Monday, June 27, 2011

Andy, Kiara, & Family: First Parents' Night Out

Need a great fundraising idea? My new blogger-friend Kiara posted about her successful Parents' Night Out! Great details and tips Kiara!

Andy, Kiara, & Family: First Parents' Night Out: " Our first adoption fundraiser event was a success! We had 13 precious children in our care -- lots of them very young. The ages were ..."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Did you see that new button?

If you came on over to check out what the heck "sweet sweet buns" were, you may have noticed a pretty yellow button on my side bar and thought to yourselves "well what is that?". Well I'll tell you! I just started a separate blog on our adoption journey to China! Check it out at An Ocean Sized Love.

I will be submitting our application with CCAI in mid July and I am getting so excited! Follow by e-mail for ready updates. I will be posting all of our fundraising and updates to our journey there. I would love it if you would follow along!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Loving Kindness

Every night as I pray with my beautiful kids I pray over them a prayer my father prayed over me as a child:
"May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May He make His face to shine upon you,
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you
and give you peace."

Then I will finish the prayer with a request that God helps them to be loving and kind, healthy and strong and longing to do what is right.

Every day I remind them: "be loving", "be kind", "are you being kind?".

I realize that being Christ-like means to love as Christ loves and to treat others the way that we would want to be treated. It's pretty simple really. Loving and kind.

In real life sometimes loving and kind seems so...well, hard. It is something that I strive to teach my kids and having examples of  kind deeds seems to be the best way to show my children what it really means to be 'loving and kind'. 

We  just announced a Garage Sale to raise funds for our next adoption (yes, we are adopting!). It's only been a week and already we have  a garage almost full of wonderful things for the sale. My mom in another State decided to do a sale to raise funds simultaneously in her home town. She is getting donations left and right from people who have never met us! I am so touched by these examples of loving kindness! I knew that God would work through this journey both in our own lives and in the lives of those who will travel this journey with us. It's about so much more than just adding a child to our family. It's about showing loving kindness to a child who most likely will have never experienced being held to go to sleep. Most likely he will have never known the tender comfort of a hug just "because". He will be learning about loving kindness from us, all of us that journey together to bring him home!

On a side note, my sweet kids have both started adding their own prayers at bedtime. This week, almost every day they have been praying that God will take care of their brother until we can get him. That just tugs on my heart strings. To hear my future son's siblings praying over him makes me feel so proud to be their mom. Mighty is especially excited and asks about his brother every day. 

I can't wait to tell you more about our adoption process. As soon as I have the new blog up and "ready" I will post more about it.

Sweet sweet buns

For Father's day I decided to attempt the so cute dessert version of hamburger and french fries idea that I shared the other day. I found the original idea from Bakerella.

Brownie Burger Cupcakes & Cookie Fries

And here is my version:

If I were to do it again (which my dear hubby may request!) I would probably cut the circle brownie patty in half so that it wasn't so thick for a more proportionate looking "burger". I also had hoped to make a thick raspberry  sauce in place of the red icing for a more natural "red ketchup". I also think raspberry would add a yummy flavor to it all. 

Here are the recipes that I used and how I put it all together:

For the brownie layer I simply used a mix. I had one, it was easy. Enough said.

For the cake I searched online for a recipe with good reviews and I am happy with the one that I picked. I made some alterations to it and the cupcakes came out light, fluffy, and full of flavor. The original recipe comes from Magnolia's Bakery. Here is my version ( I only wanted 12 cupcakes so I halved the recipe):
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar 
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
about 1 tbs. vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Whip the butter until fluffy. Add sugar, whip until pales in color. Add 2 eggs and vanilla. Whip for about a minute. Add flour mixture and milk at intervals on a low whip setting. Whip until smooth and fluffy about a minute or 2. Add cupcake liners to a cupcake pan and scoop dough in to each cupcake liner with a cookie scoop. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

For the cookies I used my favorite tried and true sugar cookie recipe by Alton Brown. No need to alter this recipe! I use this every time I need a great cut out cookie recipe. It never fails and it's super easy to handle. I simply made the dough, rolled it out and cut strips about 1/4 to 1/8 inch wide and about 3-4 inches long and placed the cut "fries" into some sugar, carefully coating them (simply press very gently into sugar, being careful not to mess up the shape or break the dough) and placing them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 350 for about 10 minutes. When the cookies came out of the oven I sprinkled a bit more sugar over them for that "salty" fries look. 

This was a lot of fun to put together and the kids were really excited to give the burger and fries to their dad. We just might have to add this to our Dad's Day tradition list. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Princess and Knight Party Food Post #1

This party was so much fun to plan. I wanted a simple color scheme so that I could easily find matching items for the party. I chose pink and baby blue with hints of gingham, polka dots and stripes because I was inspired by the look of my favorite children's brand: Pottery Barn Kids. The food was pretty easy to tie into the theme and color scheme! Here are some of the recipes I used and my tips on how to pull it off. 

Foods served:
  • Cinderella's Parmesan Puff Pastry Pumpkins
  • Tiana's Wishing Stars (Yogurt Stars by Trader Joe's, a sweet friend got these for me from far away!)
  • Snow White's Apples with Caramel Dip
  • Tinkerbelle's Fairy Wings (pretzels)
  • Arielle's Goldfish Crackers
  • Mulan's Pot Stickers (purchased)
  • Rapunzal's Braids (marshmallow braids)
  • Sleeping Beauty's Pink Popcorn Balls
  • Belle's French Macaron's
  • Fairy-tale Fruit Kabobs
  • Happlily Ever After Chocolate Dipped Oreo's
  • Enchanted Forest Bunny Marshmallows (Easter bunny marshmallows)
  • Princess M&M's (Easter colors)
  • Princess and the Frog Swamp Punch
  • Pink Princess Strawberry Lemonade

I chose to use wrapped boxes with cones for the pink caramel popcorn.

I actually used a corn syrup, sugar, water, vanilla and food coloring recipe but it was very sticky and messy. I found this recipe which I think would be easier to make and the white chocolate would make this taste over the top for those of you that love sweet and salty flavors.

  • The popcorn cones are by thinkgarnish. These cones could be used for so many things! I love thinkgarnish for their simplicity and quality designs.

  • {To prepare the wrapped box I simply wrapped a t-shirt box in blue and white gingham wrapping paper (that was on sale at Michael's). Then my lovely husband used a blade to cut slits about one inch long in a star burst pattern to allow for the cones to rest in the box but not fall in. (I love that man, he's so sweet!)}

The fruit kabobs are so simple to make and everyone loves them. They are the perfect touch to any party.
Here we used strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, apples and grapes.
  • To prepare the kabobs, you will need long skewers (we got ours from Publix in the grilling isle), fresh fruit cut into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled with lemon or fruitfresh especially if you use apples. 
  • Skewer the fruit in whatever order you like.
  • To display the kabobs, I used garden pots from Ikea and placed a piece of floral foam cut to fit inside at the bottom of the pot. Then I placed the kabobs into the foam in order to keep them in place, standing up. 

I made heavenly Macaron's (pronounced macaroni without the /i/). I used Martha Stewart's recipe and was of course pleased with the results! To make them pink and blue I simply divided the dough in half and added a touch of blue to one bowl and a touch of pink to the other bowl. Tip: Try using a very little bit of coloring at a time because the colors may be brighter than you think! This is a very good recipe to use for any event and it is completely gluten free! 
  • The tray used for the Macaron's and the Chocolate Dipped Oreos were from Joann's.

We tried to keep the food "princess" themed so we served "Snow White's Apples and Caramel". 

  • The apples were sliced and drizzled with lemon juice to keep them pretty.
  • We served them in thinkgarnish's cute white cups for a perfect portion with caramel dip in the bottom of the cup.

The Chocolate Dipped Oreo's are simply Oreo cookies dipped in pink and blue candy melts by Wilton, then sprinkled with pink and blue pearl sprinkles for a touch of "princess".

  • For the Goldfish, pretzels, M&M's and Enchanted Bunny Marshmallows I used Ikea cookie jars.


For "cake" I decided to make cupcakes. I just used a mix this time for sanity sake. I used a tried and true butter-cream recipe and used the pink and blue sprinkles for the top. I will be posting a tutorial for how to make the toppers soon so stay tuned if you are curious.

Now let's not forget the grown ups! I made a special spread for the "Kings and Queens" at the party!

I served an antipasto platter with:

  • Robusto Cheese (Whole Foods)
  • Manchago Cheese (Whole Foods)
  • Uncured Salami (Whole Foods)
  • Cherry Preserves (Whole Foods)
  • Olives (Whole Foods)
  • Fresh local Honey Comb
  • French Baguette slices
I also served "King and Queen" beverages:
  • Blueberry Beer
  • Shiraz

 Vendors and special mentions:

Tip Junkie 
handmade projects

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Support Adoption!

Be active in supporting adoption! Buy a beautiful tee from this family to help them raise funds for their adoption. I love that the tee simply states "support adoption". This is a simple phrase that means so much. 
The tee's are in the pre-order stage so choose your design and then pay through their paypal button on the blog:

Here are the designs:


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