Monday, February 28, 2011

Matthew's Train 3rd Birthday Party

Matthew had a very fun "train" themed birthday party this past Thursday evening.  A special thank you to all the friends and family who helped out.  He had a great evening celebrating his birthday.

The awesome cake by my friend Kynda!  She does incredible work.  It is a two tiered vanilla cake; top layer has a raspberry cream filling, the bottom has a cookies and cream filling; butter cream frosting, and marshmallow fondant accents...

Close up of the train going around the bottom...

It was made to match the invitation...

Here is the birthday boy wearing the cute train shirt my friend Megan made.  Notice the "smoke" is a #3...

Here is the table scape.  I used the same fabric to cover the box "cake stand".  I was proud that I only spent about $11 on decorations (not including the cake)!  This included the fabric, table cloth cover, and confetti.  Everything else I already had such as the train/tracks, banners, etc...

Family pic (minus a sleeping Jacob)...

Matthew and some of his cousins...

The face says it all...too much blue fondant/icing! :)

Couple short videos of the party...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Matthew!

Today Matthew turned 3!  Where has the time gone.  It just seems like yesterday we were bringing him home as a tiny little baby.  He is such a big boy now, and such a joy to have in our lives.  Happy 3rd Birthday Buddy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Faux" Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I wanted to do something fun and creative, and knew it had to be sweet!  I got my inspiration from the mini "green" velvet cupcakes I made last year for St. Patrick's Day.  The only thing that changed in the recipe is the color for the batter, and the sprinkles!  I also made these normal sized cupcakes instead of mini.  I am calling them "faux" since they truly don't have a red velvet batter (chocolate cake mixed with red food coloring).  Don't be fooled by how "impressive" they might look.  They are ridiculously easy to make!  Also, if you don't have a fancy decorating tip like mine, anything will do.  It's all about the fun colors, sprinkles, and of course taste!  I have to give "props" to Jenny over at Picky Palate for the original recipe.  Speaking of, I "liked" a comment on Facebook about a week ago from Picky Palate, and won this cute cookie tin from Nestle, and coupons for free cookie dough!  My first ever win online from a blog, etc... Pictured inside are these scrumptious cookies:  a peanut butter, white chocolate, pretzel, sea salt combo that is out of this world.  Here is a link to the recipe, also from Picky Palate.

Now onto the cupcakes!  Gather up your ingredients...pictured here is all the fun stuff.

When you have your batter made, drop in a few good drops of food color gel or paste.  I used a Wilton brand one.  You could use food coloring, it just won't be as bright or vibrant. Mix it well into the batter til you get the color you like...

Matthew had a great time helping "lick" the beater attachment when I was done with it...

Here they are ready to decorate with my dual-chamber frosting tool by Kuhn Rikon.  Love it!  I made half the frosting a light pink, and the other half I left white.

Oh my these look to good to eat!  Almost...

Up close view of frosting/sprinkles...


Here is the recipe:

"Faux" Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes

1 Box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
5-8 drops Red gel or decorating paste, or more til desired color

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
Pink food coloring or gel (optional, if you are going to go with the two colored frosting route)
Red sugar sprinkles, and Valentine sprinkles if you have them

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a stand or electric mixer, add cake mix, eggs, water, oil, pudding mix, and yogurt.  Beat on medium for 1 1/2 minutes.  Slowly beat in 5-8 drops of red gel/decorating paste, until you get the desired color of red.  Scoop batter in paper lined cupcake tins.  Bake for about 22 minutes or until cooked through.  Let cool completely.

2.  To prepare frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Slowly add powdered sugar until creamy and thick.  Divide frosting into two bowls and add a couple drops of pink food coloring/gel to one bowl.  Blend in well.

3.  Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with red sugar sprinkles, and Valentine sprinkles if desired.  *Note:  I would have loved to have used some pink pearl dust as well if I had some, but forgot to pick it up at the store!

Makes about 24 regular cupcakes.

Make them for your Valentine today and enjoy!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blizzard 2011

Finally posting a few pics of the "big snow" we got just over a week ago.  It goes down in the record books for the third largest snow ever in our area, about 15 inches total!

Half of the driveway that had been snowblowed...

A view out to our deck...

Matthew having a great time trying to walk in the snow!

Yes, that is our grill peaking out on the far right...Matthew is nearly walking level to the top of the kiddie picnic table!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adjustable Patio Covers

Check out my brother this morning on Fox 5 Atlanta "Road Warriors" segment.  He is second in the video, promoting his business Adjustable Patio Covers.  Great job Scott!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

GA Trip

We had such a great few days visiting my family in Georgia last weekend.  They weather couldn't have been more perfect!  It was at least 60 degrees and sunny everyday we were there...topping off at a nice 70 degrees on Sunday afternoon before we left. 

Here is my niece Haylie holding Jacob for the first time...

Aunt Jill loves Jacob too!

Papaw and Grammy with all four of their grandkids...

Matthew and Hope are "Two Peas in a Pod!"

Feeding Jacob outside, in the sun!

Haylie and Hope love their new cousin...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jacob's First Flight

This past weekend we took the trip down to Atlanta to visit my parents, and my brother and family so they could meet Jacob!  Jacob did really well flying.  I must say, it was quite the work with two boys, but we survived. 

Here are the boys on the jet-bridge in the Joovy Ultralight Caboose is awesome for two kids this age!

Me with Jacob...

Chris with the boys...

Cute video marking the occasion...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Broken Inside ~ A Song

This song brought tears to my eyes...from a child's perspective in the womb...