Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

Tonight we'll be heading over to some wonderful friends' house for a Pumpkin Carving/Chili Cook-off.  I decided to take a chance this year and prepare a chili I'd never tried.  It turned out super yummy and very festive! Let's hope I win!

The recipe is from Trader Joe's, which features their products.  However, I think you can recreate it using things from any store if there's not a Trader's nearby.

Pumpkin Chili
3 lbs. ground beef (I'm using three packages of fake ground beef)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can canned pumpkin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 16 oz. jar chipotle salsa (substitute your favorite salsa with a kick)
1 32 oz. container Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup (substitute tomato soup and a dash of red pepper)
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin

In a large pan, cook ground beef, onion, and bell pepper until meat is no longer pink.  Drain.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for one hour.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Build a Bear Party Treats

You know how the party's done, and then you've got hours of clean up to do?  Not for everyone.  Some people are smarter than I am and have parties outside of their home and let someone else do the work.  Build-a-Bear, Chuck E. Cheese, Scooter's Jungle...I'm talking about you.

Happy Birthday, Little Dude!

My sweet nephew just had his 4th birthday party at Build-a-Bear.  I made these teddy bear cookies as favors for his guests to take home.  

The cookie post-decorating.  

I used Wilton's Stackable Cookie Cutter to make the cookies.  The three cookie cutter-set is $3.99 on their website.  Super hot deal.  

  If you doesn't come across in the pictures, this sucker is huge.  I cheated a little and used pre-made cookie dough to make the cookies.  With each tube of cookie dough I made 6 bear cookies.  You could probably stretch it a little by making thinner cookies, but I'm trying to ensure my sweet tooth gets passed to the next generation.  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Cake Ideas for the Decorating Challenged

No time to channel your inner-Martha and blow everyone away with your adorableness and mastery of the pastry bag this Halloween?  Here are some less-tricky treats this Halloween:

Make a cute cake topper out of paper.  I cut this out on my Cricut using the Mini Monsters cartridge.  The tree and house are two separate pieces.  I'll be sticking them in stacked round cakes.

Even simpler?  Do an image search on Google, print your favorite on card stock, cut out, attach BBQ skewers (or toothpicks if it's short).

More treats coming up...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tangled Desserts

Rapunzel wished desperately to leave her tower to see the floating lights that floated in the skyline every year on her birthday.  Considering the 18 years she spent trapped there, it most certainly needed to be represented at Georgia's Tangled party.

One tower-themed dessert were powdered Donettes on a stick.  I was trying to decide how large the cone tower needed to be so I tried Googling the size of Donettes.  Shockingly, I found nothing.  Who cares about the calories?  I want to decorate with em!  My poor children had to deal with eating a box of Donettes the week before the party so I could use some as models.  Poor things.

I ended up making a 4-inch circle, slit the circle, and formed the cone.  I used my hot glue gun to attach the cones to the stick.  Since I didn't want to fill the entire stick (the parents might kill me) with donuts, I tied a bow at the bottom of the third donut.

Santa worked hard last Christmas to find this out of stock tower for Georgia.  It doubled as cake stand for her party.  

I used my Cricut Cupcake Wrapper cartridge to make the purple crown wrappers.  I've found using the "Fit to Length" feature with the size set to 8-inches fits standard-sized cupcakes.   

Rapunzel Party Dress

Georgia's Rapunzel dress (and getting her hair did by her aunt Honey)
So what do you do if your mother-in-law isn't an amazing seamstress who will make you an appropriately-themed outfit for each birthday party?  You buy one on Etsy!  Here are my favorites:


Sizes: Up to 6, but larger can be ordered for additional fee


Sizes: 6 months to 6x

Playful Princesses


It's a custom order, but I bet you could totally get one.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Glittered Candle Holders

When you're four, your bling is glitter.  Glittery nail polish, glittery chapstick ("makeup"), even glittery stickers are so much better than the plain.  I found this tutorial for glittered votives at the Glitter Guide and knew I needed to glitter up Georgia's party.  

I think she approves.  

I started by harassing everyone on the planet who currently has a baby to acquire enough jars.  

To make the jars with stripes, I used double-sided tape and Martha Stewart's fine glitter in yellow & purple.  

To make the jars covered in glitter (which I prefer), I used Martha Stewart's glitter glue, but I don't see why Elmer's wouldn't have worked.  I covered the part I wanted sparkly in a thin layer of glue and rained glitter upon it.  

In the original tutorial, they used candles to light em up.  Since my party was mostly children, I opted for battery-operated flameless candles.  They were $20 for 24 at Michael's, but I had my handy dandy 40% off coupon.  Expect to see those again.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tangled Party Hair Bows

When the princess is known for her hair, you definitely overlook the locks of your party guests. The pros over at Disney have a super cute tutorial for these rosette rubber bands.  Check it out here.

Since I have younger guests, I decided to hot glue the leaves to clips, rather than putting them on rubber bands.  I displayed them on a yellow yarn braid.

 Hair bows for our guests.

A close-up of the flowers.  

Tangled Party Banners

My sweet princess, Georgia, turned 4!  
Here are my favorite pictures of her in front of the banners with Maximus (apple-loving member of the Royal Guard) and her cousin, Cooper.

Want to make your own?  Here's how...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

DIY Tangled Pinata

Rather than buying a generic princess pinata, I wanted to figure out how to make a Tangled pinata.  I love that the materials are mostly things I have at home already!