Monday, February 27, 2017

2017 Academy Awards Party

Another Academy Awards Party is behind us.  This year, we switched things up a great deal. In all honesty, we got a puppy in August of last year and the big crowds we've had in years past just seemed to be so daunting to us as we tried to navigate our usual party.  Danny and I decided to scale down a bit to keep it easy and casual.  And my schedule has been overwhelming lately so I really welcomed this more relaxed atmosphere.  

We invited just a few friends over for dinner and to watch the Oscars with us.  Again, we kept it casual, but that doesn't mean we didn't plan!  We had a good time changing things up a bit.

Per usual, we ordered the year's official Poster and my daughter, Jo, made the Best Picture Banner this year.  Our parting gifts to our friends were the popcorn boxes filled with popcorn, candy and soda.

The past Academy Awards programs also made an appearance as well as some additional film reels I'd acquired this year.  The two posters of Julie Andrews and Cary Grant are among my favorites.

To accommodate our dinner party, we moved all of the living room furniture into our dining room, and moved our dining room furniture (and an additional table and chairs) into our living room.  

Everyone had a great view of the television.

Place cards were these chalkboard easels I found at Target this week!  What a find!  Danny used chalk to write names and he made them look like little clapboards.  

The easels were on top of the napkins that were folded to look like envelopes.  (And the Oscar goes to...)

The card inside the envelope was actually the menu for the evening.  Here's the back and front of the cards that I made and ordered from Shutterfly:

Fresh flowers and candles made for a very pretty tablescape.  

We kept the food themed to an Italian meal that started with a variety of Antipasti.

Bruschetta and Caprese Salad were favorites!

Danny had a Tiramisu Martini ready for the guests when they walked in the door.  These were DANGEROUSLY delicious!  Good times were had almost immediately after consumption!  LOL!

Caesar Salad followed by a palate cleanser of Orange Sorbet.

Lasagna with Celery Bread was absolutely scrumptious!

Dessert was a Tiramisu Semifreddo that was a great end to our meal.

Our evening was very fun and full of lots of laughs.  The fact that it ended in such a surprising fashion just added the icing on the cake!  Here's Danny - mind blown!  Congrats to Moonlight!

I don't know what next year's party will bring, but this year's filled me up in so many ways.  It's always great fun to have such wonderful friends over on such special nights!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Yule Log - Advent Celebration

Our Parish hosted an amazing evening at the beginning of Advent this year.  Ministries and groups of women could reserve, host and decorate a table for a candlelit night of prayer in preparation for Advent.  It was a magical night, and the group that I'm affiliated with reserved two tables.   I was requested to make the desserts for tables and opted to do Yule Log cakes for the event.

The mushrooms were made of meringue.  A little cocoa.  A little melted chocolate.  

I used rosemary as the garnish.

It was an absolutely beautiful night.  Wonderful ladies, great prayer and a fun time overall.  

Mickey Mouse for Abe

Vanessa and Danny requested their son's 1st birthday cake from Cake Mama.  I came out of retirement for this one because - how could I not?  I had done the cupcakes for Vanessa's wedding shower and this is just too fun - to make a cake for their son a few years later?  

The huge Disney fans they are, they requested a Mickey Mouse cake for their son, Abraham.  White cake with cream cheese frosting and a rice krispie treat Mickey hat made the cake.  

They had a beautiful late summer day for the party!

This was Abe's first "sweet" food...  He's clearly not sure what to make of this.

The first taste?

Mmmmm!  Heaven!!!

Happiest of birthdays to you, little Abe!  Can't wait to celebrate many more with you!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Jake & the Neverland Pirates and the Golden Birthday

You know how things never truly go as planned?  You envision an event going one way, and then it takes a totally different direction?  Well, I had plans for my daughter's 4th birthday.  I had plans.  She was going to have a garden party.  We'd read the Hungry Caterpillar and do some gardening and the kids would leave with a sunflower ready to bloom for the summer.  I had picked up Eric Carle themed gift bags, cute little flower wands (and this was YEARS ago) and everything that went with it.  And I was ready for her 2nd birthday party until....

She really wanted a Sesame Street party.  

Then, I saved all of the stuff for her 3rd birthday until...

She really wanted an Umi Zoomi party.  

So I saved all of the stuff for her 4th birthday.  And you guessed it.  She didn't want a garden party.  She was all about Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  So I went with it.  My brilliant husband incorporated all of the garden stuff into this party by bringing in Tinkerbell (seriously BRILLIANT!) so the garden stuff is gone AND Maren got her dream golden birthday party.   Win-Win!  Here are some pictures from her party this weekend.  

I made a cake and cake pops with the cake scraps.  The cake pops were going to be cannon balls, but I didn't have enough black melting candy.  But I had a ton of red.  So, again, I went with it!

The cake is actually decorated quite simply.  It's the Jake & the Neverland Pirate toys that really make it.  I used brown sugar for the sand and found some candy shells at a candy shop.   The cake itself is white cake and chocolate cake.  I torted both layers and filled them blue buttercream.  Maren's favorite color is blue and this was her request.  I layered the cake with white, then chocolate, white then chocolate so it was also striped on the inside to go with our color theme.  

Tick Tock crock is sneaking up on Hook!!

Did you know that I had to go to three different stores before I could find Pixie Stix?  I mean, what kind of a party would this be if not for the Pixie Stix?  Totally worth it.

Gummy Worms = Fish Bait
Gummy Fish = Shark Bait

Maren got a treasure chest for her birthday and it came in handy for the treasure hunt!  (All of the goody bags were inside).


The kids had a BLAST sword fighting outside.  I thought I was going to pass out from laughing so hard.

Uncle Jimmy took quite a few beatings!  

The kids also got to go fishing!  They loved this too!  My husband put a magnet at the end of string and the kids got to fish out metal nuts.  I think they more loved the cheer of the crowd when they "got something!!"  It was cute!

They also played a Hook Toss.  They had to try to hook some diving rings onto Hooks.  Again, cheers made it so fun!

Then it was time to walk the plank!  We had to bring this one indoors because the weather turned rainy.  But that didn't stop the kids.  They went from a really wide board, down to a little skinny one.  They all had so much fun with this!  Again, cheers from the crowd made it even more fun!!

Here's the food.  My husband made the food labels and I think they added so much to the buffet!

Pirate ship watermelon boat.  Lots of fun fruit in there too!

Carrots with Seaweed (spinach) Dip and Cannon Ball olives.

Skully's crackers and cheese.

Fish and chips (Goldfish crackers and potato chips).

Gold [chicken] Nuggets and Dead Man's Fingers (mini hot dogs).

Pirate Punch!

Sea Water

Now, on to the treasure hunt!


I found this ginormous Jake from  He was so much bigger than I thought he was going to be!  With the exception of a baby-Evie, the kids all loved him!  And for some reason really wanted to punch him???  LOL!

For some quiet time, the kids decorated their own pirate hats.  I think CJ did a great job here!

Happy Birthday to my little Maren!  We are so proud of our little girl!!