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]

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.

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]

Memorial 14 (a post I never published)

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.

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!

Language is Dead

Personal pet peeve: “New Years.”

Absolutely drives me nuts.

it is either New Year’s (followed by Day, or Eve), or New Year.

I only get one year at a time, not many.

And if you and I are sharing the same year, it’s still just one year.

New Year.

Not New Years.

Facebook about killed me this NEW YEAR.

Never look to Facebook for guidance in grammar. It just doesn’t happen.

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. I swear it’s not all about me on this blog, but Ranger’s not too keen on his pics being on the internet.

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…)

 

Christmas

I usually make just about all of Christmas. This is the first year we’ve been fairly commercial about it. And honestly, though it was nice to sort of “catch up to the Joneses,” it made Christmas a little… artificial. Don’t get me wrong, we got lots of  cool stuff. And I do enjoy the stuff. But I will do better at being sane enough next Christmas to make a bit more.

We almost thought we’d have to spend Christmas in a hotel room this year because Ranger had to go on a business trip, but last minute, he was able to get off. It meant I had almost everything wrapped, but there were a few last minute items to wrap. Poor Ranger kept falling asleep while trying to wrap what little I had left, so it’s a good thing we were mostly covered.

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Christmas morning came, nice and early (just kidding. My kid always sleeps until 9, if I let her. Quite refreshing, actually).

Socks are never actually “hung” at our house. My family always over-loaded them, so the couch always seems to work better.

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Mommy’s pretty excited about the new brush. I’m hoping it means she’ll stop stealing mine.

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We went and saw Ranger’s family last night, in order to see Ranger’s brother, who was heading back out of town. Ranger’s Dad(‘s girlfriend…) gave her an 18″ doll. It came with an extra outfit, including an orange polka-dotty sock. She got the bright idea that Bella needed a sock out for Christmas, too.  As I already said, I had most of the gifts already wrapped, so Santa and I had to do a little negotiating to find something to stick in the sock. It’s full of soccer accessories. Totally works, in my opinion. Nothing like keeping the magic alive.

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Is it super lame that I’m actually excited about the spatulas in my sock? Grownup life. Gotta love it.

Every year (starting last year… WooOoo, long tradition, I know), we get some kind of glow sticks. last year, on a whim, I got one for Ranger, and one for my Little Miss in the shape of sword and princess-wand, respectively. They played with those silly things all morning, having “sword fights.” I absolutely melted over the bonding time. So this year, I decided it was a tradition. But we got flying disks, instead. It didn’t work out as well, though, because I lost a piece somewhere in the couch. Somewhere.

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Ranger’s sock is  backwards. Shows how tired I was. Normally I’m pretty OCD about that sort of thing.

My family of origin didn’t wrap anything in socks. Ranger’s family wrapped everything. So we compromised. I couldn’t handle wrapping toothbrushes, though; that’s just not something fun to unwrap. Ranger’s family never got hygiene products in their sock. That’s pretty much all ours ever was. It’s kind of fun blending different traditions and making them your own. It does make for much more wrapping, though.

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Ranger likes his **extremely heavy (broke a fingernail way past the quick trying to lift it. I’m just glad it wasn’t a finger. Seriously. This box weighed a TON)** Christmas present.

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Don’t I look cute and oh-so-awake on Christmas morning? I know you’re all so jealous.

Anyway, how was everyone else’s Christmas? Hope it went well. The rest of our day was spent hopping from one family gathering to another. That’s also something that will probably change next year. Live and learn.

Zingebar

We’ve been using a lot of ginger at our house lately. Not just because it’s Christmas time and ginger goes in Christmas recipes, but because it’s great at fighting illnesses. It’s anti-inflammatory, calms stomachs, and boosts immunity.

But we added it to the gingerbread houses because … yeah it’s Christmas, and gingerbread houses would not be the same without the ginger. It did mean we had to run to the store for more ginger, though. But now we’re back in shape. Which is a good thing because Ranger is suddenly getting hit hard with the sickness he’s been staving off until now.

luckily we all had a fairly healthy day to make these gingerbread houses. Especially because we had friends over.

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Please remember I’m a recovering sickie, and I just made a ginormous batch of gingerbread. Yes, this is how I look fairly often, but we’ll just blame a long day, right? Please? Humor me.

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My daughter is a traditionalist. All red and green and Candy canes. She hates candy canes, so she’s definitely going for more of the look here. Hasn’t quite figured out that she’s in charge of eating this creation afterwards. I think she likes everything but the candy canes, though, so she shouldn’t be in too poor of shape.
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ranger’s house from the back. He’s probably the only one who did the back. The rest of us were on a sugar high (which is really a sugar low) before we got that far.

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Ranger’s house. Note the added skylight? And the … um… garage? if there’s one thing I’ve learned about gingerbread houses it’s to never add more “glue” if you can avoid it, because it only acts as weight.

The other thing I’ve learned is to wait for your structure to dry a bit before adding candy. Or you’ll end up with something like this:

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She spent a while trying to save it, so I got a pic of it before it was crumbled in defeat.

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Our other friend’s turned out well though.

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I really need to learn how to hold still while taking pictures…

And last but not least… MINE!

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Any guesses who cared about making gingerbread houses in the first place?

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or who buys neccos every year just so she can use them as shingles in gingerbread land?

No guesses? Well, that’s okay. It’s a tough question.

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Now what do I do with all this extra candy I can’t eat?