Archive | January, 2011

Gallactic Whoopie Pies

28 Jan

My dearest Carrie sent us the Star Wars cookie cutters and cupcake wrappers and toppers a la Williams-Sonoma for Christmas (Thank you Carrie!).  So for my son’s 5th birthday I put them to good use!

We decided not to throw a big party and instead spend the day together at Sea World.  But I did have to bring some sweet baked treats to preschool to share with the whole class.  I baked and baked and baked….

I started on the whoopie pies (vanilla with milk chocolate frosting was the requested flavor) on Tuesday morning.  I had to leave for work so I left my husband in charge.  Somehow, and I’m not placing blame, some of the whoopie pies came out slightly over-cooked.  He was kind enough to try a second batch.  I got a text message about mid day that read, “Don’t ask me how but I made biscuits again.  Sweet biscuits.”  Needless to say I had some ground to make up once I got home from work. 

With some assistance from my better half I finished all the whoopie pies and 4 dozen Star Wars shaped cookies.  It is customary in my son’s class to send goodie bags home with each child when celebrating a birthday.   I was reluctant to send the kids home with a baggie full of small toys that would no doubt end up in the trash or the hands of a younger sibling.  Instead I made Storm Trooper and Yoda cookies and placed them in clear plastic bags along with a small box of Star Wars crayons, tied off with ribbon. 

The cookies were just your standard sugar cookie recipe and I dyed one green for Yoda.  If you’re ambitious you can frost them with all the appropriate colors, but I just don’t have that kind of time.  I generally bake with a 1-year-old on my hip (Thank Goodness for my stand up mixer!  No hands!). 

The Star Wars theme was of course a huge hit with the class, since it is mostly boys.  But there wasn’t a crumb left behind, so I’d venture to guess that the girls enjoyed them too!

Pita Pizza Night

20 Jan

Dinner time with kids is typically a messy affair. Why not surrender to the mess and have fun with it?

My husband received the Cooking with Trader Joe’s cook book for Christmas and we’ve already tried several of the recipes. One of our favs is pesto pita pizza. Calling it a recipe may actually be a stretch since you don’t really have to make much yourself. The pita pizzas are really just a matter of putting all of the items together and baking for 8 minutes. This is perfect for a gaggle of preschoolers. We put all the cheeses, choices of toppings and sauces on the table. Each child got a pita and after a little help with the sauce, they topped their pizza with whatever toppings their little heart desired.
We provided the following: Red pizza sauce, pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, black olives, pepperoni, and fresh basil. Really the possibilities are endless!

Pull Up A Chair and Stay Awhile

14 Jan

With two little ones and, let’s face it, a husband, meal time can get messy (I, myself, never make a mess)!  Our dining room chairs needed cushions, but cushions on their own would be a real pain to keep clean.  I considered going grandma and covering them with plastic, but stylistically I don’t think it would have worked.  So, removable cushion covers was clearly the only way to go. 

I purchased inexpensive cushions from IKEA and clearance fabric from JoAnn’s.  I only had 2 yards so there was very little room for error. 

I made all my cuts and pinned all the edging in place.  Now, I am really not great at sewing projects.  You know the old saying, “measure twice, cut once.”  Well I am more of a “hurry up and cut it cause I want to see what it looks like finished” kind of girl. 

I literally placed the cushions in the fabric and took measurements that way.  Caasi is probably cringing right now!

In any event, once the edges were sewn, I pinned the sides in place and sewed the side pieces to the main piece.  I made the covers to have a flap that covers the back edge and added some velcro to close. 

Considering I didn’t know what I was doing, I’m really pleased with how they turned out.  This is definately a project that anyone can do.  If I could pull it off, you can too! 

Who’s coming over for dinner?

Christmas Re-Mix

7 Jan

The holiday season really kicked my butt.  Sadly friends, I did not have a chance to blog about all the fun crafts that I gifted or the baked goods I made for various holiday gatherings. 

So here is my catch-up post…

This being my first year as a parent of a school-age child, I was uncertain about what to give to my son’s teachers  for Christmas.  So I did what I do best–Bake.  I gave each of the four–yes! four!–teachers tins full of delish cookies.  My husband insisted that I make peanutbutter kisses (peanutbutter cookies with a chocolate kiss pressed into them), a favorite from his own childhood.  Since that alone wasn’t going to fill the tin, I also made one of my favorites, Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Chip

On the first day back to school, we had lovely thank you notes from the teachers, gushing about the tastey cookies!

For my dear sweet co-blogger cousins I stamped them each their very own woodgrain pic with theirs and their loves initials in them

I found matching salt and pepper shakers for Caasi from Anthropologie.  And I know she’s already used them!  For Summer, months ago I was checking out  Twig & Thistle and fell for the cute little nesting dolls used as cake toppers.   I quickly ordered my own unfinished nesting dolls from Amazon.  They come in sets of 5.  It was perfect for Summer’s family!  I painted each one to sport the likeness of Summer, her husband, and each of her three kids. 

Our family celebrates Christmas early…I mean really early…like weeks in advance of the actual day.  So the actual day itself  is typically freed up to be spent with close friends.  We headed over to the Sullivan Home for Christmas dinner.  I brought a side of maple glazed carrots and some peppermint whoopie pies for dessert. 

I used chocolate cakes and the traditional marshmallow filling and then rolled them in crushed up candy canes.  I’ve seen these sold in stores like William-Sonoma, but they are super easy to do at home.  Very festive!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season!  Happy New Year!

don’t judge me! i am no saint.

3 Jan

you know you’ve thought about it. what would you look like all dolled up as glamorous as a 50’s pin up girl? well,  only a boudoir photo shoot by  la mia bella photo (aka teresa brantley) can make your thought a reality. offering a single session or a party with a couple of your close girlfriends in the comfort of your own bedroom teresa helps you find your inner betty or marilyn.


mrs. collins

need another reason to stick to your 2011 resolution or inspiration for a valentine’s gift: just give la mia bella photo a call, email, or hit them up on facebook!


ms. shepard

however, if the bedroom is not where you want to be or if you want your family in the shoot, la mia bella photo can help you with that too. read on…

i made my family take our first family photo session by a professional photographer! no picture people in the mall or some lame studio… instead, teresa and i found a quite location and she took photos of us. naturally, there were some moments of awkwardness: where should my hands go, do i look fat, my right side is my better side, etc., but ever patient and always sweetly honest, teresa produced plenty of gorgeous shots!

la mia bella photo

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