Friday, July 30, 2010

Barbie Party Decorations - A Year Too Late

My older daughter's 7th birthday is coming up in September, so the planning (at least thinking) has begun! She thinks about her birthday all year round. She is definitely miss party girl. This year she is torn between a Justin Bieber themed party or having it at a gymnastics place. If it's going to be Justin Bieber, I really have my work cut out for me. The research begins!!

Last year she had a Barbie themed party. I looked everywhere for Barbie party decorations and there were none to be had...ANYWHERE! I improvised by just getting girlie stuff, making a Barbie themed cake, made Barbie personalized chocolate bars, and got miscellaneous Barbie items to try and theme it as a "Barbie" party.

So, this week, while waiting for my family to arrive at the movie theater to see Toy Story 3, I decided to stroll through the neighboring Party City.

Wasn't I surprised when I came across this...


It seems as though Barbie has finally jumped on the party bandwagon. It sure took them long enough! There were so many options now - tattoos, party bags, centerpieces, plates, napkins - you name it!

Only a year too late.

We're moved on to Justin.

HELP!! Would love any ideas you may have for a Justin Bieber party. Was thinking of using posters as decorations. I love planning the food, decorations and party favors. When it comes to the activities though is where my mind completely shuts down.

Would love (and appreciate) your suggestions!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Book That Started It All

A few years ago, my family (the hubbs, the girls and I) lived in "hot as heck" Florida. The rest of my family was here in NY. My girls were little then, They're still little so I guess I should say littler. I took tons of pictures of them! My Jewish, loves-to-lay-on-the-guilt-without-even-knowing-it mom loved to get photos in her e-mail from me...EVERYDAY!!!! If I skipped a day, believe me, I would hear it.

"I see you didn't get a chance to send pictures today. What do the girls look like?"

It's hard to explain that they really didn't change much in 24 hours. It was so much easier to just keep sending the photos. Now it's even easier since we're back home and only 10 blocks away. She can see them whenever she wants!

So, it was January of 2007 and the hubbs' birthday was coming up and I didn't have a gift for him. Ding Ding!! I DID have all those photos I took! I decided rather than going out in the FL heat to buy a gift, I would just make him one with some of the photos. I decided to make a book - an accordion scrapbook, but I wanted to make the actual book myself.

The thought of scrapbooking always appealed to me but I could never get into the larger 12 X 12 books. I just didn't have the time. Plus, there are so many great papers out there that I wanted to use the paper that I loved for the covers of the book. I also wanted to make it smaller - 6 1/2 inch square would be a perfect size for me. So, I figured out how to make it and this was the result...


My first handmade book ever!

I picked that particular paper because I really liked the pattern and color scheme.

Then I looked through a bunch of my photos and selected the ones I liked best. Since it was an accordion book, I dedicated one side of the book to my little one and the other side to my older daughter.


I was really happy with the way it came out. So was the hubbs! He loved this gift! My girls still enjoy looking through that book. (and the others I've made since then)

Here's a sampling of what I did - my older one:


My little one...


I thought it would make it more interesting to include more than just photos - hence the hand and foot prints.

I showed it to my friends and they really liked it as well. So much so that they started asking me to make books for them!

Since then, I have been selling them at local fairs and I even had them at a store in FL.

Now I am still making them and will soon be adding them to my ETSY Shop as well as my website (once I get that darn shopping cart done!)

Here's a sneak peek at what I've been working on.

I always start with the covers. PVA glue and a bone folder are a bookmaker's best friends!


I have a bunch for Fall (my favorite season)



along with everyday occasions.


I love this little owl! Wouldn't this be great for back to school or a teacher's gift?


Or these fun girlie ones? Some even have glitter!


This sweet design would be great for a couple that just got engaged...


The possibilities are endless!

Do you like to scrapbook? How about taking photographs? Do they all just end up on your camera? You can tell us!

Monday, July 26, 2010

{Gotta Have It!} Polka Dot Cupcake Liners

I have a serious problem. I can't go to Michael's and NOT buy something. The other day I was there, just looking around my favorite sections - scrapbooking, ribbons and cake decorating. I just shouldn't have gone into the cake decorating section. It gets me all the time!

There's a whole wall of cupcake liners - large, small, in lots of new fun patterns. When I came across these, I just had to have them.


Maybe it's the cute size, or maybe it was the fun array of colors,


or it could have been all those polka dots that put me over the edge.


Whatever it was, I had to have them and I had to get EVERY color they came in!


Now I have to get busy baking again.

Or maybe I'll just admire them for a while.

What is your weakness? Believe me, I have plenty more where that came from.

More on that later this week! (there's a hint in these pictures though)

Friday, July 23, 2010

{Recipe} Bacon & Egg "Cupcakes"

I don't know about you, but during the week my mornings are so hectic. Making lunches, packing bags, it's a miracle we actually get out on time. So my breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal. More specifically Multi Grain Cheerios with a sprinkling of cranberry pecan granola on top. Very exciting, I know.

The weekends however are a different story. We usually don't have anything early planned which gives us some time to have a hot breakfast. Eggs are a favorite around here but last weekend instead of the traditional bacon, eggs and toast, I wanted to change things up a bit. Yes, we still had bacon, eggs and toast, but in the form of a CUPCAKE!! It's really all about the presentation.

Here goes:

Take some sliced bread and take off the crusts.


We only have sliced wheat bread in our house but I'm sure white bread will work great. It's so doughy! I actually got this idea from watching a recent episode of $10 Dinners on the Food Network. The host, Melissa d'Arabian was making some kind of cheese and tomato tart and she used this same method with white bread. Don't know how that made me think of bacon & eggs, but somehow it did. Who knows how the mind works, right?!?

Then you want to flatten it out with a rolling pin or whatever else you may have on hand. (the side of a can will work)


See how flat it got? Crazy, huh?!?



Next you want to melt some butter and brush it on both sides of the bread. This will be the "toast" part of our breakfast.

Take a muffin tray and place the bread inside. Make sure it's flat against the bottom and sides.


Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees - you want it to brown up a bit and get crispy so when you take it out it holds it's shape.

Now personally I like scrambled eggs - I don't like a runny yoke. I would really prefer to just eat the egg whites (which many times I do) but for this I made scrambled. I didn't want it too dry and not too wet - somewhere in the middle.

For the bacon, I keep it in the freezer so it's easier to cut. I cut the bacon crosswise into little slices and then cooked it the way you normally would. Another option would be to just keep it whole and crumble it up after it cooks. Your choice.

Then, it's assembly time. Pop the bread out of the muffin tins, fill it with the eggs and top it off with your crumbled bacon.


There you have it - a new twist on your bacon, eggs & toast breakfast - made to look like cupcakes!


Hope you like it! Will you try it this weekend? Let me know if you do.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

{City Life} Field Trip - Phantom Of The Opera

So yesterday, my daughter's theater camp was going on a field trip. During the year in school, I usually volunteer to be a chaperone going on field trips to places such as The Bronx Zoo & Botanical Gardens.

Yesterday's camp field trip was to see Phantom of The Opera on Broadway!!

Hellooooo!! No twisting my arm to be a chaperone for this one! One of the many benefits of living in NYC - field trips to Broadway shows! Don't get me wrong, i still had to pay for my ticket, but I think it was at a reduced rate.

It was a great experience for her. When she was 4 I took her to see The Lion King since she was so into the Disney thing back then. She's only 6 1/2 now so she didn't really get the Phantom story, but she loved the singing.

"Mama - I really loved it so much! But...what was it about?"


She said she was even a bit scared. I missed the very beginning because one of the girls in my group had to go to the bathroom. (gotta love their timing) When we returned, my daughter was sitting on the lap of one of the older campers!

The guy who played the Phantom - John Cudia was amazing!

Photo (c)

As I was listening I was thinking that his voice reminded me of the show Les Miserables. Sure enough, I was right! I read in the Playbill that he indeed in fact played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. I knew there was a reason I loved it! His voice is out of control!! (I'm actually listening to the Les Mis CD now as I am typing)

We weren't allowed to take any pictures of the actual show, but I did manage to get some shots of the inside of the Majestic Theater.

Our seats were kind of high up and the steps were at a steep angle. Normally I like sitting in the orchestra (who doesn't) but these turned out to be good.


Everything was so ornate. This was the chandelier that was part of the show.


This was on the ceiling.


And on the other end you can see the ornate decorations on the walls of the theater.


To see photos from the actual show, you can go to

There's nothing like a Broadway Show experience. Especially a musical. If you've never been to one, make sure it's on your list the next time you're in NY.

If you have been to a show, what's your favorite? Mine is Les Miserables. I also loved Beauty & The Beast - which happens to be the production my daughter's camp will be doing in a couple of weeks.


Can't wait!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ice Cream Book Winner!

I'm ready to announce the winner of the ice cream book giveaway we had over the weekend.


Are you ready?

The winner was selected randomly using


We had 14 entries, and the winner is....



The winner goes by the name of heelshields and said:

heelshields said...
Oh, forgot to leave my favorites - Chocolate Almond,
Cherries Jubilee, Pistachio, Black Walnut Pralines and Cream and anything that
tastes like Dreamsicles.
July 16, 2010 4:59 PM

Thanks for entering! Keep checking back. There's sure to be another giveaway popping up soon.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, July 16, 2010

{Celebrate} Ice Cream Month!

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? More specifically, this coming Sunday, July 18th is National Ice Cream Day! Woo Hoo!!

What will you do to celebrate?

Yesterday I went to HomeGoods and found some really special items. I'll share those with you next week. While I was there though, I spotted this beauty.


What a book!


Check out this Italian Pistachio Gelato


and this bowl of Crushed Cherry Ice Cream.


Cherry Vanilla happens to be one of my favorites. What's yours?

This book is filled with so many wonderful ice cream photos with great recipes. I just love looking at this book!

But, in honor of National Ice Cream Day fast approaching, I'm willing to give it one of you out there!!

Yes - I am having a GIVEAWAY!!

To enter, leave a comment and tell me:

What is your favorite brand and flavor of ice cream?

My current favorites are Baskin Robbins Cherries Jubilee and Chocolate Chip. VANILLA Chocolate Chip - none of that mint stuff. Eeek!! I also like hard ice cream - don't go for the soft serve version. Blah! Unless there's cherry dip on top but then I mostly just eat all the cherry dip off so I guess that doesn't really count.

OK - can't wait to hear what you like! You can vote up until Midnight on Sunday July 18th and then a winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Monday. The winner will receive this book!

Have a great weekend!

* Please make sure to provide a valid e-mail address so we can contact you if you win. E-mail addresses will not be shared or used for any other purpose other than contacting you if you win.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Happy Birthday Boy

Recently my friend Pam asked if I could help her out with her little guy's 3rd birthday party. Of course I can! She wanted me to design the cupcakes and party favors. Two things I love to do!!

The party was at Chuck E. Cheese's in Harlem.

Chuck E Cheese-1

Chuck E Cheese-4

My dilemma was how I was going to deliver the cupcakes because it was a really hot day and I didn't want the icing to melt. Also, I had my little one with me so I had to coordinate her, the cupcakes and the party favors. I had 2 choices - to either ice the cupcakes when I got there, or drive in (instead of taking the subway). I actually came up with a third and even better option. I asked my sister to drive us down! That way, I wouldn't have to worry about parking and walking with the cupcakes. (and my daughter) Genius!!

For the cupcakes, I was told he likes the color red and sports balls - specifically baseballs and basketballs. So, I started designing. We also thought it would be cute to have his face on the cupcake topper so I made 2 different designs.

Sports balls...

Sports ball cupcake topper

and the others with his cute little face.

Birthday Boy Cupcakes-1

This one got both designs. It must have been the birthday boy's.


I used red icing with blue and yellow cupcake liners.

Birthday Boy Cupcakes-2

When it was time to sing the Happy Birthday song, they brought out the Chuck E. Cheese's mascot.

Chuck E Cheese-3

I think it freaked out the kids. (do you blame them?) He was politely asked to leave.

Time to blow out the candles,

Birthday Boy - 1

Birthday Boy - 1

and eat the cupcakes. Looks like he liked them!

Happy Birthday Boy-1

Happy Birthday Boy - 1

Apparently, so did my daughter.

Red Lips

For the favors, Pam already bought some of the items but she also wanted personalized mini chocolate bars and lollipops and have them all wrapped up together in one package.

For the chocolate bars, I put his face on the front with a birthday message on the back, and the lollipops just had his face.

I designed a card to match the cupcake toppers that was used as the top of the favor bag.

Party Favors

Sometimes designing for boys is a bit harder than for girls but I think these came out pretty cute!

Since I've been getting requests for party designs, I thought I would add them to my Etsy Shop. What themes do you like for boys parties? Anything special for girls?

What about adults? (we like to have parties too!)

I'll let you know when they're available.
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