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A very hungry caterpillar

by karoline on July 29, 2014

very hungry caterpillar cupcakes

The hubby’s cousin is having a baby – and we already know it’s a BOY – so when I got the adorable Very Hungry Caterpillar  invite, I jumped at the chance to make the cupcakes for the shower, too.

very hungry caterpillar cupcake toppers

For half of the cupcakes, I used printables from Pea Pink Paperie and Kids Party DIY.  I love the colors!

very hungry caterpillar

O insisted they have pale green sprinkles.

very hungry caterpillar

I chose these toppers because of their ability to tell the story itself.

caterpillar cake

For the other half of the cupcakes, I put together one of these super simple caterpillar cupcake cakes.  It requires about 20 cupcakes and one 4-inch cake for the head.  I used about one single batch of cupcake batter.  After making a few fondant facial features and legs, you simply pipe on the green frosting swirls, making sure to overlap the gaps in between the cupcakes.

very hungry caterpillar cake

The theme is so cute I almost want to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar  party just for the fun of it.

diaper cake

I can’t take credit for this diaper cake, but it’s just one of the great decorations created by the party hostess.  I absolutely adore it

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Working on O’s Room

by karoline on July 20, 2014

painted bookshelf

I love reading my friend, Brandy’s site, and she is always posting about the fun furniture and decorating projects she does.  She inspired me to post a few of the pix of projects that I have worked on for O’s room.  Let’s be honest, I really enjoy making crafts WITH O, but there is something to be said for good, old-fashioned, grown-ups only projects FOR your little ones.  We purchased this bookshelf eons ago while living in Boston.  It remained unfinished for ages.  Suddenly, I found myself with a garage and space for projects.  I decided to put this shelf in O’s room and paint it white to match the trim.  It was quite the success for one of my first attempts at painting ANYTHING, but it should be noted that I first tried to stain it with an all-in-one varnish, and that was a complete disaster!  I’ll stick to painting.

name letters, nursery

These super cute O-L-I-V-I-A letters were from my baby shower for O.  Man, that feels like ages ago!  My dad spray painted them all brown, and then my friends and I all got a letter of her name & decorated them to match the color scheme of the nursery.  The lady in the photo is O’s namesake: her great-great-grandma Olivia.

painted dresser, nursery

While I can’t take any of the creative credit for this one, I did come up with the idea.  The dresser was my sister-in-law’s when she was a child.  A basic, pine dresser, it was sturdily constructed and built to last another 30 years, but it was quite old fashioned.  I hired Barb Erwin to add her unique touch & modernize the piece.  She did a wonderful job and was able to add many more details than I would have been able to.  (I can’t seem to find her contact info right now, but if you have a project in mind for her, let me know & I will find it.)

ikea hack, spice racks

I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest.  Of course, we have SO MANY books in O’s room that they are forever piling up and tumbling on the floor.  I bought these spice racks for very cheap at Ikea and spray painted them pink.  Once hung on the wall, they make great shelves for kid’s books, making the books easily accessible from our big, comfy reading chair but also organized for mommy’s peace of mind.

bow organizer

Saw this idea on Pinterest, too when I was looking for a way to organize the many hair bows that we have recently accumulated.  I wanted to make something that only utilized things already in my house without spending any money on it.  I had the frame lying around, and the paper was from O’s 2nd birthday banner.  Buttons and ribbons were from my baby shower.  Voila: cute, organized and cheap.  O loves picking out her hair bow every morning from the cluster on the wall.

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Sprinkle

by karoline on July 12, 2014

sprinkle invite

The sprinkle shower is a new concept to me, something I had never heard of until I saw it pop up on moms’ sites and Pinterest.  At first, I thought, “Who hosts a sprinkle?” Then, later, “I do.  That’s who.  What a fun excuse for a party!”  In case you still have no idea what I’m referring to, a sprinkle is a small shower thrown in honor of someone who is pregnant with their second child.  Typically, the party is given when the gender of the second child is different than the gender of the first — when new clothes are a must.  Kelsea, one of my dearest friends from high school, and I have a longstanding tradition of celebrating together.  I catered her college graduation party (before I kept e-records of such things), made her 30th birthday cake, her wedding cake  (and here) and the cake for her first baby shower.  It was so much fun to put together this sprinkle with her mom.

sprinkle

I’ve amassed quite the collection of party ware over the last couple of years, and I was happy to be able to reuse mason jars, table cloths, vases, cake stands, and parasols.

sprinkle, it's a boy

I think it is pretty obvious what flavor bun is in the oven this time around.

balloon wreath - boy baby shower

Can’t wait to reuse this balloon wreath for O’s 3rd birthday party.  She has requested a Cookie Monster theme, and I figure all I need to do is replace the bows with Cookies!

rain boot vase, baby shower

We saw this cute idea for a flower vase on Pinterest and instantly fell in love with it.  Not only are the rain boots great for the sprinkle, but the mom-to-be can take them home & use them for her little one….eventually.

blue candy

O helped me fill these vases :)

cloth diaper cake

I’ve made a diaper cake before, but I used disposable diapers.  Cloth diaper cakes are a little different but still pretty easy.  You can put one together with only 12 inserts, keeping the cost reasonable.

7 layer salad

You can never go wrong with the old-school classic 7-layer salad.  The best part is that you assemble the whole thing the night before the party and are free to tend to last-minute items the morning of your event.

sandwiches

And, don’t be afraid to cheat a little.  Since things have been a little crazy for us (in the 2 week wait of our first IVF cycle), my co-host and I decided to purchase pre-made sandwiches from Casey’s — excellent decision on our part.

sandwiches

Simply remove purchased items from the tacky plastic trays and place them on a fancy cake stand, and Voila!

duck cupcakes

For dessert, we had chocolate cupcakes with blue buttercream.  This was my first time sculpting fondant.  While the ducks do look a little bit like they were born in Chernobyl, I think the overall effect was pretty cute.

sprinkle cupcakes

And, of course, they tasted incredible.

frosting face

Sign of a good cupcake, right?

sprinkle

Mom, dad, and big sister opened all of their gifts.

big sister

Big sister clearly has mixed emotions on the subject.

baby sprinkle shower

sprinkle

But, she sure did love sitting in mommy’s (shrinking) lap to open all of the cards.

sprinkled with love

Party guests took home a tiny mason jar of sprinkles as a thank you.  (The themed labels came from Simply Sweetness.)

Congratulations, Kelsea & Ryan…can’t wait to meet your little guy!

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Born on the FIFTH of July

by karoline on July 4, 2014

4th of July decorated star cookies

My dad wasn’t exactly a firecracker baby, but with a July 5th birthday, we consider it close enough.  Since his birthday celebration tends to fall on the 4th itself, I like to make a patriotic dessert like this flag cake or this berry trifle.  This year, O and I decided to make simple iced star cookies with “frinkles”.  While I must admit that O is an expert frinkle applier, she does eat more frinkles than actually make it onto the cookies.  (I used my favorite shortbread recipe with royal icing.)

cookies with grandpa

Of course, the best part about making cookies for your abuelo is eating them with him.  He also received a handmade birthday card, crafted from cardstock, alphabet stamps and star cookie cutters dipped in red and blue finger paint.  He was pleased, and so was O.

May your 4th of July be safe as well as fun!

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Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Madel

by karoline on June 29, 2014

carnival cupcakes

A while back, I wrote about how bummed I was to have missed the destination wedding of a dear friend of mine in the Dominican Republic.  Thankfully, she hosted a giant block party/ carnival for all of their friends and loved ones who couldn’t make it to the D.R.  I’m happy to say that we were able to attend, even though it was touch and go for a little bit since my egg retrieval was almost scheduled for the day of the wedding.  EEP!  ( I attended the reception extremely bloated, with 20! eggs cooking and stone cold sober, but I’m hoping it will all be worth it.  Stay tuned for more news on that front.  Retrieval is for sure happening Monday morning.  So, keep us in your thoughts.)

circus cupcakes

I offered to bring the cupcakes (the usual vanilla and chocolate cakes with vanilla buttercream).  They were perfect, and held up in spite of the heat and the rain.  I ordered these adorable printables from Strawberry Mommycakes through her Etsy store.  She was super patient with me & worked to get the graphics just the way I wanted them.

block party

It was great to catch up with old college friends (and their wives), whom we just don’t see often enough.  The caterer provided us with grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, kale and potato salads, and a variety of condiments displayed in adorable mason jars with rustic labels.  Love those whimsical checkerboard trays!

block party

The bride and groom rented loads of bouncy houses for kids and adults alike, decorated the street with gorgeous white lanterns, and provided plenty of booze for the grownups and carnival candy for the kids.  There was a fun photo booth, but the best part of the party was the very cheesy and very awesome 80s cover band.  It’s too bad the downpour pushed back their start time because they were great!

block party

This picture turned out FAR better than any of the photo booth pix.  I swear that booth was like a fun house, accentuating everyone’s worst features!  haha.

newlyweds

Sadly, I didn’t get a great shot of the newlyweds, but this will have to do.  Absolutely loved Meg’s 40s-style dress and hair do.  What a beautiful bride (and a good looking groom, too!)

wedding cupcakes

Thanks for letting us be a part of your fun celebration.  A lifetime of love and happiness to you, Mr. & Mrs. Madel!

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Summer Berries

by karoline on June 19, 2014

blueberry betty

Baking old school desserts chock full of summer berries or other fresh fruits is my jam.  Pardon the pun.  These types of desserts are the reason I wanted to be a baker and the things I like to whip up when I am in my kitchen.  Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing like the elation on a little kid’s face when you bring out their elaborate, brightly colored birthday cake.  But, there is something inherently comforting about making and enjoying these classics.   They are simple, fruit forward, and stress-free.  This blueberry betty is made from breadcrumbs and blueberries layered together with coconut and walnut.  It was the perfect way to end an evening enjoyed on the patio with friends.

pound cake

Pound cake reminds of my Grandma Esther.  Of course, her pound cakes came from Entenmann’s, but we’ll keep that secret between us.  Topped with toasted almonds and a few fresh raspberries, this cake is the perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea.  Imagine how impressed your friends would be if you offered them a slice the next time they popped by with the kids.

strawberry pie

Believe it or not, pie used to terrify me.  My crusts drooped and shrank.  The filling was never quite right: too goopy or too firm.  I hated making pie, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.  Well, after a few thousand pies made at Mission Pie, I can now whip out beauties like this with my hands tied behind my back.  This little number was loaded with fresh, local berries and oozed all over the plate when I cut it: just like Krystin and Karen taught me.

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Icing Smiles

June 18, 2014

This is the 3rd cake that I made for Icing Smiles.  I absolutely love being involved with their organization.  The commitment is minimal, I get to volunteer to help out some very deserving kids, and I can practice my skills. 6 year old Joleena requested a My Little Pony Cake.  Since sculpting is not my […]

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Summer weather

June 11, 2014

It has been quite some time since I posted.  Thankfully, the weather has improved greatly in the last few weeks, giving us reason to step away from our electronic devices.  May flew by in the blink of an eye.  We started the month out with a gender reveal party in Springfield and cruised right into […]

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Gender Reveal: It’s a BOY!

May 6, 2014

When I found out that Ben’s cousin’s wife was having a gender reveal party, I practically begged her to let me make the cake.  I have been dying to make one of this ever since I saw one on Facebook a couple of years back.  I don’t know why, but it just seems like a […]

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