A Day in the Life, Brag

Oz Cupcakes

I am pretty stoked about how these cupcakes turned out! I made all the toppers with Satin Ice Rolled Fondant Icing, that I always have on hand. Okay, I didn’t make the hearts. I had these sprinkles in my sprinkle stash (everyone has a sprinkle stash, right? Right? Just me? Oh).

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Pretty easy place to start. For the Scarecrow cupcakes, I used a simple yellow paper, frosted the cupcake with a thin layer of yellow icing (if you do the yellow icing before you do the “straw,” you see less  cupcake peeking out, and it looks much cleaner. Even thought the “straw” is meant to be messy anyway), and then took the Wilton Grass Tip (#233) and used long strands to coat the cupcake in more yellow buttercream. As I said before, the topper is made from satin ice (seriously, way way better than Wilton fondant). It is representative of the Scarecrow’s fabric patches.  I already had orange and blue from previous purchases, and I had a smidge of green that I tinted myself from a previous project. Any time I don’t have to mix color into fondant, I’m a happy camper.  To make the plaid look, I just rolled the fondant into snake-like strands and made a grid on the cut-out square. I tried to round the edges, but I didn’t do it so evenly. Or so well.

The Tin Man cupcake is my favorite. It’s simple and elegant.

The Tin Man is encased in a red wrapper (my wilton wrappers aren’t cut evenly. I’m pretty disappointed, but they work well enough for a bunch of nine-year-olds. Just be warned for your own purchases. I tinted up the buttercream with black cake  coloring, and liked the depth I got by not mixing it in all the way. I don’t know, maybe it’s tacky, But with a simple Wilton large round tip (#2A) swirl, it needed some kind of depth. To decorate it, I dug out the red hearts from my set of  Valentine Sprinkles.

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Then I just added a few to each cupcake. By using the round tip, starting at the outside, and building a little spike in the center, you get the feeling of the Tin Man’s hat.

I think the Cowardly Lion is my least favorite cupcake this time. If I ever have to make lion cupcakes again, I think I might build a little tower of frosting in the middle to give it some depth. It just seems so flat.

I used the same yellow wrappers and  frosting for the foundation of this cupcake that I used for the scarecrow. Then I tinted some of the yellow buttercream with a bit of copper and a bit of brown cake coloring. I used the same grass tip (washed, of course)  and went around the outside of the cupcake, making messy long strands, again. I tried a few with short precise strands, and it just didn’t look as … lion-y. The courage badge was satin ice with a little bit of grey cake coloring (that made the finished product blue. Way to go Wilton…) and coated it with white Pearl Dust. I rolled it flat, lightly set the end of the roll from my fondant ribbon cutter set onto the Satin Ice to get some depth to the badges, then I used fondant ribbon cutter set to actually cut the circle. Clearly, use what you have.

The Dorothy cupcakes were my girly’s favorite. I wish that more blue had shown up in the frosting. I just made a buttercream cupcake rose with my Open Star Tip (#1M), and decorated it with satin ice that I colored red (the HARDEST color to achieve), shaped the shoes(mine are flats. every time I tried for heels it looked funny), and then coated with a layer of eggplant petal dust and a layer of  Wilton Ruby Red Pearl Dust (I hope that’s the right one. Wilton doesn’t label their dust once you take it out of the package. I have 2 pink colors from them. This is the darker pink, but it’s not really red. More of a dark salmon.

 

And, as you saw earlier, inside we did rainbow colored cupcakes. I cheated and used a box this year, and I could sure taste a difference. But kids don’t care. I’ve just got refined tastes. ;c) . To me, box mixes (especially cake boss’s box mixes) taste and smell like a combination of playdough and plastic.

But at least they look cool.

[warning]disclaimer: I used a lot of Amazon affiliate links in this post. I linked to products that I have and that I use. I could be paid for linking, if you were to purchase a product from Amazon, but I linked more for convenience than for expectant purchases.

Also, most of my links are to Wilton products. If I had to start all over, knowing what I know now, there are many other brands and some of their products are superior to Wilton, but when I started collecting cake supplies, Wilton was the only product locally available. Shop around. Read reviews.  [/warning]

A Day in the Life, Brag

Oz Party Games

We had lots of cool games at our Oz party. And none of them took too much time on my part, which is also a plus.

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First we played toss the heart in the Tin Man. I kind of just let the girls toss it as much as they wanted, and they kept going and going, so I didn’t really stick to any rules.

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I got the hearts and the pails at the local craft stores. Easy peasy.

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Then I totally cheated and pulled out our Halloween game of pin the nose on the witch, drawn by yours truly last October. The Girls wanted to play it a few times, too. And I let them. Why not? It’s their party?

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Then it was time to move to the table, where we had a bunch of “teacups” set out. We got what we could find at the local thrift store. Don’t get me started… See previous post, about the shoes). They don’t all match, but what do the girls care? They’re all going to their own houses, anyway. I had them take them home to bake, so I sure hope they worked. We sent home a little note that said to place them in the oven and then pre-heat it to 400 degrees.Leave them in for 40 minutes, and then turn off the oven and let them cool inside. I’d google it before attempting. It seems like a hit-or-miss project. My girly hasn’t baked hers yet, she just keeps her pens in it. Works for me.

 

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Next, we moved on to the snacks. Seriously, I know what they say about teenage boys (and I’ve witnessed that it’s true), but 9-year-old girls can still eat their weight! (I took the cup pictures while they were eating, hence why there’s wrappers and 1/2 eaten suckers in all of them.

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When we were all done, the placemats became the next activity and the party favor bag. Two birds, one stone. The girls really enjoyed it, and it made me feel better about the fact that I was going to have these made up and just didn’t find the time. So, on the fly, I created this craft! If I had been the one to make it I would have cut off the little brand-name strip and probably would have glued instead of taped, but tape sounded like the best bet for a bunch of girlies. Quick, easy, and mess free.

Started by folding our paper into fourths. Then cut off 1/4 of the page. Turn the paper around, and fold the other direction, but this time, fold in from the sides and skip the middle fold. Then, on each corner, fold diagonally by taking each folded corner and having them meet up. The girls needed shown what I meant, but they all figured it out (The one that struggled with the craft had my sister and the “birthday” girl help her the whole time, and everyone else cruised along). When all the corners were taped (My sister and I debated about which end was better to fold the triangles at, and never really decided. I think it mostly depended on how the girls folded), we moved on to the lid. Measure the lid against the box, and cut (it’s 1/2 of the paper, in case you were curious), then take the lid and fold in half plus an inch (meaning find half, then scoot it over a little bit so there’s a spot to tape it to the box), on both sides, so the basket has 2 openings. Then cut the other strip in half and either use one strip for a stronger handle, or use both halves taped together for a longer handle (some of the girls picked one option, some picked the other. Personally, I’d pick stronger, but it doesn’t really make too much difference. No one had too weak of baskets, or had any break before they made it home, so it worked out well.

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Then pass out the favors (ours included bubbles, an apple, and a lollipop from the snack table. I would have loved to include a glittery red nail polish, but I can’t find Bon Bons anymore and I’m not paying 6$ per kid just to include polish! So we used it as an activity, bought 1 bottle of nail polish, and painted everyone’s nails in turns between “Yellow Brick Hopscotch,”  (Hopscotch drawn with yellow chalk).

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Oz party success with incredibly easy games. I say that’s a win.

A Day in the Life, Brag

Oz Party Decorations

Dun dun dun Duh! The moment you’ve all been waiting for! I’m finally sharing our Oz party… 2 months later! Sorry it’s been so hectic! Canning really takes a lot of time. Especially when you’ve filled 5 moving boxes full of apples from your newly-claimed trees.

This little miss (who is not so little anymore. Seriously, no one told me that nine might as well be 16!) has a thing for the tin man. It has sparked a love for all things Oz. It started with Pentatonix’ Wizard of Ahh’s song. which sparked burning coals of fandom for all things wizard of Oz. And then I introduced her to the Tin Man miniseries. If you combine those inspirational muses with the new Oz the Great and Powerful movie and the the classic the Wizard of Oz, and there is plenty of fodder for the fire and sources for inspiration. And then you add Wicked (some day I’m gonna see the play and not just rock out to the CD. They were here in July, but it was finals week), because no Oz party is complete without just a little bit of Glinda vs Elphaba. At least for me.

Anyway… Since we were moving all summer, and since moving made it so the friend pool was rather small, we decided to wait until school was in session in order to help make friends, and we’d call it a back-to-school party.

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Of course, if we’re going to create Oz, we’ve got to squish a witch with our new house, right?

So, a story about the witch legs: first of all, aren’t the socks perfect? Secondly, the shoes… Oh, the shoes. I wanted to glitter a pair of shoes and add some flair to my personal shoe collection (bonus). I have no closed-toed shoes, at all. I had things to do, so I sent Ranger into town. Our favorite thrift store was closed for training, go figure. So Ranger ran across town to the other thrift store. Yeeeeah, never send a man to pick out shoes in a strange store. And when you do, make sure there are at least some good options (he showed me pics afterward. There WERE no good options), and that he has seen the Wizard of Oz in this decade, and that you’ve pointed out subtle nuances in shoe detail that the male brain is not programmed to notice. I ended up with two pairs of shoes that would have done the nineties proud. And by that, I mean big platformed clodhoppers with no feminine shape and big heels and square toes, instead of anything slightly fitting. I tried to find a good pic but even the internet is embarrassed by this footwear choice. There are no good representations online (why were those so popular, again?).

Shudder.

So, plan B: shoes from my wedding. They’re open-toed, but at least they’re red.
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It was pretty easy to create. I simply rolled up pillowcases and pulled the socks up around them. I only used 2 pillowcases, Next time I’ll use at least three each. My witch looked a little thin.

Later, I went to the party supply store again, and found these. Fistpalm. Seriously?

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You can use these socks but I got mine at my local party store.

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And a few rolls of streamers made quick, easy, and affordable decorations.

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“over the rainbow”

Otherwise, our decorations were quite simple. I just pulled out our paper lanterns from my wedding (Did I mention I’m a party hoarder? I could throw entire receptions with the stuff I’ve got in storage. In fact, I used to).

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[disclaim]there are multiple Amazon Affiliate links in this post. Amazon could pay me for the links because I’m promoting them, but honestly, I’ve never made anything from Amazon. I’m linking to these particular products because they fit with my post. I’ve been incredibly selective on what I link to, and it is more for reader content than sales pitch. And believe me, it wasn’t easy to find a non-rauchy pic of black and white striped socks![/disclaim]

A Day in the Life

E+J wedding

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. I’ve had so much to say, but I managed to lock myself out of admin because I somehow only half managed to change the password somewhere. I finally had to delete all the shortcuts and apps in my browser and sign in all over again. Such is life.

Update is: there’s still no update on moving. We’ve been in the “almost… Just one more step” stage for about a month and a half. We really are “almost there,” though. We’ve done everything but sign the papers and get the carpet and windows in. I am soooo ready to be outta this house!

But now to the fun stuff. After about a 3 year absence from the cake scene ( my sister’s wedding really did me in!) I made a cake again! This time for my new sister-in-law’s wedding. It was so fun.

I admit I was so worried. The forecast has said rain all week. And the bride was DETERMINED to have an outdoor wedding.

The clouds hung threateningly the entire ceremony/reception, and about an hr and a half into the reception, it wasn’t a threat, but a downpour. I’m pretty impressed, though. It ended up working out amazingly.

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This is before they added the wildflowers to the mug. it was pretty cute and incredibly cheap!

By then, the traditions had all been attended to, and it’s the part of the reception that just drags on, so when the rain came, most people left, and only the close friends and family stayed.

It turned into one big wet afterparty. With an amazing sunset.

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I love this picture. I’m bummed it’s blurry. This is true love. You know the country song “I don’t dance?” That’s the song that goes off in my head each time I look at this picture. The lyrics are so perfect! I’m so glad my Father-in-law found someone that loves him so perfectly.

Anyway, the cake turned out amazing. After having such a long hiatus, I was pretty worried I wouldn’t be able to call on enough skill. Luckily, it seems that the cake-making skill stuck a little better than the “riding a bike” skill (fyi, I can’t ride a bike. I’ve learned twice and never really enjoyed it so I run while my family rides. I get a much more intense workout, and I actually like it better…)

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and the cupcakes were divine! I came up with the recipes myself. That meant that when they were gone before the reception got rained out and that all the comments of “oh my, these are so good!” went right to my head. It’s pretty inflated, now. Probably not enough to make another cake, just yet, but I’m definitely suffering from an expanded ego.

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The white cupcakes are white chocolate with huckleberry filling and white chocolate butter cream and sprinkles on top. The purple-frosted cupcakes are lemon cupcakes with huckleberry filling, huckleberry frosting, and huckleberries. I wish I had made a gel of the huckleberry liquid and drizzled it on top of the white chocolate cupcakes, but maybe next time someone wants to pay me good money for huckleberry cupcakes… those buggers are purple gold, I tell ya!

Archives

Memorial 14

Ranger and I both have so much family in the area, that Memorial Day gets kind of tricky. This year, I really wanted to spend time in Victor and Tetonia and pay my respects.

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No one else was all that thrilled, but we made it in time for the ceremony at the Victor Cemetery. I thought it was beautiful.

I have 2 uncles, one great uncle, and one second cousin in the American Legion (okay, my second cousin isn’t really in it, he just accompanies my great uncle during Taps), so it was pretty neat to see them all.

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The salute.

Then, on to why we really came to the cemetery. Visiting my niece and grandparents and aunt and great aunts/uncles, and some great-aunts and uncles.

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So much family! And we didn’t make it to any of Ranger’s side. Not enough time.

A Day in the Life

A New Year

Happy New year, everyone!

I had an amazing New Year’s Eve party. It consisted of the whopping crowd of 2. It was actually supposed to be a crowd of 1, but Ranger surprised me.

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New Year’s Eve is actually quite special to us. We got engaged on New Year’s Eve, three whole splendid years ago. Come to find out, it would have been Christmas, but I made a comment about how a ring as a Christmas present was tacky, and he had to think outside the box a little harder… oops! Especially, since I had been quite clear that that’s what I wanted in a blog post many of you will probably remember (It’s no longer there, if you were wondering).

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we camped out in our front room this New year, brought up a TV to watch Fantastic Four (it’s what I wanted. We made it a marathon), and reminisced about all that has happened in 3 years and all that we hope the future holds for us. We had other places we could have gone, but I’m completely comfortable just being alone. In fact, I crave it sometimes.

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Actually having a husband home wasn’t the only surprise he gave me. I got another ring, too. It was sweet. He kept hinting that I would get one for Christmas, and then he got me a necklace. It’s 3 years ago all over again! Except this time I didn’t say it was tacky, and actually asked if we could afford it. My fingers have gotten smaller over this past year (I lost my other one in the Christmas tree for a few months until I decided to open that box in hopes of finding it), and my ring was not staying on! Since I don’t want to get my old one resized, and then needing a bigger size when I am actually able to keep some meat on my bones (what a problem to have, huh?), I just asked for a new one. He brought it in, all cute, and brought flashbacks of the nervous kid sitting across from me three years ago. It’s amazing how much things can change all the while nothing does!

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Me 3 years ago. 
A Day in the Life

Morbid Nativity

So I made a nativity for my mom this Christmas (she’s only been begging me to for about seven years), and one of the wise man’s hands just wont stay on. The problem with red clay is that it bleeds. So I am left with this…

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until I can finish the whole project and stick wires in right before baking. Poor wise man. Just thought it too funny not to share.

(note, it’s not done yet. I’m that on top of it…)

 

A Day in the Life

Tannenbaum Take Deux

How’s that for a mixed language title.

So I broke down and put up the other tree. And I’m happy I did. I stole some ornaments from the front tree and moved them to the back and both look much better. I also managed to use up every ornament and I’m happy about that, too! Why do I have so many ornaments!? Oh yeah, it’s because I hate decorating the tree the exact same way twice.

Here’s our old tree, now in the kitchen. It makes the house super festive even without too much decor.

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Who knew red and purple made such a cute Christmas tree? I strung colored lights to help with the dead spot. You can still see the dead, but at least there’s a twinkle there now. And I’ve never had a tree with colored lights since I’ve had my own tree. It is whimsical. I think it only works because the ornaments are red and gold and purple.

I stole all the red ornaments off the front tree and loaded it with more blue instead, and I’m much happier with it now. The red was just too much. But with only one tree, the red had memories I didn’t want to leave off. With 2 trees I could just divide the memories. Problem solved.

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(okay, there is still one red on the front tree, but I decided it needed to be there. Too special of memories).

Gratitude Dare

Day 30: Thank YOU

Well, we’ve made it. You’re at day 30. Aren’t you impressed with yourself? As you’ve guessed, yesterday was a doosey for me; but honestly, after so long, I’m still chugging. This challenge has been such a blessing to me.

dareToday, our challenge is to thank ourselves. How often do we do that? I think most people see all their flaws and have such a generally negative attitude about themselves. The world is starting to address that issue, but is only scratching the surface.

In writing out all of my feelings yesterday, I find it funny how much I’ve learned about today’s challenge. In the extreme thick of things, I was so upset about not getting pregnant that I was actually subconsciously rejecting my womanhood and femininity, which was a huge disservice to myself! It was really throwing things out of whack, right down to my hormones. I’m serious, I consciously wasn’t doing it (because logically that would be ridiculous, and I was quite happy with the divinity of womanhood), but subconsciously, I was basically telling myself that if I couldn’t have babies, I didn’t deserve to be female. Big stuff. When I finally put that piece into place and realized what lies I was telling myself, I spent time falling in love with being a woman again, and it has taught me so much. Women are amazing, and I am proud to be one. But that isn’t enough!

I am amazing not just because I am a woman! Not just because I am a daughter of God. I am amazing because of all the things I do that I never expect credit for. I am amazing because no one else is like me. Do you know how much one-of-a-kind items are worth? And I’m worth more than even they. And so is every other person in this world.

There have been studies showing that people are much more likely to keep a good habit if they are recognized for them. They will be much more generous if they have received gratitude some time in the past. Do you realize the potential, therefore, in thanking yourself? Think of all the skills and habits you could master! I think we beat ourselves up for negative habits and never thank ourselves, ever. What a backwards concept, if you really think about it. How do you feel when someone else is always nagging? Then why are you doing it to yourself!?! It’s such a detrimental, yet overlooked thing. I know I’m guilty of it.

In truth, we should thank ourselves for everything we do for ourselves.

Thank you for showering today.

Thank you for getting dressed.

Thank you for looking at the mirror and finding beauty.

Thank you for doing your hair/makeup; You’re beautiful without it, but putting effort in yourself is valuable.

Thank you for eating breakfast/ lunch/ dinner; Giving yourself nutrients is very important.

Thank you for using the stairs instead of the elevator.

Thank you for cleaning the house, I like living in a clean environment.

Thank you for doing the basic things that keep us and our lives running smoothly.

There are really a million things we’d be grateful if someone else did for us (even showering. If you doubt me ask my 85-year-old grandmother). Yet we’re not thankful to ourselves for the same simple acts of kindness.

Let’s put it to the test. See how much happier you are at the end of the day after you’ve listened to mental thank you’s all day!