#Valentine’s Day Tea

As you can probably tell by my posts, I love parties. There is nothing better than spending time with loved ones. Add in some delicious food & beautiful decorations and you have a perfect day! A very close family friend hosted an absolute gorgeous garden Valentine’s tea party this past weekend for the littles in our circle. Nothing like seeing our sweet kiddos all dressed up & sipping their pink lemonade out of fancy tea cups. Of course I think some of the beautiful, sophisticated decor was lost on them since all of the kiddos ended up playing in the ditch (so funny how things like that always make them happiest), but as parents we can appreciate the pretty event & enjoy sharing “grown-up” things with them. Anyways, on to the pictures…

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Each table was beautifully decorated and had its own tea pot & selection of kid-approved lunch snacks.

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There was a table set up for the kids to decorate their own bags for the Valentines exchange. *Side note: We had this party right after Valentine’s Day so everything was at least half off! Score!

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Arts & crafts are a good idea for every party!

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Destiny made heart crayons for her valentines. Click here for a link to that idea.

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Photo booths are the perfect way to get a great shot to remember the event.  A nice back drop & a few simple props are all you need. Kids are more likely to do a photo shoot when they get to play dress-up! Who wouldn’t be?

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Destiny & I ❤

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Such a cutie!

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L O V E this!

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Dessert table… cause isn’t this the best part of any party? lol

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Notice those little chocolate pinwheels… cut up a few Little Debbie’s for a quick & easy dessert!

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Rice crispy treats are always an easy crowd-pleaser & they can easily be transformed to fit any theme. A heart shaped cookie cutter, melted chocolate, & pink frosting gave these a sophisticated look.

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Marshmallow pops are super easy to make. Grab some paper straws from your local Target & sprinkles to match your theme, and you have an easy yet beautiful dessert to brighten any table. I talked about these before here.

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Getting a group shot is always a challenge, but as you can tell these kiddos had a blast!

Hoped you enjoyed this party idea as much as I did, and I hope you & your loved ones had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!! ❤

 

#Valentine’s Day 2015

Happy-Valentines-Day

from my family to yours!

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We woke up this morning to find that the Valentine fairy (aka me) had delivered some goodies to her favorite valentines!

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Then I made a very simple breakfast. I planned on getting a little more creative, but it was a late night for me & my hubby being date night & all. A few drops of red food coloring & some sprinkles added a bit of Valentine’s Day flair to a can of Pillsbury cinnamon buns, festive & easy, perfect for a tired mommy. And no Valentine’s Day breakfast is complete without some strawberry milk.

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I made a special dinner for my brother, dad, bestfriend, Liz, grandma, & the girls! My mom & hubby had to work so we had to party without them. The stuffed chicken breasts (I’ll be sharing that recipe soon), baked ziti, garlic knots, & fresh green beans were a big hit! Add some hard apple ciders, cherry cheesecake, a heart chocolate chip cookie cake, & dessert kabobs (click here for that recipe on Liz’s blog Got Cache) and you have the perfect family Valentine’s Day dinner party covered!

So that was our Valentine’s Day… I hope you had a wonderful day with your loved ones!!

 

 

#Mema’s Famous Carrot Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day! First of all let me apologize for not getting to as many Valentine’s crafts & recipes as I’d hoped. If you like me, you are a full-time mom & work as well, you know how hectic life can get. Add a sick kid, Valentine’s day parties at school, helping your child make valentines for their classmates, a much-needed date night, & a candy gram fundraiser to your already busy everyday life & you just can’t fit everything you planned in. I will be doing a Valentine’s Day post later today, but while I’m waiting for my turn in the shower (one bathroom with 4 people in the household = nightmare), I thought I’d share one of my absolute favorite desserts of all time! My Mema is famous for her carrot cake! Everyone wants her to make one for their birthday! Everyone wants seconds and will fight over the last slice if necessary! It’s just that damn good (Excuse the language, but the situation called for it!). If you’ve read my blog before, you know that my love hates veggies & most fruits. Getting him to eat anything remotely healthy is a chore, more like a puzzle to be solved. I’ve started finding ways around it like pureeing veggies before putting them into recipes. Having said that, when we first started dating, I assumed carrot cake would be a definite no for him, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! It has a full pound of carrots in there, but it is so good that even he can’t get enough! I always make my family little “I love you” baskets full of their favorite candies as well as non-food treats like Itunes cards, nail polish (obviously only for the girls), a movie they’ve been wanting, etc, but this year I decided to make my hubby one of the coveted carrot cakes to have all to himself! Home-made gifts are always the best anyways!

IMG_2611[1]Beautiful huh?! Now on to the recipe…

Mema’s Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 lb. carrots (peeled & grated)

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease 3 round cake pans
  • Line cake pan bottoms with wax paper then grease the bottoms again
  • Sugar the greased pans
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  • In your large mixing bowl, mix oil & sugar
  • Add eggs
  • Slowly add dry ingredients, a little bit at a time, with the mixer still going
  • Add your grated carrots & mix until they are distributed nicely
  • Divide evenly into your 3 waiting cake pans
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Cool for 10 minutes in the pan
  • Carefully flip your cakes on to cooling racks
  • Remove the wax paper & allow to cool completely

While those are cooling, it’s time to make the frosting…

Cream Cheese Frosting with Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1 box of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional 1/4 cup for decorating the top)

Steps:

  • Whip all frosting ingredients minus the nuts in a small mixing bowl
  • Slowly add in your pecans
  • Frost between layers & on top of your cake
  • Add those extra chopped nuts on the top

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Mine was for Valentine’s Day so I used a large heart cookie cutter to add a pecan heart to the top of mine to make it extra fancy. This cake is gorgeous to look at, super moist, & just a confectionery delight but was completely made & assembled in about an hour, a great cake for both experienced & beginner bakers! Believe me your family or whoever you make it for will be completely impressed by your culinary skills! Now to let you in on this weird little family secret to make this cake even more delicious… make it ahead of time, completely assembled, & freeze it until 30 minutes before you are ready to serve. I’m not sure what scientific process happens to that carrot cake in the freezer but it is pure magic. If and I mean a big IF there happens to be any leftover cake, I eat it straight out of the freezer! So say you read this and are like “I’ve tried carrot cake before, but it isn’t my thing,” then you didn’t have my Mema’s carrot cake! I’m so spoiled that I can’t even look at store-bought or restaurant carrot cake; it just isn’t the real deal & should be eliminated from human consumption from now on! Try this recipe! Let me know what you think! If my directions weren’t clear or if you have any questions, I’m here to help! Ok time to get ready to head to my dad’s & cook dinner for the 7  family member that were able to get off today My hubby has to work ;( but we did have a very nice date-night last night!

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Love, love, love him!! ❤

 

#Heart Crayons

IMG_2587[1]Today I want to share one of our favorite Valentine’s Day crafts: Heart Crayons. These are a kid-friendly, easy craft that would be perfect for your kiddos to pass out to their schoolmates at their school valentines exchange or party! First I’ll tell you how to make them & then share some ways to adorable ways gift them that I’ve found on (you guessed it) Pinterest.

Supplies:

  • Silicone heart-shaped molds (These are sold places like Target or Walmart but are often a seasonal item. If you can’t find them in your area, lots are available for purchase online.)
  • Lots & lots & lots of crayons (Recently we’ve added glitter & metallic crayons to the mix for very cool effects.)
  • A baking sheet (foil-lined in case they splatter)

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees
  • Remove wrappers from crayons (This is the most time-consuming part so utilize those little helpers!)
  • Break crayons into little pieces.
  • Fill the silicone heart molds up about 3/4 of the way up with your crayon pieces (either completely multicolored or pick different shades of the same color… we’ve done both & they are equally awesome)
  • Put your filled mold on your foil-lined baking tray & place in oven
  • Bake your crayons for 15 minutes
  • Carefully take them out of the oven. (The wax will be fluid, & you don’t want to slush it around too much.)
  • Let cool completely. (After the baking sheet is cool, you can place it in a fridge or freezer to speed up the process.)

Pretty simple right, but check out the results…

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Now for ways to make these adorable heart crayons into valentines for your kiddos to pass out…

heart crayon valentine idea

“Color your heart out Valentine!” from a cute blog I recently discovered, The Nerd’s Wife… click here to visit that post or to download the printable cards for free!

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“Happy Valentine’s Day for ‘crayon’ out loud!” This is another cute idea I found on Pinterest… It was on several sites so I’m not sure where it originally came from.

colorful friend valentine

“You make my world so very colorful, friend!” from The Brown-Bag Teacher blog… click here to see the post & snag a printable version!

So many adorable options to chose from… if all else fails, stick them in a cute little cellophane Valentine goodie bag! Hope you are having a colorful day! Gotta go watch outside to watch the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch! Bye for now!

 

#Hershey’s Kisses Valentine Mice

With my youngest finally over her little bug, it’s finally time for those Valentine’s Day crafts I’ve been promising! First up Valentine Mice made with one of my personal favorites, Hershey’s Kisses! (I visited this subject before in my Merry Kissmas blog post.) I found this idea on Pinterest a while back but hadn’t had the pleasure of creating these adorable chocolatey creatures until now! They are a super easy, kid friendly craft! I had a very adorable mouse-making assistant today, Destiny, my 8 year-old! So let’s get started…

Hershey’s Kisses Valentine Mice

Supplies:

  • Valentine’s Hershey kisses (grab the big bag so you have some extra to fill those candy dishes)
  • small googly eyes (for some reason we only had multicolor ones but what the who)
  • foam hearts about an inch in size (we used a package of glittery pink & red table scatter we found at the Dollar Tree)
  • double sided mounting tape
  • glue dots
  • scissors
  • if you wish, thin ribbon or yarn for a tail (we opted to skip this step & leave the handy already included “Hershey” tails lol

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Steps:

  • remove Hershey “tag” from one Kiss
  • use the mounting tape to adhere heart “ears” to the bottom of the Kiss
  • use another small piece of mounting tape to put another tagged Kiss to the back of the heart “ears”
  • attach a pair of googly eyes to your mouse’s face

Ok I feel like I butchered these directions… I mean I just looked at a picture & winged it so maybe that’s how you work too so check out these pictures of our finished product & hopefully my ramblings will make sense!

IMG_2598[1]After making these I felt like they were missing something, maybe attaching a tiny red or pink pompom nose. I looked all over the house, but unfortunately we are pompomless (made up crafting word of the day… it’s gonna catch on, I swear!) so we’ll leave them like this. They would make an adorable valentine for your kids’ to pass out to classmates! Just attach them to a cute little “cheese” card with a sayings like “Mice to know you!” or “You are so mice!” It might sound a little cheesy to you (See what I did there?), but they are adorable & I’m not the only one who thinks so. Click here for proof! lol Mine however are chilling on my living room table because what better than cute little mice to decorate with  & we already made little goody bags for Destiny’s class. Give these a try & let me know what you think! I’d love some feedback & maybe some pictures! I’ll bet they’ll turn out totally “mice”!! Get it? Mice instead of nice! I thought it was funny, but I do get weirdly silly when I’m overly tired! Good night lovelies!

#Valentine’s Puppy Chow

Hey, guys! We started February out with my youngest starting to run a 102 fever during her field trip today! Yay! So instead of the Valentine’s Day craft project I originally had planned to make & share today (don’t worry we’ll revisit that one shortly), I decided to go with an easy family favorite: Chex’s Muddy Buddies also known as Puppy Chow in this household. This is a great, inexpensive, quick, & easy recipe perfect for any occasion! Not only is it a perfect thing to bring to events (I’ve mentioned before that I can’t be invited anywhere without bringing something lol) like the Puppy Bowl party we went to this weekend (if the party’s host Got Cache doesn’t share it soon, I’ll be bringing that adorable idea to you very soon), it makes a perfectly sweet gift in a mason jar or festive tin. Ok that was not a grammatically correct sentence in any way, but anywho… While I’ve made it tons of times & know the recipe by heart, I double checked the Chex website to make sure I quote it perfectly, and oh my goodness, Chex Party Mix & Muddy Buddies have exploded into so many cool flavors, styles, & varieties! Definitely going to revisit that recipe treasure trove again soon! Can you say endless possibilities?? Check some of them out by clicking here! Gosh I’m scattered tonight… must stay on point! The traditional Muddy Buddy recipe is simple, only 6 ingredients necessary, most of which you probably have on hand. Now if you haven’t noticed, I love holidays & enjoy tailoring recipes to fit the occasion so we’ll add one more thing to … so without further ado…

♥ Valentine’s Puppy Chow ♥

 

♥ Ingredients:

  1. 9 cups Chex cereal (the recipe doesn’t specify a variety, but I use Rice Chex)
  2. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  3. 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  4. 1/4 cup butter or margarine (normally I use margarine for cooking, but I’ve made this recipe with both options & definitely would go with the butter)
  5. 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  6. 1  1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  7. Valentine’s sprinkles &/or pink or red colored sugar

♥ Steps:

  1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
  2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.
  4. Pour into a 2-gallon Ziploc bag.
  5. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated.
  6. Spread on waxed paper & add those festive sprinkles.
  7. Let cool then store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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So in less than 30 minutes including cooling time, you have a delicious snack perfect for a Valentine’s Day party, sweet gift for a loved one, or a special lunch box treat for the littlest valentines on your list! So that’s my Valentine’s idea of the day… hope you liked it! I’d like to challenge you to think beyond your significant other & kids this year! Remember to show everyone you care about a little extra love this Valentine’s Day! Grab a couple of your brother’s favorite candies & put them in a cute gift bag! Make your coworkers some brownies! Bring your mom some flowers or have them delivered if you live too far away! Let’s spread the love and remember, when in doubt, chocolate always works!

#Valentine’s Day Give-away

Hey guys! Sorry that you haven’t heard from me as much lately! With Valentine’s Day (another one of my favorite holidays) coming up in a few short weeks, that is about to change! I’ve been doing research aka looking on Pinterest for some new ideas & recipes and will be sharing them with you soon along with some of my old favorites! Not only is Valentine’s a special time to remind your significant other how much you love them, it’s also a good time to spend some extra crafting & baking time with your little Valentines! The girls & I always make beautiful heart sugar cookies, but this year I plan to throw some new desserts into the mix! Anyways, while you wait for all the Valentine’s Day fun to begin, let’s get ready for the big day with a give-away! Interested in a box full of Valentine’s Day goodies? Entering is easy… just comment below & tell me one way you show your loved ones how much they mean to you this time of year or even a link to a favorite Valentine’s Day recipe or craft (always looking for new ideas for my family)! On February 1st, I will pick a random winner from the commenters (is that even a word?) & request the winner’s mailing address at that time! Good luck! I can’t wait to see all your good ideas!

valentine's day sugar cookies

Here are some of those Valentine’s Day sugar cookies I was telling you about… I shared the recipe in my Boo-tiful Sugar Cookies post.