Monday, December 19, 2011

How Not To Make A Christmas Ornament

I'm not really the crafty type. I'd like to be, but often I fall short. I can scrapbook like nobody's business, but other than that, most of my crafts come out looking like something my kids could have done. (In fact they probably could have done it better.) Still, my Christmas ornament idea seemed foolproof. I'm pretty sure I've figured out where I could improve it, but after all the time I spent on trial-and-error, I really didn't have a lot of time left to make the final product. Maybe next year? Still, when I started the project, I had high hopes and thought, "I can put the how-to on my blog!" So I took lots of pictures as I went along. And since I'm not the wasteful type, I'm sharing them anyway. It didn't work out for me, but that doesn't mean it won't work for anyone!
First, gather all your supplies. I had glue, glitter, sequins, cookie cutters (to trace, you can use stencils, instead), and ribbon (in hopes that I would need something with which to hang the ornaments).

Trace your cookie cutter. I used foil. If I do it again, I'll use wax paper, or, if I can find it, something even more slick than that.

Fill in the shape with glue. Cover with glitter.

Be amazed, as the star magically transforms into a Christmas tree! Just kidding... I made a Christmas tree, too.

This is where it all broke down. The star wouldn't come apart from the foil once it was dried. Maybe the glue wasn't thick enough? Maybe the foil wasn't slick enough? The Christmas tree came apart from its foil, but in unusable pieces.
Maybe you'll have better luck with yours!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food-tography Friday

I don't often get food-bloggy here. I'm not sure why that is. I love getting in the kitchen and cooking and baking. I really should do food-related posts more often! I keep trying to remind myself to take the camera into the kitchen with me and get some step-by-step photos to make a food post, and I always forget. But today is going to be "Food-tography Friday" where I combine my Photography Friday post with food! Excited?! Silly question, right? Why wouldn't you be?!

Remember yesterday, when I said I'd share more about Olette's birthday party at a later date? Well, that date is today! Can you believe it? I said I would blog about something later, and here I am, actually doing it!

Once Olette decided on the theme for her birthday party this year (no kidding, all the way back in June, after her cousin had a 1st birthday tea party), we scoured cookbooks, magazines, and the internet for cute ideas to combine a tea party with a Minnie Mouse party.

I think we did a pretty good job...

Some of the recipes we found, we followed exactly, but most of them were more of an inspiration and set of "guidelines" for us to go by. We served a birthday cake of petit fors, Minnie Mouse cookies, strawberry and Nutella tea sandwiches, white chocolate candy, sparkling pink lemonade, hot cocoa, and, of course, tea.

For the record, I am fairly certain that petit fors will never be made in my kitchen again. Ever. I'm one of those people who, in the kitchen at least, doesn't stop to think about whether what I'm about to do exceeds my actual abilities to do it. Turns out, petit fors fall into that category. Even after dumbing down the process for myself as much as possible, my little plate of cakes looked nothing like any picture of petit fors I have ever seen*. 

Note the lack of uniformity in size... And how they're more orange than pink.

The Minnie Mouse cookies were a much easier task. In the cookbook where we found the idea, they were ladybug cookies. It's ridiculous how easy they were to make.

Seriously. A blindfolded monkey could have done it.

All you need is a box of vanilla wafers, a tub of frosting, a couple drops of red or pink food color, Jr. Mints, white chocolate chips, and a sense of resignation to the fact that you're about to embark on a kind of tedious task. (A friend in the kitchen to keep you company helps, too!)

The strawberry and Nutella tea sandwiches were my absolute favorite part! I am kind of a Nutella addict-- I even have a whole pin board on Pinterest devoted to Nutella recipes!

I made them open-face sandwiches-- I thought it was more visually appealing.

All you need to make your own is thin-sliced bread, Nutella, and some fresh strawberries. (Yes, for the second year in a row, I found myself paying $5 for a quart of strawberries in November. But my baby girl is worth it!) You can also see the white chocolate candy-- just white chocolate bark, a couple handfuls of dried fruit (I used a blend of cranberries and apples), and pink sprinkles.

And then there was the sparkling pink lemonade. Which required a simple syrup. Which, in theory, should have been, well, simple: Put equal parts sugar and water in a pan and cook until the sugar is dissolved, then cool. Add to lemonade. Instead, it went like this:
1. Put equal parts sugar and water in a pan and turn on the stove.
2. Step out of kitchen just for a second to check on something.
3. Ten minutes later, remember that you put a pan of water and sugar on the stove.
4. Admire the beautiful amber color of the caramel you just made.
5. Heave a sigh, curse yourself for being so scatterbrained, and empty pan into the sink.
6. Think that, since the sugar is so hot, you should maybe run some cold water with it into the sink so it doesn't mess up the pipes.
7. Marvel at the pretty amber rock candy that is now clogging your sink.
8. Try to un-clog your sink and discover the hard way that sugar crystals are sharp. Painfully sharp.
And that, my friends, is how I managed to slice open my finger while making a simple syrup. Please note that absolutely no one in my family was surprised to learn this. My second attempt at simple syrup? You better believe I watched it like a hawk! And the resulting lemonade was awesome!

Sparkling Pink Lemonade:
2 2ltr bottles lemon flavored sparkling water
1 bottle Smuckers raspberry syrup
1 cup simple syrup, cooled (made from 1 c water and 1 c sugar)
1 lemon, sliced (for garnish)
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl. (I used a whisk to mix in the raspberry syrup, it's pretty thick.) You can add more simple syrup if it's not sweet enough.

All the effort was totally worth it, in the end-- Olette absolutely loved her Minnie Mouse Tea Party!

*All of these pictures are mine and belong to me. Please do not use them without my permission.**
**Pictures with people in them are mine and are not to be used by anyone other than me for any purpose whatsoever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Back on the 22nd of November, in the middle of the busiest week-and-a-half ever, my sweet, lovely little princess, Olette turned five years old. Five. Five Years Old. Where has the time gone?! Is it really possible that my little bitty baby girl is already five? Apparently so. And to celebrate, she had a Minnie Mouse themed tea party (separate post on that to come soon because I'm really proud of some of the things we created!) with her friends, cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles (and even a Great-Aunt and Great-Uncle who happened to be in town for the weekend).

I'm still trying to figure out where the last five years have gone. Has it really been five years since she was a tiny, kicking newborn? Five whole years since I watched Ben marvel at the tiny person who was his new sister? And Olette would kick me for not adding, five years since she peed on her Daddy. (It's her favorite part of the "when you were born" story. Her Daddy was holding her while the doctor cut her umbilical cord, and, apparently, she had to go.) Five whole years ago.

A Year in the Life of Olette*

Always the girliest girly-girl around!

She loves to hang out in the kitchen if mom's making something sweet!

She got her first ever haircut this year!

She loves any opportunity to dress up!

Hooray for mulberries!

Learning how to make fried chicken...

She used to hate the sand, but now she loves making castles.

This was her first year getting to go out on the boat. She loves going fast, and she loves tubing-- most of the time.

She also got her first-ever jellyfish sting this year. Not a pleasant milestone!

Her first day of school! Little Miss Pre-K, ready to take on the world!

When accessorizing, more is always better.

My lovely little lady, FIVE years old!

*These pictures are mine and belong to me. They are not to be used by anyone other than me for any purpose whatsoever.