Couple Things…

We are right smack in the middle of BIRTHDAY WEEK! Z’s birthday was yesterday, my husband’s is tomorrow, and mine is Tuesday. Oh, and of course today is Halloween so there’s LOTS OF FUN AND CAKE happening in our house this week (this week every year!). Anyway, so I’ve been super busy, slightly frantic, and happy my birthday closes out birthday week so I can truly enjoy it. Anyway, I was making and eating too much cake to blog much this week but I have some fun things planned for next week 😉


I had my final craft class Tuesday night. I had the same classroom each time and always wanted to swipe this framed quote so I took a photo of it instead.

I went in to Z’s school on her birthday to help. Isn’t nursery school snack-time adorable?

A close-up of the pumpkin cupcakes we made for Z’s birthday/Halloween party at school.

Our new trend is for Z to hand out in the back of my SUV while I get Baby M settled in the car. She likes to hang out and relax back there, by the way she was there for about a minute and a half.

I asked Z what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and she said “pink.”

My husband found 1 bag of my favorite candy (I’m not big on candy, I like these and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) and bought it. My postpartum diet is such a bust this week.


Have a good weekend and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


How to Throw Your Toddler a Character Themed Birthday Without Too Many Characters, Part ii


So last week I told you about the invitations and party hats for Z’s birthday party and today I thought I’d share the little cupcakes I made for the party. We had her party at a local dance studio where they have all sorts of fun games, songs, and activities for the kids to do. It’s one of those parties where all you do is show up with your cake and favor bags and the place does everything else (a parents’ dream!). So, I knew I could focus my attention on making some adorable Minnie Bowtique cupcakes because there wasn’t much else for me to do. Instead of attempting to draw Minnie’s face on each cupcake I decided we’d focus on her head, ears, and of course the start of the show – the bow. Here’s how I made them:


I used the Trader Joe’s vanilla cake mix and baked the cupcakes in pink polka dot liners. I made buttercream frosting from scratch and once frosted, I used crushed oreos to coat the top to make Minnie’s head. I put the oreos (chocolate cookies only!) in a baggie in small batches and used a rolling pin to crush. Then just rolled the frosted tops in the cookies. Ps. It was surprisingly easy to scrape off the white center of the oreo and it often came off in one piece. My husband made some quadruple stuffed oreos so they didn’t go to waste. =)


For the bows, I printed out Minnie’s bow and put it on a baking sheet covered in wax paper. I then piped pink melted chocolate into the shape of the bow and let set in the fridge for a few hours.


Then I put them all together using mini oreos for Minnie’s ears. *Note – the weight of the crushed oreos on the frosting made them sag a little so I suggest popping them right into the fridge once decorated to harden up. I think they came out pretty cute…


…and they tasted “yummy in my tummy” as Z told me. 😉


Gift Wrap & Gift Tags Class – Sign Up Now!

The final class in my fall series is next Tuesday evening – SIGN UP TODAY!


Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailYou spend so much time and energy finding just the right gifts for the holiday season, it’s only right to wrap them in something equally personal. You’ll be delighted with how fun, easy and satisfying it is to make your own gift wrap and gift tags. We will focus on holiday-themed paper and tags, but once you learn the process, you’ll be able to continue the fun at home for any occasion. A $10 materials fee is payable to instructor at class.

Baked Kale and Ricotta Dip


I was flipping through the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living late last week and came across a quick one-page recipe for an alternative to spinach artichoke dip. Since it’s fall and football season and we’re always looking for snacks to enjoy while we watch games on Sunday afternoon, I immediately tore out the page to save. The recipe called for just 2 main ingredients – ricotta cheese and a leafy green. Since we had a bunch of kale in the fridge from our CSA that week we decided to make it for Sunday’s game-watching. I was totally surprised at not only how easy this was to put together but also how delicious it turned out. *Warning, I didn’t chop the kale quite enough and some bites were tricky to eat. I suggest chopping the kale (or whatever green you choose) smaller than you think is appropriate.


I sauteed the kale first to cook it down and then chopped even more.


Mix with ricotta cheese (the ratio is 1C ricotta to 1C chopped green) and season with salt and pepper. I then sprinkled with a little grated Parmesan cheese.


Bake for about 12 minutes at 425 until the edges start to brown. Serve with toasted bread and ENJOY!

How to Throw Your Toddler a Character Themed Birthday Without Too Many Characters

Z is about to turn 3! And with that we’re throwing her first friends-only birthday party. We’ve been talking about it daily for MONTHS – MONTHS people! To say the very least, she is so very excited and wants to be involved in every aspect of planning. As I always say, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree… Anyway, the past 2 years I’ve gotten away with coming up with the theme for her birthday party but not this year. From the start of birthday party discussions (that started in July) she knew she wanted a Minnie Bow-tique birthday party (in case you’re not familiar, on the show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Minnie Mouse owns a shop called Minnie’s Bow-tique where she sells hair bows). So! I dove right in to plan a Minnie Bow-tique party without everything being covered in Minnie Mouse’s face (no offense Minnie). Here are a couple details (more to come post-party):


Simple invites this year. I used Photoshop and typed the lyrics to the Minnie Bow-tique theme song and drew a simple Minnie Mouse shape. Once printed I used foam sheets and cut out bows to make the front a little 3D. I did a hand stamped back to the invite and wrote in the details of the party.


One must on Z’s birthday party list has been party hats.


For these, I just ordered black polka dot hats from amazon. I cut out circles from black construction paper and taped them on the sides of each hat to create Minnie ears.


Then I used the same foam sheets to make bows. No free-hand drawing here, I traced a downloaded “official” Minnie Bow-tique bow to get the cartoon-y shape just right.


Voila – party hats that aren’t too character-y but still look like the Minnie Bow-tique theme. More to come next week!

What Z Said, Part III


I haven’t done one of these in a while but she’s getting more hilarious by the minute so I thought I’d put together a list of my fave things Z is saying right now and share with you!

The very first thing she says to me most mornings when she gets up… “Mummy, what we doing and what I wearing?” She is definitely my daughter.

If you even have one pinky toe in her way she will say to you “‘Scuse me! Commin’ through!” At least she’s polite…

Ever the drama queen, if she feels stuck somewhere (and most of the time it’s faux-stuck) she’ll scream “Mommy! Get me out-ta here!!!!”

Every time we pass a Dunkin Donuts she will tell me “My Daddy take me there. I get a donut and he get a coffee.” Usually he gets a donut too but I guess she doesn’t even notice that.

If she wants to be carried she simply raises her arms and says “uppies” which is so sweet and babyish and I hope she never stops asking for uppies.


In case you missed them: The original What Z Said and What Z Said, Part II


Couple Things…


Monkey has a new seat.

We went to a haunted maze with friends but her favorite part was trying on the hats at the little store…

Making herself at home while we lunch at Starbucks.

New fall snack: brie on Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps.

Z and I made an old school fall craft during one of M’s naps this week – iron leaves between 2 pieces of wax paper and hang in a window.

Tummy time champ!

Ps. TA-DAAA – the blog has a new look, do you like?!! Have a great weekend everyone! If you live local, the Head of the Charles is this weekend, always fun!

Handmade Card Class – Sign Up Now!

My Handmade Card Class is next Tuesday evening – SIGN UP TODAY!


In May, one of Jess’s handmade cards appeared in Martha Stewart Living magazine, so we are not fooling around when we say that she is a local gem. Come join her for an evening of handmade fun. In time for the holidays, learn to create cards that express your creativity by using rubber stamps, embossing powder, paper punches and more. Once you learn how simple and pleasurable it is to make your own cards, you’ll never again settle for store-bought. We will make at least two cards each. A $10 materials fee is payable to instructor at class.

For a full listing of all the classes I’m teaching this fall see this post.

Pappa Al Pomodoro – Bread Soup


I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa over the weekend where everything she made had bread as the main ingredient. One recipe was this soup (Pappa Al Pomodoro) and I thought, soup with bread IN it? That sounds pretty awesome, so we made it for dinner on Sunday. We also have tons of tomatoes and carrots to use from our CSA to use up so I’m on the hunt for tomato carrot recipes. I thought the soup was delish and pretty different, so I thought I’d share with you.


You cook the carrots, onions, fennel and garlic then add the bread before you add any liquid.


We peeled our fresh tomatos instead of using canned (as we did here).


We also had some fresh basil growing in our garden still that we used in the recipe.


At the end you whisk the soup to break up the bread cubes and add a little parmesean cheese.


It’s really quite good, enjoy!

No Carve Jack O’Lantern


If you’re like us, you wait until Halloween to carve your pumpkin into a Jack O’Lantern. Maybe it’s tradition but it’s also because the second you carve that pumpkin is starts to rot and doesn’t last too long (especially because it always seems to be rainy around Halloween too, right?). Well, this year – after a very persistent toddler kept telling me we needed to, we made our pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns weeks before Halloween! I used this great vinyl adhesive paper in black to create the appearance of a Jack O’Lantern and they came out pretty cute. Or should I say SPOOKY!


Not much of a tutorial here – just draw your shape on the back of the black vinyl, cut it out, and stick on your pumpkin! It’s so easy your toddler can make one with her safety scissors.


Plus the vinyl is removable so you can peel it off right before Halloween to properly carve your pumpkin.


Don’t you love how Z’s turned out?