July 23, 2012

Eloise Birthday Party

Hey, hey!!  

I hope everyone has been having a lovely July!!  I know I have.  :-)

This past weekend, I helped a co-worker with her sweet daughter's birthday party.  She turned six and loves Eloise, so we Googled other Eloise birthday parties we had seen online, and used that inspiration with a few touches of our own.   

For the favors, a candy bar seemed just the thing for this party.  (Note the runner -- it's just pink and white polka-dot wrapping paper.  Cute and budget-friendly!)

From left-to-right, there were Rice Krispies treats made with pink marshmallows.  To make wrapping them easier, I suggested lollipop sticks, and they were tied with pink and black curling ribbon.  That's my pretty little cake pedestal underneath.  

Next (and possibly my favorite) was the cotton candy tower.  I found the mason jars (12 for $7.99) and the cotton candy at local grocery stores.  After filling each jar, I covered the top with a small square of pink-and-white polka dot wrapping paper, then tied with zebra-print ribbon.   The tower itself was all Jayson's doing.  He's creative, too!

*  Note:  Do this as close to the event as
possible so that the cotton candy stays fresh!

The cake was made by someone she knows who produces things like this from her kitchen.  Isn't it awesome?

I also put pink and black gumballs in little bowls.  (The birthday girl thought the black ones were olives!)

Next came my signature candy bags.  We selected things like Flying Saucers, Tootsie Rolls, Good n' Plenty, Gummy Watermelons, etc.  Anything pink, anything black.  

Finally, iced animal crackers (made exactly like the candy bags.)

For the actual favor bags, I took white bags from the dollar store (2 for a buck, if you can believe it!).  They're rather large because I knew they would have to carry mason jars.  I cut small slits on either side, and tied the curling ribbon through it.  The little labels I printed right from my computer onto scrapbook paper.

For decorations, we used streamers and balloons (which I think are highly underrated), along with some tissue paper pompoms I made myself.  I used a Martha Stewart idea (though I tweaked it a little.)  Seriously, these things are awesome.  I will post a tutorial entirely for them another time, but for right now, just "ooh" and "ahh" at them in the pictures.  ;-)

I made a little banner for over the candy bar.  (Here is my tutorial on how to make one.)

A close-up of one of the pompoms.  Isn't it adorable?

(Decorations Total: less than $30.  What!!)

For a game, she had an Eloise picture blown up, and they played 'pin the bow on Eloise' (a cute little switch on the classic pin-the-tail.)

And finally, a picture of the hat I purchased at the dollar store and dressed up as a gift to the birthday girl.  She was stylin', let me tell you.

What parties have you been to lately?

~ Sarah

July 5, 2012

Red, White & Blue Jello Salad

Hey there!  I hope everyone had a lovely 4th!  

This is something of a cheating post.  The recipe isn't original (*hangs head in shame*) but it's really great.  If you want to use it yourself, here is where I found it.

The only difference between this recipe and mine was that I substituted strawberry for the raspberry because I already had fresh ones cut.

The only note I would add to this recipe, which specifies that it's 'quick', is that it's not actually all that quick.  The individual jello layers are, granted, VERY fast and easy, but waiting for the layers to harden took a long time.  Each one needed closer to 2 hours than 1.  I think the next time I make it I'll use little ice cream bowls instead of a one large bowl, which should cut down the time significantly.

And it is absolutely delicious!

What desserts did you make for the 4th?

~ Sarah

July 2, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

Hello, hello!  I hope all of you enjoyed your weekend, but if not, you get a do-over right in the middle of the week this time.  :-)

I've had to watch what I eat lately, as I learned last week that I have gestational diabetes.  At first I thought it would be the pits because the fun of pregnant eating would disappear, but quite the opposite, actually.  It's opened me up to a world of creativity; after all, it's just a game of proportions (and monitoring... I admit the monitoring is not really all that fun.)  

I made this for dinner last week.  It's a really simple idea, just thrown together quickly, but it was quite delicious.  I used things I already had (basically a bunch of leftovers), so I have no idea what quantities I used of what.  I'll do my best to guess.

1.  Chicken breast, cubed (I only used 1 breast)
2.  Olive oil
3.  Fresh asparagus, cut or broken into bite-size pieces
4.  Half n' half (approximately 1/8 cup)
5.  Grated Parmesan cheese (approximately 1/8 cup)
6.  Lemon pepper seasoning (to taste)
7.  Penne pasta, cooked (I used 1/4 of a box because it was all I had, but the proportion was perfect)


In a medium-to-large saucepan, cook the chicken in the olive oil.  Once it is cooked completely, add the asparagus until it softens to taste (I like a little crunch.)

Add the half n' half, cheese, pasta and seasoning.  Mix together and simmer until it thickens to taste.  Serve immediately.

How easy is that?  Jayson said he might like it better with tomatoes or something, which is an excellent idea, if I happen to have leftover tomatoes next time.  What easy 'mix-together-what-I-have' recipes do you like?  Please share! 

~ Sarah