Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Max's Monster Birthday Party

I am finally getting around to posting the pictures from Max's 1st Birthday Party. We had a small party for him, that was Monster themed. Since his birthday is right around Valentine's Day I incorporated a little bit of a Valentine's Day theme too. We had a great time celebrating with family and friends, this last year has flown by! Balancing two kids has been a challenge, and we are still adjusting to the changes. But Max has brought lots of joy and laughter into the family and I look forward to watching his funny little personality continue to grow!

 Paper Straws are available in my shop!

 I made the monster eyes by gluing the Wilton edible eyes onto toothpicks to stick in the chicken fingers.

We have really been trying to eat healthier and so I tried my best to keep the party food and drinks healthy too. Whenever I throw a party I tend to have a lot of junk food...Which we really try not to eat much, but I tend to serve it at parties! Junk food is easier, not much prep for some of it, and usually for parties you want lots of artificially colored foods to make the party look colorful and fun. However, I have noticed a link to Hudson's behavior when he eats artificially colored foods. I tried to make the food colorful by choosing healthy fruits and veggies! Here is what we ate:

 Kid's got to build a monster with play dough, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes.

 How Many Monster Eye Can you Count?
The jar was filled with red sprinkles and googly eyes for the kids to count.

 We had a bubble maker on in the backyard and some homemade heart bubble wands.

 We had "Monster Foot" relay races! Using pillow cases the kids had to jump like a monster with one foot down the grass and back until their team was done. It was really cute to watch them cheer each other on.

 I love this picture of Max carefully picking at the sprinkles on his birthday cake! I have to mention also that his adorable knitted monster hat is made by Heather's Hook Nook. Heather makes all kinds of precious knit hats and can even customize colors and designs! 

 The kids made each other Monster Valentines that I had ordered from Oriental Trading. I also ordered monster bags for each child and moster lollipops to take home.

 The kids took home their valentines, lollipops, and handmade monster dolls. I found the monster doll template from One Charming Party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beet Juice

 I came across this beet juice recipe At The Juicing Cafe. It is a great juice for the morning or afternoon packed with fruits and veggies. And it's really, really good!!!

  • 2 beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple
  • 1-2 sticks celery
  • 1/2" ginger root

Monday, February 13, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I have used this recipe many times to make cakes, however this time I altered it slightly by leaving out the walnuts and used raw cacao in place of cocoa powder. I used the batter to make 24 cupcakes and also a 2 layer 6" cake for Max's Birthday. If you like carrot cake, you will love this recipe!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes:

1 cup dark raisins
1 pound carrots (to make 4 cups shredded, firmly packed)
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
11/4 cups corn oil

Cream Cheese frosting:

16 ounces Philadelphia-brand cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Steam the raisins: place them in a steamer basket over shallow water in saucepan. Cover the pan, place on high heat and let the water boil for about 10 minutes. Uncover and set aside.
Wash, dry, and peel the carrots. The carrots can be grated on a metal grater or in the food processor.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and  raw cacao together and set aside.
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Beat in vanilla, both of the sugars, and the oil. Next on a low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. 
Stir in the carrots and raisins.
Scoop the batter into the muffin pans. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes. The top of the cupcakes should spring back when gently touched with your fingertip.
Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pans.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. On a low speed beat in the vanilla and confectioner's sugar. Then beat on high for a few minutes, until smooth.

Recipe modified from Maida Heatter's book Maida Heatter's Cakes. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Homemade Bubble Valentine

Here is a kids valentine idea that is something other than candy. A bottle of bubbles (can be store bought or homemade) with a homemade heart bubble wand. The bubble wand I made from a pipe cleaner and a paper straw. It's amazing the things you begin to use paper straws for when you look at them everyday! If you are looking for paper straws you can find some in my shop HERE. I also have four different printables available below.

 You can use store bought bottles of bubbles or fill small plastic jars with homemade bubbles. I colored my bubbles with food coloring. Just add a drop of food coloring, tighten the lid, and shake. You can find the "BUBBLES" label below, along with three labels options for the tops of the jars.

 To make the Valentine's you will need the following:
  • Bubbles in jars
  • Labels printed on sticker paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Paper straws
  • Baker's Twine
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors
 First cut your pipe cleaners and paper straws in half. You can make two wands from one of each.

 Next bend the one end of the pipe cleaner around to make a circle and wrap end around pipe cleaner to hold in place. Then bend the pipe cleaner to create a heart shape.

 Then push the pipe cleaner into the paper straw.

 Use a small piece of tape to hold the bubble wand to the back of the bubble jar. Then tie with twine. I tested these out with Hudson and the paper straw does start to come apart after sitting in the bubbles for a while. But I think it adds a cute touch to the bubble want. You could make these without the straws too, and you can make small little bubbles by just dipping the end of the straw in the bubbles. 
I also made some bigger wands by not cutting the straws and pipe cleaners in half.

 Linking up HERE!