Monday, May 13, 2013

Star Trek Birthday Party {Live Long & Prosper}

I tend to make a big deal out of my children's birthdays, but when it comes to the adults in my family, we keep things pretty low key. The standard is a small family lunch and cake event. This year, my husband's birthday was going to be our typical gathering, but I decided to take it up a notch just a tad. The past year he's been working super hard on his career, while supporting me in my business ventures and being an amazing dad at the same time and wanted to make his birthday a little more special. So, I decided to surprise him by making his birthday celebration Star Trek themed!

He's a huge Star Trek fan and classic Star Trek is his fav! So for starters, I ordered him a Captain Kirk uniform to wear (his absolute favorite character). I also scored a Phaser from Craigslist. But I knew that I couldn't let him dress up alone (and what man doesn't love a woman in costume?) so I dressed up too! Luckily, we have friends and family who happen to own extra Phasers and Tricorders (yep it's that kind of family).

Our gathering was still kept to our immediate family, but that didn't stop me from putting together a Star Trek dessert table.

For his cake, I knew I had to make topper of the Vulcan salute. Then my brother (another die hard Trekkie)
gave me the idea to use the StarDate of my husband's actual birth date on the cake as well.

I used classic Star Trek expressions on the food tent labels. The labels were created by the very talented and super sweet Stacy of She's {Kinda} Crafty. I cried out for some last minute help and she totally came to my rescue whipping these up for me, despite the fact that she was knee deep working on her own party. She's awesome like that!

And of course for the grown ups I had to make a batch of Romulan Ale, which was pretty tasty! I used the recipe from Food Network here.

One thing Star Trek fans love to do, is to quote Star Trek. So I printed out quotes to use as party decor and displayed them in my husband's collection of Star Trek mugs.

I also used the mugs to hold our silverware and straws.

To test everyone's Classic Star Trek knowledge, I created two games. One game was a multiple choice "who said it". I used quotes from Spock, McCoy and Kirk and you had to figure out who said it. This was a great game for those without extensive knowledge of the show or movies. For the more die hard fans, I also put together a trivia game.

There was a sweet prize for both the loser and winner of the Trivia game!

This party was never intended to be a costume party because I wouldn't expect or ask anyone to go out and buy costumes they would only wear for a few hours. But, in my family of sci fi fans, I shouldn't have been surprised that my brothers couldn't pass up an opportunity to dress up!

Not wanting anyone to feel left out, I purchased Spock ears for those wanting to join in on the fun!

My mother-in-law was more than happy to join in and even drew on some Vulcan eyebrows to complete her look!

My husband totally enjoyed his day and we had a blast! And I think I know what costumes we will be rocking at Halloween this year!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easy Valentine's Brownie Pops

I'll be honest...when I set out to make simple treats for my children's Valentine's Day celebrations, I wanted to use Oreo Cakesters because I did not want to bother with baking. But for some reason, they are increasing difficult to find in my area and after searching a few stores, I came up empty handed. So I came up with Plan B, which was to use brownies instead. This did require a little baking, but a boxed brownie mix was still pretty easy. And really...who doesn't love a brownie...especially when it's covered in a yummy chocolate coating!
I baked the brownies according to package directions, using a 13 x 9 pan. Once cooled, I used a small heart shaped cutter to cut out the shapes. I placed them on a parchment lined tray and put them in the freezer while I prepared the candy melts. I found the frozen brownie were much easier to dip.

I melted candy melts according to the package directions, but added shortening to thin the candy to a better dipping consistency. I used a  tablespoon of shortening per bag. I tried to make these like you would make cake pops, putting the brownies on the sticks and dipping, but I could not get it to work. I don't know if the brownies were too heavy or if I was just having a bad night, but no fear...I came up with an alternate solution.

I dropped each brownie (one at a time) into the bowl of candy melts, using a spoon to cover it completely. I scooped it out with a fork, tapping on the edge of the bowl to remove the excess candy and then tapped them off onto a piece of parchment. Before they dried, I sprinkled them with some fun Valentine's sprinkles.

Once they were completely dry, I dipped the end of a lollipop stick into the remaining melted candy melts and inserted them into the bottom of the brownie hearts. Then I took a paper straw (which I trimmed to the same size of the lollipop stick beforehand) and used it to cover the stick. I made sure that a tiny bit of the straw went inside the brownie to keep it sturdy.

Place each pop inside of treat bags and tie off with a fun ribbon! I tucked each one inside of a Valentine's goody bag along with our homemade Valentine's cards.

I hope your Valentine's Day is SWEET and full of LOVE!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Fancy Meatball Party {On Top of Spaghetti}

My youngest daughter is a funny girl...her silliness is on 24/7 and she never ceases to make us laugh with her antics. So when she told me that she wanted a "meatball" party for her 4th birthday I wasn't too shocked. She loves the song On Top of Spaghetti and wanted that as her party because she not only loves the song, but really loves meatballs...especially the ones her daddy makes. But...she is also a very girly girl and wanted her party to be and I quote "really fancy mommy, pink and VERY fancy!". She continued to stress that it must be FANCY! So I set out to create a Fancy Meatball party.
To keep the party fancy, I used pink and gold as our colors and lots of roses. To greet our guests at the door, I made a wreath that I painted gold and covered with roses. I hung a glittery letter G in the center. The great thing is that without the G this will do double duty as a Valentines Day decor!

I took my cue from the song itself in which the meatball rolls into the garden, and put together a garden party that featured meatballs. Kori Clark of Paper & Pigtails created the beautiful invitation which perfectly captured the spirit of our fancy meatball party!
I couldn't help but laugh when I tried to explain what I wanted "yes a fancy flowery invite...with a meatball on it". Definitely a crazy request, but Kori totally got exactly what I was going for! She also created the fabulous signs that hung above the tables.
I made a 2 tier cake frosted with buttercream rosettes. Jenny of Craft that Party created the most adorable peg doll cake topper for my daughter..modeled after her with curly hair and all!

She even painted a number 4 on the back with a rose pattern to match the party! How sweet is that!!
I also made macarons (because they are so fancy according to my daughter) and of course there had to be meatballs so I made meatball cake pops!
Tara of Bambella Cookie Boutique makes the most gorgeous cookies that are as delicious as they are beautiful. And she didn't bat an eye when I said I needed some vintage style rose cookies oh and a few spaghetti and meatball ones too!
For the decorations I used a lot of rose vines, rose fabric and gold serving pieces (many of which I spray painted).
The kids tables were decorated with fabric, the centerpieces were more of the flowers tied with a gold bow (which I also used on the chairs), a doily for a placemat and a fan made from scrapbook paper.

I asked our guests to wear their favorite dresses and made mini top hats for each of them to wear. I decorated them with ribbon, feathers and paper rosettes from Craft that Party! They loved their hats!

Of course there was no way a fancy meatball party could NOT have meatballs, so for the snack table we served meatballs along with fruit and finger sandwiches (so fancy)! Another fabulous sign by Paper & Pigtails was used on the snack table.

While I had this part mentally planned for months, I didn't have an opportunity to shop, craft or bake until a few days before the party. There were many things that didn't happen (no meatball tree like I'd hope) and it was a scramble the morning of the party. But one of my absolute FAVORITE last minute decisions was my husband's idea. He decided a fancy party needed a waiter and so he dressed up and served the girls the entire party. He was a HIT and they loved their personal waiter! The picture below shows him presenting the juice to the guest of honor for her approval.

We stuck with very simple, classic games (changed to fit our theme)  for the activities: pin the meatball on the fork, hot "meatball" and musical chairs. These easy simple games were a definite hit with the girls and I loved to see how much fun they truly had playing these timeless games.

In addition to their hats, our guests each received a goody bag and a lolliop favor. The lollipops were inside of these amazing favor boxes created by Piggy Bank Parties which were made to look like a rose! 

 The goody bags were paper bags topped with a gold doily. Each bag contained a little notebook and pen (in rose pattern), a rose patterned pencil and a light-up rose stamp.
My sweet girl had an amazing time at her fancy meatball party and so it was totally worth three days of chaotic party prep! 

Happy Birthday my sweet baby girl!

My fabulous party helpers:
Craft that Party: peg doll topper and paper rosettes on hats
Piggy Bank Parties: Rose lollipop favor boxes
Paper & Pigtails: Invitation and signs
Bambella Cookie Boutique: rose cookies and spaghetti cookies

And big thank you to my sweet friend Beth for helping me capture the day!!