Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meska-Mooska...Mickey Mouse!

All this week I've been prepping for Gavin's Winter/Mickey themed birthday, even some of the snowmen around the house have gotten into the spirit!

Still can't believe my first born is going to be 4! (I have a feeling I'm going to be saying this with each birthday that arrives :)

There's a ton of stuff to do when preparing for 30 guests to come your house but unfortunately I'm not able to clean lets say on Monday and check that off my list because by Tuesday I'll to have to clean again with my two little guys :) So needless to say I've had a busy 2 days of cleaning, baking and decorating. At least I had the crafts pre-made!
But I have to say that while in the midst of doing 3 things at once my 2yr old gave me the laugh I needed with his pure innocence. I took the cake out of the oven to test with a toothpick and Carter was there soaking in every move. And as I poked the middle of the cake several times to make sure it was done he says "First you take it out and then you sew it up." Tooo stinkin cute! It sure did look like I was sewing with the toothpick! Thanks honey, that gave me the boost of positive energy I needed to work thru the night for sure!

Mickey cookies as part of the favors, couldn't have been easier to do!

Then there's the ice cream that I scooped prior to the party into cupcake liners, stuck on more cookies (gotta love Oreos when it comes to the Mickey silhouette!) and kept them in the freezer until it was cake time. No melting ice cream sliding all over the party plates either since they're in their own little cups! I saw the idea online for making chocolate cups by melting chocolate, then using a spoon to scrape it up the sides of a cupcake liner and letting it harden. Looked neat but a little too messy for a bunch of tots! Definitely will utilize it when they're older for sure but just using the liners worked really well too.

I was busy setting up until the first guest arrived and then was involved with helping the kids with crafts, so from here on out I wasn't able to take 'pretty before photos' like I wanted but there were some leftovers so I tried my best to get a picture of everything.

I bought juice boxes and toddler size water bottles to make it easier since most kids are probably still using sippy cups, but the party pack I got came with paper cups. So I figured I'd fill them with what Gavin likes, popcorn and pretzel M&M's! Another great grab and go munchie that won't roll off a plate!

As an Art Educator craft time is my favorite! The kids made their own party favor holder from paper plates to resemble Mickey and his shorts held all the goodies.
Then just like the invites I had the kids decorate a snowman with buttons but added a Mickey mouse ears hat to each, they turned out real cute!
Finally I have been saving tons of paper towel and toilet paper rolls since the fall so the kids could make their own Mousekaspotter. The older kids decided to glue their snowman on their telescope and of course the younger ones followed their lead :)

They then used the Mousekaspotter to spot mouse ears that were hidden around the house!

Here's the cake pan that was my husbands when he was younger. It just so happened that my Mother-in-Law also saved a cup from back in the day with ring leader Mickey on it so I opted to keep the design the original one to match the cup, but was contemplating putting a party hat on him instead. It worked though. I just told people not to eat the hat, after adding half a container of dye to tint the icing there was no taste left, it was terrible. Next time I'll look for a no taste dye. I did add tons of cocoa powder to the black so I only needed a little of dye for that one, it still left everyone with black tongues but thankfully tasted just like chocolate butter cream.

The cupcakes for the kids were the most fun to make! Of course mini oreos for Mickey and Minnie ears and I used marshmallows for Goofy and Donald's hat with melted chocolate for finishing touches. And this will probably be as close as I am getting to making anything pink, I loved making Minnie bows for the cupcakes, and glad I did because that's the cupcake every girl chose.

I did have leftover chocolate to use up so instead of chucking I opted to dip a marshmallow into the colors, add some sprinkles and they were a big hit, kids and adult alike!

( You can see I added a mini oreo to the bottom of Goofy's hat, that helped to elongate the square marshmallow. Then by dipping it in the dark chocolate you get that black band on the bottom of his hat- it worked out really well)
So now that the house is empty and there's some extra toys and game to replace idle time, I'm off to clean up the aftermath!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine treats

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

Just as Monet's inspiration for painting is flowers, my inspiration for baking is... well... as much as I'd love a great inspiration, I'm not really sure. For me gardening and baking are one in the same, a very peaceful and creative process where the end result bring a sense of satisfaction to the creator and a smile to the recipient.

I look forward every year to baking these "Love Cookies" for Valentine's Day treats, just as I enjoy planting bulbs every spring. This recipe is my favorite for sugar cookies, no extra flour needed when rolling them out so they taste wonderful, and the cookie keeps it's shape when baking.

I don't remember when I started making these cookies, I just remember it was mid-way thru my 6yr engagement with Mike that I was low on funds one Valentine's Day due to having to purchase extra books for college that month. So my Mom suggested baking something for him instead of giving a store bought gift; and of course she added the age-old motto of the best way to man's heart is thru his stomach. I found this cookie idea in one of her Women's Day magazines and the rest is history.
Now it's even better that each year my boys get to help with the creations!

I was also excited to search for unique valentine's for the boys to hand out, you know, while they're still young and I can pick out something cute I like and they're okay with it :) Before I know it I'm sure there will be Spiderman and Transformer themes abound, but until then I'm all for the cutesy stuff!

Make your own sundae valentines with life-like stickers...totally my boys at this age, super fun and super cute! Had to get them!

And making the teacher gifts were super easy, more personal than a pre-wrapped gift! (Google Search is full of great ideas from other crafty Mom's like this one I borrowed!)

Now that Valentine's Day is covered it's on to prepping for Gavin's Mickey Mouse party!