Wedding Week, Flowers, Family and Father’s Day

Pretty and Simple Centerpieces

My sister’s centerpieces were twine-tied mason jars filled with fairy lights and silk hydrangeas set on a glass tiles and surrounded by votives. These would be easy DIY centerpieces for a wedding, shower, engagement party, or even a backyard celebration–think gerber daisies or sunflowers.

Her bridal bouquet was made up of brightly colored flowers with the stems wrapped in satin ribbon.

The bride and groom, Ruth and Michael’s first dance.
Flowering cherry blossoms provide the perfect backdrop to my sister’s blended family.

And in honor of Father’s Day…

Me and Hubby.
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Wedding Week–DIY Chocolate Favors

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DIY Chocolate Favors

Hon, you know I love a theme! My sister recently got re-married and I was in charge of the bachelorette-ish dinner. A pretty pocketbook was featured on the invitation, so when I found candy molds with pocketbooks and pumps, I was sold. There are endless molds to choose from making these DIY favors easy to adapt to different themes and occasions. Need a fun kids activity? Kid can measure, time, pour, pop the candy out of the molds and, of course, eat the chocolates. Yum!

Supplies:

  • candy molds
  • melting chocolates (I used a combination of milk, dark and white chocolate.)
  • cookie tray
  • wax or parchment paper
  • microwaveable bowls, spoons and spatula
  • favor bags and ribbon

Steps:

  1. Set up: Place candy molds on baking trays. Top another tray or cutting board with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Melt 2 cups of chocolate melties in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another 10-12 seconds or until chocolate is smooth. Stir. If more than  2 cups of chocolate are being melted, microwave for 15 seconds. (note: Some chocolate melties melt better than others. It’s better to microwave for less time, stir, microwave again, etc. if you’re not sure. If the chocolate passes the melting stage and gets “crumbly,” it can’t be re-melted and becomes unusable.)
  3. Pour melted chocolate into candy molds.
  4. Place baking tray with candy molds in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pop frozen chocolate shapes onto wax/parchment lined tray. Let it come to room temperature before handling.
  6. Fill bags and tie with ribbon.

Source: Check out Sweet n Fancy Emporium where you can find endless choice of mold, cookie cutter, melties, sprinkles and frostings.

Spring Bouquets

Who doesn’t love a bouquet?

We were at an event where every table had a different bouquet and, of course, I had to absorb the colors and combinations. The two arrangements below are nestled in DIY Woodsy Centerpieces. Bendable twigs, vines and branches are wrapped around glass vases. The branches-wrapped-vases sit on thick slabs of wood. Simple. Woodsy. Pretty.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Cake-In-A-Cone

Cake Ice Cream Cone
Cake-In-A-Cone with Icing and Extras.  Yum!

Do you need a cool, kid-friendly dessert?

Cake-In-A-Cones were a hit with the middle schoolers at my daughter’s New Year’s Eve party. You know how much I love a theme, but this pre-decorated or decorate-your-own dessert would be fun at any party.

Happy Sweet Tooth, hon!

Combining ingredients of cake mix.
Combine ingredients to make cake batter.
Line muffin tin cups with foil so cones will stand.
Line muffin tin cups with foil so cones will stand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cake-In-a-Cones right out of the oven.
Cake-In-A-Cones right out of the oven.
Cake-In-a-Cone ready for icing and extras!
Ready for icing and extras!

Cake-In-A-Cone

Ingredients:

1 box of cake mix

eggs, however many the cake mix calls for

vegetable oil, same as the eggs, check the box

24 flat-bottomed ice cream cones

regular sized muffin tins

Icing and Extras, such as sprinkles, mini-marshmallows, M & M’s, cinnamon candies, etc.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Prepare muffin tins by lining each cup with aluminum foil.  This will help the cones to stand.

3.  Combine cake batter as directed on cake box.

4.  Stand cones in muffin tins.  Fill each cone about 3/4.

5.  Bake for about half the time noted on the box, then check to see if cake is done.  If not, keep in oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

6.  Cool before decorating.

New Year’s Fun on December 31

Mocktails or, as Hubby called them, FAUZ-in drinks.
Mocktails or, as Hubby called them, FAUZ-in drinks.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and your families a healthy and happy 2015! We celebrated with our youngest daughter and her friends. We served the same menu as last year, with a one addition:  Cake Ice Cream Cones. Yum!

Cake Ice Cream Cones Decorating Station.
Cake Ice Cream Cones Decorating Station.
Lots of toppings.
Lots of toppings.
Party Crackers.
Party Crackers.

There were also Make-Your-Own-Sundaes and Non-Alcoholic ChampagneParty Crackers, a Scavenger Hunt, games, blowers and party hats. Then the girls had a sleepover, or as Hubby calls it, an “OVER” since there wasn’t much sleeping involved!

Middle School Rocks!
Middle School Rocks!
Fun with Friends!
Fun with Friends!
Cheers!
Cheers!

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Thanks, hon, for all of your Blog Support in 2014!

Fall Fete (Dessert and Decor)


IMG_2108

I recently hosted a Fall Fete, or festive celebration.

Hon, you know how much I love a theme.  And baking.  Combining my favorite season with decor and dessert energized me more than usual.  The morning after the Get Together, we drove through the stunning Lehigh Valley to visit one of our college daughters.  I guess I was still buzzing from the night before because, when I ordered coffee with lunch, the Barista said, “Decaf for you?”

Flowers, pumpkins and pumpkin trees.
Flowers, pumpkins and pumpkin trees.

Look what I found at Trader Joe’s.  I’d never heard of pumpkin trees before, but apparently that’s what those branches with real, mini pumpkins growing on them are called.

Window display.
Window display.  I love to merchandise!
I love merchandising!
I collect decor for every season and am a big fan of using what I  have and embellishing it.
Snoopy-dressed-as-a-pumpkin and youngest daughter's ceramic bunnies welcome friends.
Snoopy-Dressed-as-a-Pumpkin and Youngest Daughter’s ceramic bunnies welcome friends.
It must be the children's writer in me that sees this porcupine candle as a character!
It must be the children’s writer in me that sees this porcupine candle as a character!
Cupcakes, candy and a Haunted House.
Cupcakes, candy and a Haunted House Kit.

I couldn’t resist this Haunted House Kit from Williams-Sonoma.  Orange icing inspired the Decorate-Your-Own-Cupcake Station.  The flavor of the icing is

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…candy corn!  And the Hershey Kisses aren’t chocolate, they’re pumpkin spice!  So much yumminess!

Dried Fruit, Pumpkin Mini Muffins, Rice Krispie Treats and Crudites.
Dried Fruit, Pumpkin Mini Muffins, Rice Krispie Treats and Crudites.
Apple Crumble
Apple Crumble.

You can bet I tried a little of everything!

Menu:

Pumpkin Muffins

Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Rice Krispie Treats (made with M & M’s and candy corn)

Crudites

Dried Fruit

Chips-n-Salsa

Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins 

Drinks:

Hot Apple Cider

Hot Chocolate

Coffee and Tea

Wine

A candy bat is caught in a giant spider's web.
A candy bat is caught in a giant spider’s web.
The candy corn fence is adorable.
The candy corn fence is adorable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe next year, we should have a Kids-Versus-Grown-ups Haunted House contest!
Assembling the Haunted House looked like fun.  Maybe next year, we should have a Kids-Versus-Grown-ups Haunted House contest!

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe:  click here

Apple Crumble Recipe:  post under construction (source, Mama’s Gotta Bake)

DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

DIY Centerpiece
DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

Last month, Hubby and I hosted a big family event.  Hon, you know what I love about a party besides celebrating happy occasions with friends and family?  The theme!  I love coordinating colors and carrying the theme through the details. It fires up my imagination.

Since the theme of the party was Broadway shows, the Manhattan skyline became a design element on the favors, large scale decorations and the centerpieces. I created the vessels and then handed them off to florist Kristen Carlberg*, who brought my vision of happy, bright, colorful bouquets to life.  I must give a shout out to my good friend, Ina Wallman*.  Not only does she have an exquisite eye for design, she helped me focus my many ideas into one cohesive plan.

Each table was set with cream tablecloths and fuchsia napkins.  Round tables featured one larger (6 inches by 6 inches) centerpiece while larger oval tables featured three smaller (5 inches by 5 inches) centerpieces, lined up in a row.

*If you are interested in getting in touch with florist, Kristen Carlberg or interior designer, Ina Wallman, please leave a comment or email me at bmoreenergy@gmail.con and we’ll exchange contact info.

Happy decorating, hon!

Supplies:

–Unfinished wooden boxes. I bought mine at G & G Distributors, a wholesale floral and craft store and website.

–White paint.  I used leftover water-based wall paint, semi-gloss.

–Paintbrushes or foam brushes.

–Drop cloth.

–Decorations to wrap around the boxes.

–Varnish, optional. (I didn’t varnish the boxes, but wish I did.  Water-based paint tends to run when water touches it.)

–Glass inserts for flowers and water. The florist supplied these.  She measured the insides of the boxes ahead of time so she’d know what sizes to get.  The unfinished wooden boxes came with thin, plastic liners.  If I was using floral green foam, then the plastic liners might have sufficed, but they wouldn’t hold cut flowers in water.

Steps:

–Gather supplies, including wrap-around stickers or whatever you are using for decorating the boxes.  Hubby has a talent for graphic design so he worked up a Manhattan skyline and ordered the custom-designed stickers an online site.  Or a paper design (not on paper that’s too thin) that coordinates with your theme can be used.  Paper designs can be secured around the perimeter of the boxes using craft glue.

–Measure designs by wrapping them around boxes and cutting them to fit.  They’ll be ready to apply once the boxes are painted and dry.

–Paint boxes and dry thoroughly.

–Apply designs.

–Varnish, optional.

–Add glass inserts and flowers.

–Set your tables and enjoy!

1. Unfinished wooden boxes were painted white with leftover wall paint.
Unfinished wooden boxes were painted with leftover water-based, semi gloss wall paint.
2. Custom-designed stickers were wrapped around each fully-dried, painted box.
Custom-designed stickers were wrapped around each fully-dried, painted box.
Boxes decorated with wrap-around stickers.
Boxes decorated with wrap-around stickers.
Three 5" x 5" boxes were lined up on oval tables. One 6" x 6" box was set in the center of round tables.
Three 5″ x 5″ boxes were lined up on oval tables. One 6″ x 6″ box was set in the center of round tables.
The florist measured the insides of the boxes, so she could pick up the correct sized glass inserts.
The florist measured the insides of the boxes, so she could pick up the correct sized glass inserts.
I love the contrast of the colorful flowers against the white box.
I love the contrast of the colorful flowers against the clean lines of the white box.
Bright, pretty, happy!
Bright, pretty, happy!

Lemons and Limes Inspired Party Decor

Triplets at their high school graduation party.
Triplets at their high school graduation party. (Notice the watermelon fruit basket.  How to make it was in the previous post.)

My three big kids graduated from high school last year.  Were we going to have a party to celebrate?  You bet!

Since my kids were little, I enjoyed coming up with party themes and color schemes.  I am passionate about parties.

Most of my kids’ parties have been at home.  People often say, “Wow, how can you handle all those kids at your house?”  (I have triplets plus one, duh!)

Maybe they think I’m trying be Martha Stewart.  (Well, I do like her ideas….)

Maybe they think I’m a Domestic Diva (Ummm, did you know my nickname is the “Laundry Wench?”)

Maybe they think I’m crazy! (Aren’t we all a little bit crazy?)  

The real reason I prefer parties at home?  CONTROL.  I like to be in control (hubby is nodding his head vigorously).  There, I said it!  If I throw a party at my house, I can be in charge of when the party starts and ends, when food is served and what activities there are.  Now you know one of my flaws–or–assets, however you look at it.

The party decor for the triplet’s high school graduation party was inspired by lemons and limes.  Not only did I use green and yellow for linens and paper goods, I incorporated the fruit in the centerpieces.  The whole house smelled like Lemon Pledge!

I have a collection of glass vases (Hubby, thanks for the Valentine’s flowers over the years!) that I use any chance I get.  I rented two tents, tables, chairs and linens.

Menu:

Cheese-n-crackers, crudite, chips-n-dip

Wraps:  veggie and tuna

Salads:  caeser, tossed, crunchy mixed veggies, pasta

Sides:  noodle kugel (homemade by moi, three big trays eaten up!)

Dessert:  two sheet cakes:  one vanilla, one chocolate, homemade chocolate chip cookies,    candy tray and fruit

Drinks:  lemonade (of course), water, soda and a guest brought alcohol-free mudslides

So fun!

Food tent.
Food tent.
I used alternating green and yellow linens.
I used alternating green and yellow linens.
I offset the lemons and limes and yellow Gerber Daisies with a lavender ribbon around each vase.
I offset the lemons, limes and yellow Gerber Daisies with lavender ribbons around each vase.
Pretty and fresh-scented centerpieces.
Pretty and freshly-scented centerpieces.

Leaving you with a “sweet taste” in your mouth… and I’d love to know if 

you like to entertain and if you threw a party you were proud of? 

homemade chocolate chip cookies
homemade chocolate chip cookies 

Watermelon Fruit Basket

Chilled watermelon fruit basket.
Chilled watermelon fruit basket.

Watermelon Fruit Basket How To:

1.  Start by outlining where to carve with either a watermelon carving tool (pictured on cutting board below) or a with a sharp (I would use a short) knife.  The handle will be approximately in the middle of the melon.

Incise a line half-way around the long part of the watermelon then up and around for one half of the handle.  Remove the knife.

Start carving again once you’ve decided how thick you want your handle to be.   Incise up and around for the other half of the handle and continuing half-way around the rest of the long part of the melon.

outline where to cut
Outline where to carve.

2.  Once you’ve carved all the way around, leaving one section as your handle, break off both top portions of the melon.  The watermelon in those portions will go into your fruit salad.

top part of one half of melon cut out
One top potion of melon cut out.

3.  Break off the other top portion of melon and cut out melon under the handle.

Both top portions of melon are broken off.  Melon under handle has been cut out.
Both top portions of melon are broken off. Melon under handle has been cut out.

4.  Scoop out the remaining melon.  Smooth the inside of the watermelon with a spoon. Cut scooped out melon into cubes.  Combine with other fruit.

Scoop out remaining melon.
Scoop out remaining melon.

5.  Pour out excess juice from carved out watermelon.  Place empty watermelon basket in freezer for about an hour (or more) so that the inside will harden a little and the basket will keep the fruit cold when serving.

6. When you are ready to serve, add fruit to you watermelon basket.  The thin layer of ice crystals that formed on my basket melted quickly once I placed it outside to serve.

Ready to serve.
Ready to serve.