Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe

I came across this recipe for Gingerbread Biscotti in the latest Family Fun magazine.

I tried it today and it did not disappoint! Perfect for dunking in hot chocolate or gifting at a cookie exchange.  It seems like a lot of steps because you sort of bake it twice but its really easy.


  •  cups flour
  •  teaspoon baking powder
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  •  teaspoons cinnamon
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  •  cup sugar
  •  large eggs
  •  tablespoons light molasses
  •  teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  ounces white chocolate chips

Make It

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a stand mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated. Reduce the mixer's speed to low and blend in the flour mixture.
2. With slightly wet hands, halve the dough and shape each piece into a 2 1/2-by-9-inch rectangle. Transfer the loaves to the prepared baking sheet and bake them until they're golden brown and their tops are just starting to crack, about 25 minutes. Let the loaves cool on the sheet and reduce the oven's temperature to 325 degrees .
3. Use a sharp knife to cut each loaf into 3/4 inch thick slices. Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheets and bake them until they're toasted, about 8 minutes. The pieces should be crunchy on the outside but not hard. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl according to the package directions, then spoon it into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner. Drizzle the biscotti with the melted chocolate. Let the coating set before serving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sofia the First

I just hosted a Sofia the First Viewing party through House Party.  What a success!

(editor Note added Jan 2013-I received all product from House Party and they are not available yet for purchase but check out a recent post on how you can find printables)

I had about 10 kids over the night of the premier.  The show started at 7pm on a Sunday night so I asked everyone to come in their jammies or in a princess dress.  When everyone arrived they received a crown or tiara.

I taught the kids how to do the royal wave and to curtsy.  You should have seen the boys!!

(Please excuse the non professional pics -they are in motion)

I set up cupcakes, popcorn and drinks.

 Don't you love those cupcake toppers from Disney?!

Everyone gathered around the TV to be introduced to Sofia the First.  The show was a hit and everyone had a good time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kids Style Thanksgiving

Do you remember sitting at the kids table at Thanksgiving and Christmas?

When I was really young I liked to spend time with my cousins but as I got older I always thought the adults were having more fun.  Now I know it was just more wine!

I put together some great ideas to make your kids table be great and also activities for the kids to do.

I love this table posted over at HWTM (from Frog Prince Paperie).

 and this one from Frog prince paperie in 2010

My favorite part is the brown craft paper on the table and the adorable 'thanks' tree in the center.

If you have older kids this runner from Pottery Barn is adorable.

Last year I posted some craft ideas and a Free Turkey coloring pages -found here.  

I am planning to make up a few of these turkey cups- I think I will put crayons in them.

November is such a perfect time to be thankful all month - What are you most thankful for?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Curious George and the Firetrucks

My son turned 4, I can't believe it - seems like just yesterday we were bringing the little guy home.

He is all boy and loves his firetrucks but he also really loves to read - especially Curious George.  The week after my daughter's 2nd birthday (here) he told me he definitely wanted a 'George' party.  It is all he talked about so I started planning.  When we read Curious George and the Firefighters I knew I had to combine both ideas AND give every child the book as the favor.

It wasn't hard to combine the Curious George and the Firetruck theme.  I printed pictures from the book and had them framed on the table.  I laid a bookcase on its side and filled the shelves with bananas, Curious George stuffed animal and a fire hat.  There was a fireman's pole with George sliding down on the table.  We also used lots of firetrucks around the room.  The fireman hats were hung on a frame that the kids grabbed as they headed outside.  As a tradition the front door was painted in the birthday theme- A big Curious George holding balloons.

The birthday boy had 2 requests-cupcakes in a icecream cone and pirate booty/popcorn in popcorn boxes.  No problem.  Twizzlers were fireman poles, banana runt candy and pretzels were monkey food and the kids loved the donut holes and the fruit skewers.  I made my famous cake pops with rainbow sprinkles.  The kids ate Chef pisghetti bagel bites and the adults had homemade baked ziti.

The local Fire Co sent a Firetruck to our house!  We called 4 Alarm Fire and all the kids ran outside.  They got to climb inside the truck, sit in the chairs, try on the boots and hats and my son even got to sound the siren before they left.  The faces on the kids when this truck pulled up was priceless!!

All kids received a firemans hat with a George sticker on the front, Curious George and the Firefighters book and a swirl lollipop.

Cupcakes and mini cake- Wegmans
photography - For Always Photography
Party Supplies and Decor - Thats My Kind of Party

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hope you are safe from Hurricane/Cyclone Sandy.  We faired ok, never lost power but that sure was serious wind!  My kids slept through the whole thing.  I know some East Coast areas are postponing Halloween because the power still out.  Our thoughts go out to these areas.  My neighborhood is Trick or Treating tonight and my kids are sooo excited.

I am loving this party from Kara's Party Ideas - the spider web backdrop, pumpkins on risers and especially the paper fan signs are very cool and spooky!!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Super Why! Halloween Costume

My son loves the pbs show Super Why and he is really getting interested in Super Heros.  For Halloween he wanted to be a super hero -that wore a cape.  After talking about Batman, Super Man or Super Why -all defenders of evil!!

He decided on Super Why!

Here is flying Super Why - loving this costume - He wore it for 2 days straight.  It is a one piece outfit with a cape that attaches with velcro and a mask.  He might wear it out before Halloween even gets here.

 adorable huh?

I do want to mention that the costume is 100% polyester and has started to fray around the neckline.  I think this is because it is just serged around edges, not turned under.   I immediately had to buy fray check from the craft store and treat the area.

Are your kids into Super Heros?  Batman and Spiderman or did they see the Avengers this summer and love them?  If you are thinking of going to see a Super hero movie - check out this article for reviews first.  Costume is available at Costume Supercenter.

Disclaimer:  Thanks to Costume Supercenter for providing us this sample to review.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to School

So its Back to School Time, can you believe Summer is over?

My youngest is starting nursery school and I am really talking it up to get her excited.  It helps that her brother will be there as well.

To help everyone get in the mood for school, I bought these alphabet cookies from Trader Joes and hope to recreate these cupcakes from Amy Atlas.

adorable right?

I will be ready for the first day pictures as well!

I think I might use chalk boards to write 'First Day of Nursery School' but I thought these were cute too from I Heart Naptime

or these from Chickabug  (follow link for instructions to download)

Share what special things you did or will do with your kids as they go back to school!!

Have a great Labor Day!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cookie Sandwiches

I am working with a client planning a Sip N See to welcome their new little baby girl.  I thought these little mini cakes would be adorable!  I used boxed cake mix so its a blend of mini layered cakes and cookies!

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/4 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
colored sprinkles
1 can of vanilla frosting
food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheet with parchment paper

Combine cake mix, egg, oil and buttermilk in a large bowl.  Beat with electric mixer or use wisk until smooth.  Use spoon to make 1 inch mounds onto cookie sheet.  Place about 2 inches apart then top with sprinkles.

Bake until cookies are golden and firm - I baked mine about 11 minutes. Cool on wire rack

My children were helping so they suggested M&M's  - brilliant - you can see the two I made for them. This would be cute to use with pink M&M's or something to coordinate with your theme.

 Decide on what color frosting you want and mix frosting with food coloring- I used pink for the baby girl.  Frost one cookie and top with the other to make cookie sandwiches or mini cakes.

Delicious Cookie Sandwiches!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Real Party-Construction

I plan to showcase Real Parties on Friday's - if you are interested in having your party here - please submit to my email.

Here is an adorable Construction Themed party for a one year old from Lea Engle!

1st Birthday
Construction Party!

Having two very active little boys and a very full list of attendees, I knew that my son's 1st birthday party would have to have some action in it, thus, a Construction Party was born!  I tried to keep it simple, easy, and inexpensive.

Decorations included black table cloths with yellow duct tape down the center to create roads, soccer cones serving as construction cones, road signs, caution tape, and borrowed trucks from the boys vast collection.

By far the "entertainment" was the hit of the evening.  I created a nail and hammer station made from styrofoam and golf tees.  I borrowed this idea from my son's preschool, so I can't take all the credit.  It was genius.  The kids played with this for a solid hour, maybe even more.  I had two long pieces of styrofoam from Home Depot, 100 golf tees, and 10 hammers.  The kids went to work and just pounded away!  In addition to the nail and hammer station, I also had hard hats for everyone and stickers for them to decorate their hat.  Both activities really kept the kids busy and were incredibly easy for me to do as well.

For goodie bags, again I kept it really simple, ordering things from Oriental Trading like theconstruction rubber duckietool bath squirts, and dump truck stationery boxes. I loaded them all into my son's wheel barrel, hoping no child would take off through house with it! 

And the party would not be complete without a beautiful Dump Truck cake and of course, a smash cake for the 1 year old.  It was a great success and lots of fun.  Now onto planning the 3 year old birthday party for next month........

Thanks Lea for sharing- can't wait to see the Train Party pictures.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tea Party

Here are the pictures of my daughter at the Snap Happy Mini's with Philly Baby Photographer.

Caitlin did these awesome pictures - trust me its great because my daughter was not cooperating.  She wouldn't smile or touch a tea cup AT ALL!!  I tried lolli's and she even had her favorite bear there.

I think these colors would be great for a birthday party and this background could be used for any party dessert table. The theme could be ice cream social or Summer/watermelon of course a Tea Party.

Thanks Caitlin - the pics came out great.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cupcake Fondue Party Activity

I came across this AWESOME idea from Hoosier Homemade - Cupcake Fondue - a great thing to do at your next birthday party.  This is brilliant!

I love the plastic forks as the cupcake holder and putting the icing in the cupcake pan and toppings right on the table.  Perfect for little hands - my 3 year old would love this at his next party. 

Messy but oh so much fun!   Kids love the icing off cupcakes more then anything.  

I think this would be great for any birthday party or even your next playdate.  Use colored forks and toppings to match your theme.  I love that you can use icing and add all those fun Duncan Hines creations.

please check out Hoosier Handmade for the entire post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aqua and Red Tea Party

I was asked again to help a photographer Caitlin Domanico with her mini photo sessions for charity- Snap Happy Mini's.  She asked me to set up a backdrop, color scheme etc. focused around a tea party.
Last years shoot was held outside in 90 degree weather so we were much happier inside this year- see post here.

This year we did an aqua and red color scheme and the photo sessions were held at Tilly Mints Tea Room in Souderton, PA.  Trish the owner was very gracious and the tea is delicious.

Caitlin found this pennant bunting on etsy and wanted something to go with it so I decided to get fabric in the matching colors and rip strips, tie them on a sting and voila a perfect backdrop.

I added a strip of fabric as a chair cover, a beautiful runner by Reed Silk Studio and a big bowl of cherries.  What do you think?
Don't you just love the carousel tea pot?

I think red and aqua are great colors for any party or celebration and would work well for boys or girls.
Check out Caitlin's Facebook page for more pictures of the day and stay tuned and I will share pictures of my daughter's tea party!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Traditions

I thought I would share two traditions that my family does every year for our beach vacation.
Footprints in the sand....

I purchased a beach house guest book and write notes or rather I journal our vacation memories in this book.   Great place to write our favorite beach activity, restaurant and discoveries!

Are you book about vacation photo albums?  What do you do to preserve your beach memories?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

10 Ways to Make Birthdays More Fun

As you know I love Birthdays, I really try to create special traditions and I have even shared them on the blog. I came across a Fun Birthday article at Family Fun and wanted to share with you.  Click link for the entire article.

Birthday King or Queen for the day, balloons everywhere, special dinners - Is there anything your kids expect on their big day?  How far in advance do you plan?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

When I was trying to decide on a theme for my daughter's 2nd birthday party I thought of what makes her happy.  Well every night my husband or I sing 'You are My Sunshine' before bed and both kids just love it and snuggle in for big hugs. This song just touches my heart and I wanted to express this at her party.
I bounced around between modern/chevron to vintage/lace.  I decided on vintage when I found my moms stash of very old Ball Mason Jars.

The front door was painted (birthday tradition), We gave all the girls a sun wand and all families got a You are My Sunshine box filled with silly straws, yellow lollis and a bracelet.  I used ball jars filled with daisies or lemons around the house.  I hung a doily garland throughout the kitchen and made a doily Happy Birthday banner.  I used my silhouette cameo to make the sun cutouts.  Besides the mason jars my favorite part of the decor was my parents old dining room chandelier that we painted and used as a cupcake display.  Chalk boards displayed the food items.  I had homemade cake pops and mini push pops with banana pudding and a nilla wafer.  We served lemonade and iced tea with mason jar glasses.  The kids had capri suns or mini water bottles.  The kids were between 18 m and 4 yrs so we had two activities- Pin the Ray on the Sun and a Mini photo booth area.  A Sunshine cutout was a HUGE hit with the kids.  We were supposed to sing You are My Sunshine to all the kids before we sang Happy Birthday but time go away from us and we forgot.

Hope you enjoyed the party - it was a fun party to plan.

Birthday Girl was all smiles!!

Paper -,
Decor - Thats My Kind of Party
Mini Cookies -
Cupcakes - Wegmans
Sugar Toppers - Sugar Cake Designs
Photography - Devin Spillane Photography