Monday, April 26, 2010

Once a Year

2010 ~ Autumn is 8 years old

Even though we live in Southern California, Disneyland is a nightmare family adventure we experience only once a year. I just wanted to share probably the last "on dad's shoulder's" photo my cute daughter will have... I'm guessing next year she will finally be to big for her dad?

Here are the photos from the past....








 Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Party Planning

And the birthday parties just keep on coming! My son will be 5 next month (FIVE... really... I know and it was only yesterday... sniff sniff)


Next month Jack will have his 5th birthday with a Space themed party. So far, I have made invitations... want to see?

I'm planning a space ship, moon sand, a rocket craft project, hunting for moon rocks and cake. Of course cake. So far so good, don't you think? 

Oh, and you better believe this is a printable party that will be offered at Paper & Cake in the not too distant future.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Magic of Oreos

Two words: Oreo Buttercream.

  • 8 oz. unsalted softened butter
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T milk
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 12-14 Oreos, finely crushed in food processor (centers and all!)
  • Bag of mini oreos - for garnish
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add 1/2 the powdered sugar plus all of the other ingredients. Beat until moistened. Scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the oreos. If the frosting is still too thick, you can add a tiny bit of milk at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with one mini oreo per cookie, alternatively, you can cut the full size cookies in half and insert half into each cupcake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pink Camouflage Birthday - Part two

"Photo Booth" with Autumn and her party guests

In part two of this fabulous birthday party how-to, I will do my best to explain the cake. Sadly, I neglected to take photos of exactly what I did, but I promise it was easier than you might think!

The Cake

Using 2 boxes of cake mix, I made 2 six inch round cakes and 2 eight inch round cakes. After they cooled, I took a serrated knife and leveled them by cutting the tops off. Place the bottom layer of the 8 inch cake on a cardboard round (you can buy them or make your own) cover the top with filling or frosting, and put the top layer on. Repeat for the smaller cake. Keeping each two layer cake separate, "dirty ice" or frost with a thin layer of buttercream to make the surface smooth for the fondant to stick to. Refrigerate.

Now for the fun part!

The Fondant

when the fondant is rolled out, the "snakes" of shades of pink
fondant become the cornerstone of the Camouflage pattern

1) Buy or make fondant icing. The store bought kind has a chart on the side to tell how much you need for what size cake.
2) Pull out a chunk of fondant from the bucket and weigh it for the 8" 2 layer cake, then add a bit of pink food coloring and knead it in. Pull off three much smaller pieces and add pink food coloring to make three additional shades of pink (light to dark).
3) Take your main piece of light pink fondant shape it into a 5-6" disk, press several small snake shaped pieces of the other shades of pink fondant into it - do this randomly, with some overlapping.
4) Using a rolling pin and a bit of powder sugar (so it won's stick to the work surface or the rolling pin) roll out the fondant to a thickness of no more thank 1/4" thick.
5) Your rolled fondant piece will look like camouflage!
6) Place the rolled piece of fondant over the 8" layer cake. Smooth the fondant over the top and along the sides using your hands, working it so there are no wrinkles. Trim off any excess fondant with a knife or pizza cutter.
7) Repeat with second layer cake.

The Decorative Border

cut WAY more than you think you might use... you will use them!

1) While the leftover fondant is still rolled out on the table, take a small biscuit cutter or pastry tip and cut circles out of the camouflage fondant.
2) Roll the circles into little fondant balls - they will all be fairly similar in size.

The Assembly

in serving the cake, you can see the construction of the top layer

1) Place the larger round cake on a plate or cake stand.
2) Take 3 straws, cut to the height of the 8" layer cake, and insert them in a triangle pattern in the center area of the cake to support the weight of the 2nd tier.
3) Place the 6" cake on top, in the center.
4) Put a small dot of leftover buttercream (in a pastry bag with a tip) at the base of the bottom cake and cover with a camo fondant ball - repeat, repeat, repeat until the bases of both stacked tiers are encircled with fondant balls.

ta da!

The Adventure

My daughter is obsessed with mysteries and clues and scavenger hunts! That is why I planned on planning a scavenger hunt for the main event at her party. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to rain, and here in Southern California, if we go outside in the rain, we melt.

So, an indoor activity it was! I made 8 "challenge cards" for each individual child. The challenges ranged from simple codes (alphabet letters corresponding with numbers), map questions (where is New Orleans), to questions they had to "Google" to find the answer (my sister was in charge of helping the kids on the computer) to my absolute favorite: "Kid vs. Food" - eat a veggie (from the crudité platter) that you've never eaten before. That one was so funny!

party guests solving challenges

I did use several of the challenges over again for different kids, like draw a self portrait, put a puzzle together, or build a 3 ft tall tinker toy structure. And I did attempt to gear the question for the individual (age, sex, interest).

After solving one challenge, the child brought proof of their answer to the "Command Central" table - my friend Julia. Their challenge card was stamped and their passport (oh, I forgot to tell you about the passport) stamped as well. They exchanged their solved challenge for a new one, and after solving all of them (or as many as they wanted to) they received a bag of camouflage MnMs.

Julia at the Command Central table (AKA the kitchen table)

The Result

All in all, this party was well worth the effort - just look at that cute little girl...oops! I mean look at that grown up 8 year old, she loved every minute of it! If your birthday girl is obsessed with all things solving-the-mystery, everything I used is now available for purchase! Find this pink camouflage printable party at the Paper & Cake (brand new) website.