in the end...but I'm still more than a little heartbroken that some details and planned activities never saw the light of day. 

But I'm over it.  Obviously. 

Moving on with plans for the their next one.  And for Halloween.  And for our gingerbread house decorating party.  If you love looking at all things party related too, be sure to check out Creative Parties & Showers.  But just make sure you have a big cup of tea or coffee and a couple of hours to enjoy that blogcandy!  



Recently a neighbor asked me if she could hire me to do cupcakes and the cake for her daughter's First Holy Communion celebration.  I was flattered that she thought of me--but there was no way I would charge a friend for cupcakes and cake.

I only had a few days notice and had a hard time thinking of an appropriate decorating theme.  Then I remembered some flagged pages in my Hello Cupcake cookbook. I love this book.  It's filled with the cutest ideas for just about every occasion. Except, of course, a First Holy Communion.

But it does have butterflies. Beautiful and delicate, they look like they might flutter off the page as you're flipping through the book. And with three boys, I doubted a butterfly-themed party was in our future so here was my chance--how perfect. Because, you know, First  Communion ...butterflies ... get it? Fine. I was reaching but look how pretty.  


Supplies: At least two different colors of melting candy wafer or chocolate (I buy the melting wafers at craft stores like Michaels or A.C. Moore); wax paper; butterfly template; permanent marker; sandwich sized ziploc bags.

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Birthday times three.


Our boys' birthdays are fairly close together, so as long as we can get away with it, I plan to combine their birthday celebrations. I know many folks tsk tsk this practice but the thing is, our boys share the same group of friends and it simplifies travel plans for the out of town grandparents. Besides, we celebrate their birthdays, need I say it, on their actual birthday, plus they typically get a school party, PLUS this combo one so I think they're covered. This year the theme was a "Master of Disguise" party--we were going to throw a basic costume party but then our oldest wanted a spy theme, so there you go.

Everyone was invited to dress up to be "in disguise"--I thought other moms might appreciate their munchkins getting another wear out of a Halloween costume.  Then surprise!, even though it was April, it was unseasonably hot, so none of our boys could wear what they had planned and instead wore a mish mash from their dress up trunk...for exactly 11 minutes until it was too hot for even that.  We also had to strike the spy obstacle course because standing still outside without sweating proved impossible, so running/leaping/tummy crawling/etc. were, in my mind, out of the question.  But I should have channeled the mind of a six-year-old because oh, my, my, how this executive decision nearly brought down our oldest.  I still think it was a reasonable decision (kids were in polyester costumes!), but made a note to self that "just playing" is evidently not a suitable enough birthday activity once you turn 6.  I really should have known better.  Sigh.


We had party bunting (I may post a tutorial on this later, though plenty abound online already), mini cupcakes, a moon bounce, piñata fun and three birthday cakes.  I used a jumbo cupcake pan for the cakes and tragically learned that it produces a shape not at all compatible with my homemade cake recipes (too delicate of a crumb--each cake collapsed as soon as I unmolded it).   As I was predictably doing this the morning of the party, I had no time for major reconstruction.  I ended up wrapping each cake with some pretty scrapbook paper to make a cuff that kinda, sorta resembled a cupcake liner, effectively holding the cakes together.  I added frosting on top, muttered my discontent, and away we went.  Luckily the boys thought they were perfect and watching them blow out their candles with such happy faces helped me remember to stop sweating the small stuff (a constant battle for me).

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