Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

Hello Kitty Birthday Party Fun

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

We had an exciting week this week as we celebrated my daughter’s sixth birthday with a fun Hello Kitty birthday party. I wanted to keep the party simple and sweet with her closest girlfriends for her special day.  I didn’t spend a lot on this Hello Kitty party at all, but it made me smile to hear the girl’s remarking that it was, “the best part ever.”

Just in case you are thinking about spending a lot of money, for five and six year-old girls the best party ever need only include pink things to eat, glittered nail polish, tiaras, and a Barbie movie.

Here are a few of the fun projects we did for her birthday party:

1. Tissue Paper Pom Poms in Pinks & Purples to go over her party table. I did buy a package of Hello Kitty napkins and paper plates this year to match her theme and then used all of our past party supplies to bring our pink-themed party together.

2. Hot Cocoa Filling Station- I found inexpensive holiday mugs at Michael’s Craft Store. I added a batch of our homemade cocoa mix, whipped cream, homemade pink peppermint marshmallows, and lots of sprinkles for the cocoa. Each girl got to personalize her mug with her favorite additions.

3. Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes- Emily’s favorite show is, “Cupcake Wars,” so I knew that I needed to make a spectacular cupcake for my big girl. I made these cupcakes adorned with pink buttercream frosting and a shake of pink sprinkles. Each cupcake was topped with a Hello Kitty ring (that had lip gloss tucked inside). The rings were just $.50 each, but the girls really loved them.

4.  Getting Glamorous- I bought four different colors of nail polish (including clear glitter) and a package of nail stickers to do the girl’s nails. Each girl got fancy nails and a Hello Kitty tiara to wear home with them ($2.99 each plus a 20% off coupon).

5. Movies & Popcorn- We ended our birthday fun watching, “Barbie Princess Charm School,” and munching on popcorn. The girls loved this movie and thanks to a tip from my best friend, I managed to DVR the movie on Nick Jr., saving me the cost of the rental.

My sweet Emily is the type of girl that captures the heart of anyone who meets her. Her sense of style is stellar and she has just this incredible independence that sometimes makes my jaw drop to the ground. I was never as fiercely independent as her.

Most days  I shake my head and think, “How is SHE mine?” I was never that cool.

Happy birthday to our beautiful girl- we love you so much!

Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes

Monday, December 19th, 2011

If there is one thing that I love it is cupcakes. Not just any cupcake though, it has to be a perfect balance of flavors for me. In my opinion, the word’s most perfect vanilla cupcake resides at Magnolia Bakery and no other cupcake could top it. While I was preparing to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, I decided to make this recipe for Magnolia Cupcakes for her birthday girl treat.  Being a little girl of sophisticated taste, I knew she would absolutely love these cupcakes for her birthday. I was right.

While I was in New York for BlogHer ’10, with my best blogging gal pal Jamie, I ended up walking right by Magnolia Bakery and just had to stop to sample the cupcakes. Sadly, there are no pictures of the actual cupcakes as I rushed right back to my hotel room and ate three of them. I have never eaten three cupcakes in a row in my life. I also had never watched Jersey Shore.  Bad things happened in that hotel room. I laid in my bed clutching my stomach with a bed full of crumbs as my brain turned quietly to mush.  I don’t think I will do either of those things again.

These vanilla cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery are divine and the buttercream icing is absolute perfection for piping and for eating. The icing hardens to add a bit of crunch texture to the top, while the vanilla cake itself remains moist and delicious.

For piping my cupcakes, I used this cupcake decorating tutorial from Glorious Treats and used a 1M tip for decorating. I also humbly bow to the cupcake queen, Liz over at Hoosier Homemade, as she always is baking up some fun cupcake that puts my cupcakes to shame.

Recipe:

Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes

 

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:

Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

 

Vanilla Buttercream:

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 8-1o hours

Serving Size: 24 cupcakes

Source: Food Network

 

 

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Easy Coffee Filter Flowers

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Maybe you were one of those lucky kids chopping up coffee filter flowers in elementary school. I never had a tutorial on this in my art class though, but I have been dying to make coffee filter flowers and wanted to share with you just how easy and inexpensive it is to make these for a fun table centerpiece for the holidays or just a few posies on your nightstand in those cold winter months.  If you made the Coffee Filter Wreath from last week, you should have enough left to make a few of these pretty posies!

To begin our flowers, we will need to dye our coffee filters. The trick with getting these to look like real flowers is to divide the filters into three different bowls with three different shades of dye.

Pour a 1/2 cup of hot water into each dish, two tablespoons of vinegar, and ten drops of food coloring your first bowl. In the next bowl add the hot water and vinegar, but add only eight drops of food coloring. In the last bowl, we will be doing the same thing again, but only six drops of food coloring. Submerge fifteen coffee filters into each bowl and wait ten to fifteen minutes.

I used the Betty Crocker pink neon food coloring for this project (leftover from our marbled egg dying from this past year) so these only required about five minutes in the bowls.  Just keep half an eye on them until you reach the desired color that you are going for.

Once the coffee filters are done, you need to spread them out on an old towel and let them dry.  Ignore comments from your husband like, “Yum, yum! Coffee filters for dinner?” or, “Oh, wow! ANOTHER craft project?”

You are on the fast track to being another Martha Stewart even though the house looks like a bomb exploded and it WILL be coffee filters for dinner tonight. You can’t be good at everything.

If you want to speed up the process a bit, you can blow dry these coffee filters. Again, ignore your husband when he busts in on you hunched over with coffee filters blowing around the bathroom as you blow dry them. Just keep thinking,

“Martha would totally do this…or,ahem, she has PEOPLE who would totally do this. Totally.”

Grab some floral tape and floral wire from your craft supplies (or over in the floral section of the craft supply store. Cut the wire to the length that you desire and twist and wrap the floral wire with the floral tape until the wire is covered. You can also cover a wooden skewer with floral wire if you want a flower that stands straight up. I prefer the wire because you can bend it a bit and make the flowers a little more droopy so they look a little more natural.

Here is a handy chart for what we are going for with these. You need two of the darkest coffee filters cut like this for the center of the flower, two coffee filters in the medium dye for the middle of your flower, and just one coffee filter cut like this for the outer part of the flower.

To make the center, fold your coffee filter in half, in half again, in half again, and then in half again (four folds). Take your scissors and cut it as pictured above. Repeat with another filter in the same shade.

To make the middle of your flower, fold your coffee filter in half, in half again, in half again (three folds). Take your scissors and cut it as pictured above (but better than me since I am not the brightest with my cutting). Repeat with another filter in the same shade.

To make the outside of your flower, fold your coffee filter in half and then in half again (two folds). Take your scissors and cut a scalloped edge to your flower. You just need one of these.

Stack your flowers (still folded) and then trim the tiniest little end off of the bottom of them. This will create a small hole so that we can insert the wire into the center of it.

Slip the first filter over your wire twist it at the base, and then wrap a little floral tape around it to hold it all in place. Repeat with the next dark filter, than the each medium filter, and finish with the exterior of your flower. Finish the flower with a little more floral tape to secure everything in place.

Behold your posy! Isn’t she pretty? Make as many as you like for a fun addition to any room. I saved a stack of coffee filters and plan to make this pretty flowers to adorn my daughter’s birthday presents this year.

These posies have found a home on my daughter’s nightstand in her new big girl room. I found a short glass vase for $3.99 at Meijer Supermarket that was just the perfect size to hold three of these coffee filter flowers.  I think these would make such a fun birthday centerpiece addition though with hanging tissue paper pom poms in the same shades for a birthday party.

Right next to those flowers is this handmade lampshade that I made. I will show you how I did that last week. It is another fun, easy, and inexpensive craft that would be a cute addition to any room.

What craft projects have you been working on? Did you ever make coffee filter flowers when you were a kid?  Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

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Incredible Melted Ice Cream Cake with Chocolate Marshmallow Ganache

Monday, July 25th, 2011

As with all traditions in our family, it started as something simple and became something special. Last year I let my kids pick their own birthday cakes for their special days from my bookshelf of cookbooks.

Since last year, my dessert cookbooks have since become bent and worn, from bookmarking and thumbing through pictures of cakes just for them. When the kids are bored, they will run over to that shelf, pull down all the cookbooks and reminensce about what they might choose for their next birthday…as early as ten months down the road. Discussions and negotiations are made when they select the same recipe and the cookbooks return to the shelf until another rainy day of planning.

Ethan had this Melted Ice Cream Cake marked several times since his last birthday. It was this or the biscotti recipe that he bookmarked for me.

Biscotti is not really a birthday cake, sweetie,” I told him as he handed me his bookmarked cookbook.

“Well, it should be. It is delicious,” he replied.

Did I even know what biscotti was until just a few years ago? I can’t say that I did.  I fear for his wife someday.

I also had never heard of a melted ice cream cake before, but the concept is a simple one. Simply use a cake mix and replace the liquid that it directs on the box with a good quality ice cream and your eggs.  Not only is this one an easy cake to create, it can be made into a brand new flavor with a different ice cream flavor or a different cake mix. The possibilities are truly endless with this cake and the results are surprisingly delicious.

The most important thing with this cake is to not cook it too long, or it can become dried out and will lack the moistness that you want in it. Smothered in a homemade chocolate marshmallow ganache, this cake takes ice cream and cake to a whole new level.

The best part? Melted ice cream is actually encouraged. With a July birthday, that is one feat that is easy to pull off!

Recipe:

Incredible Melted Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix

2 cups (or 1 pint) good quality melted ice cream, your choice of flavor.

{Cookbook author note: The author states that it is important to use a good quality ice cream because the cheaper ice cream has more air in it, which will not equal the two cups of liquid you need for this cake. If you use a cheaper brand, melt it and then measure to create the two cups of liquid needed for this one! }

3 large eggs

Chocolate Marshmallow Ganache

For the frosting:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

6 large marshmallows

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a Bundt pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside. Place the cake mix, melted ice cream, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend  for three minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for 38-42 minutes (mine took just 38). Remove and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the Bundt pan and allow to to cool for 30 more minutes. Frost the cake once cooled with the Chocolate Marshmallow Ganache.

For the Chocolate Marshmallow Ganache: Sift the sugar and cocoa powder together in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place the marshmallows, butter, and milk in a medium-size heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir until the marshmallows are melted, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the confectioners’ sugar & cocoa mixture over the marshmallow mixture. Ad the vanilla and stir until the frosting is smooth and satiny. Use at once to top the ice cream cake. I was able to pour this right over the cake, and it will harden as it cools.

Prep Time: 5-7 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 16

Recipe Source: The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn

Looking for more cake ideas? Check out our Perfectly Pink Barbie Birthday CakeDarn Good Chocolate Cake, Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake, & Blueberry Muffin Cake for just a sampling of the cakes we love around here!

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding
8 Oreo cookie sandwiches (approximately 1 cup) (I use the off-brand available at Aldi)
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

Pour fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup whipped topping. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies. Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; top with half the whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining whipped topping. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet. Freeze (at least) four hours.

Amy’s Notes- One year I had difficulty with the tin foil sticking to my cake so this year I prepared the cake in a cupcake tote container with a lid and that worked much better than wrapping in tin foil and was easier to stack with other items in our freezer.