Princess and Knight Birthday Party- With Katie

My kids are basically the luckiest.

They are so lucky that I have been lifetime friends with coolest party-thrower ever!
Which means they get to be friends with her kids.
And they have the privilege of going to her kids' birthday parties.

And I am basically the luckiest.
Because I get to make treats for these epic parties!!!

Katie always has a vision, a color scheme, and a master plan so I love to sit down and brainstorm what the desserts will look like and how I can make them match that vision.

The princesses at the party got a cookie wand, covered in disco dust, tied with tulle and ribbon.
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The knights at the party got a cookie shield.  The princess was turning 2, and the knight was turning 4.
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The princesses got a vanilla cupcake with a castle wrapper and flag...
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And the knights got a chocolate cupcake with a castle wrapper and flag.
Katie hand cut each cupcake wrapper and used a rectangle hole punch to notch the top border.
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I know those stinkin cute cupcake wrappers are blowing your mind right now,  but you're going have to find a way to wrap your mind around a ton more extreme cuteness/cleverness.  Because Katie has given me permission to share more party pictures and ideas here on the blog!

You already know about Katie's talents from her Ladybug Party.  Well this time she chose a "princess and knight" theme for her two cuties with close birthdays.  I thought this was the perfect theme to combine a girlie party with a sword-lighting boy party!

First, I must introduce you to the princess and knight, who were dressed and ready to go!
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But every child at the party got to be in on it, so when they arrived, they came over to the wardrobe to get ready.  Katie is so awesome about including all of her friends' kids.  From toddlers, to teenagers who get to be the helpers, she had all of her bases covered.  My son acted like it was Christmas morning when I told him he could keep sword and sheild!
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The shining star of the party was this huge castle Katie built for the kids to play in.
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She admits that this was "one of those projects that seemed easier in her mind, than it actually was" (don't I know about those) but in the end it was a huge hit for the kids.  She made the four towers out of large boxes and the side walls out of wardrobe boxes from Uhaul.  She used a whole 1.5 gallons of gray paint for this as throughly covered every surface, inside and out! Then she used a yard stick to guide her as she painted on the bricks.

All of these pictures were taken in really bright sunlight, as it was a scorcher that day.  Over 100 degrees!  But don't worry because the water bottles made us smile through the heat.  She made these darling new labels with her cricut.
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Then, the set-up.  Brace yourselves.

The princess table stayed true to the pink and silver theme with "jewels" and gorgeous serve ware.  I love the little place card holders she made out of little frames.
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The knight table was black, red and silver with a full on knight right in the middle.  (She found the silver plates from the dollar store and the knight from a consignment store).
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And there is nothing left undone.  She found these plastic kids' chairs in bright primary colors and spray painted all 20 of them silver!  Then she tied them with embellishments!  (Wands from oriental trading and she made the shields).
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I know you're dying.  But please stay alive while I tell about the activities and games she did!

I have no words for these though.
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The fact that she turned 2 bouncy horses into this unicorn and medieval horse is just beyond creative.  She said she made it up as she went along with felt, hot glue, a pillowcase, some trim and a styrofoam cone!  I think she might be the girl MacGyver!
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This game was like tag/flag football.  They had to chase each other to try to get their dragon tails and unicorn tails!  They were simply placed on with a clothespin.
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This is the station where they could build a castle out of paper rolls.  The adults helped with hot glue as they chose where to add and build.
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Katie made javelins out of half a pool noodle (spray painted) and made a target out of an antique bird cage stand.  I'll say it again.  MacGyver.
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These sling shots and bows and arrows (dollar store) were made to slay the dragon.
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There was also: building a castle relays, putting on the slipper relays, a princess make-up station, find the crowned jewels (by popping the balloons) and a guess the princess station and castles for the littles to play with.  Older kids were helpers and younger kids played with the toys instead of going in the relays.  Every child was entertained and happy to go home with their new dress-ups, treats, and castle project.
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I am continually amazed at Katie's ideas.  She is inspiring in anything she puts her creativity into.  I think that I get just as excited as my kids when we get an invitation from her address!

Thanks for being willing to share Katie.  Now the whole blogosphere is basically the luckiest!


Before I Blogged

Before I blogged the term "Bee in my bonnet" was a term Ashleigh and I used when we had some crazy idea up our sleeves.

Like the time I was 7 months pregnant and decided I wanted to drive from California to Utah for one day for the sole purpose of shopping at Taipan. I knew fundamentally that it was not normal. But my hubby wasn't about to mess with the crazy prego wife. Then, I talked my sister and my friend Katie into joining the insanity. While we were there I had a 'bee in my bonnet" that I could fit a table in the back of my Honda Odyssey. You know those things have got some serious trunk space. I was insisting it would fit while Katie and Ashleigh looked at me shaking their heads and saying pregnancy hormones had addled my space perception.

Those of you close to Taipan cross your heart that you will never take it for granted again.

Anyway..... before I blogged, I decorated my kids' rooms.

And only took one picture!
With my kids in the picture!
Wearing some questionable outfits.

Don't worry, I've already sued myself multiple times about this. In my defense, do you remember film? My budget was to buy and develop one roll a month. That's 24 pictures a month. The olden days were so sad.

Cars and trucks
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And yet another one photo wonder. The Princess castle
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Then I decorated my kid' bedrooms and the only people that got to see them were my friends that I dragged into my house and my scrapbook layout.

Sweet Strawberry Nursery
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Turquoise Teeny Bopper Paradise
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Now the pressure is on. This is blog world baby. I have to think of some clever way to decorate or DIY if I want to even think about putting it on the blog.

First I thought it was cool enough to sand and paint something, like my hot pink headboard

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Like the canvases I painted or the Baby's First Year frame for The Monkey Nursery
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Or the planets I painted in the space room.
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But now, the blog world has stepped up their game and I have to think about taking pictures along the way for an in depth tutorial if it is to be deemed blog-worthy.

Here we have My Zebra-tastic Room with the IKEA frame tutorial
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Then we were in Crafting With the Stars and Ashleigh and I tackled this Skateboarder insanity.

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With the Denim and Flannel Quilt tutorial

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Oh kids,

Will you ever appreciate the paint fumes, hours at the sewing machine and trips to Michaels I have endured to make all of your dreams of a perfect bedroom come true?

If not, you will be redirected to the blog until you do appreciate it!

K thanks, Mom







Crazy for Cruisers

My husband is a road biker.  He goes on a loooong, fast bike ride about every week.  
Although I haven't been invited to ride with the guys, I'm not offended.  I'll take a leisurely bike ride on my daughter's cruiser, thank-you!


I have an old mountain bike in the garage, but who would want to ride that when I could steal this darling bike from her!  I have to admit I'm crazy for the cruiser trend.  There is something about these bikes that makes me want to ride to the "corner market" and pick up some flowers.  Not to mention they are way more comfortable to ride!

Well look out, because I now have my own cruiser!  (Snazzy, right?)

And when I like something a lot, I sort of obsess about it.  (You know me!)

And make a cookie of it.  
(I made these cookies with the help of my kopykake projector, so don't be impressed).

I took these pictures because I've been practicing my photography in preparation for my upcoming photography class.  I've been spending a little time with my camera manual, but I have a lot to learn.  I can't wait to learn more and hopefully the pictures on this blog will improve!

Photography just might be the next bee in my bonnet/obsession.  
But for now, it's my new cruiser.  :)

Caramel and Chocolate Pretzels

Disneyland made me a pretzel snob.

As you walk off the Winnie the Pooh ride, you walk into an adorable sweet shop where the Disney experts dip the cutest caramel apples and other sorts of treats.  I was happy with my caramel apple and would have never chosen a chocolate pretzel as my treat, but Kathryn offered me a bite of hers... and the rest is history.

I can no longer appreciate a simple chocolate dipped pretzel...they MUST have caramel!
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Yes, they look the same as a regular old chocolate dipped pretzel, but when you bite into them, you have a salted caramel surprise that makes you feel like you just won the lottery or something.

Okay, maybe not that.  But really, we're talking about a whole new level of pretzel.
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Now I start dreaming of these things as soon as we plan a Disneyland trip.  They are almost $4.00 a pop but I just plan on wasting a cool 20 on those things for my family.  It's worth it.

I have, however figured out a way to make them.  The only bad news for these is that there are dishes waiting for me afterwards, instead of Winnie the Pooh characters, like after I leave the sweet shop.

You win some you lose some.

To get started you need caramel.  I used regular old caramel squares.  The Kraft caramel bits that come in little tiny balls of caramel are so much better because you don't have to unwrap them.  But sometimes they are hard to find.

I used approximately 2 cups of these and threw in 2 tsp. of water.  I microwaved it for 1 minute, then stirred, then microwaved it for 30 seconds more.  Your times may vary a little but this worked for me.
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A 2 cup pyrex measuring cup is perfect to use.  It doesn't even have to be totally full.  If you tip it on it's side and roll the pretzel, you can get about 30ish pretzel rods out of it.  I bought plenty of extra pretzel rods because about 1/4 of the bag was always broken.

After I dip, I actually scrape a lot of it off on the edge.  You don't want it too thick.
Or maybe you do.  Who am I to say?
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The more you have, the more pooling you will have after you set it down.  But no matter how little you have on there, there will be a little pooling and a flat side to your pretzel.  This is easily solved by a little trick I know.  You can see the ones I worked my magic on.
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Before you dip it in chocolate, you roll the pretzel back and forth between your hands.  It's like rolling a cake pop, kind of.
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Now that your flat side is gone, your can dip it in your chocolate or candy melts.  I add about 2 tsp of paramount crystals to my candy melts to make it a little thinner.  Again, you just need to tip with one hand, and roll the pretzel till it's covered in chocolate.  You can leave a little caramel showing, but I like to surprise people, so I keep it a secret.
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You can, at this point, set your pretzel down on parchment paper.  But that leaves a flat side to your treat.  This is fine if you're setting them on a platter.

But sometimes I want them to come out round on all sides and I lie awake at night worrying about my pretzel flatness.  In my sleeplessness, I came up with a lame, but workable solution.  Don't laugh.
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I created a way for them to dry upright, by punching holes in some flower foam and lining that hole with tin foil (to protect the food from the green stuff).  I'm sure there's a better and smarter way.  But that's what I came up with when I was tired.
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Who needs Disneyland anyway.  (I do)  They turned out fab.  I could even put candy on the outside or make them look like tigger tails if I really want to be like the Winnie the Pooh shop.

These were for the 4th though, so I used some festive sprinkles.
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A cylinder vase was a great way to display 9 or so of these.
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This treat is perfect for any holiday.  Just match your chocolate colors and sprinkles to the closest holiday.  And when you make them yourself, you don't have to handover a 20 to get what you need!

Just one bite and you might become a pretzel snob too.
(Consider yourself warned).
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