Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day

So Friday was a little frigid. I was going to go check out what was going on with the Extreme Home Makeover house. But I decided to stay inside. However, there are benefits to having a tv crew on your street. (I can guarantee our streets would never have been swept on a normal day.)

The boys really frolicked.

Look how much fun they are having.



And I got to wear my new snow boots, which are really rain boots that offer no insulation from the snow. But they sure are cute.
I think my house weathered the storm well.
And just for a reference of how much snow/ice we got....these are the icicles on my neighbor's house. I sure don't want to stand under one when it begins to melt.


As far as the Extreme home being built on my street, I talked to security yesterday and he said they were about a day and half behind but he was sure they would catch up. I am going to try to go see the progress with my neighbors today. Tommy is just not that into it, so I am sure the teenage girls and I will have a blast. I will let you guys know when I meet Ty. I think we will be bff.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Excitement in my World & Parties around the Web

There has been lots of excitement in my world today -- first, the snow. And I found out they are building an Extreme Home Makeover house literally down the block from me.

This is as close as I could get (well, I actually got to that little tent before security asked me to leave. However, I think security and I are going to be bff. I am going to bring him some hot chocolate later. ; ) Okay, maybe not. But that would be nice of me.)


I don't know why this didn't occur to me before today that this was going on. I am a complete moron...yesterday I called Tommy at lunch and was like "there is something weird going on down the street. It is completely blocked off, huge trucks are lining the road, police are everywhere, camera crews are out." Tommy convinced me there was not a murder. (No worries, where I live is safe---it would have most likely been a domestic assault.) He was pretty sure they were just using our block as a staging area for the pending snow storm. Somehow I bought this as a plausible explanation.


(Truth be told, I actually only noticed all of the commotion because we live close to the University of Tulsa and there has been this building that Tommy and I have been trying to figure out what it is for months. They keep remodeling the outside and it has no windows. A strip club had been ruled out because we live way too close to a church and it had a family name on the outside. Well, finally yesterday they put up a banner over the entrance saying the name of the business and that they make dental orthotics. It really only hit me about five minutes ago that they probably put up the banner because they are letting the makeover crew park there. Wow, I am just really not connecting the dots. I may need to start doing brain games.)

And I really have no segue from that into this area of my post, so consider this like a new chapter. Well, more like a new book....since chapters usually have something to do with the chapter before.

But as I was perusing the web today, I came across some really cute party ideas. This one comes from Twig and Thistle's blog. (Really cute blog, you guys need to check it out.) She found the most adorable invitations for a Shark Week party from the blog of Silverbox Creative Studio. Her invites are so clever and her blog is filled with great ideas. This cracked me up too -it was mentioned in Twig & Thistle's blog post that they served Bloody Mary's at the party. Ha! The cupcakes are by Martha - of course!

Also, I don't know if you have ever been to the blog of Amy Atlas but she does amazing designs of all kinds. Today she featured her son's airplane themed birthday party and I love it. It is so clean and simple. Be sure to go to her blog to see the full post because there are so many really great ideas.
I especially loved this idea for the place mats -- just scrapbook paper. So simple but it makes a great table setting.

I will post pics when I meet Ty Pennington. Ha! : )

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tonight I bring you...

Seriously, I have gone through every single blog I subscribe to (which is ALOT) and have really nothing of interest for you. So....I will fill you in on my dinner. Exciting. I know.


The good news is I have successfully gone through an entire month and have not broken my New Year's resolutions. (One of which was cooking at least one homemade meal a month. I am just a regular Suzy Homemaker here.) Now I have not exactly made the entire meal all at once. I have made a homemade side item here, an actual main dish there and threw in a dessert here and there (I am totally counting Betty Crocker as "homemade." It took effort, so it counts.) But it's my resolution and my blog, so I am going to say I have firmly stuck to my resolutions.

Tonight I made my first main dish. Cheesey Chicken Muffins from Living Locurto.
They were really good and got rave reviews from the judges my husband. As far as easiness goes, I was able to create them. So I will give it an A. I am not 100% proficient in the kitchen, so I am sure this would take the rest of the world only minutes to prep...I think it took me about 30. (However, I was also trying to work on a side dish and dessert at the same time. I was VERY ambitious tonight. And hungry. Don't worry, these were dishes of minimal effort - one was steamed cauliflower, which I had to google how to steam fresh cauliflower. Yes, I told you, I am not proficient in the kitchen. In case you were wondering, my dessert was boxed lemon squares. Exciting, I know.)

Anyway, I would definitely recommend trying this. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

•1 can Pillsbury dough (I used the kind that you have to cut- you can use Crescent Rolls or Puff Pastry as well)
•1-2 cups Shredded Chicken (I used an already cooked rotisserie chicken)
•3/4 cup Cream Cheese
•1 tablespoon Dried or Fresh Chopped Onion (optional)
•1/2 Tablespoon Finely Diced Red Pepper
•2 Tablespoons Milk
•1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
•Salt & Pepper to Taste
•1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
3.Cut dough into squares and place in muffin tin that has been covered with cooking spray.
4.Put a large spoonful of mixture inside and seal by twisting the top shut.
5.Spray or brush with butter sprinkle parmesan cheese and thyme on top.
6.Bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Diaper Cake How-To

My friend Emily was telling me about a shower she threw this past weekend and how she was really impressed with herself. She made her first diaper cake and said it was really easy and super cute. You know I am all about easy. (I am also all about outsourcing, but more about that later.) Unfortunately, Emily didn't take any pictures to share. (How could she do this to me?!)

But she did say she found a great video that shows how to make the cakes without using rubberbands. I watched the video and I really think I can do this.




Now if this seems like a little too much work, (you will probably rethink that after you see the price on these diaper cakes) you can always buy them online at Etsy.

I especially love this one from Etsy seller Bouncin' Baby Cakes.



And this one from Bayou Baby Cakes is a steal for only $45.


And if cakes aren't your thing, you can always get cupcakes from mmtncrfts' etsy shop. These are made from baby socks, a diaper and a washcloth. So cute!
And if you aren't really a cake lover, you could always try "lollipops" from The Pink Camellia.
I think it is time for a craft. Hmmm...I may have a few snow days to accomplish this.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More easy party ideas

You guys know I love a party. Love them. So I want to share the love.

I came across this cute backdrop recently on the Twitter feed of My Sweet & Saucy. It is a such a statement and all it is made of is ribbon and scrapbook paper. Huge impact, really cheap.

I also LOVE dessert stands and presentation. Today on Hostess with the Mostess she has the easiest dessert stand.
These are all the supplies you need. So simple!


Okay, now you guys, go out and have a party and let me know what you do. I would LOVE to see your projects!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Super Mario World

Tommy and I recently got the new Super Mario for Wii. It brings you back just like Gen X radio. Love it. And as a confession, I have always thought it would be fun if someone created a "live" Super Mario World. Where you run through it, hit little boxes and you get some kind of super power. Can someone make that happen?

Anyway, yesterday on Cake Wrecks she featured some of the coolest Mario cakes. So I thought I would go find some of my own. Well, there is a reason why she just featured a handful. Apparently, people aren't buying many Mario cakes.

However, I did find this cute wedding cake on One Inch Punch.

And you know I love a cupcake. These were featured on the Juicy blog.
Don't you just want to go play the game after seeing this cake from Shock Mansion?

And this one featured on Cake Wrecks is my favorite.


Just so you know, I get unlimited one-ups for this post.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Giveaway

Remember my friend Caroline (well, virtual friend - we have never actually met in person, but I know we would get along splendidly. She would be the creative one. I would be the....hmm....talkative one?) from Multiple Blesssings? I have posted about her here, here, here and here.

Well, as I have mentioned she is now licensing her designs and they are sooooo super cute. I am in love with these clips! Lucky for all of us Caroline is giving away these clips and these tea towels.



All you have to do is go to Today's Creative Blog and leave a comment. You have until tomorrow night at 7 (CST). And if you win, you totally owe me. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meet my new niece Olivia

My sister-in-law, Tori, had a baby two weeks ago. I actually haven't met her in person, but I can tell already I am going to love her. Hello, she loves pink. We already have so much in common.
And she is VERY advanced. Look at that smile. At less than two weeks old - she must be a baby genius. (Kid's don't smile that early, right? Clearly, not an expert in this area....)
She is just precious and we are going to have so much fun shopping someday. Since there won't be too much of that in Nebraska, she will just have to come visit Aunt KK. I can show her some stuff.
I have already started buying for her. (It is an illness, really. However, I am not ready for help, so interventions will not work on me. Besides, aren't aunts there to spoil you and buy you fun things? Though, I am sure the last thing she needs right now are four books with her name in them.) My sister had this idea to start her on the Olivia Book Collection. I love it.

Next, I will get her the accompanying piglet. I am sure it will be hidden and regifted to her at her 3rd birthday when she actually "gets" what a stuffed animal is. But that's okay. I am apparently a couple years early with most of my gifts. Funny enough, Max is just now LOVING two gifts we got him last Christmas. I am just that good at gift giving, I can predict what will be popular a year from now.



We do get to meet Baby Liv in person in about a month. So I have some more shopping to do....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fancy Schmancy

Because I have a headache tonight and because my friend Aja is so talented, I am going to send you guys over to her blog tonight for some amazing before and afters. She has transformed her guest bathroom and her projects are amazing. And if you haven't gone to visit her blog, you are missing out. She is hilarious. Click here and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Play Date

Yesterday I had the day off and I embarked on a journey that I have never embarked on before - baking cupcakes. From scratch. It was my friend Aja's birthday, we were having a girl's night and my sister and I wanted a project. So, perfect.

This month's Food Network magazine had a whole feature on candy bar cupcakes: York Peppermint Patties, Nestle Crunch Bars, Almond Joys, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfingers and Snickers. I let Aja choose and her fave was Snickers.

Let it be known, the picture below was definitely taken with the help of a food stager.



But before we could start we had to make a trip to Target. (And let's be honest, every day off deserves a trip to Target.) They had a whole little collection of cupcake accessores, including these cute toppers.

Did I mention these cupcakes took us about 7 hours from start to finish? We had a couple of distractions. ; )
I was going to try to be all Pioneer Womanesque and take step-by-step pictures. But there is a reason why only about 100 of you guys read this blog everyday and thousands read hers.
Since I know you guys all come here for recipes, here is everything you need:

For the Cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups chopped salted roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

For the Nougat Frosting:
2 13-ounce jars marshmallow creme (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Pinch of salt

For the Chocolate Frosting:
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make the cupcakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the melted butter and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, the milk and then the remaining flour. Fold in the peanuts but don't overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups, filling each about halfway. Bake until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Make the nougat frosting: Beat the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and salt with a mixer until smooth; set aside. Make the chocolate frosting: Put both chocolates in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50 percent power until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, then continue to microwave until melted, 1 to 2 more minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, milk, butter, vanilla and salt and beat with a mixer until smooth and creamy.

Spread nougat frosting over each cupcake, then top with chocolate frosting, leaving some of the nougat exposed. Garnish with peanuts.


And then we had to play again.

And we had a change of clothes. (Note the new shirt.)

Oh, and we changed locations. We got to see Uncle Tommy.

3 hours later...it was time to ice. This is the "nougat" topping.

Notice how these look NOTHING like the picture. It was my first time, though.


The verdict: I think they were a little too dense and maybe needed to be a little more moist and sweet. And they were SUPER sticky. I did find a blog today, Pardon my Crumbs and here were the notes she made on her blog.

1- Use slightly fewer peanuts than the recipe calls for. Maybe 1 1/2 cups instead of 2 full cups. She said the actual cupcakes had a few too many peanuts in them for her taste.

2- She could only find 7oz. Marshmallow Creme jars at her local grocery store, while the recipe calls for two 13oz. jars. She bought four to equal the amount called for in the recipe, and realized that two jars was more than enough. So keep those notes in mind when you make these beauties.

3- The nougat was a bit hard to work with and the chocolate glaze ended up sliding off the top of the nougat. My thought? Top the cupcakes with the nougat, refrigerate them until the nougat sets, and then top with the chocolate glaze. The chocolate should stay that way.

I 100% concur. But I will take a cupcake making day with my sister and Finley any day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sweetopia

Kim at the TomKat Studio posted the most adorable cookies made by Sweetopia. If I hadn't have been a cake decorating drop out I might have been able to do this too.

But, alas, I was and I will never be able to create woodland forest creatures too cute to eat.


Instead, I will spend tons of money for other people to painstakingly create these.

And it will be worth every penny.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

I am so on this


You know how I am always trying to plan someone's birthday party or baby shower, right? Luckily, I have a few friends and relatives who have no interest in this. (Or at least I tell myself that.) I found this cupcake stand at Polka Dot Birthdays who found it on Imperfectly Beautiful's blog that is completely easy to create and looks great too.
Just cover three different sized boxes with craft paper, make a ribbon belt around your boxes, cut out some initials out and voila.
I will let you know when someone lets me do this for them. I know Megan has a shower for Addie coming up...I am sure I can weasel my way into helping with the decor.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

See my name in lights!

Okay, so maybe not so much my name....

But I have been working very hard (seriously, like nights and weekends) on Habitat's Gala invites, ads and promos. So, when you are driving down the Broken Arrow or 75 and see this sign - just think you guys kind of know someone a little bit famous. (I am still trying to connect those dots, too.)


Lamar was nice enough to donate space on their digital billboards to Habitat to advertise our Gala on March 6th.

Here is a sneak peek at the invite:

And the invite for the patron party:

If you guys are interested in attending, more information can be found on the Tulsa Habitat website here. Tommy and I trying to fill a table as well, so just let me know if you want to sit with us. (Tickets are $100 and $50 from each ticket is tax deductible.) And if you read this and have a business and would like to donate to the auction, I will be your best friend. Forever.

XOXO - Katie

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Flower Art

I am seriously struggling with blog topics (help wanted, please), so the thought came to me to feature floral art. I love flowers and I love seeing them in a different way, so this should be easy. I go to Google Images, put in flower sculpture and this is what I found (from the website ClarkMade.com):

Something is telling me that men would not appreciate this art quite like a woman would. I am just sayin’.




I was thinking a little more like this floral shoe from Julie Mulligan's 1-800-Flowers Blog.

Or Preston Bailey's "pineapple" arrangement.
Or like Jane Carroll's amazing floral creations:


(Yes, that is a floral blow dryer. Seriously cute.)





However, while I was searching, I also came across this (ugh, I didn't get the photo source...sorry!!):



Have you ever seen a cuter cupcake presentation? I need to have a tea party. Or a cupcake party. Or both. Whatev.

Also, I kind of want, must have, need to get these rings made by Aleximo:


I have no idea if I would ever wear it, but seriously it is so cute I may I have to drink tiny tea drinks out of it. Or coffee. (Wouldn’t that be cute with the tiniest dash of creamer?)
 
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