Parties

My very first Cake Decorating Class – Detailed in Pictures

My first cake decorating class was tons of fun and I can’t wait to go back for more.  This was a Basic Cake Decorating class.  The cakes were pre-baked for us and the instructor covered everything from tips and tricks to bake the best cakes, how to fill a piping bag,  how to make buttercream frosting, and we even made delicate roses to adorn our cakes with!

Here was the station when I first arrived.  They supplied everything we needed — and look — they even served wine!!

We practiced piping techniques:

We leveled our cakes:

We piped a border and filled our cakes with raspberry filling:

We practiced icing our cakes:

Then we smoothed the icing out:

And check out this cool basket weave pattern we piped:

Then we colored our buttercream and created beautiful roses:

The instructor even provided boxes so that we could take our masterpieces home:

My favorite parts of the class were learning the basket weave technique and how to make buttercream roses.  Easter is right around the corner and I can see myself using these techniques to make a beautiful spring cake!

If you’ve ever considered trying a class like this, my recommendation is to DO IT!!  I learned a lot and it’s fun being in class with others that share your same passions.

New Year’s Eve – Inspiration for Your Very Own “Bubbly Bar”

Hi there!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  I seem to get amped up for every holiday and then BOOM!  They’re over in the blink of an eye and it’s on to the next one.  Next up….New Year’s Eve.  But can I tell you that I stopped in a Neighborhood Walmart grocery store today and they already have an aisle full of Valentine’s Day stuff??!!  Seriously, I was like:

     

We’re only 3 days post-Christmas, people!!!!

But back to New Year’s Eve.

If you’re hosting family and friends this year, I have some inspiration for you to help you create your very own Bubbly Bar!  I don’t know why, but I really like the sound of this……”Bubbly Bar”…….it just sounds fun, right?!

First up is a bar styled by Lia Griffith over at LiaGriffith.com:

Image from LiaGriffith.com

I love all the little details in this setup: the “Clink, Pop, and Fizz” drink stirrers, the custom labels on the bottles of champagne, the cute bow ties attached to the base of the drink glasses, and even the Bubbly Bar sign is chic and festive.  LOVE!!  If Lia ever invited me to a party, you bet I’d be there!

This next one was styled by Jenn of Hostess with the Mostess.

I absolutely adore the letters that spell out “Bubbly”.  Looks like a good time would be had in front of that bar!

No room for a bar?  No problem.  Check out these bar carts styled for a jolly New Year’s Eve gathering.  I can’t get enough of this black and gold setup by Courtney of Pizzazzerie.com:

Image from Pizzazzerie.com

Or this one styled by Cristy of Happyfamilyblog.com:

Image from Happyfamilyblog.com

Will you be hosting this New Year’s Eve?  If so, I hope these images have inspired you to create a cheerful and jubilant Bubbly Bar!

Cheers!

Our Annual Christmas Eve Movie Night

Christmas Eve Movie Night commenced without a hitch and as always, it was a good time!  This year we watched Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I set up a super simple snack table with a mini gold tree as the centerpiece, a couple of movie clapper boards, some boxes wrapped in a fun Christmas pattern, and a few ornaments.

I served pigs n’ a blanket, popcorn with movie theater butter and different seasonings, frosted cookies, peppermint bark, and a nice mix of candies: gummi bears, peanut M and M’s, whoppers, and sweet tarts.

But the best part was spending the evening together and with our extended family!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Farm-Themed Birthday Party

My family and I spent this past weekend celebrating our sweet babies turning 3 years old. I have enjoyed picking their party themes the past couple of years but as they are getting older, I can see that I’m going to have to relinquish that control at some point and let them select their own themes. And knowing my twins, they won’t agree on what that theme will be, so I’ll probably end up having to coordinate two different parties.

As I mentioned in this post here, I planned a farm-themed party this year and we celebrated with a handful of our kids’ friends and parents, and some of our family members. The weather was gorgeous; a bit hot for October but there was no rain (thank goodness), just sunny skies with a nice breeze, which was important because all of the festivities were held in the backyard.

Let’s go over the events for the afternoon shall we?

We kicked things off with a farm-themed lunch. We feasted on pigs in a blanket with two different dipping sauces, farm-raised turkey sandwiches, chicken feed AKA cheddar Chex mix, farm-fresh deviled eggs, and fresh-picked apples. The dessert table featured mud cups AKA chocolate pudding with crushed Oreos), Cow Tales candy, and a chocolate and vanilla marbled cake with chocolate ganache that featured two fondant pigs bathing in “mud”.

The take home gifts were another yummy treat: sea salt and caramel chocolate-covered Oreos, and they were delicious!

Next on the agenda were the games. We started with a chicken egg hunt. While the kids were eating, I hid plastic eggs filled with treats around the yard. I showed the kids a framed picture of my chicken friend Henny and explained that she had laid eggs and that they needed to find them and put them in their goodie bags.

I used leftover plastic Easter eggs for this game, so they were all brightly colored purple, pink, orange, and blue eggs. It was funny watching the kids gather the eggs. When my daughter would find a blue egg, she would give it to my son, and when he found a pink or purple egg, he would give them to her. My daughter was the only girl at the party, so after a while, all of the little boys started giving her all of the pink and purple eggs. It was very cute!

The second game they played was Hot Potato. I should really say the second game they attempted to play was Hot Potato. I went back and forth about this game because I thought the kids might not get the concept of someone getting out each round, and I was right. As the first kid was left holding the potato when the music stopped and got “out”, all of the kids attempted to leave the game because they thought it was over! Mr. Effortless tried to explain the rules a few times and help them to reconvene, but needless to say, we ended that game fairly quickly!

Next we played a pig roundup game.

We sectioned off a corner of the yard with a mini fence to serve as a pig pen.

I purchased a pack of pink balloons, blew them up, and glued pig faces to each one. I scattered the pigs around the yard and asked the kids to help round them up and put them in the pen. The idea of this game was great; the kids loved running around and picking up the “pigs”, that is until they started popping from being poked by the grass as the kids attempted to pick them up! It was actually pretty funny, but I was afraid someone would be traumatized by the popping pigs. Most of the kids were troopers though, and as the balloons popped, they would just run and find another one to pick up. Everyone except for my daughter. After the first one popped on her, she was done!

The last game was an old-fashioned potato sack race and this one, like the Hot Potato game, may be better received when the kids are a bit older. Everyone understood how to play, but a couple kids were simply uninterested in getting in a sack so they sat that game out. My daughter completed about half of the race then determined that she could jump no more. My son and one of his buddies finished like champs though!

After we finished the games, each child was able to pick a walking farm animal balloon to take home with them. I found these on Amazon. They were a big hit and my kids still have a couple of them left in the house that they’re using as punching bags!

At the end of the party, we all went inside the house to sing happy birthday and eat cake, then all of the guests went home.

We’re very grateful to the friends and family that came over to celebrate with us. It was a beautiful day, and most importantly, my kids genuinely enjoyed themselves.

 

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Favorite Farm Party Decor

I consider myself both crafty and thrifty, so when planning a party, I try to DIY as much of the décor myself as possible.  I will admit, I’ve had a few epic fails along the way, but lots of success too.  Most of my best parties have always included some DIY décor mixed in with great store-bought finds.

So for today’s Top 5 Tuesday post, I’m sharing my top 5 must have store-bought items to add to your farm-themed party décor!

 

1. Cow print balloons

 

2. Barn door props party accessory

 

3. Floracraft straw bales

 

4. Inflatable farm animals

  

5. Farm animals photo prop kit

 

All of these items can be found on Amazon and will make a great addition to your farm-themed celebration.

 

Farm Party Series: Menu and Food Labels

After I had decided to go with a farm-themed party to celebrate the twins’ third birthday, next up on the agenda was to plan the menu.  There were so many cute and catchy food names to go with the theme.  It took me a bit to narrow down my list, but here’s what I’ve ultimately decided for my kids’ party:

Pigs in a Blanket

Farm-raised Turkey Sandwich Ring

Farm-fresh Eggs (Deviled Eggs)

Fresh-picked Berries

Chicken Feed (Chex Mix)

Cupcakes (with farm animal faces)

Mud Cups (Chocolate pudding with crushed cookies)

Cow Tales Candy

Just in case you’re planning a farm-themed party, here are a few other options that I thought were really cute and deserve mentioning: Chicken Nuggets, Hay Bales (Rice Krispy Treats), Hay Stacks (Pretzel sticks), Pig’s Tail Pasta (Pasta Salad made with corkscrew pasta), and Tractor Tires (Oreo cookies).

I like to design labels for the food and dessert tables that coordinate with my theme.  It’s a simple process.  I create a template in Microsoft Word using the insert shapes feature.  I insert a 6×4 inch rectangle to fit within my frames (these frames were purchased at Ikea).   Next, I find a background pattern that I like and use it to frame my label.  For this party, I went with a simple cow print pattern.  I insert another rectangle within the first one and then I choose an appropriate font to type the food names.  Last, I find a couple of free clip art pictures that match my theme and place them accordingly.  Here is the finished product:

 

 

 

 

 

Farm Party Series: DIY Barn Backdrop

My twins will be turning 3 next month and I’ve decided on a farm-themed birthday party.  The first thing I started scouring the internet for was ideas on how to make a barn backdrop for the food table.  My food and dessert tables are always the focal point of my get-togethers, so I felt that once I figured out how to create the backdrop, I would be on my way to designing a fabulous party!

As always, Pinterest came through for me!  I discovered Catie Ward’s blog, Wife of a Traveling Husband, and she had a tutorial titled “Building a Barn Backdrop” that was exactly what I was looking for.

I was able to take this red tri-fold foam board purchased at Michaels with a 50% off coupon:

and turn it into this beautiful barn:

And the best part about it was that the only thing I had to purchase from the store to make it was the foam board.  I already had 12×12 black card stock (I used 3 pieces), measuring tape, white duck tape, scissors, a pencil, and glue at home.

Please see Catie’s blog for detailed instructions.  Here are my cliff notes:

-Using measuring tape, a pencil, and scissors, measure, mark, and then cut the foam board sides at an angle to create the roof line.

-Cut the black cardstock into equally sized strips and glue them along the top of the barn’s roof line.

-Glue one black sheet of paper onto the top of the barn (I trimmed down the 12×12 sheet) – this will be the chicken coop.

-Using white duct tape, outline the barn doors and go around the chicken coop.

That’s it!

It was so easy to make and only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Definitely effortless!