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Stock the Bar: A co-ed wedding shower

6 Jul

The agency-provided documents on preparing for a successful match instructed us to stay busy during the period of time we’re waiting.

Well, that hasn’t been an issue so far.

Right after we activated our crazy summer schedule kicked in. We had our annual Flag Day party one weekend and the very next weekend we hosted a co-ed bridal shower.

Our friends Kate and Ed are getting married in October and Don and I are both in the wedding party. Maid of Honor, Clare, and I planned a very cool Stock the Bar party for the happy couple who are both craft cocktail connoisseurs.

First, there was the Rickey bar.

Oh, Rickey. You're so fine.

 

What’s a Rickey? Well, I’m so glad you asked.

You're so fine you blow my mind.

 

We also featured other classic cocktails like Dark ‘N Stormys, Pimm’s Cups, Moscow Mules and fabulously dangerous gin punch.

As you can see on the Rickey bar sign above, there was a definite art deco vibe going on at this party. The black and white accents were hard to miss.

The bar was stocked at this Stock the Bar party.

 

Scattered around the party were these easy centerpieces – just an assortment of white flowers in liquor bottles.

Seven centerpieces made from pretty alcohol bottles

 

I love the way they turned out.

Adorning our mantle. Hey, isn't that a Nice Mirror back there?

 

Casey had a great time at the party, too.

Casey loves a good puppy den and will make one just about anywhere.

 

I’ve mentioned before that while I can rock party food and decor, planning party games is not my thing. Well, my losing streak might be over.

Kate and Ed love Cards Against Humanity, a party game billed as Apples to Apples for Horrible People.

**Warning: Before you click on the Cards Against Humanity link you should be aware that some of the responses are truly horrible.**

The guys who created Cards Against Humanity are so nice (not at all horrible) that they make the entire game available for free online (or you can buy a nice professional version of the game).

About a week before the shower, I had a great idea for the shower game. Cards Against Humanity: The Kate & Ed edition.

First, I printed out all the possible answers from the CAH website. I wrote the number “1″ on every card for the first sheet of answers, number “2″ on the second and so forth, and then cut each card out. In the end I had 23 answer packs each with 20 possible answers.

Then I created new questions pertinent to the situation. Questions included:

  • Until she married him, Kate had no idea Ed had a thing for ______________________.
  • Ed was sure to dress carefully for the wedding to avoid _______________________.
  • When  Kate pictured her wedding night, she couldn’t help but wonder about ____________________.
  • The thing that surprised Ed most about his honeymoon was _______________________.
  • Years later, when people spoke of Kate and Ed’s wedding, they always mentioned the ____________________.

I hung the 12 questions around the house with an envelope below each sign. As guests arrived they were given an answer pack and told to remember only their number. Then they just had to roam around the house choosing their best answer for each question and placing them in the envelopes below the questions.

I can’t remember all the winning combos, but here are a couple of possibilities:

  • Until she married him, Kate had no idea that Ed had a thing for soup that is too hot.
  • Ed was sure to dress carefull for the wedding to avoid peeing a little bit.
  • When Kate pictured her wedding night, she couldn’t help but wonder about the miracle of childbirth.
  • The thing that suprised Ed most about his honeymoon was all you can eat shrimp for $4.99.
  • Years later, when people spoke of Kate and Ed’s wedding, they always mentioned the Care Bear stare.

Later when Kate and Ed opened gifts, we read the questions and answers in between gifts. Kate and Ed picked the answer they liked best and announced the number written on the back. The owner of the most winning numbers got a bottle of gin.

I have never laughed so hard during a shower game. It’s a great option for people who aren’t likely to be into traditional shower games. If the CAH answers are a little too edgy for your crowd, just use the answers from Apples to Apples. It will be every bit as funny:

  • When Kate pictured her wedding night, she couldn’t help but wonder about Regis Philben.
  • Years later, when people spoke of Kate and Ed’s wedding, they always mentioned the charging rhinos.

Incidentally, both versions of the game work equally well for a baby shower:

  • Mama’s name did not expect to find ____________________ on the maternity ward.
    (CAH answer: A monkey smoking a cigar, A2A answer: Richard Simmons)
  • Some say the baby looks like mom. Some vote for dad. Most think the baby looks like ___________.
    (CAH answer: Brittany Spears at 55, A2A answer: Elvis Presley)

The last thing you need to know about Kate and Ed’s Stock the Bar party is that I made these whiskey caramels as the party favor gifts. They. Are. Amazing.

Seriously. You should go make some right now.

Have you thrown any showers lately? What games did you play?

Recipe: Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

19 Jun

A business colleague asked me for the Red, White and Blueberry Trifle recipe from SkinnyTaste.com so I made this PDF for him. I thought you might like it, too.

Sweet Little Nest(laces)

18 Jun

Three Sweet Little Nest Necklaces - ready for presentation

Yes, I know we just celebrated Father’s Day … but I haven’t told you about the Mother’s Day gifts I made a loooong time ago. I have a whole bunch of new mom friends who are super busy being awesome moms and working full time so it took me a couple of months to get these presents distributed. I couldn’t really share the pictures before I had presented the gifts, you know? Actually, I still have one to give (Katy – pretend you didn’t see this post, okay?).

I saw this idea on, duh, Pinterest - the filing system for all that is awesome on the Interwebs. Tutorials abound: here and here.

They seemed like a great gift from the blogger behind SWEET LITTLE NEST, huh?

I really love how my first attempts turned out and I think I could get even better over time. The wire wrapping takes a little practice so the more you make, the better you’ll get.

The nest with three eggs was gifted to my friend Kelly, mom of three great boys (her youngest is about 6 weeks old)

The chains also came from Michael’s, though I think I will order something different if I decide I want to make some more (other than one here or there for new moms).

The single egg nests were given to my friends Jaimie and Katy. They both have infant sons as well.

On the back of the cards I stamped one of my signature birds (we used these birds on the bag of our Christmas cards, as well). While not a perfect match for our blog header, I think it gets the point across.

 

The reverse side of the gift tags was blank so I was able to stamp a little bird back there.



Speaking of Pinterest, I tried a few new recipes for a Flag Day party we had this weekend. Remember that on our list of family favorites for the adoption placement agency I said that my favorite tradition is hosting a backyard bash to welcome summer and Don’s birthday? Well, Don’s birthday falls on Flag Day so we always call this our Flag Day party and theme it red, white and blue. I wanted to make some themed desserts so I tried out this red, white and blue trifle from Skinny Taste.

This picture is a little dark. I guess I should have taken the photo outside like the one I found on Skinny Taste. At any rate, it tastes awesome. Two thumbs up.

I also made a version of Martha Stewart’s No Bake Cheesecake recipe. I made my mine in individual plastic cups, though. I really like the way they turned out. Maybe I will post the instructions in a future post since I shot some pictures along the way.

Hats off to these flag cupcakes.

So, how about you? Did you make any of your pins a reality over the weekend? How was Father’s Day?

Baby Shower Kisses

7 Feb

Jaimie loves Hershey Kisses. I knew I needed to have Hershey Kisses at her baby shower before I even knew she was pregnant.

As it turns out, Jaimie is having a boy and the shower is being held the first weekend of February. Can any bargain shoppers out there guess what that meant to me?

Yup, Hershey Kisses were on post holiday clearance. Specifically BLUE Kisses left over from Hanukkah promotions. I scored 5 bags of Kisses for  70 percent off the regular price. Yay me!

Thanks to my obsession with Pinterest, I learned that Avery makes a tiny round label that’s PERFECT for the bottom of Hershey Kisses. Here’s the original pin I found with the Hershey Kiss idea.

Jaimie’s shower was bookwormed-themed and the colors were blue and brown. Here are the labels I made on my trusty ink jet printer.

There are four kinds of labels – the bookworm (also used on the invitations and related materials), circles in brown and blue (also used on the invitations and related materials), LBJ (the baby’s fake name - it stands for Little Boy [and their last name]), and Jaimie & Dean’s Little Bookworm.

Here is an example of what the Kisses look like after they are stickered:


And here’s what they look  in little organza bags to be given away as party favors:

Do you love Hershey Kisses as much as Jaimie? What custom messages would you put on your Hershey Kisses?

UPDATE: Making your own custom Hershey Kisses? Use Avery 5408 labels. I understand they also work on the bottoms of mini-Reese’s cups.

Bookworm Food

4 Feb

My friend Jaimie’s baby shower was this afternoon. I am so excited for Jaimie and her husband Dean and I wanted to make sure we had a great event with lots of thoughtful touches.

Jaimie mentioned that she would like for people to bring books for the baby. I decided that sounded like a great theme and I put together plans for a Bookworm Baby Shower. Even the food was themed based on childrens’ books. Here’s what we served:

Green Eggs and Ham
Spinach & Ham Egg Quiche

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Rainy Day Meatballs (Yeah, these I just bought at Ikea – everything else was homemade.)

Madeline
Savory Madeleine Cookies 

Pete’s a Pizza
Petesa Balls

Chicken Little
Little Chicken Pockets

Peter Rabbit
Peter’s Veggie Cup

Blueberries for Sal
Blueberry Ricotta Flatbread

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Caterpillar’s Fruit Salad

Super Fudge
Fudge Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Cookies

James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach Bellini 

Lemony Snicket
Lemony’s Lemonade ( just regular low sugar lemonade with lime and orange slices floating)

Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish
Just the Red Fish
 
Here are the menu cards (the book cover with the name of the food item below it) if you’d like to host your own book-themed lunch or baby shower. I think the chicken pockets were my favorite.

 

C is Cookie

17 Nov

When our social worker came for our home visit, I made cookies. Just from the tube of cookie dough mind you (I had been out of town for five night before her visit), but baked in the oven nonetheless.

 

This must be pretty common because when V, our social worker, came in she said, “And you made cookies.” She didn’t seem surprised at all. So, we’re typical. Stereotypes, if you will.

Doesn’t matter, though … she ate the cookies.

That crunchy bit on top of the chocolate chips? It’s a sprinkle of kosher salt. Try it. Seriously. You’ll never eat unsalted cookies again.

Baby Baking Dishes

27 Oct

Last weekend at the grocery store I found tons of different single serve aluminum baking pans. I used the single serve pot pie dishes when I made New Baby Casserole for my friend, Katy. Remember her new little man? Let’s see him again (I just can’t get enough of this tiny guy):

Photo by Snips and Snails. http://www.snipsandsnailsphotography.com/

I also found very small loaf pans, baby loaf pans if you will, that called out to me. I decided I would make Katy some stuffed shells, too.

So, you’re probably asking yourself why so many posts about taking food over to new moms all of a sudden? Well it seems there’s a sudden baby boom in our lives and this is a good way to remember what I need to do when all other babies arrive. Katy is a test case for the months to come.

Also, we have that deep freeze I mentioned in the New Baby Casserole post so I’m gathering ideas of what I can do when our own little bird joins the nest.

So back to those stuffed shells.

Use can use any ole’ recipe – the one on the back of the pasta box is fine or use your own recipe.

First, make the sauce. I used turkey sausage, onion, spinach and jarred tomato and basil pasta sauce (I added a little water, too).

Turkey sausage pasta sauce

 

Then, stuff the cooked shells with some mixture that you like. I had planned on ricotta and mozerella, but I turned out to be light on the mozerella so I used some parmesan.  I also added salt, pepper and parsley.

Stuff the Shells

Then, place the shells in the mini tins. These tins would accomodate about three shells per tin. Cover the shells with sauce (I also put a little bit of sauce into the bottom of the tins first so my shells wouldn’t stick).

Cover with Sauce

Finally wrap the loaf pans with tin foil on which you write the cooking instructions.

Write the cooking instructions on the tin foil BEFORE you wrap them.

Deliver to the new parents and save some for yourself. Enjoy!

New Baby Casserole

23 Oct

My dear friend Katy just had her first baby a week ago. He’s a precious little man. Just look this teeny guy:

 Photo by Snips and Snails – http://www.snipsandsnailsphotography.com/
 

Don loves it when our friends give birth because it means that I will make what we call New Baby Casserole and that I will make two of them – one for us and one for the new mom or parents.

It’s super easy to make (you start with the valuable time saver known as the rotisserie chicken), freeze and re-heat. Plus, it’s tasty and appeals to just about everyone (even kids for those parents who already have a toddler at home).

Today at the grocery store I even found single-serving, aluminum pot pie containers. That makes it even easier to pop them out of the fridge or freezer and re-heat.

Don and I have a deep freeze so hopefully I can make lots of these mini casseroles in the weeks leading up to our placement.

New Baby Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, picked and slightly shredded (into manageable pieces)
  • 1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% (reduced fat) cheddar cheese
  • 1 can refrigerated busicuits 

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, coat large casserole pan with cooking spray
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan, add onions and saute
  • When onions are clear, add bag of frozen peas and carrots, cook through
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Add can of cream of chicken soup, mix well
  • Stir in shredded chicken
  • Add 1 cup of cheese and mix until melted
  • Place mixture in casserole dish, spread evenly
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven and place biscuits on top
  • Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 of cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes (or until brown)

Makes 6 – 8 servings

This is a very forgiving recipe. Use green beans instead of peas if you like. Make single serve containers.  Cook partially and freeze before the step that calls for the biscuits. Whatever you want. It’s really hard to go wrong.