Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Which We Have Tea (but sadly, no crumpets)

I am such a dork about birthday parties for my kids.  I love them.  I love creating things and making treats and I love making their birthdays as magical as I can.  Savannah had her first "big" party at home this year. Last year we did Gymboree and had a combined party with a little friend of hers.  This year, I had a pink princess tea for 16 of her friends (and brothers!).

So, the evolution of a party.  It started off at JoAnne Fabrics.  With a coupon, and a sale :)  I love using fabric to decorate, though, because I can use it again.  So, even if it's more expensive than paper from the dollar store, over time I'll use it again and can craft it when I'm done :)
So this is some of my haul from Joanne.  The pink swirley fabric that I wanted to use for tablecloths is called "Pink Tea Party", which I thought was perfect! I also picked up pink tulle, necklaces, jordan almonds (at Savannah's request), several trims, pink shimmer with dots of silver sparkles, pearls, cookie cutters, individual paper cups, and pink and purple sprinkles.  It was a good time.  I also had some wonderful friends loan me kid-sized tables and chairs, and then I made my loving hubby move our sofa and dining room set to the basement :) I also picked up numerous hats from the thrift store, because our craft was going to be making tea hats.  The boas in the Joanne's picture above were cut in half- they're too long for preschoolers!

 In the kitchen (if you've never seen my kitchen it's not *THAT* yellow, for some reason the picture just turned out that way!) I cleared off my bakers rack and started laying out the goodies for the girls to decorate.  I put rings and necklaces, boas and hats, stickers and jewels, silk flowers, and some very cute candy bracelet watches that we actually bought for Valentine's day, but decided to use for this instead.  This picture doesn't have everything on it- but by the end of the party it was empty, anyway! My mom and my brother's girlfriend Miss Lauren came to help the girls hot glue gun on any fancy schmancy details they needed to their hats!

With the dining room cleared out, 1/2 the sectional in the basement, and 1/2 the sectional in the dining room, we were able to fit in 3 kids tables set with some pearls, sparkles, and a dish of caramel kisses, which incidentally come wrapped in pink.  I'm not sure if this party would have been able to be as pink as it was if Savannah's birthday wasn't the day before Valentine's day!!

The kids really loved picking their seats and that the room was so obviously set just for them.  Also, above the seats, I used that pink tulle to swag the ceiling instead of doing streamers.  I'm very eco-friendly.  ;)


So then there were the details.  I wrapped napkins and forks in pink feather trim, and made all kinds of yummy treats! I did pink marshmallows, pinkalicious cupcakes, glitter cookies, butterfly crackers and cheese flowers, ham and cheese tea sammies cut to be flowers, strawberries on "princess" skewers and all kinds of pink candies.  We also served pink lemonade with frozen raspberries floating in it.  Everything was a big hit

For the glitter cookies, I used Martha's recipe, but I just did the one ball without filling.  They're HUGE with the filling.  I also rolled mine in Wilton Pearl Dust instead of regular sprinkles because 1) It stuck better to the warm cookies and 2) It made them sparkle! You can't see it in the picture very well, but these were beautiful! I used Pink and Lilac, but they've got a million colors to choose from and they'd be awesome in Gold and Silver, I think :)

For the cupcakes, I used Strawberry cupcakes and then frosted them with a fluffy, but not too sweet icing since I was mounding them so high! My frosting recipe is:
1 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 t vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese and the sugar.  Add the vanilla and scrape the bowl.  Switch to your whisk attachment and stream in the whipping cream, scraping occasionally, until stiff peaks form.  Add coloring of your choice.

The nice part about this whipped cream frosting is that it's stable at room temperature (some of them melt), and again, it's not too sweet.  It's very very slightly tangy from the cream cheese, but I thought that was lovely with the strawberry flavor of the cupcakes.

For the cherries, be sure to dry them for at least an hour on paper towels so they don't make your frosting run.  I used Wilton (again) Pink Sugar Pearls and was just going to pipe on the pink swagging in buttercream, but Savannah decided she loved the cupcakes as they were and wouldn't hear of it, so no swags :)

I think all the girls had a great time, and I know that I did!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Savannah Lynn

Dear Savannah Lynn,

You turned 3.  Just like magic while you were sleeping, you changed into a full-on preschooler.  It's funny how much things change and how much they stay the same with you.  The day you were born, I looked down into your sweet little face, after the longest labor I had with one of my children, and exclaimed "You're so tiny! What took you so long?".  You were so tiny and perfect.  I thought that my life was full with my two little boys, but having a pink princess has brought me so many joys and challenges that I didn't even realize I missed

You have been the most stubborn, opinionated, spoiled little girl.

I deserve you so much.

You are the tiniest little "peanut" of a girl- and yet, you are your very own pink version of Napoleon- unafraid of anyone even though, unbeknownst to you, the world towers over you.  You speak your mind, you sing along to the chorus of songs (this is your favorite right now) LOUDLY to cover up the fact that one of those darn verses has started and you want to sing the words you know. You are nothing if not self-assured.

You are loving and sweet when you want to be, and fiercely loyal, especially to your brothers.  You are incredibly strong for your tiny body- doing pullups and pulling the dog around, and nearly squeezing your brother's bunny to death as you try to give it hugs.

You are smart and inquisitive and when you want something, you're not afraid to get it.  You're a firecracker of a little girl, and I hope you stay that way forever.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

In Which We Race Cars.....Fast :)

Riley is in Cub Scouts (!!!) this year.  He's been waiting to do Cub Scouts (!!!!) since last year when his girl friends were able to begin Daisies for Girl Scouts.

Life, it seems, is just terribly unfair. :)

We're so blessed this year because Riley has an awesome group of leaders for his Den/Pack/Other Boy Scouting Terms Mommy Has Yet to Master. He's also super lucky to have Papa going with him to meetings (because Mommy is a girl and therefore uncool to bring to Scouts, and Daddy hates Boy Scouting, don't ask me why)  Riley and Papa worked for quite a few days designing and building Riley's Pinewood Derby Car, and the results were quite impressive!!

Riley at Papa at the Pinewood Derby.  Riley was super cute telling Papa "I couldn't have done it without you!!"

Riley came in 3rd for Tigers and 10th overall out of all the Scouts competing!! He also got a "Most Awesome" award (I have no clue what that is!) and a Bronze Medal.  As we all know, pieces of flare are awesome.  :) My grandfather passed away when I was 2- and I'm so glad that my kids get to spend time with their grandpa!!